Ayn Rand’s masterpiece, Anthem, is disturbing and eerie - not because of violent subject matter, but because it reaches the core of what it means to be human. She creates a future utopian society in order to reveal the problems with certain ideologies and promote her own philosophy. In this society, there is no such thing as an individual. They are brainwashed to believe everyone is exactly the same, their place in society is given to them, they are not allowed to think, compare themselves to others, learn anything aside from their way of life and brainwashing chants, own anything, prefer anyone above another, etc. Rand artistically portrays this way of life through each character’s reference to themselves as “we.”
“Our name is Equality 7-2521, as it is written on the iron bracelet which all men wear on their let wrists with their names upon it. We are twenty-one years old. We are six feet tall, and this is a burden, for there are not many men who are six feet tall. Ever have the Teacher and the Leaders pointed to us and frowned and said: ‘There is evil in your bones, Equality 7-2521, for your body has grown beyond the bodies of your brothers.”
If the description of the city is not unsettling enough, Rand’s grammatical shift takes her message deep into the mind, emotions, and core of her reader’s being. As the story progresses, her character eventually discovers the bondage he is in when he breaks the laws of society and flees. Upon his liberation, he discovers the forbidden word: EGO.
“I AM. I THINK. I WILL.
My hands…My spriit…MY sky…MY forest…This earth is mine…
This, my body and spirit, this is the end of the quest. I wished to know the meaning of things. I am the meaning. I wished to find a warrant for being. I need no warrant for being, and no word of sanction upon my being. I am the warrant and the sanction.
It is my eyes which see, and the sight of my eyes grants beauty to the earth. It is my ears which hear, and the hearing of my ears gives its song to the world. It is my mind which thinks, and the judgment of my mind is the only searchlight that can find the truth. It is my will which chooses, and the choice of my will is the only edict I must respect.”
Though Rand’s political message is obvious, her philosophical message is quite involved. In her introduction, she claims to be a humanistic atheist. Rand believes everyone is born with a will and it should be exercised freely. To be human means to be able to exercise the will: to be an individual. The greatest value is the ability to rationally make choices. Likewise, the greatest sin upon mankind is the suppression of their will.
Her message of the innate individualism of human beings is true and portrayed brilliantly. Mankind is indeed born with a will and the desire to exercise it. Furthermore, it is impossible to entirely suppress this will. In the story, an elaborate society with fully brainwashed citizens and a strict discipline system are not enough to prevent the innate sense of the ego from emerging.
Despite the nuggets of truth, Rand’s belief that man’s self is ultimate reality and the chief value is mistaken. Upon reading her work, it is my proposition that she could also find friends in the Existentialist camp. In Existentialism, the emphasis is on becoming rather than being. Man’s existence precedes his essence; thus, his ability to choose is more important than the choice itself. In Rand’s philosophy, the unleashed will exercising full freedom of choice is more valuable than the choice itself. In other words, a choice is either good or bad based on how it is derived.
The greatest ontological problem is Rand’s attempt to create a basis for reality upon potentiality rather than actuality. The ultimate goal for man and the pinnacle of his existence is the ability to choose, or “choosing,” which is a potential. In contrast, for a Christian, the ultimate reality based upon actuality is “Yahweh is.” Upon this actual existence, everything else can be derived. Yahweh is the necessary being, the first cause, and thus the ultimate value. His existence is firm, never changing, and is the ultimate truth and lens by which man should view the universe. In Rand’s world, the number one value is an “imperfect action” known as the act of choosing freely and having an uninhibited will. There is no “is” in her ultimate reality; only becoming. Thus, there is no actuality; only potentiality.
My next task of research is to observe the connection between Ayn Rand and Sigmund Freud. Updates to come!
For all you Nourishing Traditions people, you must try the Oriental Stuffed Cabbage. It didn't taste too oriental to me, but it was FABULOUS! Totally easy to make and an instant hit. Stuffed inside the cabbage leaves are ground beef, rice, pine nuts, raisins, and yummy spices! (ground cloves, cinnamon, and cumin)
So, I was in an "organizing" mood today and decided I better start my sorting the wheat and chaff of my belongings. After I sorted out all my summer and winter clothes, I decided I might as well put the stuff I am taking in a bag instead of another box to be transplanted later. Why not save a step?? So, I set aside about 5 outfits to be worn over and over again for the next few months (truly European style!) and started loading up the rest of my clothes that made the cut.
My brother graciously helped me pack in as tightly engineered way as possible. We folded each item really tightly and stacked it like books on a bookshelf in this Big Bertha of a duffel bag I found. We have one row on the bottom and another row stacked on top! I managed to get my whole wardrobe save the 3 pairs of pants and 5 shirts still in my drawer in this bag! This is literally everything except my winter coats!
And here's the second layer. I'm noticing a lot of brown...
The final product
Yes, look who managed to be first in my suitcase! (The Complete Works of Plato)
I think packing my life into 4 suitcases might be do-able! If anyone wants to come shopping in Amber's closet of material rejects, please let me know. Amanda and Bekah have already called first dibs. For a general update: I have less than 5 weeks left before FPO and it looks like I might possibly stay with my grandparents for the last two weeks in January before I leave. So, I'm starting the "move 'em out" process a little earlier than I thought! I am supposed to get all my visa paperwork right after Christmas and will hopefully get that finalized by the first week in January!!
...was to Dr. Reid. Loved hanging out with him, gleaning from his spiritual insight, laughing from his colorful personality, and feeling the support and encouragement of his prayer to release me in God's hands. He is such a man of God and a blessing to so many!
Dr. Merritt. Yay!!! Some faculty members. Dr. Liederbach on the front right is my supervising professor. Randy looking a bit like Dracula here... Angela Dawson and I had Greek with Dr. Robinson together. Then, I got to see her in Thailand last January! Sweet Lauren Ashford. My old boss, Dr. Ewart. Yes, he is that intimidating. My boss hooding his doctoral students. For some of them, you can see this is a painful process for him! Rich Holland and his family are friends we have known for many years. He wrote a dissertation about God and Time that I really want to read.
I think the world of Dr. Little. He is a mix between a grandfather figure, a person I can turn to for wise counsel, someone who knows how to make cocky seminary students cry, someone who is sure to keep me humble from picking on me, and an intellectual hero.
Okay, I promised I wouldn't say anything mean, so I'm not. This was the History of Ideas instructor I had my first semester at Southeastern. Let's just say they were not the fondest of memories starting with the time he asked one of the students in our class if she had read her admissions letter properly. On top of that, I have a problem with wearing cowboy boots and a suit. This is Dr. Boozer, one of the Music professors. He has always called me "Red" because of my hair. He also reminds me of my Grandaddy, which makes me happy.
Dr. Spencer was the reason why I decided to come to Southeastern for my undergrad. He is a great philosophy professor and a goldmine of knowledge. I've really been blessed to know him.
Ahh! Melissa, you married Randy Pearce!! He's pretty great!! And I want your first offspring!
This is who she gave me up for. We could have had a life of eternal roommate bliss, but something about him being more handsome than me.
Well, Old Roomie, it's been lots of fun! I wish I could go back and do it all over again. (Even though once through History of Ideas was enought for Derek, for some reason.) Can't believe how much has changed since we were wee little homeschool girls. I really cherish every single memory: from dressing up as sheep for the Christmas Nativity scene, to driver's ed, to Mrs. McCraw's english class, to late-night Krispy Kreme runs, to coffee houses, to rides down to Fayetteville, to endless study hours, to many a late night conversation. Thanks for dragging me out of bed in the mornings, taking all the hot water (even if there was only 3 minutes worth:), making me and Derek say 2 nice things before we could say 1 bad/sarcastic thing, offering biblically sound counsel, letting me cry on your shoulder, and, mostly, for desiring to glorify the Lord in everything you do. You have been such a true friend and incredible blessing to me!