Wednesday, 26 June 2013

The Fountainhead, Ethical Egoism and my EE

Genre: Philosophical fiction
Title: The Fountainhead
Author: Ayn Rand

Rating: 2.9/3
Justification: It killed me to take that 0.1 off a perfect rating, but I think it was the right thing to do. I agree with practically every damn idea this book says, but if conversations with other people are anything to go by, you might come to hate me for it. So read at your own risk.

Plotline (from Goodreads):

When The Fountainhead was first published, Ayn Rand's daringly original literary vision and her groundbreaking philosophy, Objectivism, won immediate worldwide interest and acclaim. This instant classic is the story of an intransigent young architect, his violent battle against conventional standards, and his explosive love affair with a beautiful woman who struggles to defeat him. This edition contains a special afterword by Rand’s literary executor, Leonard Peikoff, which includes excerpts from Ayn Rand’s own notes on the making of The Fountainhead. As fresh today as it was then, here is a novel about a hero—and about those who try to destroy him.

My take:

I. Freaking. Adore. This. Book. No joke. This book is basically advocating ethical egoism. I love it.

For anyone who doesn't know what ethical egoism, here's a brief lesson:

Ethical egoism, or self-interest theory, is basically the idea of doing things to serve your own self-interest.

Now, this is not to be confused with selfishness, which often has a negative connotation. Ethical egoists simply believe that by pursuing your own interests instead of trying to serve others is the best way to go.

Here's an example:

A person starts a business. In order for his business to be successful (which is in his own self-interest), he uses the money his company generates in order to grow his business. By not donating any of this money to charity (as would be the 'altruist' thing to do), he is able to grow a successful business. Due to his growing business, he will need to hire more people for jobs, which reduces unemployment rates. So in the end, he is actually creating happiness (for others who would've been jobless before) by simply pursuing his own self-interest.

(Of course, this scenario could be altered depending on what a person's self-interest was. If this guy, for example, was not after becoming filthy rich but rather wanted to feel a peace of mind derived from helping others in need, the situation would've gone down differently.)

I could rant a lot more about ethical egoism and why it makes so much sense, but that might make this blog post a tad too long. Maybe I'll make a longer post detailing my thoughts on this matter at a later point in time.

What I think must've gone on in Ayn Rand's mind:

Goodness, what is with this bullshit of pretending everyone loves everyone else, and that everyone gets happiness from putting others first? Everyone's innately selfish dammit. The world would be a whole lot easier if we all just had some damn common sense and followed our own dreams, instead of getting held back trying to help others! If everyone focused on themselves, the world would progress instead of wallowing in this stinkhole! Hmm... this would make for a good book...

The philosophy is technically the most important component of the novel, but there were other elements to be praised as well. Ok, maybe just one other element.

The characters.

Roark had me over the moon for most of the book. This guy is like the epitome of strength, power, alpha-maleness, *descends into incoherent blabber of respect and admiration while in fangirl-mode*

I guess I've always just loved characters (and real-life people) who are able to chase after what they want. And Roark definitely does that. It's fracking beautiful.

The one thing I didn't like is... come on... why is the female character always weaker dammit?! I guess that compared to other books Dominique isn't even that bad, but compared to Roark her determination is still weak. It's kind of disappointing that even in such an individualist book, Ms. Rand still chooses to conform with her patriarchal society's views of the two genders.

Despite that, the book was... amazing. That's why I've chosen to write... drumroll please... my EE on it!

EE = Extended Essay. IB stuff. Yucky stuff. But hopefully writing it on this book will make things not quite as tedious :)

1 comment:

What do you think? I want to know!