My problem with Ayn Rand and co.


There are certain things in Life you just can’t develop a taste for. However hard you try these things arouse a distinct revulsion and stench every time you think of them. I for one could never make peace with jasmine perfumes, yellow pants, whisky and Fundamentalists. While the others do annoy and disgust me to no end Fundamentalists have their own privileged place in this elite list. Fundamentalists are people who live, can die and would kill for their idea. They live in the world of their idea. The single thought which define their whole being. The abstraction they belief is the only truth and they seek no other truth and they see no other truth even if you throw it right at their face. They can neither do, nor do they want to; see the diversity and variety that the world has to offer. Do not confuse Ram-Sena or even Raj Thackeray as Fundamentalists. They don’t really live for their idea and neither will they die for it. They espouse the ideas that they do because that is the easiest thing for them to do. And that is a story for another day.

Today I wish to write about Ms Ayn Rand (well yes, yellow pants and whisky will have to waitJ) the author of Fountainhead, Atlas Shrugged and many other and the person who is the originator of the concept of “Objectivism”. I do not claim to have read all her literature. As a matter of fact I do not wish to do so too. While I have due respect for the idea of objectivism per se, I have a problem with being told that this is the only thinkable, acceptable and perceivable idea. Over the 400 or more pages of the only book of hers I read , and the one which sold the most-Fountainhead, I was told in a literary style very unique to Ms Rand that – “this is the excellence you should have” . Not attain, not “try” to attain … but “have”. That indivisible, unchangeable and often too idealistic idea of supreme human excellence annoys me. I believe, every human being is unique and lays out his limited time span on this planet in a way he deems fit. There is no model to follow. And even if I respect the model Ms Rand proposes, I reject the repetitive notion of it being the only model that exists. I love a long menu-card, the various shades of pinks I can choose from, the list of people I can date and the variety of choices I can make in terms of how I want my life to be. 

——— Demented Dreamer

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7 thoughts on “My problem with Ayn Rand and co.

  1. This is one of my favorite topics, not because I am totally convinced with the idea, but it definitely provides me with a perspective that is against the common line of thought present in the society.

    Doesn't Ayn propound a theory that asks you to follow your heart and let the society go figure its way? Doesn't having excellence in itself elevates you above the bickerings of right and wrong in the society, support originality and thus let you have the various shades of pink you wish to have?

  2. Well i could not even finish the book because i found it preachy.

    I believe , to be one amongst all is also a virtue and there is no harm in understanding and appreciating what others think.

  3. @ Miken

    I totally respect the idea of Objectivism, its original and truly thought provoking as you mentioned. The problem is not with what she preaches. The problem is with being a fundamentalist, with telling something in the lines of "either I am right or you are wrong" with not presenting this idea as a "perspective" but as the "ultimate truth".

    @ Priyanka

    I second you on the tone of her books- preachy and pompous. Ma'am Rand I don't like being taught what to do with my life.

  4. Not too long ago, I fell into the same category you write about – of a person refusing to accept other people telling him how to live. Or even that, its the only way to live.
    I have read Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged. I am not an objectivist in the real sense, not even a randian (though I don't know what that is).
    For me Ayn Rand has changed my life because she gave words to the principle I was living by – in freedom. Where I was de-shackled in the absolute manner. To base my existence on my reasons alone. That is the basis of her philosophy. I don't think she ever said that "she is right, and that's that". 🙂

    Ultimately, like we do with other books, we can select what we like and imbibe, the rest we ignore since we do not accept those. However, its worth reading it because then we have concrete reasons to dislike it. 🙂

  5. As you are a fan of Ayn Rand, We are pleased to announce a special screening of the film "We The Living", and Live

    interaction with the producer Duncan Scott at 3 p.m. on Saturday, 21 August 2010, at the NCUI Auditorium in Delhi.

    The detailed program for the evening is as follows:

    Venue: Committee Room Alpha, National Cooperative Union of India (NCUI),
    3 Siri Fort Institutional Area, August Kranti Marg, New Delhi 110016
    Date and Time: 21 August 2010, 3 pm

    RSVP:
    Liberty Institute, New Delhi
    Tel: +91-11-28031309, Email: [email protected]

    http://aynrandindia.blogspot.com/2010/08/special-event-screening-of-ayn-rands-we.html

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