Rand is missing here - and this tells us a lot about her own perspectives and biases - is that from a strictly religious point of view, Humanity in the Garden *wasn’t* the same as Humanity at present. In other words, when we “Fell” we became what we are now, but we were designed for some other purpose originally. To put as fine a point as I can on it, Rand fails to notice that humanity’s nature at present is “Plan B.” This is not what we were built for, and we quickly blew “Plan A,” but it would be a mistake to assume the likes and dislikes of “Fallen” beings must be the same as they were in our pre-fallen day, just as it’s a mistake to assume people want/love/fear/understand the same things ape do.
The Garden was the blissful existence *for them*, and the world is the best existence *for us.*
I don’t begrudge her for missing this point, though, I’ve clearly thought on these matters more than she has.
“God, a being who’s only definition is that he is beyond man’s power to conceive - a definition that invalidates man’s consciousness and nullifies his concepts of existence.”
--- Nonsense. God is, if nothing else, an idea. Objectivism is, at root, an idea. Ideas have no physical existence, and yet the affect the real world through us. The fact that we’ve cooked up the idea of God proves that we have the power to conceive of Him, therefore He isn’t beyond our power to do so. And since He’s at the very least an idea, clearly He’s not invalidating our consciousness.
“It is not a sacrifice to give your life for other, if death is your personal desire.”
--- agreed. Martyr, or suicidal whackjob - the difference depends on the individual.
“Your self is your mind; renounce it and you will become a chunk of meat ready for any cannibal to swallow. It is your mind they want you to surrender - all those who preach the creed of sacrifice, whatever their tags or motives.”
--- I’m not going to quote John 15:13 here, because I think what she’s getting at is the old Goethe maxim about how you must either be the anvil or the hammer. I think what she’s getting at here is that if you give up your ability to think, you’re resigning yourself to being simply a tool of others who do think. I would argue that her condemnation of the ‘cults of sacrifice’ are misguided. What she’s getting at there is a common belief in the mid-20th century that eastern religions preached a kind of ‘self-death’ or abolition of the self. You find this in 1984 as well. In fact, eastern religions actually do this, but it’s not so cut-and-dried as that. People are not being encouraged to kill themselves, or eradicate their soul per se, they’re attempting to develop a greater mental discipline for whatever reason, and access aspects of their mind that are not easily learned. I’m not talking about levitation or telepathy or hokum like that, I simply mean they’re trying to learn to think differently.
“It is immoral to live by your own effort, but moral to live by the effort of others”
--- This is the moral code of the moochers and looters, the bad guys in the novel.
“If you succeed, any man who fails is your master; if you fail any man who succeeds is your serf. Whether your failure is just or not, whether your wishes are rational or not, whether your misfortune is undeserved or the results of our vices, it is misfortune that give you a right to rewards. It is pain, regardless of its nature or cause as a primary absolute, that gives you a mortgage on all of existence.”
--- this is a very real assessment of the unfair conditions that creative people live under - do a new thing well, and everyone wants a piece of it, and will figure out how to get it. Do an old thing badly, and you get to become one of those people demanding a piece of the successful new thing. The only person not valued in this equation is the actual creative person himself. Very well stated, I think.
“Do you wonder why your morality has not achieved brotherhood on earth, or the good will of man to man?”
“The mystics of spirit declare that they possess an