He can’t hack it: A rebuttal to objectivism

I know what it means when someone calls a comedian a hack — I’ve seen enough Seinfeld to understand this concept. I’ve also heard about the term ‘life hack’ — This is all about making the mundane tasks a little fun. These definitions were the extent of my life’s framing until I read ‘The Fountainhead’ by Rand.

I read the intro before I got stuck in to the book itself. It talked about Rand’s philosophy: her objectivism; I had no idea what this meant. Having finished the book, my understand is only a little more informed.

From a reviewers point of view, the novel starts stronger than it finishes; however, the final pages spill out Rand’s ‘objectivist’ perspective. I have no idea who wrote this article on Wikipedia, but I believe this gives a good account of her philosophy so present in ‘The Fountainhead’:

“Objectivism’s central tenets are that the proper moral purpose of one’s life is the pursuit of one’s own happiness (rational self-interest), that the only social system consistent with this morality is one that displays full respect for individual rights embodied in laissez-faire capitalism, and that the role of art in human life is to transform humans’ metaphysical ideas by selective reproduction of reality into a physical form—a work of art—that one can comprehend and to which one can respond emotionally.”

To give this a bit of context, in ‘The Fountainhead’, the architect, Howard Roark is so steadfast in his personal philosophy that he destroys a building rather than let it exist as an altered version of his original design.

I agree with Rand, although nothing is as black and white as the situations that can be expressed in a novel. I believe that art does transform humans; however, it’s not the role of art. The role of art is to exist. It’s very presence is an Anthem to humanity. Transformation implies change, for some, art is a reinforcer of long held beliefs. It is not the sole tenant of art.

It’s funny that I encounter objectivism for the first time in a time when the collective has never been so important. The success of my time in Colombia rests on my ability to get through to, and cooperate with, my Colombian co-teachers. For example: I have to work with a person who speaks next to no English (he’s an English teacher by the way). We must get the class to listen up. To act and listen (they’re mostly 12, 13, and 14). Conversely, I’m working with another teacher, the experience is a pleasure. Progress will be made — there will be progress.

This is not a time for the ego to express itself.

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