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Thread: Ayn Rand's Fountain Head

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    Senior Member Regular Hubber buddysathi's Avatar
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    Ayn Rand's Fountain Head

    I am reading Fountain Head by Ayn Rand. The author tells abt a philosophy 'Objectivism'. It looks a bit complex for me to understand,, Anyone out there, who has read this novel , strip it down to simple terms for readers like me to understand..

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    Senior Member Veteran Hubber rajasaranam's Avatar
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    buddysathi,

    Good to know that you are reading 'The Fountainhead'. Ayn Rand's philosophy called 'objectivism' is rooted in selfishness/individualism which she thinks as the ultimate virtue of a human being. If you know what selfishness is then there need not be any more explanations about objectivism. She tries to explain how selfishness/individualism can bring upon more happiness and prosperiety to a human soul through complex philosophical deliberations.

    I read the books like ' Fountainhead', 'Atlas shrugged', 'We the living', 'Capitalism the unknown ideal', 'Virtue of Selfishness', 'Romantic manifesto', 'Anthem' and 'Night of january 16th' and became a great fan of hers and was practising her philosophy for few years which alienated me from this society and relations. Some of my friends too have been deeply affected by her books and discussed this with me that they cant see things as normal as they were previously. One of my friends is not out of it still and pays a regular visit to a psychiatrist to get of the delirium he is caught up in. [Recently too i met and spoke with him, for 13 long years he is in this state . He asked me ' how did you get out of it?' I replied 'i just knew there is something wrong in this philosophy. felt something eating up my core and went in search of something better. 'Karl Marx' saved me '. Long back when i got out i tried introducing him to Osho, Richard bach, Robert M Pirsig, Kahlil Gibran, Karl marx et all for him to consider alternative views but he rejected them completely. Now he is reading 'Osho' a lot and i wished him good luck for coming back to planet earth.]

    Thus said enjoy reading the book with care and dont get caught up too much into its philosophy. Her usage of words and style of narrative is very powerful and contagious. Read it as a fiction and never try to apply it in your life.

    All the best.

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    Senior Member Regular Hubber buddysathi's Avatar
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    Thanks a lot Raja for your reply & ur warning !!
    Yeah.. I can feel the hangover of this book even while I am half way through!!May be when applied properly against the right persons it may have some effect. I am not sure Howard Roark's attitude may be applicable to our Indian society!!

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    Senior Member Regular Hubber aravindhan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by buddysathi
    Thanks a lot Raja for your reply & ur warning !!
    Yeah.. I can feel the hangover of this book even while I am half way through!!May be when applied properly against the right persons it may have some effect. I am not sure Howard Roark's attitude may be applicable to our Indian society!!
    It won't be effective in any civilised society, in my opinion. One of the most fundamental principles of objectivism is that it is absolutely and at all times immoral to do anything for the benefit of others. The only actions that are moral are those where you yourself are the prime beneficiary, and morality at all times requires that you further your self-interest. The only restraint is that you must not start using physical force against others (although all other types of coercion are quite acceptable, and if someone else starts using force against you you're free to respond with no holds barred).

    You decide for yourself what sort of society a belief system of this type will shape.

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    hi,

    saw this discussion on fountainhead. cud'nt help pitching in. had read this book more than a decade back.it's a book about objectivism but one can't look at it just objectively.

    catches hold of ur imagination and emotions and totally drains u out,esp.in ur impressionable years.yes as rajasaranam said it has a very very powerful appeal.sad to know about ur friend.we underestimate the power of words.

    if u believe simple faith to be as strong as reason(if not stronger)u will probably pass fountainhead as just another block in the spectrum of human nature.a book can never define human nature.it can only give insights to it.happy reading, though!

    rain

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    Moderator Platinum Hubber P_R's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by aravindhan
    One of the most fundamental principles of objectivism is that it is absolutely and at all times immoral to do anything for the benefit of others.
    I think a better description of the Objectivist principle is :
    it is absolutely and at all times immoral to do anything for the benefit of others at the cost of oneself
    I think that part makes quite a difference. What say you ?
    மூவா? முதல்வா! இனியெம்மைச் சோரேலே

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    Senior Member Regular Hubber aravindhan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Prabhu Ram
    I think a better description of the Objectivist principle is :
    it is absolutely and at all times immoral to do anything for the benefit of others at the cost of oneself
    I think that part makes quite a difference. What say you ?
    I don't think I agree. Objectivism as I understand it takes the view that one's true ethical purpose is one's own life and only that; and the furtherance of one's own life is the only thing that has "objective" value. Producing "objective" value is the main purpose of human life. Any action taken for any other purpose is immoral, because it "wastes" resources that could have been used to produce "objective" value. In other words, if you don't get any benefit out of an act, you shouldn't be doing it.

    At least, that's my understanding of objectivism.

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    Moderator Platinum Hubber P_R's Avatar
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    'Objectivism makes a brute out of you' is a popular belief. I think that is a misconception. Let me give an example. And I am going to be cliched here:

    There is a limping puppy. I pick the puppy of the street treat and save it.( No, I do it even if there isn't a pretty girl looking on). I do it because it makes me feel good. To be more precise: I do it because if I had left the puppy and moved on, the rest of my day would have been miserable.This is quite compatible with Objectivism.

    OTOH if I had to jump before a speeding truck and risk getting pulped then it is stupid to save the puppy. If the risk was only scraping my knee then I'd save the puppy. i.e. I make a judgement call, whether it is worth it. This is what Objectivism encourages you to do all the time.

    We all make such calls anyway. Only that we feel disgusted making such calls. Objectivism questions this disgust and aims to bring love and hate closer to reason.

    Of course, my Rand reading is cursory and my interpretations may not be 'pure'. This is what I took home.
    மூவா? முதல்வா! இனியெம்மைச் சோரேலே

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    Senior Member Regular Hubber aravindhan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Prabhu Ram
    We all make such calls anyway. Only that we feel disgusted making such calls. Objectivism questions this disgust and aims to bring love and hate closer to reason.
    Yes, and philosophies try to tell you on what basis you should make a call - i.e., when is it worthwhile to do something for others? My impression of objectivism is that it answers the question by saying: "Only when it produces objective value for you yourself." Clearly, though, one of us has misunderstood the philosophy - it may well be me, because I reacted very negatively to it when I first came across it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by aravindhan
    when is it worthwhile to do something for others? My impression of objectivism is that it answers the question by saying: "Only when it produces objective value for you yourself."
    have to agree with that for the most part, although PR's puppy example makes for interesting food for thought. after all, according to ayn rand, "man's ego is the fountainhead of human progress".

    but then, what i like about the book itself, is the way the philosophy is brought out without too much sermonising. a simple example is the conversation between ellsworth toohey and howard roark which goes something like this-

    toohey: why don't you just tell me what you think of me?
    roark: but i don't think of you!
    "Whenever I feel the need for exercise, I go and lie down for half an hour until the feeling passes." - Will Rogers

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