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Ayn Rand and the completion of Atlas Shrugged

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While she was constantly improving on her writing skills and knowledge with her early books and eventually reaching her peak with Atlas Shrugged, Ayn Rand must have felt like she had an immense purpose to her life. Ayn Rands most productive accomplishment and the hardest goal she ever strived for was to write Atlas Shrugged. But after finishing AS, the projects she could work on inevitably couldnt come close to the significance of AS. So how do you think Ayn Rand felt in the years following the completion of AS, knowing shes already accomplished that peak goal to her life?

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To make an interesting analogy, look at Toohey after Sermons in Stone. He still did great(in terms of magnitude) work afterwards. It was more of his explosion on to the scene as opposed to the pinnacle of his career.

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Are you so sure Atlas was the peak of her life? Had she left us only with Atlas and that which came before it, her legacy would not have been nearly as great.

To make an interesting analogy, look at Toohey after Sermons in Stone. He still did great(in terms of magnitude) work afterwards. It was more of his explosion on to the scene as opposed to the pinnacle of his career.

When I said 'peak', I was referring to her most significant goal in her life, which was Atlas Shrugged. None of her works were as important as AS, and I was curious if this had affected her.

Edited by konerko14
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When I said 'peak', I was referring to her most significant goal in her life, which was Atlas Shrugged. None of her works were as important as AS, and I was curious if this had affected her.

I agree that Atlas Shrugged was her literary peak, but I think Introduction to Objectivist Epistemology was her most important philosophical work.

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When I said 'peak', I was referring to her most significant goal in her life, which was Atlas Shrugged. None of her works were as important as AS, and I was curious if this had affected her.
I agree with David: and I think you're confusing "goal" and "accomplishment". It was through AS that she understood that ultimate philosophical goal that underlayed her literature, and ITOE was the most significant of her accomplishments. It was not her terminal philosophical goal; we know for example that she had a further goal of working on the so-called "problem of induction".
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I think AS was her most productive achievement- it took her 10 long, grueling years to complete. But with ITOE, I think she could write this book with a lot less effort because she had her philosophy so well defined in her head already, it was just a matter of putting the words down on paper. Even though ITOE may be a more significant accomplishment, I think AS required the most thought and effort.

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I think AS was her most productive achievement- it took her 10 long, grueling years to complete. But with ITOE, I think she could write this book with a lot less effort because she had her philosophy so well defined in her head already, it was just a matter of putting the words down on paper. Even though ITOE may be a more significant accomplishment, I think AS required the most thought and effort.

That might be true.. But could either Atlas Shrugged or ITOE or anything that Ayn Rand wrote have been produced without the lifetime of productive achievement she had achieved prior to writing them? (In which case, you might judge each consecutive project she undertook as the more "difficult" accomplishment).

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That might be true.. But could either Atlas Shrugged or ITOE or anything that Ayn Rand wrote have been produced without the lifetime of productive achievement she had achieved prior to writing them? (In which case, you might judge each consecutive project she undertook as the more "difficult" accomplishment).

But what was Ayn Rands ultimate goal in her life? -wasnt it to define a rational moral code for man and explain completely how man can and should act? I believe she accomplished this with Atlas Shrugged. Of course, she had to figure out these answers all through her life up to this point, but after AS was finished, not only did she write the best fiction book she could write but wouldnt you consider that her philosophy was now explained completely as well? She had achieved her highest goal. All that was left for her to do was add a couple details here and there(ITOE) and write articles based on her philosophy- but she didnt need to expend that great effort any longer like with AS. It just seems like her life would become very easy at this point and that her excitement towards life may have diminished because of this and in her mind it may have seemed like not as an important purpose to her life as opposed to her time up until AS.

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... what was Ayn Rands ultimate goal in her life? -wasn't it to define a rational moral code for man and explain completely how man can and should act?
For biographical info on this, check out the essay "The Goal of My Writing", in "The Romantic Manifesto".
The motive of my writing is the portrayal of an ideal man. The portrayal of a moral ideal, as my ultimate literary goal, as an end in itself -- ...

Since my purpose is the presentation of an ideal man, I had to define and present the conditions which make him possible and which his existence requires.

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But what was Ayn Rands ultimate goal in her life?

I don't know that..

The motive of my writing is the portrayal of an ideal man. The portrayal of a moral ideal, as my ultimate literary goal, as an end in itself -- ...

Since my purpose is the presentation of an ideal man, I had to define and present the conditions which make him possible and which his existence requires.

She says in this article what her ultimate literary goal is, but I'm not sure what her "ultimate goal in life" was.

Atlas Shrugged was a remarkable achievement, but I don't think it would have had nearly the same impact as it has and will have, if not for the indispensable non-fiction works she produced afterwards. Also, I think she could have produced something even greater than Atlas with To Lorne Dieterling, but unfortunately she never wrote it.

Still, I think I understand your sentiment.. After someone produces something like Atlas Shrugged, how do they ever top that? Well.. I would think the same thing about someone who had written The Fountainhead, which she did top. And, philosophically (though not literarily), I think she topped AS with ITOE, which was not a minor embellishment for her philosophy, but the rational foundation necessary to make her philosophy possible, in opposition to the philosophical trends of centuries. It seems to me (based on the biographical material I've seen) that Ayn Rand was an individual who fought to improve herself and achieve new remarkable things to the very end.. Although she was perhaps a little depressed after Frank O'Connor passed away.

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