Friday, October 26, 2012

Discovering Thyself


I do not know if it is because of the sun sign that she and I share, but Ayn Rand’s theory of Objectivism and her ideas of ‘selfishness’ being the ultimate truth of human nature, came as little shock to me. I found an easy acceptance of her thoughts, which echoed somewhere deep within me as my fear of voicing it aloud had prevented me from sharing it with anyone for the fear of sounding almost blasphemous. ‘The Fountainhead’ has helped me overcome this fear and I now am all set to reinforce my belief in what perhaps might sound as one of the greatest anti-moral endorsements.
 Among the many differences between human beings and all other forms of life, the most vital is the presence of Ego in the former. Ego, or the sense of ‘I’, taken in the positive sense, is a gift every person is born with. It is what gives a person his identity, and is the reason for his having taken birth in this world. The ‘I’ is therefore extremely essential for every person in order to live and make his life meaningful. Therefore, the aim of life for every person is the discovery of what he makes of the ‘I’ through the course of his life’s journey.
 While religion and morality preaches the subduing of the ‘I’, which is the key to peace and harmony for humanity; it is however, important to understand why and how the ‘I’ should not be shunned and seen as an evil. This is what Ayn Rand has ventured to expound in ‘The Fountainhead.’ In complete agreement with her, it is also a personal espousal of mine in believing in the empowerment of the ‘I’, for it is only when one is strong in oneself, can one be a provider of strength to others. I feel a similar, though indirect echo in Darwin’s theory of ‘survival of the fittest’ (another persona born under the same sign!)
  ‘The Fountainhead’ is about people and characters, rather than the plot. It is hence, of little wonder then, that in all the best literature, it is the characters that are remembered, and the books even named after, such as Jane Eyre, David Copperfield. This makes it much more real and inspiring. The greatness of an author hence perhaps lies in their ability to give life to such characters. For example, in all of Shakespeare’s plays it is the characters and the dialogues that are remembered.  Rand’s characters in the novel belong to that unforgettable treasury of human learning and experiences that have been immortalized not as mere literary characters but as mirrors of that innermost essence in people that has been trained to be concealed through deception and conceit under the guise of societal norms and social approval.  This novel compels the reader into an inevitable introspection and weighing of his deeds and actions and the contemplation of the true goal of his life.
 ‘The Fountainhead’ is a mind-altering experience. It changes you and makes you want to change into not a ‘better’ person, but simply the ‘best’; for that is what the book advocates. It encourages you to rise above yourself and to shun mediocrity. It teaches how and why to love and worship the ‘I’. Rand enlightens the need for the ‘Ego’ and of its importance.
 The novel, which consists of an un-putdownable 694 pages, is one of the very few books I have come across which are engrossing right from the beginning till the end, which is a feat considering its size. Normally, most large books have a tendency to have a slow beginning, or else tend to peter down in the middle or second quarter with a few boring pages or skippable paragraphs. ‘The Fountainhead’ has however given me sleepless nights when I was unable to finish it earlier than I wished. I have not attempted a pure review of the novel, as I believe that if one ventures to review it, then it deserves nothing less than a thorough academic analysis, for such is the vastness of Rand’s philosophies which require an in-depth study. This instead, is a pure outpour of an immediate reaction in its complete rawness. I invite anyone willing to have a spiritual awakening to let themselves experience this masterpiece in order to understand the true secret of human existence – a truth that is silenced under garbs of human constructs of selfishness – that of the negative kind.