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Why exactly did Dagny choose Galt over Rearden?


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I hear people say that women will always look for a better man, and will leave a perfectly fine relationship in order to get with a better man (I think this is false), but this idea lines up with my understanding of why Dagny left Rearden to be with Galt. Maybe I missed a chapter in Atlas, but I can't figure out why she left Rearden. I am asking this question as a question of female nature. Are women always on the lookout for a better man, and willing to leave to instant a better man is available?

Edited by Apollo Masters
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  • Apollo Masters changed the title to Why exactly did Dagny choose Galt over Rearden?

Welcome to OO, Apollo Masters. 

In order to grasp why Dagny ultimately chose Galt, it would be useful to understand Rand's theory of femininity. This essentially falls under the category of psychology, so it isn't a part of Objectivist philosophy.

Rand wrote an article titled "An Answer to Readers (About a Woman President)" where she explains her views on the subject. The essence of femininity, in her mind, is hero-worship. A properly feminine woman seeks the highest man she can find, so that she can have a concrete manifestation of masculine strength to look up (and submit) to in admiration. In Atlas Shrugged, it's Galt who possesses the most brilliant mind, as Rearden himself concedes implicitly seeing as how he ultimately lets Dagny go by the time they all reach the valley. Galt and Rearden are moral equals, but Galt is superior in ability. 

It should be stated that Dagny is an abnormally intelligent woman, and that we are talking about a work of fiction. Not every single woman will want to pursue a man of Galt's stature, nor is it proper for every man to pursue a woman such as Dagny (in Atlas, this is illustrated very clearly by the character of Eddie Willers).

 

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Thank you for your response.

21 minutes ago, RationalEgoist said:

A properly feminine woman seeks the highest man she can find...

This part confuses the absolute hell out of me.

Does this mean that a woman is only with me until or unless she finds someone better?

Is a man's only hope for a long-term relationship that the woman doesn't find a better man?

Is a woman supposed to just "monkey-branch" from one man to the next until she finds the best man possible?

If this is properly feminine, then I would say that a properly feminine woman is irrational.

Dagny could have lived an extraordinary life with Rearden, he possesses every trait that she desires in a man, and she has been through so much with him, I don't see what is rational about monkey-branching over to Galt. Is no man safe unless he is the absolute best?

Do you agree with Rand's conceptualization of femininity?

Edited by Apollo Masters
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2 minutes ago, Apollo Masters said:

Is a man's only hope for a long-term relationship that the woman doesn't find a better man?

Is a woman supposed to just "monkey-branch" from one man to the next until she finds the best man possible?

No! It's funny, Dr. Peikoff answered this exact question on his podcast once, except the questioner asked from the perspective of a man. I wish I had a link, so you could listen for yourself. Perhaps I can dig it up. Anyway, no, that is definitely not how Rand's conceptualization of femininity is meant to be understood, so don't worry. 

Here is a direct quote from the article I mentioned earlier: 

"Hero-worship is a demanding virtue: a woman has to be worthy of it and of the hero she worships. Intellectually and morally, i.e., as a human being, she has to be his equal; then the object of her worship is specifically his masculinity, not any human virtue she might lack.

This does not mean that a feminine woman feels or projects hero-worship for any and every individual man; as human beings, many of them may, in fact, be her inferiors. Her worship is an abstract emotion for the metaphysical concept of masculinity as such—which she experiences fully and concretely only for the man she loves, but which colors her attitude toward all men." 

 

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Thank you for responding again, but your response and Peikoff's audio doesn't clear up what is confusing me.

Was Rearden simply not good enough for her? What if she found a man more intelligent than Galt, would she just swing over to the new man?

26 minutes ago, RationalEgoist said:

"Hero-worship is a demanding virtue: a woman has to be worthy of it and of the hero she worships. Intellectually and morally, i.e., as a human being, she has to be his equal; then the object of her worship is specifically his masculinity, not any human virtue she might lack.

 

And in this quote, when it is said that a woman worships a man's masculinity, what does this mean? That she worships his competence, or his ability to lead.

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5 minutes ago, Apollo Masters said:

And in this quote, when it is said that a woman worships a man's masculinity, what does this mean?

The essence of masculinity ("the metaphysical concept of masculinity") is strength. For her, this had certain implications when it came to the sexual act, in particular. Men are active/dominant while women are passive/submissive. Unfortunately, Rand never said much else on the subject.

What she saw as an ideal man is really for you to come to your own conclusions about through reading and absorbing her fiction. It simply won't get any more concrete than the art. 

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