April 29, 2012

Book Review: The Fountainhead

Title: The Fountainhead
Author: Ayn Rand
Publisher:  Plume; CENTENNIAL EDITION edition (November 1, 1994)
Genre: Philosophical fiction

The Fountainhead (Cliffs Notes)

Front Cover: The Fountainhead
 The Fountainhead is the philosophy of Objectivism argued in the form of a fiction novel. It is the doctrine that reality exists separate from consciousness. Reality is that which we can sense. We can sense our creation of an object, but we cannot sense the idea of creation. It is not real until it is created and when created, it is. The philosophy is a strong proponent of capitalism, private property and minimal outward influence from regulations and rules. Man can only truly live life through the means of action and the fruition of his interests and skills.  Selfishness is the noblest of virtues and altruism is slavery.

The Story: A great architect of genius  is unwelcome in his school, his profession, and in society.  The newspapers and men of influence despise and ridicule him.  Despite the movement by the majority to subvert the world to mediocrity by destroying this man and his progressive style, he creates for the sake of knowing that he created.  Money, fame, the desire to be accepted mean nothing to him.  He lives to create his ideas.  Some recognize the greatness of the structures designed and buck the outrage of the influential and powerful mediocrity.  Without verbal argument, the great architect continues to build and allow his work to speak.  Some make it their prime goal to destroy this man and his ideals.

If man is free to do as he pleases, there are many men who lose control of their power.  "They (rulers of men) exist entirely through the persons of others. Their goal is in their subjects, in the activity of enslaving. They are as dependent as the beggar, the social worker and the bandit. The form of dependence does not matter."  Strong regulations and powerful governments create little progress and few things that propel the world forward.

Ayn Rand and objectivism have truth in some areas, but are gravely lacking in others.     Humans are reputable for their inequalities.  Many cannot stand on their own merits.  Do we leave them to suffer?  There is very little hope in man.  Where did man receive the ability to reason and create?  Where is God?  If, as objectivisim states, man is god, we are all doomed.

Some have compared the fictional architect in this book to the real life Frank Lloyd Wright.

Other Ayn Rand Book Reviews:  Atlas Shrugged