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Is Dominique irrational?

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Ferris
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Quick question that popped up in my mind while I was reading The Fountainhead:

Dominique mentions to Alvah Scarret that she destroyed a very beautiful statue she loved. She did that so that no one else would ever see it.

If she valued the statue, why did she destroyed it? ? She had bought the statue, so why didn`t she hide it in a room in her house, making her the only person able to see and apreciate it?

That seems an irrational behavior...

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It's the same basis for why many of the industrial giants in "Atlas Shrugged" chose to destroy their businesses rather than have it fall into the hands of the looters.

Dominique valued the statute and its aesthetic symbol immensely. She understood what it represented and what it meant. To her, the thought of this statue being made for the second-handers of the novel and the thought that a second-hander could possibly one day set sight on this statue and condemn it for what it represented was justification enough to destroy it. She valued what it represented above her actual value for the statute. Her value for its symbol could exist without the statue and would have been degraded if it were ever presented to the second-handers and even by the THOUGHT that second-handers had ever possessed the statue.

Does that make it clear?

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Yes it is. Thank you Maken.

Let me ask just one more thing.

How or in what ways would the thing which the statue represented be degraded if ever presented to the second-handers? Dominique knew what the statue represented and what it meat to her, but would anybody`s opinion on that change the way she thought about it? Are other people`s opinions really important to her?

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This has a lot to do with character development. It is clear that Dominique never puts emphasis on things that don't matter to her throughout the entire novel. She laughs at people and mocks them for their second-hand view on life. As the novel progresses, you see it changes slightly in regards to things she values highly. She was extremely protective of Roark and the things she valued.

Towards the end of the novel and after her changes after living with both Peter and Gail Wynand, it becomes clear that she understands why she valued the things she valued and what those values meant to her and she realizes that it doesn't matter what the second-handers think of her or Roark.

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Yes it is. Thank you Maken.

Let me ask just one more thing.

How or in what ways would the thing which the statue represented be degraded if ever presented to the second-handers? Dominique knew what the statue represented and what it meat to her, but would anybody`s opinion on that change the way she thought about it? Are other people`s opinions really important to her?

It wasn't that others' opinions were important to her, it was the views she held about the nature of good and evil. Dominique's flaw was that she held a malevolent view of the universe in that she saw evil as active, efficacious, and omnipotent in the world and the good as passive, weak, and impotent to succeed in the world. Evil is powerful, good is powerless, basically. She destroyed the statue because she thought it was too good for the scum that inhabited the world, they were not worthy to share existence with such a vision of man. A vision of man and the universe it represented, which didn't exist to her. Therefore, she wants to destroy her values because she doesn't want to get her hopes up, so to speak, and have them dashed when she finds out they don't exist. Instead, she tells herself they don't exist and she won't achieve any values so that she won't have to suffer the pain of losing them.

As far as if this is irrationality, in the wider sense, it is because it is a kind of philosophical pessimism that isn't warranted under a rational morality. In a rational morality, it is the evil that is impotent because the entire point of morality is that it is a tool of survival and flourishing life for man. But her error is not an immorality on her part, but an honest error of knowledge (there being a difference between the two.) Dominique is an independent thinker, and so she retains the means to correct herself, and does so when she sees the forces of evil failing at life and Roark winning at life.

Edited by 2046
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It's the same basis for why many of the industrial giants in "Atlas Shrugged" chose to destroy their businesses rather than have it fall into the hands of the looters.

Dominique valued the statute and its aesthetic symbol immensely. She understood what it represented and what it meant. To her, the thought of this statue being made for the second-handers of the novel and the thought that a second-hander could possibly one day set sight on this statue and condemn it for what it represented was justification enough to destroy it. She valued what it represented above her actual value for the statute. Her value for its symbol could exist without the statue and would have been degraded if it were ever presented to the second-handers and even by the THOUGHT that second-handers had ever possessed the statue.

Does that make it clear?

No, this is not correct. Dominique is in fact wrong and irrational in her philosophic premises which lead her to destroy the statue. It is the lesson she has to learn and the character arc she follows in the story to come to understand this. She has what Rand calls the malevolent universe premise, which is not merely that that there are such people as "second-handers" but also that they "run the show", the universe belongs to them by nature and it is futile to fight them head-on. For Dominique destroying an inspiring statue is an act of rebellion against an inherently evil existence. Dominique must learn of her error from Roark.

The productive "men of the mind" who are invited to join Galt's strike are taught the principle of the "sanction of the victim", and how they had been enabling their own looters. They liquidate what property they can when they disappear in order to withdraw that sanction. This is the opposite of a fit of pique in the face of impotence. It is rather a full awareness of the importance of their productivity and an attempt to be just rather than to indiscriminately benefit the whole of society. Dominique has to learn why to not destroy values, Galt's recruits have to be taught why to withdraw values. It is not same at all.

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No, this is not correct. Dominique is in fact wrong and irrational in her philosophic premises which lead her to destroy the statue. It is the lesson she has to learn and the character arc she follows in the story to come to understand this. She has what Rand calls the malevolent universe premise, which is not merely that that there are such people as "second-handers" but also that they "run the show", the universe belongs to them by nature and it is futile to fight them head-on. For Dominique destroying an inspiring statue is an act of rebellion against an inherently evil existence. Dominique must learn of her error from Roark.

The productive "men of the mind" who are invited to join Galt's strike are taught the principle of the "sanction of the victim", and how they had been enabling their own looters. They liquidate what property they can when they disappear in order to withdraw that sanction. This is the opposite of a fit of pique in the face of impotence. It is rather a full awareness of the importance of their productivity and an attempt to be just rather than to indiscriminately benefit the whole of society. Dominique has to learn why to not destroy values, Galt's recruits have to be taught why to withdraw values. It is not same at all.

I see where my error was, thank you :)

Grames knows this stuff a lot better than me, if that wasn't obvious from his post.

Thanks for clearing that up, I was driving home from a friend's house unhappy with my reasoning and I knew I was wrong SOMEWHERE.

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