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Atlas Shrugged

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If you haven't read Atlas Shrugged don't read on.....

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Near the end of Atlas Shrugged John Galt told Hank Rearden, Dagny, Fransisco, and Ragnar not to look down when they were flying over New York City when the lights went out. Yes, the lights of New York City going out is a horrible symbol, but John Galt previously said in the book when referring to Galt's Gulch that "no one gets in here by faking reality whatsoever." Shouldn't they then have looked down to face reality?

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If you haven't read Atlas Shrugged don't read on.....

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Near the end of Atlas Shrugged John Galt told Hank Rearden, Dagny, Fransisco, and Ragnar not to look down when they were flying over New York City when the lights went out.  Yes, the lights of New York City going out is a horrible symbol, but John Galt previously said in the book when referring to Galt's Gulch that "no one gets in here by faking reality whatsoever."  Shouldn't they then have looked down to face reality?

Faking reality?

Everybody knew that the lights were out.

If they looked down they would have seen nothing anyway.

It would have been looking like a road accident. the man who doesn't look at one of those is not faking reality.

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A very good question. To have faked reality would have been to pretend the disaster did not exist. I believe the spirit of Galt's comment was to never give pain of any sort any more of one's life than absolutely necessary.

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I believe the comparison of that moment to the moment in the Bible when Lot and his wife are fleeing Sodom when God punishes it for its sins is not without merit. Looking back is a sign that one cares about the suffering. But these are sinners, and one should not care for them. (That does not mean that one pretends they do not exist.)

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But not all of those who were left behind are sinners. Take Eddie, for example. When John Galt made his speech, there were many people who displayed virtue in response. Because they were not the movers of the world, however, were not included in the flight back to Galt's Gulch.

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My assessment of myself is that I am like Rearden in my development. In my current form, I would be denied access to the Gulch due to still sorting out the philosophy in my mind. (Just as he couldn't join until he saw near the end what everything was about and sorted out his own contradictions).

But in terms of business potential, I fully intend on being a prime mover without letting anything get in my way. After the philosophical reform in my mind is 100% complete and several years have passed in my business, I might possibly be granted access. :)

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I'd certainly think someone like Edie Willers would be given preference over "Richard_Halley".

I keep telling people this... Eddie Willers would have been invited into Galt's Gulch, except for the fact that he wouldn't have went. Willers was unwilling to give up the world (particularly, the railroad), in exchange for anything.

While, at this time in my life, I would certianly be overlooked by Galt, et al., Eddie Willers would not be given preference over anybody, because Eddie Willers would have been unwilling to take the oath.

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I keep telling people this... Eddie Willers would have been invited into Galt's Gulch, except for the fact that he wouldn't have went. Willers was unwilling to give up the world (particularly, the railroad), in exchange for anything.

While, at this time in my life, I would certianly be overlooked by Galt, et al., Eddie Willers would not be given preference over anybody, because Eddie Willers would have been unwilling to take the oath.

... Eddie Willers would have been invited into Galt's Gulch, except for the fact that he wouldn't have went. Willers was unwilling to give up the world (particularly, the railroad), in exchange for anything.

But also, keep in mind the underlying love for Dagny that he had through out his life since their youth.

I for one wouldn't want to go into a small community with a woman that I had loved all my life who would never be able to return the feeling.

I believe that would have also had a bearing on his choice (given it) to go or stay behind.

Jason-

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From Branden's website:

Holly Davis asks:

In Ayn Rand's novel Atlas Shrugged Eddie Willers is presented as a thoroughly moral and admirable person.  Yet he is not invited into Galt's Gulch. Did Ms. Rand ever discuss her reasons for this or for why Eddie's life ends in tragedy?

Nathaniel Branden responds:

Yes, she did. Or rather, I heard her answer questions of this kind any number of times.

Galt's Gulch is a place where the Prime Movers of society are invited to, when they go on strike. It is not a place where any moral man or woman would be invited to merely because of being "a good person."  In that sense, it is an elite society — "the aristocracy of superior ability."  Therefore, do not view it as a literal prototype of an ideal society in the real world; it is not meant to be that.

Eddie's end is meant to show what happens to "the best of the average" when the Dagnys and Reardens are gone from the world, and the James Taggarts are in control. Eddie, Ms. Rand would say, is too honest to survive in James Taggart's world when "the better people" are gone.

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Yes, MinorityOfOne, I would like to see that quote from someone other than Branden...

For now, I am tempted not to believe it, due to the truck driver and the fact that Rearden brought his secretary with him.

How does this make him a sinner?

Invictus, quote the oath to yourself than ask yourself that question... I think you will find the answer.

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Letters of Ayn Rand, May 27, 1960

"Dear Miss Sachs:

I appreciate your interest in the philosophy of Atlas Shrugged, and your perceptive understanding of its application to modern problems.

You are right in your interpretation of Dr. Stadler's fate, but not of Eddie Willers's. Eddie Willers is not necessarily destined to die; in a free society, he will live happily and productively; in a collectivist society he will be the first to perish. He does not have the ability to create a new society of his own, but he is much too able and too honest ever to adjust himself to collectivism.

You are mistaken when you say: 'It is for the Eddies and Dr. Stadlers that we must right the wrong and again teach man to be 'his own keeper.'' I am not quite certain of what you meant, but this sentence sounds like some form of altruism. If by 'righting the wrong,' you meant the acceptance of the right philosophy and the creation of a proper society, then one must do it for oneself and for those who are one's highest values—which means, in effect, for the John Galts, not the Eddies nor the Stadlers. The Eddies and all rational men will also profit in a proper society—but that is a secondary consequence, not one's primary goal."

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Hmmph. I wrote a long reply to this earlier, but then my computer decided to reboot itself.

I'm not going to try to rewrite it... suffice to say, I think Eddie would have been accepted into the Gulch if he had been willing to go -- which he was not. And I think he was not willing for the same reason Dagny was unwilling through most of the book. He thought that leaving the Comet to the looters -- the Comet being the symbol for everything he valued -- would be a betrayal. He remained defiant to the end.

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