The Fountainhead

I read The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand because two good friends recommended the book to me. I can’t say I agree with the philosophy presented (in a rather round-about way). I do see that some of the points (sticking to your convictions) can be good, but I think the underlying basis (where do these convictions come from?) is not sound.

Here are some of my notes:

Criticism – ‘good/main’ characters seem to know it all – that it’s innate already and not, –influenced by environment – is there not uncertainty? – are principles good? – what about guidelines, is that not better? – deontology versus consequentialism – torture is bad, but in some situations break the rules – struggle? – is that what is fulfilling? – goal of life? (bad questions?) happy days, why principles and struggle? – what is her main point? – zero-sum game – everything is written in terms of lose and win

Theme – certainty versus uncertainty – principles versus no-spine – deontology versus consequentialism – the love for the struggle – obedience versus dominance – at least 50x mentioned – about status roles / power roles – who is the boss over another? – or are you the boss over yourself? (is that even possible) – creator vs parasite – but everything is a remix (link to docu) – unsacrificed self

Musings before reading any other critique – I think the main goal was (/should be) that you live life on your own terms. You’re not being led by others and make your own way in life. And that Rand tries to say that sticking to your principles may hurt in the short-term but lets you be the ‘right’ person in the long-term. I don’t understand the whole struggle and why everything needs to be so difficult. Why not enjoy along the way, whilst still sticking to principles. But is there then room for improvement or forgiveness, change of mind and adaptation?

In my opinion, life could be seen as two phases that move in and out. One is rigid and planning and sticking to it. The other is more loose and seeing what life brings you. The second is what many people are being lived by (without themselves being ‘in control’) and the first is what you might want to aspire to. But that is also too rigid and maybe less enjoyable.