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A Question about The Fountainhead

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Kwaifeh
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Hello,

Pardon me if the answer to this is obvious, because it seems like a simple enough question - I just can't come up with a good answer.

Roark is depicted as the ideal man, and if I understand correctly - he is a man of complete integrity, who does not compromise.

But in small matters that are personal and unrelated to his work, he does compromise - for example in the clothes that he wears (I don't recall the exact quote but in a conversation with Enright(Maybe?) he says something like "I can wear their clothes, but..").

So, my point is, If (for example) Roark wants to dress up in a certain way - one that might hurt his chances of being taken seriously, Isn't he being untrue to himself by wearing what society holds as appropriate? Isn't he (Perhaps in a small way) allowing others opinion of him to influence his action?

Juxtaposing this with my first statement - that Roark is depicted as a man who never compromises - how would you resolve this conflict? (At least, what I believe is a conflict.)

This question also refers to my own life - not in the clothes I wear but in the fundamental question of how much I allow others' opinions to affect my actions - not at all? Because I never allow another man's opinion to change my own thoughts and judgment about a particular thing or event, but to some degree being completely eccentric and disagreeable on all terms would eventually hurt me - for example in applying for a job or things of this sort. Hurt me enough for it to be in my own Selfish interest to do what others would consider "normal". Which would then be, in a way - compromising.

I am unable to resolve these two terms - Never compromising, and at the same time being Selfish. What if it is in a man's best interest to manipulate others for some reason? Would'nt this make him somewhat of a Peter Keating of sorts? Manipulating others for his own good?

Thank you in advance,

T.

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Wearing clothes you hate or which contain statements you disagree with is a compromise of principle.

Wearing clothes that are "in style" or culturally appropriate simply because you don't care much about the difference is a compromise of degree.

Compromising a principle you believe in is never moral, but not all compromise deals with principles.

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Roark is depicted as the ideal man, and if I understand correctly - he is a man of complete integrity, who does not compromise.

But in small matters that are personal and unrelated to his work, he does compromise - for example in the clothes that he wears (I don't recall the exact quote but in a conversation with Enright(Maybe?) he says something like "I can wear their clothes, but..").

First, Roark is not a static character, note that it’s not till past the halfway point that he starts identifying the “principle of the Dean”.

Second, Rand’s own attitude towards individualism related to clothing. I’m pretty sure you’ll find her comments here:

http://www.aynrand.org/site/PageServer?pagename=reg_ar_apollo

I can’t recall a quote right now, but she heaps scorn on hippies and discusses the subject of expressing individuality through clothing. Even if the material I’m thinking of isn’t in this lecture, it’s two hours very well spent. Rand was rarely funny, so you're in for a surprise.

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Wearing clothes you hate or which contain statements you disagree with is a compromise of principle.

Also, I don't think T-shirts with written messages on them existed back then when the Fountainhead was written (published in 1943), much less when it was set (1920s and 1930s), so Roark was not addressing literal statements in clothing. I've no doubt he would have refused to wear Che Guevara clothing if he existed, and if he existed today.

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First, Roark is not a static character, note that it’s not till past the halfway point that he starts identifying the “principle of the Dean”.

To add to this point, recall late in the book (p. 611 in the centennial edition) Roark admits to having made a mistake in doing Keating's architecture work for him, at their architecture school Stanton, with the Cosmo-Slotnick building, and with Cordlandt. Remember, he agreed to do Cordlandt very late in the book (p. 580, only 30 pages earlier). As late as that, he had failed to realize the destructive nature of allowing Keating to take credit for Roark's work.

On the subject of clothing, and on one's outward presentation in general, there is always an element of others' expectations that must be factored in. The audience is inherent in the concept of presentation. No matter what you may think of the inherent geometry and utility of suits and ties, for example, that's the kind of clothing that's accepted as formal in our culture. It's a mistake to attempt to eliminate or ignore the role of the audience in any form of communication, including physical presentation. It's the same fallacy as attempting to ignore the subject in perception or objectivity. Acknowledging the existence and nature of the audience is not the same as second-handedness; in fact, it's a necessary step in accomplishing any goals which physical presentation bears upon.

Edited by Dante
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On the subject of clothing, and on one's outward presentation in general, there is always an element of others' expectations that must be factored in. The audience is inherent in the concept of presentation. No matter what you may think of the inherent geometry and utility of suits and ties, for example, that's the kind of clothing that's accepted as formal in our culture. It's a mistake to attempt to eliminate or ignore the role of the audience in any form of communication, including physical presentation. It's the same fallacy as attempting to ignore the subject in perception or objectivity. Acknowledging the existence and nature of the audience is not the same as second-handedness; in fact, it's a necessary step in accomplishing any goals which physical presentation bears upon.

I understand what you are saying, and it does sound logical. But wouldn't you agree that by the same rational, one could argue that since some traditional forms of architecture are accepted as formal in our culture, it is also necessary to abide by them?

What subjugates the physical appearance of a man to the audience, but not that of a building?

Edited by Kwaifeh
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  • 3 weeks later...

What subjugates the physical appearance of a man to the audience, but not that of a building?

Subjugates? Subjugates? What a wild word selection.

You wear what other people are wearing to participate with them in an occasion in which you share the same basic evaluation of its value. If you despise the occasion and the people involved you throw that in their faces by showing up smelly and disheveled, or not showing up at all. If the occasion is a football game and you are a player then you show up in uniform, or not. If it is a formal party you show up in some suit and tie combo, or not. Just the same as a building, the form follows function.

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You know that an argument is trying to weasel when it takes a simple question and makes it more complex in an attempt to give the answer desired.

The fact is that what you wear is a choice you make, based on your desires. If you don't care what you wear, then it is no compromise to go with whatever is culturally approved. If you do care what you wear, then wearing the culturally aprroved attire in spite of your desires is a compromise.

And since yall keep wanting to bring Rand into this, would she have worn a headscarf in the middle east, since it was culturally approved?

edit: If you want to, for you own dogmatic reasons, acquit Roarke then just say that he didn't care.

Edited by emorris1000
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