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Dealing with Loneliness

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I think you are missing the point of the book. It isn't just about Howard Roark, there are several characters in the book. Peter Keating made friends with people not because he liked them, but to solely advance his career. He did not like Howard Roark, but he tried to be friends with him anyway. Peter Keating did not marry the woman he loved who was Katie, rather he allowed his mother, Toohey, and his boss influence his decisions. He was not happy as a result. Neither was Katie, or Dominique. They both let the world influence them and their love lives. At first Dominique was too good for Howard Roark, because she let her position in society influence her decisions about what kind of man was right for her. This is regardless of the fact she found Howard Roark to be very attractive; it was love at first sight. She did not consent her first time with him, for example. He was a quarry worker, and she was raised to think she was too good for a common laborer. She second guessed her own emotions. Things changed when she found out he was an architect, but he still wasn't good enough for her to marry. She married Peter Keening instead, and she lost all sense of her soul. She became like a zombie. Keating then sold her to Gail, to advance his career. At least she respected Gail, but she married him more for his money. She really loved Roark, and she may have even become jealous of Gail and Roark's friendship. I think the book is just trying to say not to let society dictate your love life, or whom you choose to be friends with. Or you will be miserable. You should marry who you love, and be friends with people you actually like. Not because society tells you that you should. Roark was just kind of anti-social, and he did not like a lot of people or find a lot of women attractive. However, if he actually liked a lot of people and found a lot of women attractive, it would have been harder to prove the point and provide contrast. Characters in books are created to prove points, not to dictate moral behavior. If one allows a character or a book to dictate their friendships and love life, then they clearly missed the point of this book. That is the same as allowing society to dictate such things, as what happened to Peter Keating. I don't think you should be like Roark as a person, but be like him in spirit. Do what is right for you. To be like Roark is to be like yourself, and you are not like Roarke. Not many people are. And that's OK.

Edited by Dante
Corrected spelling at poster's request
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*** Mod's note: Merged with a previous topic ***   Although i`m a very objective person, and starting my journey towards a more objective life, there is something that I do not agree. I see nothing

Sorry dude, but i`m a man and I like women. I don’t know about Roark or Galt or Rearden but I feel attracted by the opposite sex. I understand that sex is much better with feelings and with someone wh

Loneliness is NOT repeat NOT NOT NOT NOT second-handedness. A second-hander is not capable of experiencing loneliness. What he feels when he is alone is not that sad, wistful craving, but an abj

The point of Roark is to show that a truly rational man can never be destroyed no matter his circumstances: all the bad things that happen to him with respect to friendship, romance and career are bad, it's just that they can't defeat him.

Don't mistake the Roark's heroism for his unfortunate situation. I think Rand exaggerates the negative aspects of his situation (loneliness/peerlessness, public derision, etc.) to highlight the evil things in this world. It would be possible for most real people to take after Roark but still have lots of friends, parties, promotions etc (although promiscuity is another matter; but to each his/her own)

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Can I edit my posts? I just realized I spelled Peter Keating's name wrong. Sorry. I also wanted to clarify the male promiscuity thing, because today's world is much different than the time setting of Fountainhead. This is not the 1920's, and a lot of the statements in the book were against society standards of the 1920's. If men are promiscuous because of today's standards telling them they should be or because of personal feelings of insecurity about their own sexual orientation, then that is not in line with the book. Gail, another character in the book, was very promiscuous prior to meeting Dominique. He pretty much could have any woman he wanted, and he took advantage of it. He went against 1920's society standards to do this. It did not make him happy though, and these encounters had no meaning for him. The point is that even though there are some men who honestly love a lot of women and every romantic encounter has great meaning for them, that is more a myth than reality. These men feel secure with themselves because they meet society's standards of a heterosexual male, and they feel confident to be outspoken about it because it is acceptable. I am a woman, and I happen to know that most of the men I know have some standards. They are just not outspoken about it and they tend to keep those feelings to themselves, out of fear of being persecuted by other men who don't have any standards. If they were really in the line of Howard Roarke, they would be brutally honest and not care what society thinks.

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Although i`m a very objective person, and starting my journey towards a more objective life, there is something that I do not agree. I see nothing wrong with wanting to be social and having more friends, even just for the sake of “having more friends”. I don’t see nothing wrong with having friends whose view of the world are different from mine – what matters is if we have fun together and enjoy each others company. For instance: Peter Keating was social, everyone liked him and he could have any girl he wanted (nice!). On the other hand, Roark didn`t have any friends in school, and was lonely like a baby in the womb.

1. What was Roark`s problem? Why couldn`t he go to a party, have sex with girls, and have fun for gods sake? I personally value these things very much, even though there is not a important and serious purpose behind these activities.

2. Whenever Roark entered a room, people felt uncomfortable, and his face was closed like a vault. What is the advantage of being like that? I don`t see why he couldn`t be social, have a lot of friends, join the fraternity, and still be loyal to his principles, and still stand for his ideas, do you guys get my point? Does living objectively in the context of human interactions means having just few friends who share your views, just sitting by their side doing nothing and acknowledging their existence? That seems pretty boring to me.

3. In Atlas Shrugged, the playboy life Francisco was having seemed pretty cool and exciting. Why couldn`t someone lead a life with a lot of fun and parties and girls and still be productive and objective?

4. For instance yesterday I decided to learn to surf. I live In a coastal city and it would be fun to surf. Then I asked myself: why do you want to surf? And I didn`t know a reason, besides: I just want it, it must be fun! According to Roark, he would say: since there is no reason for me wanting to learn how to surf, besides my wish to do it, I wont do it.

5. I remember a time in the book when Keating called Roark to go out and have a beer. Roark said: what for? For gods sake, what was the problem of going out for a beer????? He would stay home doing nothing anyway!!!!!

6. I don’t want to realize with 80 years old that I lived my life as a lonely bastard who didn`t have fun at all.

7. Do you guys understand what i`m saying?

1. I think he'd ask, "what for?"

2. No it doesn't mean that to me.

3. Again, "what for?" Also Francisco was baiting the destroyers to invest in his company.

4. I disagree, I think he would know the reason; even if he didn't he would still want to do it, and I think that's enough for him.

5. Obviously he didn't want to have a beer, so he asked him for a reason that might change his mind; that's fair.

6. Check

7. Yes. Keep in mind that loneliness is relative since it's a feeling. I dated this girl one time right before I met my (then future) wife. I haven't touched one of Ayn Rand's books yet. This girl I dated was terribly boring; I felt more alone with her than I did by myself. She added nothing; she simply existed and blinked every once and a while--she was cute, but that was about the only value I could assign her. I met my wife shortly after I met this girl (about a month). She filled my life. Interacting with her was the stark contrast to this girl; whatever the girl took away, my wife added (10 fold). I would take (1) person like my wife as a friend over (1,000,000) people like that empty girl as a friend.

One thing I noticed about all my friends, my wife, and me is that we are capable of living independently of each other; none of us need the other, but we notice the value we add and receive from one another.

I don't know if this helps clarify your question, but that's what I think about the topic.

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I would pose four questions to you (realizing the word "friend" has different meanings to different people):

1. Does having "a lot of friends" make you any less lonely in your quiet moments?

2. How many friends do you need to be "happy" in the sense you are using the word?

3. Does not having any friends exclude the possibility of being happy?

4. How true is the underlying premise that happiness requires friends to exist?

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I have a feeling that, if you are an unhappy person, no number of friends will change it. Conversely, if you are a happy person, lack of friends would probably not change that either. From my own experience and from discussions I've had over the years with psychiatrists I've known as collegues, I believe the old adage "Happiness is an inside job" holds true. Friends cannot make you're life for you, in my view.

This is not to say that having friends is not a worthwhile activity. I would say, though, that friendships that have some depth are rare. How many friends you have probably has more to do with your definition of "friend" than with reality.

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