The Sundays come quickly (my composition day for my Monday morning post), and I’m not always all tuned up and ready to burst from the starting gate with a new post. So…here’s a shot at freewheeling…

Saturday night, Nettie and I came home tired from a bike ride along the beach with friends. It was early but we were ready to chill and stream a movie when I saw the mail had delivered a Netflix DVD. I opened it…an Ayn Rand documentary that I’d forgot I’d put in my queue. It was two and half hours long! Could we watch such a thing in our current saggy mental state?

What the hell I said, “Let’s start it and see if our eyes close in the first few minutes.” Nettie nodded.

Of course, I’d read Fountainhead and some of Atlas Shrugged (that sucka’s over 1000 pages long) in college, but who remembers the details of Objectivism? Isn’t it just the opposite of the virtues espoused in the Age of Aquarius? Rather than “Come Together” it’s “Get Your Own.” And of course I heard Paul Ryan recently espousing Ayn Rand’s virtues of individualism and fiscal freedom. He copped her attitude on ignoring the poor and cuting all government spending and social programs, but then had to recant (big surprise for him) to distance himself from Rand’s devout atheism.

Anyway, fifteen minutes went by and we were both still awake. Thirty minutes, still wide eyed with the documentary. We watched the whole damn thing!

Here’s what captivated me. A person’s single-minded focus on an idea first germinated in childhood. Ayn Rand was a child of the Russian Revolution and the rise of Communism, brutal Communism, starving Communism, Siberian Communism. It set her course against the Totalitarian State (or any State for that matter), and her course remained unchanged for the rest of her life.

What fascinated me was both her strength of conviction and her intransigence in the face of changing times. She loved America because she loved the idea of individualism that founded the country, but she could not adapt philosophically to the social contract of the Constitution that provided a government Of, By, and especially, For the People.

tough randIn the mind of Ayn Rand if you couldn’t make it on your own, at the expense of whoever and whatever, then you didn’t deserve to make it all. Rough talk. A rough world to live in. Fortunately for her, she was super-bright and super successful. But what if she wasn’t either of those things? Toss her in the dustbin? John Galt gets so upset with a citizenry that wants him to give back some of his wealth that he decides to quit the game altogether, to “shrug” as it were his connection and responsibility to society…”Whatever, you little cry babies, I’m outta here.” (Almost a direct quote from Atlas Shrugged.)

To return to the point of this post…a single-minded focus on an idea from our youth. Do I have that? Beatles music? Vanilla ice-cream? My navel? I’m not sure these qualify as suitable commitments.

How about writing? I first came to it as a sixteen year-old, writing a poem about a butterfly (yes, a butterfly!) that began with the line, Caterpillared between webs of leaves, a newborn butterfly moves without ease. I’ve been pretty much addicted ever since, not to butterflies, nor poetry particularly, but to the idea of expressing something through words, sentences, paragraphs and the images of the silver screen.

So in point of fact, this post and my commitment to write a new post every Monday is part of that single-minded focus, part of that addiction if you will. And though I wouldn’t consider myself super-smart or super-successful at my chosen focus, nor do I feel ready for the dustbin quite yet either.

See ya next Monday.

 

 

5 Responses to Another Post?! At Least I Know Who John Galt Is!

  1. Maxwell says:

    I think the one Ayn Rand book I read was “The Fountainhead”. I cannot say that I understood the more subtle aspects of it, but I did find it to be a bit over-dramatic.
    I think I was a teenager when I read it. I think because of Paul Ryan’s interest, she has been somewhat debunked.

  2. Frank Z says:

    Thanks for the wonderful comments so far. Great food for thought when you’re hungry.

  3. Anonymous says:

    And Ayn Rand was not even consistent in her own dogma as she fell deeply in love with one of her “disciples” who then loved another and Rand never recovered from the affair. I guess love for yourself only goes so far…

  4. Stephanie says:

    Are you familiar with the song “Trees” by Rush or their record 2112 in which the first half is sort of a rock opera about a dystopian society?

    Waaaaay back when….. the subject matter their music alluded to led me to read Ayn Rand. I was too young and too politically naive to really formulate a strong opinion, but I knew then what I surely know now, as long as I have a dollar to spare and breath in my body I could never walk away from a living creature in need.

  5. George says:

    Frank,
    Wow – movies and reading from the other end of your political spectrum. Very impressive! Are you too still on the trip – walking on the beach and a saggy mental state? If you’re in town let’s get together. George

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