Review: The Fountainhead

The Fountainhead
The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Overall I enjoyed the plot of this novel, and the story moves quickly. However, I think it is the sort of bad fiction that tries too hard to awkwardly wedge philosophical concepts into the dialog instead of accurately describing human nature through the choices of the characters.

Much of it seemed liked science fiction. The main characters and the choices they make resemble no human being that I have met along my life’s journey. It was like an episode of Star Trek where a species of beings on a different planet has a different sense of justice and interdependence.

First of all there are no children anywhere in the 700 pages. It is as if human beings are fully formed out of the womb. This is magnified by the not-so-subtle philosophy that we are to live for ourselves and not for other people. But children and their upbringing as well as the self-sacrifice good parents make for their kids are completely left out of the equation. Perhaps this is why college kids like this novel – they think they are all grown up, mature, and that all aspects of children in their lives have been removed. The only example of parents are the spineless Mrs. Keating and the paternally impotent Guy Francon.

In Ayn Rand’s philosophy known as Objectivism, there is an idea that the only form of knowing is reason. She weaves this idea throughout the fabric of the novel, suggesting that the heroes of the story also believe this. I only ask, then what purpose does fiction have? Why not just write non-fiction? It is because story telling also transmits knowledge in a way that is complimentary to and not subservient to reason. A novelist, by the very medium, rejects that reason is the only form of knowledge.

I understand the time period that this was written, and I recognize her need to make a statement about the evils of Marxist Communism. Losing one’s own identity within the mass of society is not good for anyone. For a true atheist, the only alternative is self-seeking.

That is because we all define and come to understand ourselves, as the philosopher Martin Buber put it, in an I-Thou relationship. I am myself and not another. Those of us who open ourselves up to God (who has with non-physical and non-temporal personal characteristics) have a consequent I-Thou relationship, discovering ourselves as a person other than God. Atheists must designate that relationship to other physical human beings and so must always put the self first in order to not lose themselves in an amorphous population.

But even the atheist has to see that biologically we a the combination of two people. Our very being is dependent upon human interdependence.

From the final courtroom testimony of the main character Roark, I think Ayn Rand really does think that she is writing something Promethean. But the fire she is offering is as old as that associated with the serpent in the first pages of the Hebrew Bible. She has created her own following of “second-handers.”

I give it 4 stars because it is worth reading, but only as a glimpse into the poorly-formed 20th Century intellectualism that expedited the self-centered mess that we are currently in.

View all my reviews

How to Fix the Election Process

  1. First you would start with all of the candidates who want to run.  And there is a deadline for them to submit their names so no one can start running at a later date.
  2. Next, there are rounds of voting by which voters vote for the candidates whom the DO NOT WANT to be elected.
  3. The 50% who get the most amount of votes are out.
  4. This continues until there are only 2 candidates left and then there is one last vote.

The reason this might work better is because the people who spend the least amount of money on advertising and who are the least known have the best chance.

The annoying people with all of the lobbyist money and egos will be out of the race sooner.

I’d be interested in your thoughts below.

A Cure for Bad Education

In September 1974, the English philosopher Michael Oakeshott delivered the Abbott Memorial Lecture at Colorado College. Entitled “A Place for Learning,” Oakeshott’s lecture attacked the dominant model of education, a model predicated on the theories of the American educationist John Dewey. Learning, Oakeshott observed, should take place under “conditions of direction and restraint designed to […]

via The New Classical Education — The Imaginative Conservative

Science and the Story that We Need by Neil Postman | Articles | First Things

The principal spiritual problem confronting those of us who live in a technological age was spoken of some years ago in a prophetic poem by Edna St. Vincent Millay, in her collection Huntsman, What Quarry?

Upon this gifted age, in its dark hour,
Rains from the sky a meteoric shower
Of facts . . . they lie unquestioned, uncombined.
Wisdom enough to leech us of our ill
Is daily spun, but there exists no loom
To weave it into fabric.

Read this really good article from 1997 at: Science and the Story that We Need by Neil Postman | Articles | First Things

Do you think that the iTunes store should move Gregorian chant from the Classical genre to the Christian & Gospel genre?

What do you think?

Benedict XVI is Pretty Much the Theological Equivalent of Batman – EpicPew

Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, whose baptismal name is Joseph Ratzinger, will turn ninety years old on Sunday, April 26, 2017 (Easter Sunday this year)! Pope Emeritus Benedict recently released his mu…

Source: Benedict XVI is Pretty Much the Theological Equivalent of Batman – EpicPew

Pope John Paul II: That They May Be One

Jesus himself, at the hour of his Passion, prayed that they may all be one (Jn 17:21). This unity, which the Lord has bestowed on his Church and in which he wishes to embrace all people, is not something added on, but stands at the very heart of Christ’s mission. Nor is it some secondary attribute of the community of his disciples. Rather, it belongs to the very essence of this community. God wills the Church, because he wills unity, and unity is an expression of the whole depth of his agape.

Read Full Document: Pope John Paul II 25 May 1995 That They May Be One

Bach’s Mass for All Christians – The Imaginative Conservative

Bach’s “Mass in B Minor” is the summation of his life’s work and one of the supreme masterpieces of Western classical music. Yet mystery surrounds the work. What was its purpose, how did it come to be written, and how was it intended to be performed?… (essay by Michael De Sapio)

Source: Bach’s Mass for All Christians – The Imaginative Conservative

Review: The Fulfillment of All Desire: A Guidebook for the Journey to God Based on the Wisdom of the Saints

The Fulfillment of All Desire: A Guidebook for the Journey to God Based on the Wisdom of the Saints
The Fulfillment of All Desire: A Guidebook for the Journey to God Based on the Wisdom of the Saints by Ralph Martin
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This book was given to me as a gift by a friend. It is a large book of about 420 pages, and it took quite a long time to read, mostly because it is a book on prayer, and each small section requires time on which to meditate.

I can’t imagine any better book to read during Lent. Taking the wisdom of several of the spiritual giants of the Western tradition – Augustine, Bernard, Teresa, John of the Cross, and Thérèse of Lisieux – Ralph Martin groups together common threads of all of these authors’ writings.

If you are interested in growing deeper in your Christian faith or just understanding how it all works, then this might be a good book to commit some time to.

View all my reviews

What is the future of CatholicDH?

This is a great index of all of the Catholic Digital Humanities resources online.

The Jesuit Libraries Provenance Project

The following comments were offered by Kyle Roberts, Director of the Jesuit Libraries Provenance Project, and faculty member at Loyola University Chicago on the Presidential Roundtable, “The Future of Catholic History: What Do Graduate Students Want to Know?” at the American Catholic Historical Association Annual Meeting on Saturday, January 7th, at 10:30 am in Denver.  

The Future of Catholic Digital Humanities

I’ve been asked to speak today for a few minutes about the future of Catholic Digital Humanities (#CatholicDH), a topic that I’ve had the chance to watch develop over the last few years from my position as a digital humanist and historian of religion at Loyola University Chicago. As the Director of Loyola’s Center for Textual Studies and Digital Humanities (CTSDH) for the past six months, I’ve become even more acutely aware of the opportunities – and challenges – that come with doing CatholicDH.

What do I mean…

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