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Watching the spectacle?

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Severinian
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One thing that bothered me was something Galt said in Atlantis, that they might leave the valley just to "watch the spectable when it happens" (paraphrasing), meaning, watching the outside world go into chaos at the breaking point. Isn't this a form of sadism? Obviously, people would die, including innocent people. 

I too despise the worst kind of people in this world, including smug intellectual socialists who have had a thousand chances to understand what misery they're inflicting on others, but choose to evade or just don't give a f* about that, and I wouldn't mind seeing them becoming victims of their own system that they want to force upon others, but if I saw the collapse of a welfare state for example, I would also feel pity for innocent people who were freezing and dying, etc. Thoughts? 

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It'll be hard to find again since the part where they're in Atlantis spans many chapters, but I'll give it a shot. 

I searched the text for "spectacle" and there were many occurrences but none in the context you describe. Tried a few other searches with no success. If you can remember some actual words that I can search for, I'll be happy to try.

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Could not find "fall apart" or "falls apart" in a relevant context. Found a few "when it happens". I don't think any of them are what you're looking for, but the second (from Part 3, Ch 2) is probably around the area that you should check again. Just for fun, here are the three quotes I found.

 

 

**** ATLAS SHRUGGED SPOILER ALERT ***

 

"When it happens"

 

Nobody came to get me, no destroyer, perhaps there never was any destroyer, after all. I don't know what I'll do next, but I have to get away, so that I won't have to see any of them for a while. Then I'll decide. I know that you can't go with me right now."
"No. I have two weeks in which they expect me to sign their Gift Certificate. I want to be right here when the two weeks expire."
"Do you need me—for the two weeks?"
"No. It's worse for you than for me. You have no way to fight them. I have. I think I'm glad they did it. It's clear and final. Don't worry about me. Rest. Rest from all of it, first."
"Yes."
"Where are you going?"
"To the country. To a cabin I own in the Berkshires. If you want to see me, Eddie Willers will tell you the way to get there. I'll be back in two weeks."
"Will you do me a favor?"
"Yes." <as_514> 
"Don't come back until I come for you."
"But I want to be here, when it happens."
"Leave that up to me."
(Part 2, Ch VI, Miracle Metal)

 

 

"You're not thinking of going back to that hell for another year, are you?" said Mulligan.
"I am."
"But—good God, John!—what for?"
"I'll tell you, when I've decided."
"But there's nothing left there for you to do. We got everybody we knew of or can hope to know of. Our list is completed, except for Hank Rearden—and we'll get him before the year is over—and Miss Taggart, if she so chooses. That's all. Your job is done. There's nothing to look for, out there—except the final crash, when the roof comes down on their heads."
"I know it."
"John, yours is the one head I don't want to be there when it happens."
"You've never had to worry about me."
(Part 3, Ch-II, Utopia of Greed)

 

 

"I …" She made an effort to breathe. "I see … Who are you?"
"The name wouldn't matter. When I hang up, I will have become a deserter. I don't want to stay here to see it when it happens. I don't want any part of it any more. Good luck to you, Miss Taggart." She heard the click. "Thank you," she said over a dead wire. 

(Part 3, Ch 5: Their Brothers Keeper)

 

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Found it, it was Mulligan who said it, but John agreed:

 

Page 804:

 

'"You're not thinking of going back to that hell for another year, are you?" said Mulligan.
"I am."
"But good God, John! What for?"

"I'll tell you, when I've decided."

"But there's nothing left for you to do. We've got everyone we know of and everyone we could hope to know of. Our list is completed, except for Hank Rearden, and we will get him before the year is over, and Miss Taggart, if she chooses. That's all. Your job is done. There's nothing to look for out there - except the final crash, when the roof comes down on their heads."

"I know it."

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Ah, I see, so so Midas is sort of saying "You only need to watch out for her if she's there when the collapse comes?"

Not quite. John has already decided that he will go if Dagny goes, and stay if Dagny stays. But, he doesn't say this to anyone. Only the reader and one person (was it Hugh Aktson? I forget) gets his reasoning, when he reveals final decision with such rapidity after Dagny says she's going back.

 

However, Mulligan does not know this, nor is he thinking in terms of protecting Dagny. He's more concerned that John is considering going out into a collapsing world where he can be in danger. 

Edited by softwareNerd
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Well, yes, I know that, but what does the "except the final crash, when the roof comes down on their heads." part mean then? 

It does not imply there is some value in seeing the final crash. One might say: "Don't go to that ward, there's nothing to see there but old, desperate people waiting to die"; or, "don't go that movie, there's nothing to see but the same old hackneyed rehash of the first one", and so on. 

Edited by softwareNerd
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Severinian, 

 

The 'general public' in the novel, is depicted as not being objective,people went by feeling, whim and the 'public good'. 

 

If I were in Atlantis and was being told ".... the final crash, when the roof comes down on their heads", would I be wrong to think to myself - "finally, the looters are falling of the weight of their own evil, this is good, for me and all rational men"?

 

The entire idea of feeling bad, depends on the degree of innocence of the people freezing and dying, as in collateral damage. But I think in a society, things wouldn't go as bad as they went in the novel, if there really were innocent people. Yes, the number of such people would need to cross a certain threshold to make a difference, but in the novel, that number was so small, that the system collapsed pretty quickly. Should one feel bad no matter how small that number? I don't think so.

 

When evil exists, lives are lost. Tough. The only emotion permissible then, is the one that is experienced in response to the fall of that evil. Which is exactly what is portrayed through the many dialogues quoted here, which refer to the "final crash".

Edited by ucwp76
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...

 

When evil exists, lives are lost. Tough. The only emotion permissible then, is the one that is experienced in response to the fall of that evil. Which is exactly what is portrayed through the many dialogues quoted here, which refer to the "final crash".

 

You mean this kind of emotion? post-10827-0-67580900-1419436605_thumb.j

Edited by Devil's Advocate
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You mean this kind of emotion? attachicon.giftheKiss.jpg

 

I am being asked to draw likeness between emotional responses to a picture and a situation which takes place in a very complex and deep context.

 

Am I being tested because I'm a newbie here or is there really a flaw anywhere in my argument, if so, I'd be delighted to right myself. 

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I am being asked to draw likeness between emotional responses to a picture and a situation which takes place in a very complex and deep context.

 

Am I being tested because I'm a newbie here or is there really a flaw anywhere in my argument, if so, I'd be delighted to right myself. 

Welcome to the forum.

 

I'd like you to meet Devil's Advocate, who occasionally likes to play . . . devil's advocate.

 

In the context of this thread, I found myself drawn to the exchange between Dagny and Hugh Akston

"If you want to know the one reason that's taking me back, I'll tell you: I cannot bring myself to abandon to destruction all the greatness of the world, all that which was mine and yours, which was made by us and is still ours by right—because I cannot believe that men can refuse to see, that they can remain blind and deaf to us forever, when the truth is ours and their lives depend on accepting it. They still love their lives—and that is the uncorrupted remnant of their minds. So long as men desire to live, I cannot lose my battle."

 

"Do they?" said Hugh Akston softly. "Do they desire it? No, don't answer me now. I know that the answer was the hardest thing for any of us to grasp and to accept. Just take that question back with you, as the last premise left for you to check."

Edited by dream_weaver
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...

In the context of this thread, I found myself drawn to the exchange between Dagny and Hugh Akston

...

 

 

Very good choice.

 

The character I cheered for was Eddie Willers, who had no gulch to escape to and rode the train to the end of the line.  Don't let it go!

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