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Principles in Ayn Rand’s Fountainhead


1. Nature has shunned Europe and Asia which are class ridden and caste ridden to create a vast expanse of human physical opportunities which will become the representative of the future world union. That is America.

2. Because Nature has to start with the physical level, she starts with the physical resources. This is seen in the vast natural resources, the physical size of the country, the length of the coastline.

3. To overcome the rigidities into which civilization has run, Nature to start afresh from the physical created the United States. In this sense it is an ascent.

4. Because the immigrants bring with them cultural experience, mental endowments of their own countries, in this experiment we see the evolution in the descent subconsciously.

5. It is said that to reclaim one acre of land in America three people died. It means that the physical, wanting to learn afresh, learns not by change but by destroying itself.

6. The ideal of the immigrants is the ideal of the nation they have come from. They tried to recreate in different walks of life the attainments of Greece, Rome, and their own countries. The thing that really took them to USA is their quest for freedom, which is the positive side of their settlement. Nostalgia makes them reestablish the old culture. That will be a retrogressive step. In this conflict man has to exercise his choice, which is the human choice. What the US citizen is to discover is not the past European civilization, but it is the essence of the past European civilization in the context of the present American freedom. We can see the parallel for the three dimensions of time here.

7. The physical learning by destruction was really consummated in the first and second world wars, in which about 50 million people died. When the physical died, it died with a sense of pride. It died voluntarily. Sense of pride belongs to the vital. Actually it is a mental value. We can even stretch it to describe it as a spiritual value of honor.

8. Mind is the first entity that can reverse consciously. If the two world wars have represented the destruction of the physical, the Cold War represents the terrors of the vital. The period of the Cold War was a period of enormous tension all over the world. As soon as the Cold War was over, we see the revival of the rigid physical in the shape of terrorism. The American equivalent of terrorism is the aspiration to carry a gun. On the day guns are abolished by law, America will be finally free of its physicality.

9. So far for the negative accomplishment. When the negative is removed, positive endowments must be developed. The development of positive endowments does not wait for the total destruction of the negative. They go hand in hand.

10. The prerogative of the mind is to accept the conscious evolution. That prerogative is exercised by the human choice every moment.

11. The physical, having given up its physicality, has to develop physical skills which are superior to the physical skills of the nations from which the immigrants have come.

12. Among other things, the distance that separated America from Europe facilitated the development of greater skills. Nature itself has cooperated in that endeavour by the land producing more than the native lands. It can be explained or understood as the virgin soil giving more than a depleted soil. That way we will explain away an evolutionary progress as a physical phenomenon. Such a choice of the mind will become the basis and the potential for organized resistance.

13. The USA was encouraged to be in isolation because of the distance from other continents. Isolation is a virtue for developing the foundation of physical wealth and military security. That isolation which was a virtue in the beginning has a tendency to become an anachronistic obstacle. In the first world war, the USA was not quite willing to get involved. Even in the second world war, until Pearl Harbour, they kept themselves aloof. As a matter of fact, the two wars indirectly helped to build the economy of USA.

14. The world leadership was almost thrust on USA after the second world war. Initially it was a military leadership. Then it became political leadership. Then it became a consequence of economic pre-eminence. Today USA is the cultural leader of the world.

15. The hippy movement originated in the USA as a revolt against the establishment. It was the distance beginning of the emerging individual. Though they were absorbed by the society later, the spirit of their revolt is still alive.

16. The 20th Century was called the century of the common man. The 21st Century will be the century of the spiritually free individual. The novel Fountainhead was published in 1947 by a Russian emigrant who became an American citizen. The hero of the novel is Howard Roark, an architect. To him architecture is his life. He speaks of the integrity of the buildings because he sees them as a whole integrated with every aspect of the environment. Though architecture is an insignificant part of life, for a civilization that is physical, architecture and the buildings are a major part.

17. The hero has all the characteristics of a pioneer and society responds to his pioneering effort as of old. What is new in Howard Roark is his detachment, non-reacting equality, ability not to seek anything, even the woman he is passionately in love with. He never wavers from truth. All these are preeminently features of the spirit. How many rishis will past the test of equality is a valid question. In that sense, Roark exceeds the rishis. The author portrays him as a supreme egotist. He describes himself as a selfish man. He is obviously without the vital, mental ego. He is not aware of the spiritual character of his endowments.

18. If such a character is produced in a novel written in 1947, though it is written by a Russian emigrant, it means in the collective - USA as well as the world - there must be a readiness to produce many more of his type.

19. The birth of the individual, understood as mental individuality, must be preceded by so many attributes of the society. These attributes will be positive as well as negative. The positive will be in the ascendancy. The negative will be receding. What recedes may sometimes rise in strength and dominate the whole.

20. In truth it is spiritual individuality in the mind that is emerging. In its appearance it will be an odd mixture. In its essence it will be a pure crystal.

21. It is noteworthy to see that the necessary foundation in wealth and physical security is abundantly laid in USA. Seen from this perspective, the history of the West, particularly that of USA, will explain itself in the light of the theory of social evolution.

22. A perfect understanding emerges when every event in the past four centuries (military, political, literary, social, trade, educational, commercial, psychological) is fitted into this theory perfectly.

23. Theoretically, the world is a marvel. We appreciate the evolutionary movement. But we must equally appreciate the movements that are counter evolutionary.

24. Now that statistics are available for the past 200 years and documentation is available for 400 years, USA becomes an eminently suitable case for study.

25. This novel, the course of its narration, touches upon many other aspects of life, which for a discerning eye is an expression of the theoretical understanding. For example, it is the pride of the American people that they have framed the first written constitution in the world. Freedom is their pride of possession. The freedom that is cherished for the individual today existed 100 years ago as the freedom of the collective. When a man is found guilty, the local population dragged him out and hanged him from the nearest tree. In the light of today's experience, that may not have been freedom, but that was how freedom was protected by the collective.

story | by Dr. Radut