Today's passage comes from Ayn Rand's novel Atlas Shrugged. On a serious note, I chose it because every time I post a quote or passage they are appropriate to the ideals I advocate. We're gonna switch it up today. The message we are about to read does not reflect my views; while I agree with some of what is said, I cannot support the whole statement. In a way this does reflect the ideals I advocate... it is healthy to explore opposing philosophies, and this is certainly an opposing philosophy. After we explore it, we can shut it down and throw whomever believes such philosophies in prison for life. We don't tolerate differing opinions at VW.*
Quick question before we continue- is it necessary to add a spoiler alert for literature that was released over half a century ago? Is it necessary to add a spoiler alert for a blog that three people read? Whatevs.
*Forreals... As I've explained before, we accept and welcome all philosophies here at VW . In our effort to expose all ideologies there will be more posts in the future expressing views that differ from mine. All viewpoints deserve a fair criticism and review, let's get to it.
“Through all the ages… the mind has been regarded as evil, and every form of insult: from heretic to materialist to exploiter—every form of iniquity: from exile to disenfranchisement to expropriation—every form of torture: from sneers to rack to firing squad—have been brought down upon those who assumed the responsibility of looking at the world through the eyes of a living consciousness and performing the crucial act of rational connection. Yet only to the extent to which—in chains, in dungeons, in hidden corners, in the cells of philosophers, in the shops of traders—some men continued to think, only to that extent was humanity able to survive. Through all the centuries of the worship of the mindless, what stagnation humanity chose to endure, whatever brutality to practice—it was only by the grace of the men who perceived that wheat must have water in order to grow, that stones laid in a curve will form an arch, that two and two makes four, that love is not served by torture and life is not fed by destruction—only by the grace of those men did the rest of them learn to experience moments when they caught the spark of being human, and only the sum of such moments permitted them to continue to exist. It was the man of the mind who taught them to bake their bread, to heal their wounds, to forge their weapons and to build the jails into which they threw him. He was the man of extravagant energy—and reckless generosity—who knew that stagnation is not man’s fate, that impotence is not his nature, that the ingenuity of his mind is his noblest and most joyous power—and in service to that love of existence he was alone to feel, he went on working, working at any price, working for his despoilers, for his jailers, for his torturers, paying with his life for the privilege of saving theirs. This was his glory and his guilt—that he let them teach him to feel guilty of his glory, to accept the part of a sacrificial animal and, in punishment for the sin of intelligence, to perish on the alters of the brutes. The tragic joke of human history is that on any of the altars men erected, it was always man whom they immolated and the animal whom they enshrined. It was always the animal’s attributes, not man’s, that humanity worshiped; the idol of instinct and the idol of force—the mystics and the kings—the mystics, who longed for an irresponsible consciousness and ruled by means of the claim that their dark emotions were superior to reason, that knowledge came in blind, causeless fits, blindly to be followed, not doubted—and the kings, who rules by means of claws and muscles, with conquest as their method and looting as their aim, with a club or a gun as sole sanction of their power. The defenders of man’s soul were concerned with his feelings, and the defenders of man’s body were concerned with his stomach—but both were united against his mind. Yet no one, not the lowest of humans, is ever able fully to renounce his brain. No one has ever believed in the irrational; what they do believe in is the unjust. Whenever a man denounces the mind, it is because his goal is of a nature the mind would not permit him to confess. When he preaches contradictions, he does so in the knowledge that someone will accept the burden of the impossible, someone will make it work for him at the price of his own suffering or life; destruction is the price of any contradiction. It is the victims who made injustice possible. It is the men of reason who made it possible for the rule of the brute to work. The despoiling of reason has been the motive of every anti-reason creed on earth. The despoiling of ability has been the purpose of every creed that preached self-sacrifice. The despoilers have always known it. We haven’t. The time has come for us to see. What we are now asked to worship, what had once been dressed as God or king, is the naked, twisted, mindless figure of the human Incompetent. This is the new ideal, the goal to aim at, the purpose to live for, and all men are to be rewarded according to how close they approach it. This is the age of the common man, they tell us—a title which any man may claim to the extent of such distinction as he has managed not to achieve. He will rise to a rank of nobility by means of the effort he has failed to make, he will be honored for such virtue as he has not displayed, and he will be paid for the goods which he did not produce. But we—we, who must atone for the guilt of ability—we will work to support him as he orders, with his pleasure as our only reward. Since we have the most to contribute, we will have the least to say. Since we have the better capacity to think, we will not be permitted a thought of our own. Since we have the judgment to act, we will not be permitted an action of our choice. We will work under directives and controls, issued by those who are incapable of working. They will dispose of our energy, because they have none to offer, and of our product, because they cannot produce. Do you say that this is impossible, that it cannot be made to work? They know it, but it is you who don’t—and they are counting on you not to know it. They are counting on you to go on, to work to the limit of the inhuman and to feed them while you last—and when you collapse, there will be another victim starting out and feeding them, while struggling to survive—and the span of each succeeding victim will be shorter, and while you’ll die to leave them a railroad, your last descendant-in-spirit will die to leave them a loaf of bread. This does not worry the looters of the moment. Their plan—like all the plans of all the royal looters of the past—is only that the loot shall last their lifetime. It has always lasted before, because in one generation they could not run out of victims. But this time—it will not last. The victims are on strike. We are on strike against martyrdom—and against the moral code that demands it. We are on strike against those who believe that one man must exist for the sake of another. We are on strike against the morality of cannibals, be it practiced in body or in spirit. We will not deal with men on any terms but ours—and our terms are a moral code which holds that man is an end in himself and not the means to any end of others. We do not seek to force our code upon them. They are free to believe what they please. But, for once, they will have to believe it and to exist—without our help. And, once and for all, they will learn the meaning of their creed. That creed has lasted for centuries solely by the sanction of the victims—by means of the victims’ acceptance of punishment for breaking a code impossible to practice. But that code was intended to be broken. It is a code that thrives not on those who observe it, but on those who don’t, a morality kept in existence not by virtue of its saints, but by the grace of its sinners. We have decided not to be sinners any longer. We have ceased breaking that moral code. We shall blast it out of existence forever by the one method that it can’t withstand: by obeying it. We are obeying it. We are complying. In dealing with our fellow men, we are observing their code of values to the letter and sparing them all the evils they denounce. The mind is evil? We have withdrawn the works of our minds from society, and not a single idea of ours is to be known or used by men. Ability is a selfish evil that leaves no chance to those who are less able? We have withdrawn from the competition and left all chance open to incompetents. The pursuit of wealth is greed, the root of all evil? We do not seek to make fortunes any longer. It is evil to earn more than one’s bare sustenance? We take nothing but the lowliest jobs and we produce, by the effort of our muscles, no more than we consume for our immediate needs—with not a penny nor an inventive thought left over to harm the world. It is evil to succeed, since success is made by the strong at the expense of the weak? We have ceased burdening the weak with our ambition and have left them free to prosper without us. It is evil to be an employer? We have no employment to offer. It is evil to own property? We own nothing. It is evil to enjoy one’s existence in this world? There is no form of enjoyment that we seek from their world, and—this was the hardest for us to attain—what we now feel for their world is that emotion which they preach as an ideal: Indifference—the blank—the zero—the mark of death… We are giving men everything they’ve professed to want and to seek as virtue for centuries. Now let them see whether they want it.”
- John Galt in Ayn's Rand novel Atlas Shrugged