Thursday, May 26, 2011

Ayn Rand

A friend called me a few nights ago and asked me if I had read Ayn Rand. It is really funny because I had just gotten the documentary about her. The following is email exchanges between my friend and me.

ME: I watched the documentary and tonight I watched The Fountainhead. I haven't read the Anthem yet but it will move up on my list. I think she is simply marvelous dalin'

Friend: Maybe I need to see the documentary you saw.....because I was turned off from the one I saw... maybe my thinking has changed since the 1980's....will look into Fountainhead.Signed on with Netflix.....took a look at a few Ayn Rand documentaries and then cancelled netflix. She had an open 15 year affair with total disregard for the other women...if someone can be that cruel to another, then respect went down hill, for me anyways.

ME: That's too bad. She really has a lot to say. Have you read the Anthem? What did you take away from that?

Friend: Anthem was very short read. Enjoyed it. The ending was predicable (darn it). The guy found freedom and his next goal was to convert the others. And that is what I found predictable...we all are always trying to convert, convince, others to our way of thinking and living. But in truth fact of life...everyone is different and needs to follow their path and that path is right for them, save causing anyone harm, as then they are fringing on another's right to lead their life.

ME: I am reading Anthem right now but I don't think I see it the same way you do. She wrote it as a slam against collectivism. He philosophy is objectivism and Individualism.

Friend: I understand that...but still predictable ending, can't be denied This is in no ways disputing Ayn Rand, as I am looking forward to reading more of her works...but.....the ending is a form of collectivism.

ME: Haven't gotten to the end yet but knowing her philosophy, one would expect the outcome. As to converting people to her way of thinking, I don't think that is what she intends. In fact her entire focus is on the individual and not the collective. In the Fountainhead she demonstrates that through architecture, in that the one guy that tries to be different is ostracized. In the closing argument he puts forth his premise that all the great things that have been accomplished in this world were accomplished by those who chose to be different. Ayn Rand is the champion of "being different". She was born into Communism, thus the reason for the Anthem. She writes the way she saw the collectivism of communism and the inability of her character (herself i.e. mankind) to be different.
I find her reasoning interesting in that she sees altruism as slavery. She believed that the work is it's own reward and that doing for others and self-sacrifice are an abomination to humanity.
She saw the United States as the greatest invention in the world. Capitalism is the cornerstone of her philosophy and the US is the king of Capitalism.
I am interested in studying her more fully and have moved it to the top of my list. Her books are rather expensive so I will need to get to the library but I plan to read them all; then decide where my philosophy lies in reference to her's.

Friend Yes, I would like to read more also. And discuss with you. I was interested in her works in the 80's. But lost interest after viewing the documentary. I do greatly lean towards individualism, as I am sure you can agree I do. But Ayn Rand fell into this catch phrase " it is hard to walk the talk". So I am not disputing the philosophy just the life performance of the writer. I agree with you she did not intend...but the ending is the ending and this just illustrates that humans subconsciously are trying to get others onto their own page "King" is another example of collectivism.
ME: I think to a large extent she did walk the talk. She lived as she saw fit without regard to others which is the crux of individualism. I may not agree with the actions she took but I will always agree that she had the right to take action as she saw fit. In the documentary I saw it seemed that she was living the epitome of individualism. She absolutely refused to have her work altered. It was hers and no one had the right to make changes even if the majority judged her wrong. I love the idea just think it is hard for me to "walk the talk" even though I would like to do so.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Serious Question

Mark 16:17-18 (King James Version)

17And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues;

18They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover.

Okay so I am rereading the new testament and here's a puzzle. What exactly does this tell us?

I know that some who call themselves Christians do play with snakes and some have died. So if they misunderstood this verse then, what does it mean?

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Osama is dead

I know this is old news now but I have needed a few days to process this whole mess. I've listened to the news and read the newsfeeds, scanned the blogs and thought hard about it. I didn't know how I felt.

People in my own family were celebrating and asking for proof at the same time. I remained quiet. I didn't know how I felt.

I'm still not sure. Should I be glad that a person is dead, even as bad a person as the leader of America's number one enemy in the War on Terror? I don't know, it doesn't feel right. I don't believe the death penalty is real punishment for the offender. I think the family and those left behind suffer much more than the offender.

So now, we are rid of Osama but are we any safer? Is it logical that his followers will fold up their tents and go home? Does anyone think we have won the war? Are our troops coming home now? My son-in-law just left for Iraq...doesn't sound like they are coming home to me.

What bothers me most about this whole affair is the celebration of someone's death. I know he was responsible for some terrible things but are we any better that those who celebrated the destruction of the Twin Towers when we stoop to their level? I don't think so.