I finished this Ayn Rand book last night. It ended tragically, but it was fitting I think; it was beautifully horrific. I want to talk about the last scene in the book so badly, but that would be a horrible spoiler. This was Rand’s first novel, and I saw a lot of similarities in Atlas Shrugged and Fountainhead. The main character of the book, Kira, is who you see develop and hold true to her personal values. She holds value to the truths in her life and what she thinks is important. She knows what she likes, and why, and does not care for the opinions of others around it. She falls in love with Leo, almost immediately, after he mistakes her for a prostitute. It’s very odd, their coming together, but it’s also very interesting how two people can just meet, and understand everything there is to be understood about each other, when they share the same beliefs. Rand is good for this in her other books too, I think that is one reason that I love her writing.
I think one of the most important characters in the book, besides Kira, is Andrei. He is a die-hard Communist, and very dedicated to his party. But, we see him realized slowly, that people are being strangled by Communism, not just physically, but spiritually as well. He is a part of the love triangle of sorts with Kira and Leo. It’s the value that he finds in Kira, that makes him realize what the Communist party is doing to the people. There is a point in the book where he is giving a speech to the court before Leo’s trail, and I was taken back to a point in Atlas Shrugged, during John Galt’s 60-page speech. Andrei’s version was a very short version compared to that, just two pages, but similar in structure and content. Rand seems to use these male figures to reflect her Objectivism. Some call them rants, I call them brilliant. You see him come to realize by the end of his time in the book, that he knew he was fighting for the wrong cause all along.
Reading this, I felt like the reality of Soviet Russia in the 1920's was very haunting. Maybe the one thing that stuck with me the most, and maybe Rand meant it to be this way, was the description of food, or lack thereof. They ate a lot of sunflower seeds and soup. And because I cannot help myself, I did some side research on that time period in Russia. I read some very disturbing things, like people used to cut off the calves and breasts of others, just to have food to eat. They would eat human flesh. I have never known true hunger myself. I hope I never know this kind of hunger. I hope my children never know this kind of hunger. We are truly a blind society.
As for me, well, it’s April in Kentucky and it’s snowing. Yes, and it was 70 degrees on Tuesday. I have been occupying myself with Jordan Peterson lectures all week, still trying to be a better human, but still cannot get past my own thoughts and still not wanting to change. I remember what Davis said in Turtles All The Way Down, "I can no more choose my own thoughts, than choose my own name", and that is the truth man, that is truth. I have been listening to some Sam Harris podcasts too, but I have a hard time following him. There is something about him, an arrogance maybe, that I am not sure about. Also, this podcast I have been listening to for a while, MostlyLit is wonderful. They talk about books and movies, and culture. They put new episodes up on Twitter and Sound Cloud on Mondays. If you need a new podcast, theirs is a great way to start your week off.
The kids and I are stuck in the house today. I fear we will be forced to eat all the junk food and probably watch The Good Doctor and Firefly until we are in a sugar coma. I am perfectly okay with that. I am starting Slaughterhouse Five tonight. Yes, another Vonnegut. I am not sorry. I'm back to scrolling Twitter, reading the real news, and eating bacon. Have a great weekend guys.
“Because, you see, God—whatever anyone chooses to call God—is one's highest conception of the highest possible. And whoever places his highest conception above his own possibility thinks very little of himself and his life. It's a rare gift, you know, to feel reverence for your own life and to want the best, the greatest, the highest possible, here, now, for your very own. To imagine a heaven and then not to dream of it, but to demand it.”-Ayn Rand