Ayn Rand’s accessible world
I just finished Atlas Shrugged. I had a hard time trying to exist in the real world, eagerly letting my mind wander off to Rand’s universe, to peek into the lives of her god-like characters, to perversely observe their decisions and actions. She is one woman with solid opinions and an absolutist perspective. I am admiring her language, world and philosophy, it is remarkably clear, accessible and inspiring.
The negative criticism I have read about “Atlas Shrugged” seems as pure nonsense, unnecessary wording — irrelevant. I have seen scornful comments containing terms such as “radical right-wing beliefs”, “extreme narcissism”, ego-centrism, capitalism etc, using those as equals to pure evil. She preaches about building, maintaining and earning from a successful business, of creating a monopoly and ruling the world through it. All the things associated with an inhumane mindset, but also all making sense in the beautifully naive fictive world of her heroes. People forget that they need god-like characters to inspire the search for the best within them, they need faces to put on the virtues they believe in, to help them become accessible. They need those faces to put in the context of the reality as they know it, and so — to help them reach those same virtues within us. Rand built shapes with minds of steel and sunlight, carrying her highest virtues and her bravest and most sincere views of the superiority of humans. She believes that every human can be a Best and can rule the world, as long as he has his purpose, recognises it and follows it eagerly, regardless of society, government, establishments and rules. I entered the world of a dreamer, she built every single piece of it from her own personal perfection-dough, she knew what was missing in her reality, made it up and put it all together in the universe of “Atlas Shrugged”. I entered it, walked through the skyscrapers of New York and found their sheen pleasantly blinding my eyes and pulling me towards them, making my reality seem dull, grainy and dead. Now those gods of hers are in my mind, her voice seems loud and powerful whenever I am in doubt and I realise how potent a person’s stand can be.
My reading of “Atlas Shrugged” over about three weeks was accompanied by a few strangely delightful events. My partner started listening to the audiobook about Steve Jobs. Jobs is one of his examples of a real man with a fulfilled life and true values, and he was eagerly telling me everything interesting he remembered about Jobs’ attitude, decisions, failures and his own reflections on those. At the beginning, I was simply enjoying our passionate discussions, inspired by the stories we were reading; after a few days, I started finding too many overlaps of what Dimo told me about Jobs’ life, and what I read about the characters and their philosophy in “Atlas Shrugged”. Initially I thought it must be from the way me and Dimo digest information, we have a lot in common and similar things impress us; however, after a few of these overlaps, I googled and found out an article in which Wozniak mentions “Atlas Shrugged” as one of Jobs’ “bibles”. Whether that is true, I do not care finding out, but what inspired me was the fact that the close-to-impossible characters described in Rand’s book, actually do exist in our modern world — her dreamland has come true.
Our world is filled and transformed by inventors, creators and passionate people with purpose, with a powerful drive to exist fully, to experience life and build it better. These people are among us and within us. We need to find out own dreams and follow them, to support things we believe in and discard beliefs which pull us back.
“I started my life with a single absolute: that the world was mine to shape in the image of my highest values and never to be given up to a lesser standard, no matter how long or hard the struggle.”