Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Ayn-alyzing ~ (3)

(More reflections on Ayn Rand for Christian consideration)

IF the history of mankind, as recorded in Scripture, is a déjà vu litany of man’s delusions of grandeur, as in this small sampling:
(CAPITAL emphasis has been added in all quotes below.):
And thou say in thine heart, My power and the might of mine hand hath gotten me this wealth. But thou shalt remember the LORD thy God: for it is he that giveth thee power to get wealth, that he may establish his covenant which he sware unto thy fathers, as it is this day. (Old Testament Deuteronomy 8:17-18)

They would none of my counsel: they despised all my reproof. Therefore shall they eat of the fruit of their OWN WAY, and be filled with their own devices. (Old Testament Proverbs 1:30-31)

Woe unto them that are wise in their OWN EYES, and prudent in their OWN SIGHT! (Old Testament Isaiah 5:21)

All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his OWN WAY; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all. (Old Testament Isaiah 53:6)

Yea, they are greedy dogs which can never have enough, and they are shepherds that cannot understand: they all look to their OWN WAY, every one for his gain, from his quarter. (Old Testament Isaiah 56:11)

If thou turn away thy foot from the sabbath, from doing thy pleasure on my holy day; and call the sabbath a delight, the holy of the LORD, honourable; and shalt honour him, not doing thine OWN WAYS, nor finding thine own pleasure, nor speaking thine own words: (Old Testament Isaiah 58:13)

Therefore have I poured out mine indignation upon them; I have consumed them with the fire of my wrath: their OWN WAY have I recompensed upon their heads, saith the Lord GOD. (Old Testament Ezekiel 22:31)

… the more part of them had turned out of the way of righteousness, and did trample under their feet the commandments of God, and did turn unto their OWN WAYS, and did build up unto themselves idols of their gold and their silver. (Book of Mormon Helaman 6:31)

They seek not the Lord to establish his righteousness, but every man walketh in his OWN WAY, and after the image of his own god, whose image is in the likeness of the world, and whose substance is that of an idol, which waxeth old and shall perish in Babylon, even Babylon the great, which shall fall. (Doctrine and Covenants Section 1:16)

Behold, thus saith the Lord unto my people—you have many things to do and to repent of; for behold, your sins have come up unto me, and are not pardoned, because you seek to counsel in your OWN WAYS. (Doctrine and Covenants Section 56:14)

And the anger of God kindleth against the inhabitants of the earth; and none doeth good, for all have gone OUT OF THE WAY. (Doctrine and Covenants Section 82:6)
WHY THEN, do we not recognize that Ayn’s “new, original” philosophy is neither new nor original? All her heroes are obsessed with pursuing THEIR OWN WAY according to their own “rational” judgments. But then so are her despised anti-heroes—the ones who abuse and misuse power in pursuing distorted, corrupted visions of “social justice.”

Of course there are unending reasons to complain about mankind’s failings. And Ayn does plenty of that because in her worlds (real and fictional), reliable, competent creators and employees are so despairingly scarce. Her heroes are the exceptional, rational, incredible few that everyone else is trying to use or destroy.

Here are a few quotes from (or about) her heroes in Atlas Shrugged:
Dagny Taggart: “There was no flattered pleasure in his voice, and no modesty. This, she knew, was a tribute to her, that rarest one person could pay another: the tribute of feeling free to acknowledge one’s own greatness, knowing that it is understood” (p. 86). “I think that only if one feels immensely important can one feel truly light” (p. 150, 236).

Hank Rearden: “We haven’t any spiritual goals or qualities. All we’re after is material things. That’s all we care for. … whatever we are, it’s we who move the world and it’s we who’ll pull it through” (pp. 87-88). [To Dagny] “It’s I who produced that wealth and it’s I who am going to let it buy for me every kind of pleasure I want—including the pleasure of seeing how much I’m able to pay for—including the preposterous feat of turning you into a luxury object” (p. 371). “I work for nothing but my own profit. I earn it” (p. 480).

Francisco d’Anconia: “We are the only aristocracy left in the world—the aristocracy of money. … It’s the only real aristocracy, if people understood what it means, which they don’t” (p. 90). “The code of competence is the only system of morality that’s on a gold standard” (p. 100).

John Galt: “By the grace of reality and the nature of life, man—every man—is an end in himself, he exists for his own sake, and the achievement of his own happiness is his highest moral purpose” (p. 1014).

About herself, Ayn writes: “my life purpose is the creation of the kind of world (people and events) that I like—that is, that represents human perfection” (p. xvi).
Yes, Ayn and her heroes do expound many powerful truths about the dismal state of mortal affairs, but:
IF God is right that … “my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts” (Isaiah 55:7-8); and

IF we are in the middle of a three-act play,[1] without memory of the 1st Act and subject to revelation[2] (by a more advanced Being/Director) on how to play the 2nd in preparation for the 3rd,
then maybe Ayn’s rational, “my way” achievement isn’t going to achieve what she and her devotees think. What if, “my way” cuts off further achievement in Act Three because gifts and mercy were rejected by the perfect man’s preference for 2nd-Act earnings and justice?

Ayn seems to reject any concept of a third act, having become fixated with achievements in Act Two. If there is a third act, maybe it transcends (but includes) rational. What if trans-rational seems irrational only because from our present view, we can’t (or prefer not to) tell the difference?

1. 1) Pre-mortal; 2) Mortal; 3) Post-mortal.
2. Or the “mystical, irrational,” as Ayn would call it.