Quote of the week...please share your favourite line from Ayn Rand's writings

“Happiness is that state of consciousness which proceeds from the achievement of one's values.”

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Randed for life

Nilanjana Roy has a wonderful review of Anne C Heller's "Ayn Rand And The World She Made: in Business Standard. Excerpts:

"It is impossible to explain to Ayn Rand believers why some readers outgrow The Fountainhead and why Atlas Shrugged and Anthem are not taught in universities; it is impossible to explain to Ayn Rand sceptics why millions of readers never outgrow the lure of Rand’s philosophy. G B Shaw at once skewered and (faintly) praised another seductive ideology in his famous aphorism: “A man who is not a communist at the age of twenty is a fool. A man who is still a communist at the age of thirty is an even bigger one.”"

"Rand’s childhood was marked by the persecution her Jewish family suffered in the Russia of the early 20th century, and by an early determination to make something of her life — in later years, she would reinvent herself as a writer. In the US, she met and married a young, charismatic actor, Frank O’Connor, but her life would always overshadow his. She struggled to make it in Hollywood as a script writer, but it would be her books and her unparalleled ability to command attention and attract a loyal, sometimes terrified, but always fascinated audience that would make her what she became.

It’s hard to explain what constitutes charisma, so much more powerful and inescapable than beauty, intellect or charm, but what Ayn Rand possessed and honed was in the nature of an undeniable, inscrutable inner force. She was a heavy Benzedrine user, and displayed some of the characteristics of the addict, from a restless, relentless mind to paranoia. In later years, she had an affair with Nathaniel Branden, a much younger acolyte who would become a kind of founder of the American self-help movement. It is characteristic of Rand that it was not enough to have the affair — she had to gain the consent of her husband and Branden’s wife, and when Branden fell in love, years later, with another, younger woman, Rand would deal with it by endless rounds of “therapies” with him before a final, irrevocable break."

"None of this explains the continued force of Rand’s ideas, or the continued power of The Fountainhead and Atlas ShruggedM, in particular, to sway the minds and hearts of readers. Heller’s biography will make Rand sceptics and the faithful uncomfortable in equal measure — but like its subject, this book is impossible to ignore. To steal a phrase from the Simon & Garfunkel song, once you’ve been Ayn Randed, the scar is permanent."

1 comment:

  1. I knew Ayn Rand over a period of 19 years. I was a close friend at the end of her life. Anne Heller, who never knew her, has it all wrong. In fact, Ayn Rand was just like the heroes she created in her novels--just as rational, honest, and devoted to ideals.

    And by the way, her Objectivist philosophy *is* now being taught in a growing number of American universities.