Ayn Rand: Separating the Wheat from the Chaff
When I began my first semester of college in August of 2002 the path forward looked clear: English major, creative writing emphasis, learn how to write novels. This had been my plan since about third grade.
But it didn't happen. Instead George W. Bush invaded Iraq and I added on a political science major. At a moral level, with questions of life and death hanging in the balance, to change the world by writing great literature seemed almost irresponsible. How could I waste my time dreaming up fantasies when I could be using my skills to try and affect the decisions our country made?
And so it's remained for almost seven years, since I graduated in 2006. My political ideology might have shifted as I emerged out of the academic bubble and discovered the joy of learning how to create value in the free market, but my reading habits stayed the same, mirroring what P. David Hornik described in his thoughtful "Goodbye, Literature" essay.
I realize now that I've consumed an unbalanced reading diet -- not unlike my unbalanced eating diet (now recently corrected). Perhaps novels have made up only 10% of my book intake. I've focused so much on getting caught up on political books and reviewing the new non-fiction ones that I've neglected the literary world.
No more. Yesterday I decided to declare my intent to blog on the humorous philosophical writings of the radical agnostic novelist Robert Anton Wilson, to analyze his ideas and separate the wheat from the chaff. And so it seems fitting that on the day following it I'll do the same with his opposite, the very serious and very certain Ayn Rand. The Thursday Book Shelf recommendations and excerpts will come from her works. I welcome any suggestions on passages of note -- email me at [email protected]. I'm hoping that this can ignite my passion for the novel. Someday I do hope to get back to it again...
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