Tuesday, December 15, 2009

The Fountainhead

So far, after Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell- The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand is my favorite book of all time.

The Fountainhead was written by a woman who was so anti-communism, she became a liberatarian. Ayn Rand was like the Liberatarian. Her views on everything (in my opinion) are quite awesome, but so extreme that most of them cannot be feasable. (fun fact: Alan Greenspan was one of her friends/followers, attended her funeral and used her philosophy in alot of his work).

Anyway, the book is full of incredible quotes. The first "quote" is probably my favorite of all time, and describes the vast majority of frum people quite well- I'm going to copy the dialogue:

person 1- "...but I guess thats what the public wants."

person 2- "Why do you suppose they want it?"

person 1- "I don't know."

person 2- "Then why should you care what they want?"

person 1- "You've got to consider the public.:

person 2- "Don't you know that most people take most things because that's what's given them, and they have no opinion whatever? Do you wish to be guided by what they expect you to think they think or by your own judgment?"

If you're reading this and cannot fathom why I think person 1 is a typical frummy, while person 2 has a brain (and is not so typical), then you're probably just like person 1.


The following is a quote that I just adore, because it describes how I feel about frum people everytime I'm surrounded by to many of them (at various events or at shul and the women only talk about their hair, make-up and diets). As you read it, please substitute Peter for "Frummy" (I didnt wanna kill the quote so I left it original).

"You- Peter, you're everything I despise in the world and I don't want to remember how much I despise it. If I let myself remember- I'll return to it. this is not an insult to you, Peter. Try to understand that. You're not the worst of the world. You're its best. That's what's frightening."


Anonymous said...

-The one quote which I remember off the top of my head is
Toohey: "Tell me; what do you think of me?"
Roark: "But I don't think of you."
pure brilliance. (quote might not be exact b/c I last saw it a year or two ago)

- I actually think Atlas Shrugged is a more interesting story, but just a bit too long-winded. I had to skip a lot of John Galt's humongous speech, which is probably longer than all of Anthem.

Joshua said...

Having a handful of tiny parts that happen to have been not so bad isn't a big deal. So did the Lubavitcher Rebbe, Jesus, Buddha, and Muhammad. I'm not fans of any of those people and I'd be inclined to say that Ayn Rand has far more problems.

Anyone who has a positive opinion of Rand should read http://scottaaronson.com/blog/?p=386

Although that essay is about Atlas Shrugged, Fountainhead has almost identical problems as those laid out there.

Abe said...

My problem with Rand is more that she falls into an error analogous to what is known in social psychology as the Fundamental Attribution Error.

In this robust and regular effect, Bob will explain Joe's actions by referring to Joe's dispositional traits, even when the actions could and should be explained by situational causes. For example, if Joe's debate coach order him to write a pro-Communist essay, and Joe does so, Bob will still end up concluding that the essay probably reflects Joe's actual views.

I believe Rand does something analogous at times. The implicit assumption behind much of Atlas Shrugged seems to be that if someone is having hard times, it is always his fault--that the only acts of dependence on others stem from a choice to be dependent, and a choice not to use one's reason and consciousness.

But lives are affected by so so many situational factors that are out of our control. Rand is certainly thought-provoking, but the above would at best be incorrectly painting all cases with the same strokes, when a more refined approach is called for.

Moshe said...

Well, you managed not to go over the once a month posting...still...
And dude, grammar!

Jessica said...

Great book...

Anonymous said...

dont think person 1 is a frummy, think person 1 is a democrat. You know how into Ayn Rand I was, I think the older I get the less into it I get.

Anonymous said...

orev. anonymous was fav. anonymous :)

Anonymous said...

When Bill Clinton first ran for president, the NY Times ran a little profile on him to "introduce" him to the public, one tidbit being that The Fountainhead was his favorite book. Which says quite a lot about him (and not very positive, imo).
I see why people find her ideas about individualism appealing, but if you think about it she advocates a very selfish, machiavellian way of living.
As a matter of fact I was quite surprised when my younger brother said that his English class in yeshiva was reading "Anthem". Between that and "Lord of the Flies"--oy. I guess the school decided it was better to read that than risk reading about romantic nonsense such as "A Tale of Two Cities" or Shakespeare....