Friday, December 02, 2005

Books I Like

I just finished reading Atlas Shrugged again. It's been many, many years since I had read it cover to cover.

Again, my answer is YES!

I first read it when I was 18. It was as if Ayn Rand had somehow read my mind and defined for me all of those hazy ideas, pinpointed my foggy emotions. I thrilled to the story, the characters, their struggles and triumphs. Someone had finally identified and more importantly, validated, the things I had internalized from a very young age.

Human beingss are heroic.

Life is here on earth and should be triumphant, not depressing and full of despair.

Ideas are important.

My life is my own, the ultimate responsibility for what happens to me lies with me. And the same to you.

Each time I read it, I relate to a different aspect of the novel, depending on what's happening in my life at the time. The first time I read it, I just felt exhilarated and amazed that a better life was possible, understanding that philosophy was vitally important. During my second and particularly shitty and demoralizing job, I read the novel and lived vicariously through Ellis Wyatt and the other strikers (and I did quit that job. Yep, just up and quit!). Before I found my true love, the story of Dagny's search for her own true love, and the love she found along the way, touched me deeply. As my understanding and interest in the field of economics grew while in graduate school, I paid special attention to the impact of bad ideas on the society in Atlas Shrugged and the parallels I saw (and sadly, do still see) in America. This time, I paid attention to the few (but more than I remembered) references to parents and children as well as the process by which Hank and Dagny realized the truth of their errors.


Ayn Rand was right.

A is A.

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