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What did "Who is John Galt?" mean to you?

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I want to know what this o e question meant to yoou when you first encountered it. what it signified in your minds. what it meant to you...specifically, as you read from page to page in search of an answer.

I read atlas shrugged at the age of 12. i finished it in 2 weeks, and when i finished it, i simply started it over.

i will discuss my answer to this topic, but i don't have the time right now. i'll come again.

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As a foreign english speaker, I always suspected that I'm somewhat missing some of the "texture" of certain texts. Even if Ayn Rand was herself a non-native speaker, she took time to explore and experiment with english constructs.

What does "Who is John Galt?" mean to me?

I'd have to say that he's as expression of man's archetype-like image of the productive, rational, life-affirming hero.

When people used it in Atlas Shrugged, they doubted their own productivity, rationality, etc.

John Galt is different from the rest of the characters in that he's more of a wisedom guide, he's an example of what Jung called a `mana` archetype (one's internal image of wisedom, personified)

John Galt is NOT a Jesus-like figure, but rather an aspect of all of us, which we cultivate in different degrees. We're all in part John Galt because we're all, in part of fully, engaged in reality, production and reason.

From another psychological perspective, John Galt also seem to be closest to that cognitive psychologists and some existentialist ones call `the actualized man`, the integrated man, not a perfect man, but a man without self-defeating inner conflicts.

One of his most important traits is his confortability with himself and his choices. But unlike other traditions advocating this kind of inner peace and actualization (budhism, etc), he does it without giving up on the world, but instead he has a very realistic grasp of it.

So, who is john galt? He's that part of you who makes things work, who puts ideas together and then into practice, your inner `enginner` (at a level larger than strictly technical)

Disclaimer: this is 100% my view. Objectivists might dissagree

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Thanks Gabriel. That was actually perfect, though i guess i didn't really mean the same thing. i wanted your thoughts and i like what you said,i mean, i understood that too after i read the books, yet there was something about that question that impacted me. maybe it's one of those things you mentioned. i guess in the time that i read Atlas Shrugged, my mind was confliction over the concept of...i suppose, "purpose". This was fueledby the fact that myentire life i've held some sort of deep and powerful question. A type of question i've noticed in nearly every human or rational creature, and it's this need to search for something. As humans, we are always searching for something. Is it knowledge? Love? Truth? or simply an answer...

It seemed obvious that it must've been an answered. at somepoint, i ran into the problem that when looking for an answer, you're only faced with even more questions that lead on farther than you'll ever be able to reach, so thus there is the desperation i always speak off, and which seems to come up in all the things i have tried to post at this site. So, i began modifying my methods of perceiving reality. In a greater sense now, i'm not exactly looking for an answer anymore. I mean this about the most powerful things that arise in life. For example...

If there is a God or not? I don't want to know.I know for a fact that all people need some sort of faith to live off of. It may not be christian or satanic, but just something. People have to beleive in something or else....i guess they wouldn't be able to exist. I don't want an answer. I merely want to be able to understand the concepts and use them to the advantage of my purpose.

Also scientific questions such as:

How big is the universe? or What is time?

It doesn't matter. I think we have enough to worry about with our immediate reality, and the people that constructed such questions in search of an answer, really only wanted more power. I'm sure you understand, that if you know it all you are the most powerful. Thus has been the image og God for all of history. He knows it all and sees it all, and therefore, he rules it. I don't mean to use the worl "rule" as in "commands", but i really don't want to get into the topic of religion right now. There is also time. What is it?

My idea of it end at :"It is". It is not ignorance, for i know how it must be viewed scientifically, i have heard all the theories and hypothesis, about it being a measurement, or sometimes a space, or a limit...etc. but those are topics i have no intrest in chasing after. My beleif is that, "There are things we are not meant to know." speciafically i say "know", but that doesn't mean "accept" or "understand". You may not be able to grasp every aspect of time, the celestial, or space, but yet you can accept that it is. You can understand that it is there for a purpose just as you are. I guess this also says that i beleive everything has a reason. I think it must. If something didn't have reason...it wouldn't exist. (I'll make another post just about these points in the science blogs.)

I'm being pulled away from my point. My point is that, in reading Atlas Shrugged, i sort of realized that what i needed wasn't an answer...but rather a better question.

I think it was "the hitchhiker's guide to the galaxy", that had all of humanity searching for an answer, and when they finally found it on the "supercomputer", they saw that the answer to Life, The Universe, and Everything....was 42! This created anarchy and chaos everywhere because it seemed inconcievable. Later, somewhere else...they discovered that they had received an answer, when not one person could clearly state the meaning of their question.

That is what i saw, not that i needed an answer, because i'm more than satisfied with it being something as simple as "42", or even "Red", but it's now become a quest to better formulate my question. The question had hung at the pit of my mind throughout my life as i'm sure it is in every other, whether they have accepted it or disregarded their own conscience. But i had no name for it. No way of identifying it within me. It was just there. Lingering and constant. For me...it became, "Who is john Galt?"

Do you understand what i'm saying?" The book gave me a way to identify that question and now, i can analyze, mold and perfect into the foundations of what will someday create me into an adult. For those of you out there that didn't know, i am only 14, so therefore all these millions of concepts and convictions are all new to me and i wish to engage upon every single one. I hope that i shall not be judged by my age, and thus is the reason that i came here. Because this is the only place i feel that i will trully be seen "by the content of my character". The objectivist philosophy has come to me as some sort of revelation and i am extremely proud to take part in it. I don't know if i have settled all i wished to say, but nonetheless i appreciate your response.

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I liked the question because of many reasons, one of them being that it caused fear in people to whom fear was their weapon which they used against other people.

The question also meant, in a way, "I don't know," or "Who cares" or "Why does it matter?" or it implied that one of these would be the answer. At the beginning of the novel, the beggar asked for money, but not in the words of the beggar you see in the street in reality, but he asked "Who's John Galt?" I had no idea what it meant at the beginning of the novel, but now as I read it, I'd feel comfortable if I replaced it with the following sentences: "I don't know what I need the money for, you don't care and it doesn't really matter. Just give me the money because I need it and act as if nothing has happened."

That is the essence of the question. I believe that it describes the entire novel in the way that it shows where the world described in it goes. The novel ends with the power failure in New York. The reason the politicians feared the question was because it was so plainly showing the final result of the "ideals" they held, which were that there would be a handful of heavily exploited mankind's thinkers and the flocks of people living off the thinkers' work and because John Galt was the man who refused to think for the world. And that world would be exactly that in which the answer to the question "Who makes this world move?" would be "I don't know, I don't care and it doesn't matter to me."

In effect, the beggar's question could have been replaced with: "You do my thinking and don't complain about it because it doesn't really matter who does the thinking as long as it's done. Just give me the money because you CAN do the thinking and I can't (won't) and give it to the others and remain able to think because the flock needs the bread to live."

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I know for a fact that all people need some sort of faith to live off of.

What fact establishes a need for faith? I dont' need faith, I need reason. I think you are in the realm of opinion with this statement, not fact.

VES

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What i'm saying is that you have to beleive in "something"....it doesn't have to be religious, simply something you beleive to be true and no one can deny you. for example: if a person doesn't "beleive" that something dropped from a height will fall, and yet it always does...then how is that person supposed to formulate their reality without having anything substantial to support it. you must beleive something, if anything, just beleive the fact that you are real, an individual, and a participant of life, if not... how can you accept that you exist? the mind just wouldn't function against it's own reason unless that person is being ignorant. You try to tell me one scenario where a person can "exist" and yet, not beleive in anything.

-Jason

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Also, for those of you that are debating with me about the meaning of the question...i know i took it completely different than intended.

Source, you are completely correct, and in fact, i too enjoyed how it was used and how people seemed to dread it. It created suspense and i loved seeing the gradual effeects of everything in the plot.

i just took the book and used it to find something i "needed", that i had to find. it's like a person debating over the meaning of a tree. while one says that it is a plant that evolved from smaller organisims. Another will say that it is a symbol of the greatness achieved by a specific Phylum.

Who is John Galt?

-Something or someone i must find... or become, for the sake of my survival.

i don't really have any more to discuss about this question. i enjoyed the discussion though. thanks.

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As RH points out, having faith or "believing in something" is different than recognizing facts and reality. I don't have to have faith to know that gravity will exert force on objects released from a height.

I'll go out on a limb here and guess that what you are trying to say is that you believe people must seek a means to understand what is going on around them, why they are here, and where they are going. Man wants to know his purpose.

The problem that is identified by Objectivism is that some men quest for this information by way of irrational methods. That is why "faith" is (symbolically speaking) a dirty word around here. Having "faith" is trying to know something or answer something without proof to support the conclusion. You are not in the crowd of the faithful in this forum.

VES

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Depends on what meaning of "believe" you use. When I use the word "believe" I usually use one of these two definitions:

1) To accept as true or real.

2) To have confidence in the truth or value of something.

As for Ambivilent's statement of needing to believe in something:

You don't need to believe that something dropped from a height will fall once you have enough experience and come to see that every time something is dropped from a height, it falls. Then you know that whenever something is dropped from a height, it will fall (unless there is some other force preventing it from doing so) in which case you will make a new discovery.

It doesn't take long to make sense out of your physical environment, with a little experience you begin to know how things interact.

You know it because you've seen it, time and time again without fail. That's the way the earth works.

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That is why "faith" is (symbolically speaking) a dirty word around here.  Having "faith" is trying to know something or answer something without proof to support the conclusion.  You are not in the crowd of the faithful in this forum.

VES

ok, yes. I am christian. But I hate how people seem to imply that objectivism is a philosophy of atheists. I don't see it that way at all. Though i know, the only thing exalted is yourself and only yourself, I don't think that is a necessity to cut out all other faiths. I know that I can't do that, do nit wish to, and would be very greatrful if we don't start debating on that. I already made my choice on faith, and to change is woild appear as a betrayal upon myself (now I know you will say that in beleiving there is a God or higher power, I am betraying some part of me in some way. The problem is... i can't accept that there isn't one either.) I know that I don't and can't control everything, much less create it all. So the only way to rationalize is it by thinking that somebody, somewhere, somehow does. I don't beleive he "controls" everything, or else, what would be the point of free will? Yet somebody had to create it, somebody has to support and watch over it. I don't "worship" him, but I do respect him(I use the term "him" because it's the only way to identify that source") I respect what he has done, and that he exists. I don't beleive that he makes things just happen out of nowhere, science has disproved that and now every part of nature is linked into the reactions or effects of everything else. I have always beleived that I am in control of my own life and am free to do with it, whatever I please, according to what I value and what my morals and ideals are. You may wonder how is see God. I have no problem with thinking that he may be some sort of father. A father offers guidance and support, and he offers a kind that I don't think you could ever find anywhere. Faith itself is perception and therefore he will never betray me, or leave me, unless my mind wishes to accept that notion. It's sort of "a last hope", when you have nothing else to turn to, and you are powerless to save yourself from a situation, because even you don't understand it, I just like to beleive that there is something out there, greater than anything any of us could ever concieve. I knew, in coming here that i wouldn't be "in the crowd of the faithful" as you say, but the truth is I'm not accepted in those that are either, because of the things I have already said. I create my own ideal to live by. I refuse to worship or bow down to anyone. The issue with God does not mean I see him as an equal, but that he will never require me to acknowledge his superiority. He has no slaves, he has "children". That's just my view of it.

About the whole, "trying to answer something without proof to support the conclusion", is also true, and i have no problem living that way. This too is my problem with the fields of science. They greatly interest me and I do very well in them, but yet, like I have said in another post, "I don't want all the answers". I want to be able to understand and conceive everything in a form that I'll be able to accept it. I can't accept that all of live originated from a huge explosion of energy and matter(Bg Bang), I mean, even those theories have their flaws. I'm not saying the bible doesn't. In fact, it has too many flaws and therefore, nearly half of it, I don't know if I agree with it. Because it was written by man, I stil think that no matter how powerfuly you may be dedicated to your faith, you are still a selfish being and will act accordingly. Sometimes all of religion is some selfish act of saying "the human, was God's greatest creation and therefore I am the most superior creature of the universe", this just seems foolish to say, even though your mind will always perceive it as such. I have always thought that if you could receive a rational understandable response from a specie like a cat, they would also say they are the greatest.

i've got to go, i'll continue this later.

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But I hate how people seem to imply that objectivism is a philosophy of atheists.
It is. Not because of the reasons you suggusted, but because A is A. The existance of an omnipotent being is contrary to that.

And because consciousness is a state of existance, and therefore an consciousness could not have created existance.

Though i know, the only thing exalted is yourself and only yourself, I don't think that is a necessity to cut out all other faiths.

It is necessary to cut out faith altogether and rely, instead, on objective knowledge. Faith is arbitrary.

Now, I realize that you are young, so I am not going to chastise you here. I also realize that you are intelligent, so I am not going to baby you either.

Look for a moment at the nature of faith as opposed to the nature of reason. Look at them long enough to see why they are contradictory. You will see it eventually, if you are as you have been in your posts here. It may take weeks or months, but you will see it, and then things will begin to click into place. Good luck.

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I know that I don't and can't control everything, much less create it all. So the only way to rationalize is it by thinking that somebody, somewhere, somehow does. I don't beleive he "controls" everything, or else, what would be the point of free will? Yet somebody had to create it, somebody has to support and watch over it. I don't "worship" him, but I do respect him(I use the term "him" because it's the only way to identify that source") I respect what he has done, and that he exists.

This is a very good description of the normal relationship of a child to his parents, a relationship you have known your entire life.

It has been comforting to you, so far, to know that someone has created everything for you and provided for the needs you could not satisfy for yourself. Your parents have watched over you and it is proper to be grateful to them and respect them.

But when we become adults, that changes. If all goes well, we become capable of creating the things we need and able to watch out for and protect ourselves. The more we do for ourselves, the more confident and certain we become of our own powers. Then we don't need the sense of security and comfort that comes from contemplating that there is "Father" somewhere watching out for us.

I could argue that nobody created the universe and things always were, but until and unless you fully exercise your own powers to provide for and run your own life, you'll feel a need to believe in God.

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I know that I don't and can't control everything, much less create it all. So the only way to rationalize is it by thinking that somebody, somewhere, somehow does.

When you use the word "rationalize" it implies that you're trying to make something rational that is not rational. Otherwise you'd be "reasoning". the fact that you used the word rationalize there is interesting...

My only other question to you regarding faith:

Surely this "God" didn't pop out of nowhere. In answer to the question "who (or what) created God?" I've heard many christians say that God is eternal. If you can believe that a "God" is eternal then why can you not believe that the universe itself is eternal and therefore didn't need to be created: it just existed. Always has, always is, and always will be and that the organization the universe exhibits is a product of it's laws and how it has evolved over the years.

By it's definition, objectivism HAS to be atheist in nature. You must accept what is and what you know. Reason is NOT compatible with faith.

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I want to be able to understand and conceive everything in a form that I'll be able to accept it. I can't accept that all of live originated from a huge explosion of energy and matter(Bg Bang), I mean, even those theories have their flaws.

Others have addressed different issues in your statement so I won't repeat those concerns. However, this line sticks out in my mind. You appear to say that you want reality to fit the way you see things. The important thing is to see reality for what it is, not what we want it to be. When reality comes in a form that we reject, it's called being delusional.

In short, your will cannot alter reality.

VES

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In answer to the original question, here was my initial thinking. Asking the question in the context of an answer that was unknown suggested apathy to me. The phrase suggest person had given up on seeking answers to questions, abandoned seeking knowledge, and lost interest in improving themselves. They didn't care to learn anymore. They communicated the idea that I don't know the answer to your question, but then I don't really care to find out either. They just plodded along in a rut of existence.

VES

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Usually the term is used to denote that one holds a certian thing true, even though one does not KNOW it.

If the case is that I hold a certain thing true even though I don't know it for certain, then I say "I think..."

For example, "I think my roommate has come to Zagreb." But I don't know it for sure.

Example with believe, "I believe that the first derivation of arctg(x) is equal to 1/(1+x^2)." But I cannot prove it. I could look up how to prove this in some scientific book, but as I am, I can't prove it myself. Therefore, I accept this when I see it on belief.

To know means to remember a fact and apply it when necessary. To forget means to stop knowing.

I need to know a fact in order to be able to believe it. If I didn't know about god, I wouldn't be able to say whether I believed in it or not.

When I can prove a fact, then I don't say that I believe or I think or I know it's so, I just say that it's so.

When I don't believe in something that others believe, then I don't find it worth discussing, unless someone is able to prove it.

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