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Ayn Rand: "No creator was prompted by a desire to serve his brothers" vs. Beethoven's 9th Symphony

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(1)

Ayn Rand wrote the following:

"No creator was prompted by a desire to serve his brothers, for his brothers rejected the gift he offered and that gift destroyed the slothful routine of their lives. His truth was his only motive. His own truth, and his own work to achieve it in his own way. A symphony, a book, an engine, a philosophy, an airplane or a building—that was his goal and his life. Not those who heard, read, operated, believed, flew or inhabited the thing he had created. The creation, not its users. The creation, not the benefits others derived from it. The creation which gave form to his truth. He held his truth above all things and against all men."

(“The Soul of an Individualist,” For the New Intellectual, 77)

 

(2)

Beethoven's 9th Symphony contains these lyrics: 

Joy, beautiful spark of the gods,
Daughter of Elysium,
We enter fire imbibed,
Heavenly, thy sanctuary.

Thy magic reunites those
Whom stern custom has parted;
All men will become brothers
Under thy gentle wing.

May he who has had the fortune
To gain a true friend
And he who has won a noble wife
Join in our jubilation!

Yes, even if he calls but one soul
His own in all the world.

But he who has failed in this
Must steal away alone and in tears
.

All the world's creatures
Draw joy from nature's breast;
Both the good and the evil
Follow her rose-strewn path.

She gave us kisses and wine
And a friend loyal unto death;
She gave lust for life to the lowliest,
And the Cherub stands before God.

TENOR SOLO AND CHORUS
Joyously, as his suns speed
Through Heaven's glorious order,
Hasten, Brothers, on your way,
Exulting as a knight in victory.

CHORUS
Joy, beautiful spark of the gods,
Daughter of Elysium,
We enter fire imbibed,
Heavenly, thy sanctuary.

Be embraced, Millions!
This kiss for all the world!
Brothers!
, above the starry canopy
A loving father must dwell.

 

(3)

My questions on the above quotes from Ayn Rand and Beethoven:


--Could any politician be elected to office if he or she expressed the view of Ayn Rand in the quote above in #1? Beethoven's 9th symphony is the national anthem for the European Union. Beethoven's 9th Symphony was played in Germany and all over the world when the Berlin Wall fell in 1989. In light of this, isn't it at least necessary for all politicians (who are subject to free and fair elections of the whole citizenry) to at least pretend that they are "prompted by a desire to serve his brothers" (quoting Ayn Rand, as per #1 above)?

--I admit that I love the music of Beethoven in general, and the 9th Symphony in particular. Am I wrong to persist in this affection? 

--I admit to finding appealing Beethoven's vision of "All men will become brothers Under thy gentle wing." Am I wrong to find pleasure and goodness in this vision of civilization? (a world without war, terrorism, strife, poverty, mass hate or cruelty, genocide, slavery, etc.)

--In the above quote, Ayn Rand writes: "His truth was his only motive. His own truth, and his own work to achieve it in his own way." I ask: Why couldn't it be reasonable, acceptable, and ethical to have two motives, one being brotherly co-existence and fellow feeling, and the other being selfishness and creation for one's own sake? Why couldn't a person find a healthy balance between the two? Didn't Aristotle, in his system of ethics, promote the idea of the "golden mean" between extremes?

Edited by The Laws of Biology
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Roark's meaning is crystal clear if you read the novel. The creation of goods should be motivated by the value of that good, not by any other consideration.

Even if your product is a game changer in terms of qualiy-of-life improvements, it's possible that people will not understand it right away, or will resist it because they feel it threatens the comfort of some established tradition.

Thus, if short-term profit was everybody's motivation, we would still be hanging around in the Savanna. Innovative creators are betting on the fact that if the product is good, it is goodIt will eventually become a staple, simply in the light of its benefits. Even if the process will be annoyingly slow.

Yes, this applies to politics as well. 

There is no connection between Schiller's brotherly love, a warless world, and Roark's quote. The key to understanding any novel, or system of ideas, is to study it. No comparision is possible otherwise.

Edited by KyaryPamyu
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The Beethoven/Schiller lyrics you quote sound to me more like a celebration of friendship, with a nod to romantic love, than an expression of a desire to serve or be served.

1 hour ago, The Laws of Biology said:

Could any politician be elected to office if he or she expressed the view of Ayn Rand in the quote above in #1?

This could be asked about a lot of Ayn Rand's views.  For many of her views the answer now would be "It certainly wouldn't help."  This says something about the current state of most people's ideas.  It says nothing about the quality of Ayn Rand's ideas.

1 hour ago, The Laws of Biology said:

In light of this, isn't it at least necessary for all politicians (who are subject to free and fair elections of the whole citizenry) to at least pretend that they are "prompted by a desire to serve his brothers"

Not so much in light of this, but in light of other things, yes.  It's probably a good idea, if their purpose is to get elected, to lie as well about the cost of their promises.  Again, this says something about the current state of most people's ideas.  It says nothing about the quality of Ayn Rand's ideas.

1 hour ago, The Laws of Biology said:

--I admit that I love the music of Beethoven in general, and the 9th Symphony in particular. Am I wrong to persist in this affection? 

Why do you love the music of Beethoven in general.  What do you love about it?

Why do you love the 9th Symphony in particular.  What do you love about it?

1 hour ago, The Laws of Biology said:

a world without war, terrorism, strife, poverty, mass hate or cruelty, genocide, slavery, etc.

In the long run, Ayn Rand's philosophy will achieve this.  Ayn Rand's philosophy is the only way to achieve this in a stable, enduring manner.

1 hour ago, The Laws of Biology said:

--In the above quote, Ayn Rand writes: "His truth was his only motive. His own truth, and his own work to achieve it in his own way." I ask: Why couldn't it be reasonable, acceptable, and ethical to have two motives, one being brotherly co-existence and fellow feeling, and the other being selfishness and creation for one's own sake? Why couldn't a person find a healthy balance between the two?

I think Kyary Pamyu's post is helpful here.  I'll wait and see if there is any further discussion of this point before attempting further comment.

1 hour ago, The Laws of Biology said:

Didn't Aristotle, in his system of ethics, promote the idea of the "golden mean" between extremes?

So what?  If you're going to bring this up, we should begin by getting clear exactly what he meant by this.

 

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