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I've created this thread as a way of keeping track of my thoughts on AS as I tackle it for the first time. Feedback from the community is more than welcome, as I anticipate needing help in untangling some passages and ideas.

I started reading AR about two years ago, starting with the FH. Since then I've read 6 or 7 of her other books, listened to hours of Piekoff and talk about her incessantly with friends. However, on account of coming at Objectivism from a libertarian position, I was concerned more with her non-fiction than fiction. For that Reason, it has taken me until now to actually start AS. I tried once before, but I found it so dry that I decided to wait for a period when I could devote more attention to it.

I'm already on chapter 7, so I'm beginning this thread later than I should have, but I figure it's not too late. Here are some of my thoughts so far.

Notes on Style:

She really puts the "romantic" in "romantic realism", which is paradoxical considering what I said above about the book being dry. But I'm just reporting the facts here. There's a point or two in virtually every section of dialogue where I imagine the speaking character is holding an American flag as it blows in the wind. I did start on The Romantic Manifesto, but I stopped in the middle of the chapter on literature because - again - dry. I'll pick that back up ASAP as I imagine it'll help with enjoying AS.

Speaking of paradoxes, I've noticed the sheer volume of paradoxical phrases AR uses in this book ("...to honor a woman by the act of possessing her." "...condescendingly tolerant."). FH had plenty, but this is next-level. Of course, I've always loved paradoxical phrasing in literature, and it played a big role in my embracing AR. The feeling they give is very true to life, in my opinion. My guess is that these paradoxes are meant to highlight conceptual hierarchy, in the sense that one level of analysis may be described in contrary terms to another, that appearances can be deceiving to the "undiscerning".

She's not as heavy on the realism as I'd prefer. That might be the naturalist in me, but I think my subconscious still finds the personality's of AR's characters somewhat alien. Then again, James Taggart & Co. all talk like they're cartoons, so maybe it's just the dialogue.

Lastly, I have to say that her peppering the narrative with philosophy terms bugs me, but I get it. She said once that AS as intended as a way of pointing people to her explicit philosophy. Still, I personally get more out of figurative language in these contexts. However, I do like the chapter names. 

Notes on Themes:

Shrugging: I've always seen this metaphor for AR's philosophy as a little "bitchy" or passive-aggressive, but I don't think that's the point. The capitalists' strike (spoiler alert) is a result of their mistreatment by society and is the morally responsible thing to do. Furthermore, I know how vital this concept is to her entire ethics. Shrugging is not something you have to be a capitalist to do. I beg many of friends to learn how to buck social "responsibilities" and tradition and conventional wisdom. Pure, unbridled egoism comes a little naturally to me, so I’m paying strong attention to that aspect of Dagny, Hank, etc. I agree with it philosophically, but I don't have that emotional reverence for it that they do.

Work Ethic: I'm paying special attention to this topic since it's probably the one that has the most relevance to my personal life. I'll put it this way: I am - in contrast to Francisco D'Anconia - fond of "standing still" and "moving aimlessly". This habit has caused me tremendous grief, and I've begun to think of it as a primary determinant in whether or not I will ever be able to consider my life worth living. I admire Dagny, Hank, Eddie, etc. for their commitment to hard work, but the former hedonist in me think it sounds like a living hell.

Industry: AR describes industry in this book the way she describes Howard Roark in the first pages of FH - some of my favorite passages in all of literature. Therefore, I have had no trouble appreciating the way AR describes the Rearden foundry, etc. However, I'm having a little trouble imagining what "blue-green" metal looks like. I plan on paying attention to how AR views industry metaphysically. On of the least familiar of Rand's that I've encountered to date is her attitude towards environmentalism. The way she casts aside concerns for nature when they conflict with human needs is unthinkable today. That bit in WTL where Kira says something like, "It's beautiful; it almost looks manmade," is instructive in understanding AR's attitude. Although I feel calmer in the woods than I do in a modern home, I do recognize the difference in meaning between the two.

Women: I'm only ranking this topic so highly on this list due to how often it comes up. Almost every mention so far of femininity has been what some might call "problematic". Probably the most left-wing position I still take currently is the equality of the sexes. It's been an important issue to me for as long as I can remember. However, I've been wrong to disagree with AR on a number of things, so I'm trying to be open-minded. The "rape" scene in FH obviously bothered me, but once I found a good explanation of it, Rand's intention became very clear to me. From what I can tell, Dominique was playing out one of those paradoxical attitudes mentioned above. Still, I don't understand AR's conception of gender. Gender, to me, has always been either a genetic characteristic or a social role, both of which I've always given less value in my judgments than do most people. Anyways, most of what she's said so far in the book has been completely opaque to me.

Second-handers: She's included all the classics, just as she did in FH. I'm familiar enough with her philosophy and with the political left that I can view these characters as more-or-less patron deities of various evil beliefs. They're like a League of Villians. Pretty cool. Anyways, this theme is going to be important for me because on shift in thinking Ive had trouble automatizing has been viewing the producers as the bedrock of civilization rather than simply it's most fortunate members.

Please let me know if there are any other themes I ought to focus on. I'm sure I missed a few.

Other Impressions So Far:

Of course, I'm enjoying it. Reading Rand's fiction gives her voice a vulnerability that I often forget about when reading her non-fiction. She's venomous in her polemics, but she's only vaguely negative in her fiction. She's much more focused on the positive qualities of her heroes. It's also great to read something that's optimistic. It continues to shock me how hard that is to find today and how easy it was for me to go without any desire for optimism in the past and never noticing.

Doesn't feel like much of a plot yet. Still setting up. Just friction between Dagny and James, Rearden Steel rolling out, Francisco being mysterious, lots of people quitting their jobs, Lillian just being a right c*nt.

So far, I identify most with Hank Rearden. Probably the Catholic in me. He really knows how to embrace suffering. In FH I identified most with Dominique, who is nothing like Rearden. It was less her assertiveness and more her idealistic pessimism. It's so easy to be angry at others. That said, I don't truly identify with any character - not the way I'd like to. See above about realism.

I wish I could hear Richard Halley. Anybody have any clue as to what in real life might be the closest thing? Who's the Frank Lloyd Wright to his Howard Roark?

Anyways, I'll be posting some thoughts on the first few chapters ASAP.



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  • 1 month later...

Ch. 0

Some notes on the essay Basic Principles of Literature :

The arguments in this essay aren't groundbreaking. It's basically an Objectivist defense of what one might hear in a high school English class. Mentions of integration are important, of course. It helps me to think about a story having the same structure as a concept, in which parts aren't "multiplied beyond necessity". What's interesting about a novel is that an author might draw out a theme across thousands of pages if they know what details are relevant. This speaks as well to Rand's distaste for pointless physical action such as car chases or fights. These kinds of scenes can do amazing things for a plot or theme but even more so if the action itself flows out of not only the plot but the theme as well. Ideally (at least personally), displays of violence will be uncommon and will attempt to generate a question mark as to the morality of the violent action. Too many stories today frame even retaliatory violence as a necessary evil, as though selfishness is only appropriate when one is being threatened.

In the section on Characterization, she talks about a character being an abstraction while looking like a concrete. It's very easy to tell from her writing how important this is to her. This tendency falls along the same lines as her characters' tendency to give speeches. It's a little less on the realism side than I'd like. Rarely do I get the sucker-punch from Rand's characters that I usually do when I relate to a literary figure. As stated above, I felt a kinship with Hank Rearden concerning the negative aspects of his situation, but Howard Roark - despite being intensely inspiring - still feels distant to me, much the way Christ always did in my childhood. How can I relate to someone who doesn't struggle fundamentally with self-doubt? I didn't see enough of Roark's inner life in the FH as I would have needed in order to find some overlap with my own character.

Her point about attributing positive qualities characters without demonstrating them in the character's actions reminds me of primitive myths and stories about medieval knights. It's always stated that the character is brave and kind, as though the budget wasn't there for the first third of the story. So many movies do this today. We get an opening scene where the character is shown being exceptional, but immediately afterwards, he is thrown into a situation that causes him to get scared or frustrated. The implication is always that the big bad world is waiting at one's doorstep and that the solution is to resist the temptation to do evil. I think this is one aspect of fairytales that gets stale as one grows up and turns so many off these days from the authoritarian nature of religion, or better yet from the demanding nature of morality.

A line from the section on Style will be helpful for me, I think. She's comparing a simple, descriptive passage of NYC with an overly verbose one that says little, if anything, of substance. But it's not just the verbosity that she finds distasteful; as in the paragraph above, it's also the fact that the author is telling the reader how to feel rather than letting the reader do the evaluative work himself. From an Objectivist standpoint, that jibes perfectly, but I've always appreciated the handrails myself.

The only part of this essay that I'm struggling with is a paragraph where Rand says that Wynand's internal conflict in the FH, being a wide abstraction, could be "reduced in scale and made applicable to the value-conflicts of a grocery clerk. But the value-conflicts of a grocery clerk cannot be made applicable to Gail Wynand, now even to another grocery clerk." I see how the two situations could be analogous but not how the analogy might only go in one direction. I think maybe I'm misunderstanding this passage entirely.

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6 hours ago, HowardRoarkSpaceDetective said:

. . .

Howard Roark - despite being intensely inspiring - still feels distant to me, much the way Christ always did in my childhood. How can I relate to someone who doesn't struggle fundamentally with self-doubt? . . .

. . .

Roark opens his own firm, builds a couple of houses, a service station, and a department store. Then, no clients appear. He walks past buildings under construction and feels “the few steps on the sidewalk that separated him from the wooden fence enclosing the construction were the steps he would never be able to take. . . . It’s true, he would tell himself; its not, his body would answer, the strange, untouchable healthiness of his body” (PK XIV 183).

I suggest that Rand’s stress on the untouchable healthiness of Roark’s body is a matter of conferring an esthetic integrity on him and a way of saying that the base of life given to man by the earth is good. Roark is one who keeps that goodness. So do other Fountainhead characters, such as Heller or Lansing, so far as we are told. The character Roark is styled to reflect innocence never lost. 

I've known quite a few people who had certain beloved ambitious work in view when they were young, especially artists. They had some knack in the area and spent some years gaining skill, foregoing alternative lines of work where it is much easier to make a living and a better living. Well before Roark's 18 years of such struggle, they determine that though they are good, others are better or that what they produce does not strike a chord in a significant market or the thing they are aiming for has only a few seats, as in an ambition to become a concert pianist, and gobs of others like oneself, only more gifted and accomplished, are after those seats also.

The fictional characters of an author get to have the highest level of capabilities among humans, and happy landings eventually, if the author merely desires that. But all along one's undrafted, still-in-the-air course of life, one is making entrepreneurial decisions, from choices in higher education or trade school to choices in pursuing and accepting job offers or in going into one's own business. Here is the proper ideal, here with one's own particulars, not the particulars of a fictional character. One's realism and rationality, taking into account all one's abilities and psychology, in one's course is a help and virtue. In her non-fiction writing, Rand encouraged people to not sell themselves short and give up too easily, and what she says under the virtue of Pride encourages development of rational self-confidence.

One man in real life amazes me in his self-confidence, and that is Nietzsche. (The subjectivist self-confidence in salespersons or politicians is amazing, but I don't care about those careers.) In the 1880's, he is turning out hard-composition original books. Scarcely any are being sold at that time, yet he writes a treatise "Why I Write Such Good Books." He would not be mentally competent to see it when it came, but a decade later his books were flying off the shelves, and he had a cult following in Germany (larger and more ludicrous than any had by Rand after writing Atlas). I imagine he could see his books were good from an objective standpoint (and far better still in his characteristic subjective megalomania of that period) or at least good in hands of kindred spirits he thought to be out there but as yet unaware of his work.


Edited by Boydstun
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Nietzsche was incredibly charismatic. Truly his own breed. Matter of fact, I just finished watching Glengarry Glen Ross. It paints entirely the picture of capitalism that Oists try to discourage, but it also plays like a cautionary tale about dishonesty, which was reassuring. Anyways, Roma (Pacino) is a thrill to watch. His singular focus on winning made him so powerful. And the scene where he sits and listens to Levene's sales story was touching.

I really do think the Christian in me is hard at work here. Or something analogous in my personality. I treat errors too much like sins. I know Piekoff has made mention of this phenomenon. At the same time, at least I can be sure that morality is indeed something I take seriously. It is, however, taking a toll on my mental health. 

I always valued "losing my innocence". I didn't want to be a square. But I realize that for Roark, it's a different thing altogether. It's about staying in focus, about maintaining that connection between mind and body. I don't think most people have any conception of what this means - or that the two could even be split - but I can imagine what it would feel like. It would be a load off my mind. Of course, it would also be more than that. I imagine it would be something like what Nietzsche was going for with his affirmation of life, but with less "Eat my shorts, reality!" and more Serenity/Courage/Wisdom.

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  • 1 month later...

Ch. 1 - The Theme

Right off the bat, something notable: "Eddie Willers walked on, wondering why he always felt it at this time of day, this sense of dread without reason. No, he thought, not dread, there's nothing to fear: just an immense, diffused apprehension, with no source or object."

Is this a kind of statement of Objectivism? To see "an immense, diffused apprehension" as nothing to fear sounds to me tremendously heroic.

Another moment: "When he was asked what he would want to do, he answered at once, 'Whatever is right'..."

Bordering on tautological, I don't think this kind of clarity is common in children. This demonstrates, to me, optimism and a grasp of agency as well as acquiescence to necessity.

The passage above that one about the strength of the tree upon the hill reminds me of the first page of the Fountainhead - which first hooked me to Rand - in which Roark is described as being an outcropping of the rock as well as its axis. The paradigm shift represented by these two passages is, in my mind, the most succinct image of Objectivism: heroism as a right bestowed by nature.

And another: (James) "If you don't look out, you'll turn into one of those real feudal serfs." (Eddie) "That's what I am, Jim."

This is one of those perplexing Rand lines. Is this written in a spirit similar to the rape scene in the FH?

Anyways, Jim is just so transparently awful. I think he's a great symbol for his personality type. My last roommate was a transgender socialist, and while he/they didn't indulge in platitudes, he/they was a true sad sack and ruminated intensely on what the world had failed to do for him/them. That said, I can't understand how James and Dagny could have come from the same home.

Speaking of Dagny, what a babe. I've seen a few minutes of the AS movie, and while the acting is really meh, the actress has a fierce look that gave me an appreciation for Dagny's single-mindedness. In particular, her neglecting at first to reveal her identity as a Taggart to the crew on the train was very Tony Stark - in a good way. She never rested on her family's laurels.

Here's a great line: "She liked his face—its lines were tight and firm, it did not have that look of loose muscles evading the responsibility of a shape..."

Equating evasion with formlessness is a great way of uniting mind and body in one metaphor.

And: "I'm not interested in helping anybody. I want to make money."

I wouldn't be surprised if many people have thought at this point that Dagny was in fact the villian in the story. In fact, I imagine this entire exchange between James and Dagny was confusing for a lot of people.


I wish I had more to say in the way of genuine reaction, but I read this chapter months ago, and a lot of the themes in this chapter are rehashed later on in more detail.

I'll need to pay attention, in particular, to chapter and part names. This chapter does a lot in the way of setup, which is important since the book is meant to convey a whole philosophy. Part 1 is called Non-Contradiction. From what I've already read in later chapters, there is a lot of emphasis on the physical as well as on what some would call "hard-headedness" - the metaphysical and epistemological absolutes.

Stay tuned for Chapter 2.

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10 hours ago, HowardRoarkSpaceDetective said:

Is this a kind of statement of Objectivism? To see "an immense, diffused apprehension" as nothing to fear sounds to me tremendously heroic.

Eddie believed that the oak tree from his childhood was so strong that "if a giant were to seize it by the top, he would not be able to uproot it, but would swing the hill and the whole of the earth with it". However, a lightning strike revealed that the tree's trunk was, in fact, hollow. In a similar way, Eddie subconsciously suspects that New York's trunk is hollow (for example, due to the stores going out of business).


The trunk is being whisked away to Galt's Gulch.

Nevertheless, Eddie is unable to identify why he feels a sense of impending doom, or why he connects this feeling to the oak tree. So he shrugs it off, thinking he's just imagining things. No heroism here 😛

10 hours ago, HowardRoarkSpaceDetective said:

And another: (James) "If you don't look out, you'll turn into one of those real feudal serfs." (Eddie) "That's what I am, Jim."

This is one of those perplexing Rand lines.

According to Jim, a feudal serf works for the prosperity of his employer, without caring if his employer is ethical or helps society etc. Eddie disagrees that there's a dichotomy between making money and being ethical, so he matter-of-factly accepts the moniker.

Edited by KyaryPamyu
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15 hours ago, KyaryPamyu said:

However, a lightning strike revealed that the tree's trunk was, in fact, hollow.

I should skim more closely next time.

This line I don't get: "It was an immense betrayal--the more terrible because he could not grasp what it was that had been betrayed. It was not himself, he knew, nor his trust; it was something else."

In relation to New York, I guess I can see the betrayal being that of the looters against TT, but as far as the tree goes, that's just nature. However, it does make me think of the experience of a paradigm shift - to use that term in no connection to the context in which I used it above - in the sense he's thinking of when he considers children being "protected from shock, from their first knowledge of death, pain or fear." Some might call that 'growing up'.

15 hours ago, KyaryPamyu said:

Eddie disagrees that there's a dichotomy between making money and being ethical, so he matter-of-factly accepts the moniker.

Oh, so he's saying in essence, "If caring about the railroad makes me a serf, then a serf is what I am." Or no?

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17 hours ago, HowardRoarkSpaceDetective said:

but as far as the tree goes, that's just nature.

I get the sense he felt uncomfortable after discovering death because he had to be dropped into it himself. Adults hid the truth from him, or didn't teach him important lessons, or anything like that. It wasn't the discovery of death per se that made him feel bad, but why he had to discover it this way. But as a child, he had no idea why he felt bad, just that he did. Something seemed betrayed, but he couldn't figure out what it was. This feeling is similar to the "diffused apprehension". He wasn't scared, because that means being scared of something, but he felt that something was wrong. 

Rand uses that theme of "something is wrong but I don't know what it is yet" quite a bit. The way I see it, she is thinking of the importance of clear thought and identification. This is not simply a question of logic; it effects your emotional experience of the world around you. 


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On 8/24/2023 at 4:54 PM, Eiuol said:

Rand uses that theme of "something is wrong but I don't know what it is yet" quite a bit.

She does, doesn't she? Personally, I used to find myself getting frustrated by this feeling, and as time went on, I felt more and more as though my feelings were unjustified since I had a hard time explaining to myself and others why I felt so negatively about certain things. Eventually, I found myself falling into relativism. After I started spending time with less "tolerant" people, it felt like a weight had been lifted, although I then felt guilty for forming opinions via my gut. I was in a bind since I knew I couldn't confidently defend any of my beliefs, despite having strong convictions. Objectivism was a no-brainer at that point.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Ch. 2 - The Chain

"He shook his head. This was not the time for his old doubts. He felt that he could forgive anything to anyone, because happiness was the greatest agent of purification."

I think it was a great idea to place this moment so close to the opening of the novel. Immediately, we're provided with this picture of a hero in love with life and being rewarded for his virtues. Moreover, I've experienced being able to "forgive anything to anyone", usually while under the influence, but I also know that there is a version of that is much more pure and much more real.

"He wanted to meet someone, to face the first stranger, to stand disarmed and open, and to say, 'Look at me.'"

I initially read this as a moment of childish innocence, and I think in a sense that's correct. Children, when they say "look at me" are often experiencing a moment of genuine pride. True, they might be seeking validation, but that is importantly not what Rearden is doing. He's just happy and wants to share it.

Regarding his family and their BS... nothing worse than taking a great walk and then going into some place and having your buzz assassinated.

Regarding Paul Larkin, "The smile was disarming, like that of a boy who throws himself at the mercy of an incomprehensible universe."

You just hate to see it. I knew a lot of these guys in my church days. One of them went everywhere without shoes and never stopped hugging people and always looked high but never was. Then he grew a beard and started to look like something between George Harrison and Jesus Christ. It was like watching a car crash.

Regarding Philip, "And then Rearden thought suddenly that he could break through Philip's chronic wretchedness for once, give him a shock of pleasure, the unexpected gratification of a hopeless desire. He thought: What do I care about the nature of his desire?—it's his, just as Rearden Metal was mine—it must mean to him what that meant to me—let's see him happy just once, it might teach him something—didn't I say that happiness is the agent of purification?—I'm celebrating tonight, so let him share in it—it will be so much for him, and so little for me."

Very sweet of Hank. He's in deep. His intentions were good, but he was ultimately rationalizing a way out of his frustration with frustrating people. The idea that "it must mean to him what that meant to me" is textbook egalitarianism, and it's a view that I had never questioned until Objectivism. There's just no way in hell anything Philip does with his time means as much as to him as Rearden Metal does to Hank. But he remembers this in due time as Philip asks Hank to make his donation anonymously. Philip is a worm, not a man.


As I've said before, I relate with Hank Rearden. One frustration I've always had with my parents is that they are never proud of me at the same time that I'm proud of me. Furthermore, I often resolve to pass off as stubborn quirks what my friends see as my vices. I pretend to get a kick out of being an asshole when in reality I'm sincere in what I'm saying.

However, with crowds who are nice but truly opposed to Objectivism, I can get a laugh from pretending to be pretending to be an asshole. For example, I can say, "Civil Rights Amendment? Who needs it?" Because who would actually mean that? It's not totally honest, but at least I recognize the bind I'm in, which is not exactly true of Hank Rearden.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Ch. 3 - The Top and the Bottom

"Conditions and circumstances, Jim. Conditions and circumstances..."

"Disunity seems to be the basic cause of all social problems."

I listened today to Rand's interview on the topic of conservatism, as well as her talk regarding 'consensus' (The New Fascism), and finally Ben Bayer's discussion of original sin. These all helped to me tie some ideas together that are well-represented by the quotes above. The fetishizing of unity is the death of consistency. Pragmatism is therefore an inseparable part of altruism. 'No one is perfect, therefore give others what they want.'

I do take issue with this scene - of Jim, Orren, Larkin, etc. in the seedy bar - in part because it verges on corny but also because it crosses over into that conspiracy theory territory. A scene like this is the type that would disqualify Rand yet further in the minds of those she opposes (and presumably would like to enlighten). Toohey in the FH was similarly corny. I think politicians probably talk like the men in this scene, but without the need for any platitudes whatever - I dunno, it's always been hard to tell which Hollywood caricatures are accurate. Perhaps Jim and Friends are just speaking in code. Anyways, I'll grant that the element in irrationality of self-deception is explicitly wicked and seedy, but I tend to prefer an approach that forces people to find themselves sympathizing with something that has been or will at some point be exposed to them as irrational and wrong. If anyone's got any arguments there or with my interpretation of the scene, I'll be happy to hear them.

"I can't be expected to buck the trend of the whole world, can I?"

I love the irony in this line. 'I'm powerless not to be in power,' or in the words of Martin Luther, "I can do no other."

"There ought to be a law against irresponsible gossip."

This one killed me. I love making jokes saying things like this ever since I realized how easy it is to have that attitude. In a similar spirit:

"It all depends on knowing the people who make it possible... That's what has to be known -- who makes it possible."

I love how the statement is reworded for the readers. Corny but spot-on. Anyways, I think this line is a good illustration of the inversion of morality that is force, i.e., the difference between government and enterprise. We all know that the Dagny's and Hank's are the ones who make it possible, but for the altruist, "who makes it possible" is equivalent to "who allows it" or "who orders it". Wealth is not created but distributed, and so forth. Last night, while watching Downfall -- about Hitler's final days -- I noticed that element in his philosophy. Nazism depended on the people's belief that they were being carried on the backs of Hitler's party and that, therefore, no citizen had any hope outside of him and therefore no excuse not to jump on a grenade for him. No Fuhrer, no Germans. Granted he at least presented the fiction that Germany could be self-sufficient and that there were traitorous vermin in their midst; Jim Taggart and Friends depend more in the fiction that power and value ought to be inversely correlated.

"She had fits of tortured longing for a friend or an enemy with a mind better than her own."

Lately I've been reading Thomas Carlyle's On Heroes, Hero-Worship and the Heroic in History as part of an attempt to better understand hero-worship. I think it dramatically underlies the differences between people today. Many on the right are famously fond of heroes, and the everything about the modern left is geared toward denigrating every last thing that could be construed as heroic, despite their emphasis on duty. I myself have only recently, since discovering Objectivism, been able to understand hero-worship in an adult way. The adult way isn't all that different from the way children hero-worship, but it takes a lot more conscious thought, at least for me. But if I conceptualize is in the same terms that Rand does art, it makes sense to me. For one thing, being discouraged at knowing there are people who better than you is ridiculous. But moreover, it's very important, especially now, to have some kind of reminder that people aren't irrevocably depraved.

"To face leaving Taggart Transcontinental was like waiting to have her legs amputated; she thought she would let it happen, then take up the load of whatever was left."

It always kills me how her non-philosophical characters are still natural Objectivists. I'm hoping that this is the reason philosophy schools are hostile to Objectivism. Maybe the good Objectivists don't even know what Objectivism is and are too busy making things. I've got a similar theory about methodological empiricists (not to be confused with empiricists using rationalist methods) -- they're just too busy doing stuff to become philosophers.

"They smile too much, but it's an ugly kind of smiling: it's not joy, it's pleading."

That's from the conversation Dagny has with the man who collects cigarettes. He's talking about how people have changed. I don't think you have to be as old as him to be bothered by the smiling. It's bothered me for as long as I can remember. Here's a good quote I just heard from a news anchor regarding "food insecurity" - AKA poverty - that pairs nicely: "An issue that we're focusing on this month - and should every month." But you won't. You don't mean it. You're a liar. I don't see how people don't feel the same way about all the needless smiling done today, or why they aren't exhausted by it.

And that's it for Chapter 3. I don't have anything to say here about Eddie Willers and his cafeteria comrade. I can't tell yet what that's all about. Maybe plot? Anyways, I think this chapter is great for giving more clues as to the origin of the oppression Eddie and Dagny are feeling. They're clearly living in a world that is fundamentally opposed to them as people, yet at no point have they considered whether maybe that was grounds for questioning their own values. Quite the superpower.

Until next time.

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