Sunday, November 13, 2016

Atlas Shrugged

  •  the situation where the most important productive people in the world refuse to work ( go on strike ).
  • the nature of altruism, its consequences and the enormity of the moral corruption it perpetrates
  • social novel
  • relation
  • the world is moved by creators
  • how second-handers live on the creators
  • how desperately the world needs prime movers, how viciously the world treats prime movers
  • what happens to the world without prime movers
  • the world's story -- world's (body) relation to its prime movers (heart)
  • what happens when prime movers don't do
  • why the prime moves allow the second-handers to live on them 
  • why creators had not gone on strike througout history
  • what errors do the best creators make that keep them in thrall to the worst (Dagny Taggart, railroad heiress declaring war on the strikers, she refuses to join the strike), Dagny Taggart's errors (the kind of errors individualist and creator often make)
  1. over-optimism--she thinks men are better than they actually are, she doesn't really understand men and is too generous about it
  2. over-confidence--she thinks she can do more than an individual actually can; she thinks she can run a railroad (or the world) single-handed; she can make people do what she want or needs,what is right, by the sheer force of her own talent; she will show then how; she can teach them and persuade them; she is so able that they will catch it from her --- a mistaken faith in other people's rationality, mistakenly believe that others are better than they really are (or will become better, or she will teach them to become better, or actully, she so desperately wants then to be better), thus to be tied to the world by that (wrong) hope
  3. don't attempt to be the spark of initiative for the collective
  4. don't attempt to be the bearer of responsibility for a whole collective
  • Reason is not automatic; those people who deny it can't be conquered by it; don't count on those people; leave them alone
  • errors individualist and creator often make--- to be optimistic, since the creator believes in a benevolent universe and functions on that premise, but it is an error to extend that optimism to other specific men --- this is not necessary, because
  1. the creator's life and the nature of the universe don't require, his life doesn't depend on others
  2. man is a being with free will, thus, each man is potentially good or evil, and it's up to him and only to him (through his own reasoning mind), to decide which he wants to be, this decision will affect only him; it is not (can't not, should not be) the primary concern of any other human being

  • don't worship mankind (as a collective)
  • man, at his highest potential, is realized and fulfilled within each creator himself; whether the creator is alone, of finds only a handful of others like him, or is among the majority of mankind, if of no importance or consequences whatever, numbers have nothing to do with it 
  • it should not matter to a creator whether anyone or a million or all the men around him fall short of the ideal of man--- let him live up to that ideal himself, this is all the optimism about man that he needs
  • it is proper for a creator to have an unlimited confidence in himself and his ability, to feel certain that he can get anything he wishes out of life, that he can accomplish anything he decides to accomplish, and that it is up to him to do it (he feels it because he is a man of reason)
  • But the creator must clearly in mind:
  1. don't place his wish primarily within others
  2. don't attempt or desire anything that is of a collective nature, anything that concerns others primarily or requires primarily the exercise of the will of others
  3. if the creator attempt the above, he is out of a creator's province and in that of the collectivist and second-hander
  4. must never feel confident that he can do anything whatever to, by or through others --- he can't, should not even wish to try it, the mere attempt is improper
  5. must not think that he can somehow transfer his energy and intelligence to others and make them fit for his purposes in that way

  • the creator must face other men as they are, recognizing them as essentially independent entities, by nature, and beyond his primary influence
  • the creator must deal with others only on his own, independent terms, deal with such as he judges can fit his purpose or live up to his standards (by themselves and of their own will, independently of him), and expect nothing from others
  • to settle down into a job that requires less than your mind's full capacity is to cut your motor and sentence yourself to another kind of motion; decay
  • your work if the process of achieving your values, and to lose your ambition for values is to lose your ambition to live
  • your body is a machine, your mind is the driver, you must drive as far as your mind will take you, with achievement as the goal of your road
  • your work is the purpose of your life, you must speed past any killer who assumes the right to stop you
  • any value you might find outside your work (any other loyalty or love), can be only travelers you choose to share your journey and must be travelers going on their own power in the same direction
  • happiness is a state of non-contradictory joy--a joy without penalty or guilt, a joy that does not clash with any of your values and does not work for your own destruction, not the joy of escaping from your mind, but of using your mind's fullest power, not the joy of faking reality, but of achieving values that are real, not the joy of a drunkard, but of a producer
  • Happiness is possible only to a rational man, the man who desires nothing but rational goals, seeks nothing but rational values, and finds his joy in nothing but rational actions
  • I seek or desire nothing from men except such relations as they care to enter of their own voluntary choice. It is only with their mind that I can deal and only for my own self interest, when they see that my interest coincides with theirs. When they don't, I enter no relationship, I let dissenters go their way and I do not swerve from mine.
  • independent mind that recognizes no authority higher than its own and no value higher than its judgment of truth

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