Saturday, May 10, 2008

Who is John Galt?

For all those unfamiliar with Ayn Rand's massive tome "Atlas Shrugged", this is the empty, rhetorical question posed countless times by both the main characters and most of the secondary characters. I get a chill when I gaze on the world Rand has created, for I cannot help but feel sometimes that our species is heading for a future like this. A world where people who do the thinking and the hard work are not credited or respected for what they have done, while those who are content to sit on their butts and whine about how they are not being respected are being heard with open ears and open wallets. A few areas of today's society leap to mind when I think of what Rand calls 'the looters' - people who would gladly take the credit - and the money that comes with it - from other people who dream big and actually have the nerve to act upon their dreams.
Rand's concept in 'Atlas Shrugged' sounds oddly communist, while the big businessmen are derided as being greedy and not worth respecting. The big businessmen started out small and worked hard to get where they are today. Bill Gates, Donald Trump, and the more faceless CEO's and presidents of companies; they all started small and worked hard to attain the height of their respective mountains. As much as people poke fun at guys like Trump, they have to respect them for getting as far as they have. The downfall of the world is not heralded by a hellish shriek, but by the cry "It's not my fault!" Okay, so it isn't your fault, but that does not mean you should abdicate all responsibility for what you do here on in.
I admire a line in the book that says the 'greatest guilt is to accept an undeserved guilt'. People need to start taking that truth to heart and accept the guilt that is theirs but no other guilt. Consider how much freer we would all feel without that huge burden weighing us down! Time to accept responsibility where it is due but not to feel guilty about something someone else did. If more people accepted this truth, I can imagine how much would change... especially in Canadian politics, but enough muttering about such stuff.
I read "Atlas Shrugged" a little over a year ago and loved it so much I wanted to return to it again. Well, it's been a year, so I took it up. I'm on Part 3 now, and loving every moment. (Spoiler! It's in Part 3 where the reader finally gets to meet the mysterious John Galt.) Time to get back to it!

1 comment:

totalratbag said...

"Who is John Galt?"