After Thoughts — “Atlas Shrugged” by Ayn Rand
After Thoughts is a series where I jot down my thoughts on interesting books/movies. Where I look back and capture the ideas presented, insights, and takeaways!
Ayn Rand’s “Atlas Shrugged” is one of the best fiction reads I’ve read till now. I wish I had read it sooner. I wish I had questioned myself sooner. I wish.
I am 26 now and I guess it’s not so late in life to retrospect and act on my abilities.
So, on Feb 10th, 2021, I’ve set out to discover the answer to the book’s opening question: “Who is John Galt?”. It is an intriguing mystery with strong independent characters, high-pitched urgency in Rand’s tone, uncomplicated morality, and the suspense at every stage made it very difficult to put it down.
It got me thinking, questioning myself as well as the world. It made me look at the world, people around me, and events more critically.
Introspection is inevitable when you’re reading this. You can’t help but question yourself. You can’t help but compare yourself with the characters in the book. You start questioning things around you and their mere existence.
There’s a 60-page speech in the book which everybody should read, digest, and think about.
One of the many from the book which I want you to read aloud to yourself:
“To all the living species that train their young in the art of survival, the cats who teach their kittens to hunt, the birds who spend such strident effort on teaching their fledglings to fly — yet man, whose tool of survival is mind, does not merely fail to teach a child to think, but devoted the child’s education to the purpose of destroying his brain, by convincing him that thought is futile and evil, before he has started to think
From the first catchphrases flung at a child to the last, it is like a series of ships to freeze his thought, to undercut the power of his consciousness
What are you to think? It is because I say so; Don’t argue, Obey!; Don’t rebel, adjust; Don’t try to understand, believe; Don’t stand out!, Belong; Don’t struggle, Compromise!!” — We have been hearing this all our life.
“Who are you to know?? Your parents know the best!”
“Who are you to know?? Your society knows the best!!”
“Your heart is more important than your kind” Follow your heart!”
This, the one we are all conditioned to think is right, is killing thought in the world. And parents condition the child before the child chooses to think himself
Noting down some of the influential ones from the book here:
“One had to concern oneself with the rational, not the insane. One had to seek that which was right, because the right answer always won, that the senseless wrong, the monstrously unjust could not work, could not succeed, could do nothing but to defeat itself”
“What is morality?” She asked. Judgment to distinguish right and wrong, vision to see the truth, the courage to act upon it, dedication to that which is good and integrity to stand by the good at any price”
“People usually don’t want to think. The deeper they get into trouble, the less they want to think. But by some sort of instinct, they feel that they ought to think and it makes them feel guilty. So they’ll bless and follow anyone who gives them a justification for not thinking”
“It is to know the unimportance of suffering, that pain is to fought and thrown aside, not to be accepted as part of one's soul, as a permanent scar across one’s view of existence”
End Note: A Man without purpose drifts at the mercy of random feelings and is capable of any evil because he’s out of control of his own life.
Thanks for reading!