Monday, January 23, 2012

The Fountainhead- An Intensely Stimulating Experiance

I am not a kind of guy who goes to others room in the hostel. But I saw  book "The Fountainhead " by Ayn Rand in my friend Anirudh Srinivas' room. I felt like trying out some new genre of novels apart from crime fiction. So I borrowed the book and started reading it.  And the rest was nothing but sheer admiration for the presentation and originality of Mrs.Rand's literary genius.

For the next seven days I stole every moment of my existence to devour this masterpiece. I forgot to take bath on two days. I must congratulate myself for not bunking any class (it would've been worth it). When I discovered that seven pages of the book were missing, I promptly returned the book. I ran to Mangalore to buy one for myself. I must confess I was breathless, mentally exhausted and exalted while reading it. It was something that I had never experienced before. I would not recommend this book to most of my friends. I am afraid that they're gonna laugh at my madness if at all they don't like the book the way I do.

So what is it about ? I would rather quote Mrs.Rand from the foreword .

  "  It is not in the nature of man, nor of any living being - to start out by giving up., by spitting in one's own face and damning existence: that requires a process of corruption whose rapidity differs from man to man . Some give up at the first touch of pressure, some sell out: some run down by imperceptible degrees and loose their fire, never knowing how they lost it. Then all of these vanish in the vast swamp of their elders who tell them that maturity consists of abandoning one's mind: security of abandoning one's values: practicality of losing one's self - esteem. Yet a few who hold on and move on, knowing that that fire is not to be betrayed, learning how to give it shape, purpose and reality. But whatever their future, at the dawn of their lives, men seek a noble vision man's nature and life's potential. There are a very few guideposts to find. "The Fountainhead" is one of them"

Mrs.Rand says "I thought it was a book that ought to live.It did."  I am glad that it lived.The book was rejected by twelve publishers before it appeared in print in 1943. The publishers claimed that it was too intellectual and there was no audience for such a work. But it was false.  It became a hit in one and half year(in a age without T.V and aggressive publicity) .The book is in print for 69 years.

Not only did the book become a huge success , it also catapulted Ms.Rand's "Objectivism".

"My philosophy, in essence, is the concept of man as a heroic being, with his own happiness as the moral purpose of his life, with productive achievement as his noblest activity, and reason as his only absolute."-Ayn Rand in "Atlas Shrugged."

Objectivism is a controversial philosophy. This is because it is unacceptable to vast majority whom the the philosophy loathes and condemns.

When she was asked if she could present the essence of Objectivism while standing one foot. Her answer was:

1. Metaphysics: Objectivity reality
2.Epistemology: Reason
3.Ethics: Self Interest
4. Politics: Capitalism

The last part of is THE most argued thought , and of course it is related to the highly self centered approach .   Some parts of Ayn Rand's thought are hazy , unclear and sometimes outrageous.

The characters portrayed in the book are also very interesting. She manages to keep the reader guessing about the motives of each of the characters and their actions. Her ultimate aim is to portray the ideal man , not a hero who has weaknesses and confusions. She portrays men as they should have been. I am not sure if I or anybody can get close to any fictional antagonist like Howard Roark , But every such attempt is going to be difficult and a rewarding experience. Her novels leave every man thinking about their own ideals and force them to seriously question the present society and its ways.
This is a must read for every thinking man.

"It is those few that move the world and give life it's meaning- and it is those few that i have always sought to address. The rest are no concern of mine: it is not me or " The Fountainhead " they will betray: it is their own souls."- Ayn Rand.

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