Thursday, September 28, 2006

Atlas Shrugged

"Who is John Galt?" Well last week I finally fully found out. That's right I have finished reading Atlas Shrugged. It took me a little longer than I would have liked, I had a few breaks in-between and school didn't help. So what impression have I come away with? I will be honest that I went into this book absolutely expecting to hate every moment of it and take nothing out of it. But I really enjoyed it and I don't think you can spend 2 1/2 months and countless hours conversing with an author and not be impacted nor moved by the experience.

I won't give a summary of the book other than discussing the title and then I will spend just a few moments discussing some of the more interesting aspects of Ayn Rands philosophy. The title is an allusion to the mythical story of Atlas who lead the Titans in a revolt against the Olympians and after suffering defeat it forced to carry the weight of the world on his shoulders for all eternity. Two of the main characters Hank Rearden and Francisco are discussing the story early in the book and each provides insight into what they would do if they were Atlas. Francisco's response is, "I'd Shrug." In other-words we cannot allow others to place their weight upon us because of our ability and decision to follow what is in our rational self-interest.

Ayn Rand's philosophy is called objectivism, an egoist philosophy which believes that we should follow what is in our own self interest and not compromise our own value for others benefit nor should we allow ourselves to be coerced into sacrificing ourselves for the 'greater good'. Here are some of the more poignant quotations. "If any part of your uncertainty is a conflict between your heart and your mind--follow your mind." -pg. 802.

"My refusal to be born with original sin. I have never felt guilty of my ability. I have never felt guilty of my mind. I have never felt guilty of being a man. I accepted no unearned guilt and thus was free to earn and know my own value." John Galt pg. 745

"Contradictions do no exist. Whenever you think that you are facing a contradiction, check your premises. You will find that one of them is wrong." -pg. 199

"If you ask me to name the proudest distinction of Americans, I would choose--because it contains all others--the fact that they were the people who created the phrase 'to make money'. No other language or nation had ever used these words before; men had always thought of wealth as a static quantity--to be seized, begged, inherited, shared, looted or obtained as a favor. Americans were the first to understand that wealth has to be created. The words 'to make money' hold the essence of human morality." - pg 414.

"Tell the bastard to look at me, then look in the mirror, then ask himself whether I would ever think that my moral stature is at the mercy of his actions." - John Galt pg 1114

"John Galt is Prometheus who changed his mind. After centuries of being torn by vultures in payment for having brought to men the fire of the gods, he broke his chains—and he withdrew his fire—until the day when men withdraw their vultures."

Enjoy. Currently reading "The Satanic Verses" a novel by Salman Rushdie which is a semi-satire of the Quran. Currently listening to a lot of old metal: Lamb of God, Zao, and At the Gates. Mixed in with some Coltrane and Monk.

Monday, September 18, 2006

An Addition

Alright, so snakes aren't the usual topic of this blog or for that matter the topic of much conversation unless it involves fear. However, I have kept snakes as pets for 2 years now and rather enjoy them: they are low maintenance, gorgeous, calming, and believe it or not have varying personalities. If you don't believe me ask my roommate the temperament of his Kingsnake Rico. This week I purchased my 3rd snake.

My first, Socrates, I only had for a few weeks before it learned to escape and for all I know is still living in Seymour Hall at Knox College. After getting a new lid I bought Plato, a Male Red Albino Corn Snake, whom I have had going on two years now. This week I bought Chanel, a Super Oketee Female Corn. That's right Plato now has a girlfriend.

Below is Plato: my juvenile male, currently a little over 2 feet, he should max out around 5-6 feet.

Chanel: only a few weeks old she is hard to photograph as she is very squirmy and about the size of a pencil. She will grow to about 4 feet, maybe 5.

They don't live together yet, but once Chanel gains some mass they will be roommates.