honorary Hose Monster:
I will be the first person to admit that I need attention. Which is why my life is illuminated when I know definitively that someone reads my blog. For a certain Blondemaster K, however, the Hose Monster Blog has become something of an addiction. I must say I am extremely flattered. Nothing like a hot lady telling you to do more of what you already enjoy doing. Read on, Blondemaster K.
So my very first girlfriend gave me a copy of The Fountainhead long before we started dating. I read it and then turned into a serious punk ass for about six months. I got really into Ayn Rand for a little while. Thought she had her finger on something. And to some extent, yeah, she knows some shit.
Some folks have their issues with selfishness, and in extreme cases, I suppose their annoyance is generally justified. But seriously, if you don't consider yourself at all selfish, for what are you getting out of bed every day? I expand selfish in this case beyond the often narrow perception of self-centric thougt to consider anything from which you derive some pleasure. So if altruism gives you some great feeling helping others, knock yourself out and then go have a beer. But if you're doing it because you feel some outside compulsion, then I'd argue that you should probably focus on your own happiness for a time.
Digressions, blah. Anyway, I'm re-reading the Fountainhead at the moment (don't waste your time with Atlas Shrugged because it's just too unbelievable to be worth much of anything), and while I am deriving much food for thought, I keep thinking that Ayn falls into the trap nearly all philosophers do.
Dear Ayn Rand:
Your ideas are interesting. And I have a lot of respect for them and the thought that produced them. An effort like The Fountainhead does a wonderful job of elucidating your opinions. A bit heavy and over the top perhaps, but in general, all literature is, especially "great" literature. But you forget to realize that your ideas only work in book form. Why? Examine the idea of fiction itself: it's not real.
Karl Marx or St. Thomas Aquinas or whoever else you wish to consider all make the same mistake (and I know, it must pain you to see their names in text directed at you. Sorry.). Theories that sound great when applied to sociology remain only that: theories. What works on paper does not work in real life because humans are not by their nature black and white, and human interaction has too many variables for which to adequately account. Marxism and communism sound great on paper, just as capitalism or trickle-down economics do. But we have seen in history the proof that ideology is not a viable tool for directing ways of life.
Look at our own nation, the nation you celebrate and simultaneously condemn in your texts. What is certainly the most prominent nation in the geopolitical world at the current moment and arguably one of the more historical civilizations in terms of advancement, political experimentation and worldwide basketball domination, succeeds exactly because it does not allow itself to fall prey to ideology. The two-party system we currently have is the sleeping beast or the nuclear deterrent that keeps us all in line. We hate it often, or are annoyed by its daliances, but it is the mix of political thoughts and movements that keep the success and progress intact and the nation successful. Our civilization consists of elements of pure capitalism and pure communism, with lots of liberalism and republicanism keeping the balance. You might hate it, but it keeps the wheels of our nation going.
Aside: This past thought just made me wonder if ideologues such as Osama bin Laden or whomever wish the destruction of our country not because of our imperialism or religious and moral impurity or whatever, but because we do not accept the idea of ideology in this country. An amorphous entity is much more annoying than a solid cut-in-stone train of thought such as your jihad-based Islam (which by the way, is an abomination of the Islam preached in the Qu'ran, if you ever choose to read it carefully). Okay, end of aside. My apologies, Ayn. It will never happen again.
Anyway, I just wanted to thank you for thinking and believing and creating, and being selfish enough to share your thoughts with the rest of us. However, I wanted to give you a heads-up that you missed something important. I believe in a lot that you say, but my capacity of thought, which you so revere, allows me to see that I live in a world not controlled by absolutes, and as such, I make a hybridization of your thoughts with those of others and with my own. But again, I am in great debt to you for your contribution.