"A mind once stretched by a new idea can never regain its original dimensions." ~Oliver Wendall Holmes

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Tuesday, April 01, 2014

Number 10: Finish Atlas Shrugged

When I was a teenager, I found The Fountainhead on a bookshelf in my greatgrandmothers house.  I picked it up and read it, although it was long and philosophical.  I enjoyed the story and the philosophy behind it.  Rand's philosophy is called Objectivism.  I've always wanted to read Atlas Shrugged, but was it was a daunting task due to the size of the book and the brain power required to read it.  This book is not a "fluff" book.  It is not an easy read.  You must think it through while reading.  

My philosophy, in essence, is the concept of man as a heroic being, with his own happiness as the moral purpose of his life, with productive achievement as his noblest activity, and reason as his only absolute.
—Ayn Rand

In the book, Rand describes a dystopian society where the government officials had all the power, but no brains.  They make decisions based on their own gain and are considered loofers on the societies capital.  They over regulate everything and institute very "robin hood" like policies of taking from the rich and giving to the poor (themselves excluded).  In many ways, the government system reflects similarities with the corruption of some government officials today.  In response to the pressure from society to give everything away including their minds (ideas), all the best industrialists of the time "go on strike" by leaving society and forming a new town deep within the mountains where they cannot be found.  The economy collapses and the "moochers" dont know what to do about it. The title of Atlas Shrugged refers to the mythical Atlas who carries the world on his shoulders.  The only way to teach people to be self dependent is to shrug off their load and let them carry it for themselves.

The book is also a love story and a science fiction story.  The philosophy is interesting.  Her perspective and the way it is presented are unique.

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