Apr 3, 2010

Who is John Galt?



Me. And You. We should be. 
I've read Atlas Shrugged cover to cover. I won't pretend that I understood it completely at that point of time. Maybe I was too young to grasp it in its entirety or not mature enough. 
But it affected me in a way I cant describe in words anymore. But I so terribly do want to live by it. Am I defeating the purpose by wanting? Only time will tell.
I will read it again one day, when I'm ready for it.


Here is John Galt's speech. Those who haven't read it, you must read it. It is more than a speech. It's a way of living. Art, almost.

THE SPEECH


For twelve years you've been asking "Who is John Galt?" This is John Galt speaking. I'm the man who's taken away your victims and thus destroyed your world. You've heard it said that this is an age of moral crisis and that Man's sins are destroying the world. But your chief virtue has been sacrifice, and you've demanded more sacrifices at every disaster. You've sacrificed justice to mercy and happiness to duty. So why should you be afraid of the world around you?
Your world is only the product of your sacrifices. While you were dragging the men who made your happiness possible to your sacrificial altars, I beat you to it. I reached them first and told them about the game you were playing and where it would take them. I explained the consequences of your 'brother-love' morality, which they had been too innocently generous to understand. You won't find them now, when you need them more than ever.
We're on strike against your creed of unearned rewards and unrewarded duties. If you want to know how I made them quit, I told them exactly what I'm telling you tonight. I taught them the morality of Reason -- that it was right to pursue one's own happiness as one's principal goal in life. I don't consider the pleasure of others my goal in life, nor do I consider my pleasure the goal of anyone else's life.
I am a trader. I earn what I get in trade for what I produce. I ask for nothing more or nothing less than what I earn. That is justice. I don't force anyone to trade with me; I only trade for mutual benefit. Force is the great evil that has no place in a rational world. One may never force another human to act against his/her judgment. If you deny a man's right to Reason, you must also deny your right to your own judgment. Yet you have allowed your world to be run by means of force, by men who claim that fear and joy are equal incentives, but that fear and force are more practical.
You've allowed such men to occupy positions of power in your world by preaching that all men are evil from the moment they're born. When men believe this, they see nothing wrong in acting in any way they please. The name of this absurdity is 'original sin'. That's inmpossible. That which is outside the possibility of choice is also outside the province of morality. To call sin that which is outside man's choice is a mockery of justice. To say that men are born with a free will but with a tendency toward evil is ridiculous. If the tendency is one of choice, it doesn't come at birth. If it is not a tendency of choice, then man's will is not free.
And then there's your 'brother-love' morality. Why is it moral to serve others, but not yourself? If enjoyment is a value, why is it moral when experienced by others, but not by you? Why is it immoral to produce something of value and keep it for yourself, when it is moral for others who haven't earned it to accept it? If it's virtuous to give, isn't it then selfish to take?
Your acceptance of the code of selflessness has made you fear the man who has a dollar less than you because it makes you feel that that dollar is rightfully his. You hate the man with a dollar more than you because the dollar he's keeping is rightfully yours. Your code has made it impossible to know when to give and when to grab.
You know that you can't give away everything and starve yourself. You've forced yourselves to live with undeserved, irrational guilt. Is it ever proper to help another man? No, if he demands it as his right or as a duty that you owe him. Yes, if it's your own free choice based on your judgment of the value of that person and his struggle. This country wasn't built by men who sought handouts. In its brilliant youth, this country showed the rest of the world what greatness was possible to Man and what happiness is possible on Earth.
Then it began apologizing for its greatness and began giving away its wealth, feeling guilty for having produced more than ikts neighbors. Twelve years ago, I saw what was wrong with the world and where the battle for Life had to be fought. I saw that the enemy was an inverted morality and that my acceptance of that morality was its only power. I was the first of the men who refused to give up the pursuit of his own happiness in order to serve others.
To those of you who retain some remnant of dignity and the will to live your lives for yourselves, you have the chance to make the same choice. Examine your values and understand that you must choose one side or the other. Any compromise between good and evil only hurts the good and helps the evil.
If you've understood what I've said, stop supporting your destroyers. Don't accept their philosophy. Your destroyers hold you by means of your endurance, your generosity, your innocence, and your love. Don't exhaust yourself to help build the kind of world that you see around you now. In the name of the best within you, don't sacrifice the world to those who will take away your happiness for it.

The world will change when you are ready to pronounce this oath:

I swear by my Life and my love of it that I will never live for the sake of another man,
nor ask another man to live for the sake of mine.



PS: For the record, I prefer Fountainhead.
PPS: I wish I could have met Ayn Rand, before she killed herself.


Visit: The Ayn Rand Institute


12 comments:

S said...

Um, his speech is much longer, isn't it? It's 80 pages in the book -- the final one that he gives over the radio.

Also, really? You actually want to live by his philosophy? Forget the last line, the whole of it? Don't you think Rand lived in a world that was so black and white that there was no place left for Humans, as humans, to exist?

Such! said...

@S: Yes, man, this is the mini version. More like micro mini, but whatever.
I would want to, yes. I mean, yes its stark in its extremities, but I believe in such extremities. I probably won't be able to achieve that, but it appeals to me. Vastly.

S said...

In her world, the average human being has no place. The average human being is fat, has a "pasty face, tiny black eyes" is constantly sweating, has no "angles" to his/her body, wears glasses, stammers. The super/ideal human must be stick thin, angular, straight-backed, have sparkling coloured eyes, must eternally wear a sardonic smile and must be incapable of normal talk where questions are asked and ignorance is expressed. I'm a little surprised that this appeals to you, since then I will naturally assume that you endorse the connection between "good looks" and "an ideal state of mind" above everything else. Also, that you disapprove of all the NGOs that are tirelessly working right now to do something about the state of the country/causes like rape, poverty etc? Also, that you do not approve of a sense of humour because Rand believed that "humour is a destructive element"?


My point is: do you really approve of/believe everything that Objectivism has to offer, or are you willing to ask questions and consider the possibility of her philosophy being flawed at all?


Eddie Willers passes away into non-existence, and HE is not average, in her terms. What would you do alone in this world?

Such! said...

See, Sharan, what I want is similar to what Rand wants.
I don't want to be her groupie. Neither do I want to follow a cult.

I don't have to believe and agree with every word she says just because I vouch for her basic ideology. Everything, everything is open to individual interpretations.

I'm nor denouncing the NGO's neither am I categorizing - it's not my place to do so. What she thinks is her opinion entirely. Me, I'm more liberal, but I do believe, and firmly at that, in living for one's own happiness. And I encourage the courage it takes to take it forward.

I don't judge her philosophy, I don't consider it flawed too. From where she stood, it was probably right, who am I to deny her?

PS: Im tired.

Christian Prophet said...

Right on! We need to keep asking people to read Atlas Shrugged, not only because of Rand's accurate prophecy, but because she gave the solution to today's problems. See "Ayn Rand, 20th Century Prophetess:"
http://acimmessages.blogspot.com/

S said...

It was right for her, duh. And I'm not sure how "humour is a destructive element" can be open to interpretation, because it's a philosophy, and she has her beliefs pretty firmly in place. I just wanted to know if you agree with everything she says, or if you pick and choose selectively. You can read the Ayn Rand lexicon online to see her expansion of ideas -- as a philosophy.


I'm not "judging" her in that "she is an evil woman omg." It's just that I've seen too many people being enamoured by her ideas (blindly) and refusing to think for themselves. Her ideas are like drugs, and yes it's addictive and we all want to live in an ideal world blah blah, I get it, I was there for a whole year when i worked on Atlas Shrugged for my research paper. I just hope YOU (as in any reader, not you per se) are able to think for yourself and see how much of it you want to believe in.


This whole discussion came up because you said you want to "live by his philosophy." His philosophy includes everything in that lexicon -- it's a pretty loaded statement to make, and it came with no disclaimer -- the kind that you offered in your second post. So I just thought I'd ask :)


@ Christian:

Maybe that's why you read Rand. I'm not sure, coming from a country where more than half the people are illiterate and almost 60% live below the poverty line, that I can say the same for me. I am not against Capitalism but I fear that the rate at which it is swallowing my country, the poor and the illiterate will soon be consumed into nothingness. Of course, in Rand's eyes that's probably what SHOULD happen, but I don't think I would, personally, want that. I read her because I enjoy exploring her ideas and as with Suchi, fitting some of them into my framework. And it makes for great visuals in the head.

Such! said...

@Sharan: I wish I could do my thesis with you :| Sigh, no such luck. And the broader philosophy appeals to me (and it DOES make for great visuals doesnt it?!!) But to have to follow every corollary is not what I meant. To be very honest, I didnt even rmbr the humor part (It came back to me later, when u mentioned it) It wouldn't have changed my statement though. Yes, Im willing to question it sharan. Always. Im not going to stagger blindfolded into a ditch. :D

@Christian: As I said, to each his own. But like she pointed out, the state of our nations and even the basis on which they are founded upon are vastly different. It makes a difference.

alchemy16 said...

I love fountainhead. One of my favorites...
You're not blue-flame anymore? :(

alchemy16 said...

Also, ayn rand died of heart failure... :P

gynelwazlib said...

@Alchemy: Oh, I got tired of BF. So Such! it is. much closer to my name i guess. and she did. i thought she killed herself. suicide or something. what r u saying?! anyway even if it was heart failure, she probably brought in on herself.

- Such!

Ankit Poddar said...

Such,

I prefer fountainhead too, was it the first one of the two that you had read?

and out of speeches from atlas shrugged.. i think the one that francesco makes at the party about money and its non-evilness is a killer really... wish you could put that up...

and of course those two words between francesco and rearden...

Such! said...

Oh, the one btn Francesco and Rearden! That indeed was brilliant - it's all coming back to me now *blinding lights*

I don't have the book with me right now. I sure as hell don't rmbr. I came across this mini version and just had to put it up.

Did I tell you? Im majorly jealous of you, APU and all that prosperity. Rock on Kits! :D