This blog describes some ideas that seem to be different from the current train of political thought. I will try to bring up somewhat unique and innovative ideas regarding political systems and policies in the US. I hope those who comment also bring in such ideas.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

"The Fountainhead" by Ayn Rand

Now comes my delayed post of "The Fountainhead" by Ayn Rand. It is a rather thick novel, and to a certain extent more a book on philosophy than a story.

The characters are meant to exhibit principles. Thus, they can come across as fake. Howard Roark, the heroic architect, comes across to me as somewhat autistic. Dominic Francon, the herione, comes across to me as psychotic, with a more messed up "love-life" than a lampooning of the Jerry Springer show. Gail Wynand, the tough kid from NY who made good, but his fatal flaw of being a "second hander" leads to his downfall. Since I like good character development, it was a little frustrating.

The story is compelling. It has to be, or you would not get through the preaching. Roark working his way through low-level jobs, finally getting a chance to demonstrate his architectural genius, and then destroying a partially-built building when interlopers ruined it. A jury, practicing the lost art of jury nullification, acquits him.

The theme of the novel is that the producers, creators, designers, and builders are the highest manifestation of humanity. It reminds me of "quality" as discussed in "Zen and the art of motorcycle maintenance," as the book discusses architecture, quality building, and art. Ironically enough, both the undercurrent of quality and the undercurrent of psychotic characters.

Rand has been in the news recently, with a whole variety of people reporting on the new popularity, and even the new book reader from Barnes and Noble featuring the novel in publicity shots. I ended up reading The Fountainhead because it was on the shelf at Goodwill, I needed a novel for a trip, and I had never read Rand before. So, it had nothing to do with the current popularity of her work.

The Fountainhead is now quite popular in India, with an Ayn Rand-India blog. Judging from my Chinese friends, I am sure it will be quite popular there someday as well.

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