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An evocative passage from The Fountainhead

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I'm roughly two thirds into the novel, and I came upon this interesting speech from Gail Wynand (Part three, chapter 4 pg. 447 of my PB edition):

"I would give the greatest sunset in the world for one sight of New York's skyline. Particularly when one can't see the details. Just the shapes. The shapes and the thought that made them. The sky over New York and the will of man made visible. What other religion do we need? And then people tell me about pilgrimages to some dank pesthole in a jungle where they go to do homage to a crumbling temple, to a leering stone monster with a pot belly, created by some leprous savage. Is it beauty and genius they want to see? Do they seek a sense of the sublime? Let them come to New York, stand on the shore of the Hudson, look and kneel. When I see the city from my window - no, I don't feel how small I am - but I feel that if a war came to threaten this, I would throw myself into space, over the city, and protect these buildings with my body."

I must say, the last two sentences in particular sent shivers down my spine. I think you all know what I'm referring to - it's almost prophetic. Not that I'm suggesting Rand was some clairvoyant, oh no. But she must have felt deep inside that the evil savages that exist in the world will one day wish to perpetrate such a heinous crime as was 9/11.

I apologize if this has been discussed previously on this board.

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Yes, got to me too. One of my first thoughts was thank god that she's not alive to see this.

Next thought , now we're gong to need her more than ever.

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Ayn Rand has been described often lately as "prophetic" and it's easy to see why. Arthur C. Clarke is well known for saying "Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic". Perhaps a similar saying could apply to philosophy. Something like, "any sufficiently rational philosophy is indistinguishable from prophecy".

The passage definitely displays a striking contrast between a rational culture of life and an irrational culture of death. More than that however I think it's a great example of Rand's concept of spirituality.

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I must say, the last two sentences in particular sent shivers down my spine. I think you all know what I'm referring to - it's almost prophetic. Not that I'm suggesting Rand was some clairvoyant, oh no. But she must have felt deep inside that the evil savages that exist in the world will one day wish to perpetrate such a heinous crime as was 9/11.

Rand understood the incredible power of philosophy. She may not have been clairvoyant, but she was able to see where ideas ultimately lead men and she knew the consequences of irrational thinking. This is why her predictive abilities have proven to be so accurate over the years.

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Not that I'm suggesting Rand was some clairvoyant, oh no. But she must have felt deep inside that the evil savages that exist in the world will one day wish to perpetrate such a heinous crime as was 9/11.

She certainly did. I think many people find such "prophetic" knowledge surprising because they don't understand that ideas matter. If you take the ideas that are being spread seriously and follow them to their logical conclusion, their eventual consequences will become all too obvious well ahead of time.

I wish more people understood that, with the kind of person that has recently been receiving Nobel and Oscar prizes, the following passage from Anthem is well on its course to becoming a prophesy as well:

We have heard that there are many Uncharted Forests over the land, among the Cities. And it is whispered that they have grown over the ruins of many cities of the Unmentionable Times. The trees have swallowed the ruins, and the bones under the ruins, and all the things which perished. And as we look upon the Uncharted Forest far in the night, we think of the secrets of the Unmentionable Times. And we wonder how it came to pass that these secrets were lost to the world. We have heard the legends of the great fighting, in which many men fought on one side and only a few on the other. These few were the Evil Ones and they were conquered. Then great fires raged over the land. And in these fires the Evil Ones and all the things made by the Evil Ones were burned.

BTW, welcome to the Forum, Slayer. Love your screen name! :wub:

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  • 6 months later...
I'm roughly two thirds into the novel, and I came upon this interesting speech from Gail Wynand (Part three, chapter 4 pg. 447 of my PB edition):

"I would give the greatest sunset in the world for one sight of New York's skyline. Particularly when one can't see the details. Just the shapes. The shapes and the thought that made them. The sky over New York and the will of man made visible. What other religion do we need? And then people tell me about pilgrimages to some dank pesthole in a jungle where they go to do homage to a crumbling temple, to a leering stone monster with a pot belly, created by some leprous savage. Is it beauty and genius they want to see? Do they seek a sense of the sublime? Let them come to New York, stand on the shore of the Hudson, look and kneel. When I see the city from my window - no, I don't feel how small I am - but I feel that if a war came to threaten this, I would throw myself into space, over the city, and protect these buildings with my body."

I must say, the last two sentences in particular sent shivers down my spine. I think you all know what I'm referring to - it's almost prophetic. Not that I'm suggesting Rand was some clairvoyant, oh no. But she must have felt deep inside that the evil savages that exist in the world will one day wish to perpetrate such a heinous crime as was 9/11.

I apologize if this has been discussed previously on this board.

An example of why The Fountainhead is my favorite book. It's one of the passages that expresses my own thoughts with more eloquence than I was previously capable.

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Arthur C. Clarke is well known for saying "Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic".

I've always been amused by the logical contrapositive of Clarke's Law: "Any technology distinguishable from magic is insufficiently advanced." (Bonus exercise: spot the logical fallacy and win no prize.)

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I've always been amused by the logical contrapositive of Clarke's Law: "Any technology distinguishable from magic is insufficiently advanced." (Bonus exercise: spot the logical fallacy and win no prize.)

Sounds like an equivocation on the meaning of "sufficiently".

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"What other religion do we need? And then people tell me about pilgrimages to some dank pesthole in a jungle where they go to do homage to a crumbling temple, to a leering stone monster with a pot belly, created by some leprous savage. Is it beauty and genius they want to see? Do they seek a sense of the sublime? Let them come to New York, stand on the shore of the Hudson, look and kneel.

My first trip to Wall Street was this summer. I've always idolized Wall Street as this amazing center of human civilization, a place where commerce, exchange, development, the things that make humanity move forward, this place where all of it is centralized on one street and concertized in the Bull or in the Pillars of the New York Stock Exchange. I certainly did treat my first visit as a pilgrimage. Got up early, dressed in my best clothes, watched Wall Street the night before, got all psyched. Took a deep breath and tried to absorb all the awesomeness as I stepped onto the street I had dreamed of visiting for many years.

I kept telling all of my friends "The Muslims go to Mecca, the Catholics go to Rome, and Thadius Bruce Main II goes to Wall Street."

If you have the resources, you cannot go through life without seeing it. It's a truly magical (you know what I mean) experience.

But I think that's why the book (and Atlas Shrugged) spoke to me so much. My treatment of a visit to Wall Street was not born of Objectivism, it existed long before I had ever heard of Ayn Rand.

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The passage wasn't prophetic. Sadly it seems to be in the nature of greatness for someone to attack it and tear it down.

But anyway, the WTC buildings weren't even constructed until the 60s. Personally, I don't think they were all that beautiful except as a symbol.

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  • 1 year later...
  • 1 month later...

She's said often enough that continuing down a morally altruistic path, as a nation of inviduals who elect legislators according to such, will lead to a ruinous outcome. It is only in this sense -- very, very generally -- that one can say she predicted disaster, and only then if one believes that the attacks were brought about as a result of foreign policy based on altruistic morals, principles and methods. More specifically she shows why nations which hold an altruistic-collective morality eventually descend into statism.

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