10 results for "Ayn Rand Essays"

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Anthem Individuality Vs Conformity The Novella Anthem Essay

Words: 923 Length: 3 Pages Document Type: Essay Paper #: 72762211

Anthem: Individuality vs. Conformity

The novella Anthem by Ayn Rand is the story of an individual's search for identity in a society based on conformity. Set in the future the story's protagonist, Equality 7-2521 is a street sweeper whose great sin is to have personal ambition. Equality 7-2521 is born into a collectivist society in which everyone's life is controlled by various councils of social planners and disciplinarians and in which the use of the word "I" has been forbidden. Every individual is "we," the perfection of "equality." Lacking any avenue for private thought and initiative, this would be utopia is so miserably poor, intellectually and materially, that its heroes of technological progress are "the twenty illustrious men who had invented the candle."

Equality 7-2521 rebels against this cult of interchangeable parts and the lowest common denominator and hides in order to conduct scientific research in a secret tunnel that contains relics of the Unmentionable Times. With help from discoveries he makes among the ruins of the preceding civilization, presumably our own, he reinvents the electric light. He offers his "power of the sky" to the World Council of Scholars, but they treat his achievement as an act of rebellion. He flees to the wilderness and with the help of a like-minded woman, Liberty 5-3000, starts to build his own society, a place of freedom to which dissidents can come and begin to recover the world that was lost.

Equity 7-2521rejects the norms of his society because of the oppression placed on individuality. His motivation to develop the electric light can be seen from a number of aspects. On one level he hopes his invention will make life more comfortable for his "brothers." He also is seeking redemption for breaking the laws of his society by keeping the tunnel a secret and doing unauthorized experiments. Ultimately, the work gives him a great deal of personal pleasure and a certain amount of pride. However, these feeling are forbidden in his world. Equality 7-2521 eventually comes to the understanding…… [Read More]

Works Cited:
Rand, Ayn. Anthem. New York: New American Library, 1961. Print.
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Atlas Shrugged Perceptions Exposed Money Essay

Words: 1493 Length: 5 Pages Document Type: Essay Paper #: 72251070

He needs to believe this not only for himself but also for those that follow and place their trust in him. He declares that money is the root of all evil and that it "can't buy happiness, Love will conquer any barrier and social distance" (392). These kinds of platitudes are nice to hear but they do not pay the bills. It is extremely important that the Looters believe these concepts, however, because they keep everyone on the same level, which leads to a lack of individuality and an overall sense of nihilism. James Taggert's philosophy brings people down instead of lifting them up and encouraging a sense of importance in the world. James Taggart resists at every opportunity the realization of what he is encouraging, which is a life of emptiness and lack. Orren Boyle and Bertram Scudder reinforce this attitude and conduct. They are "men who used words as a public instrument, to be avoided in the privacy of one's own mind. Words were a commitment. Carrying implications which they did not wish to face" (393). With this, we see how these men know that what they speak is wrong. They realize that they are not equipping people to be their best but they also know they are products of the government.

Rand also explores how the Moocher and Looters destroy lives with the tramp, Jeff Allan. Dagny encounters him on the Comet when he confesses to her that he actually voted for a plan in which 'each to work according to his ability, but would be paid according to his need" (660-1). Hard work was never rewarded and those who did not work as hard made the same amount of money regardless. This system removes the incentive to work. It also removes any happiness that might be associated with work. Those who ran the company did not believe that happiness was important but he tramp, proves otherwise. The plan corrupted everyone involved, Jeff tells Dagny that the plan "turned decent people into bastards, and there was nothing else it could do -- and it was called a moral ideal!" (665). The truth lies in his question, "What were…… [Read More]

Rand, Ayn. Atlas Shrugged. New York: Random House. 1957.
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Happiness The Pursuit Of Happiness Essay

Words: 1887 Length: 6 Pages Document Type: Essay Paper #: 36548732

" This could not even be termed a desire to do good, as then it would be fulfilling someone's desire to do a good deed, and would therefore have a selfish motive. Kant is one of the very few that attempted to divorce happiness from morality; even though lying to the mass murderer would save many lives, Kant believed that lying was wrong, and therefore one could not lie even in such a situation and remain moral. Unhappy or dead, yes, but definitely not moral.

Both men attempt to justify their ethical systems, not surprisingly, with completey contradictory suppositions. Kant supposes that there is such a thing as universal morality, which can be recognized by all and therefore adhered to in all situations. Mill believed that no such universal morality existed, but rather that society was based on a general consensus of treating everyone with mutual respect and liberty, creating a situation where most people could and would be mostly happy. He realized that what defined happiness and what was deemed permissible would change over time, and utilitarianism accounts for this in a way that Kant's theory does not, allowing for modification as people's definitions of usefulness -- and happiness -- change.

The diversity of the modern world definitely makes me more a proponent of Mill's Utilitarianism than Kant's categorical imperatives. People of different cultures have different systems of morality, and different ways of judging the correctness of an action. Not all of these systems are based on anything like utilitarianism, of course, but this ethical system allows for a more diverse culture to exist in the first place, whereas the moral absolutism theorized by Kant leaves no room for any outside opinions or adjustment -- an act is either moral or it is not, regardless of perspective or belief. Though Kant most likely did not mean his theory to be taken in such an intolerant way…… [Read More]

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Happiness Now And Then The Essay

Words: 1891 Length: 6 Pages Document Type: Essay Paper #: 31178668

According to utilitarian ethical theory, a lie would be very moral indeed if it increased someone's happiness without creating detriment to anyone -- telling a child that their unintelligible crayon markings is a great picture of a house, for instance, boosts their self-esteem and helps them to feel loved, and no one in the art world suffers for this white lie.

Utilitarianism also provides a solution to conflicting duties that Kant's theory not only ignores, but actually renders impossible. Given a choice between stealing or starving, Kant's theory would state that the only moral choice would be to starve, as stealing is always an immoral act. According to utilitarianism, however, as long as the person being stolen from would not starve from the loss, the act of not stealing would actually be immoral; the consequences of the theft would be to stop someone from starving, whereas the consequences of not stealing would result in a death. There is more utility derived from stealing, in this instance, making it a morally correct act. Utilitarianism, rather than relying on the absolutism of Kantian ethics, allows for the many variations of human behavior and circumstance that exist in a given instance. This makes it a far more practical, though also far less altruistic, ethical theory than Kant's, while at the same time rooting the basis of the system in reason. This had been one of Kant's main purposes in developing his own theory of ethics, but ironically it seems as though the utilitarian theory developed by Mill is even more rationally based.

I find myself much more in agreement with the basic theory of utilitarianism than with Kant's deontological absolutism. A large reason for this is, admittedly, the practicality of the system and the allowances it makes for gray areas of morality and…… [Read More]

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Moral Environment Essay

Words: 768 Length: 2 Pages Document Type: Essay Paper #: 36357339

Moral Environment

Ayn Rand's The Ethics of Emergencies speaks about the value of selfishness or self-interest. Although "selfishness" might seem negative at first, Rand's explanation makes quite a bit of sense. Rand speaks about selfishness as a rational process in which a person sets his/her hierarchy of values and lives according to those values in order to achieve the moral purpose of life: one's own happiness.

Summary of The Ethics of Emergencies

According to Ayn Rand's The Ethics of Emergencies, the moral purpose of life is to achieve one's own happiness. Describing her belief in Objectivism in 1962, Rand stated, "Man -- every man -- is an end in himself, not the means to the ends of others. He must exist for his own sake, neither sacrificing himself to others nor sacrificing others to himself. The pursuit of his own rational self-interest and of his own happiness is the highest moral purpose of his life" (Rand, Introducing Objectivism, 2012). Rand rejects "altruism," which can be defined as "unselfish concern" (Dictionary.com LLC, 2012), and believes that the ethical basis for altruism is a "malevolent universe" metaphysics. "Malevolent universe" metaphysics, which Rand also rejects, holds that "man, by his very nature, is helpless and doomed -- that success, happiness, achievement are impossible to him -- that emergencies, disasters, catastrophes are the norm of his life and that his primary goal is to combat them" (Peikoff, 2012). According to Rand, given the moral purpose of achieving one's own happiness, sacrifice is neither morally required nor admirable. The rational principle of conduct to adhere to this moral purpose is to always act in accordance with the hierarchy of your values. Rand believes that the virtue called "selfishness" requires: "(a) a hierarchy of values set by the standards of one's self-interest, and (b) the refusal to sacrifice a higher value to a lower one or to a nonvalue" (Rand, 1964, p. 55).

Application of Rand's Ideas to Today's Moral Environment

We might tend to think of "selfishness"…… [Read More]

Dictionary.com LLC. (2012). Altruism. Retrieved on June 10, 2012 from thesaurus.com Web site: http://thesaurus.com/browse/altruism?s=t

Peikoff, L. (2012). Malevolent universe premise. Retrieved on June 10, 2012 from aynrandlexicon.com Web site: http://aynrandlexicon.com/lexicon/malevolent_universe_premise.html
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Howard Roark The Hero Of Essay

Words: 1054 Length: 3 Pages Document Type: Essay Paper #: 15668940

Success cannot be generalized; too often the word is used as a term referring to financial independence or owning one's own company. Yet the sanitation worker who goes to bed each night with a smile on her face also connotes success in the modern world. I support a multiplicity of success, a diversity of dreams fulfilled.

My success, however, definitely includes financial independence and career recognition, but it also includes the clear conscience that comes from knowing that I did it all by and for myself, with confidence and conviction. Like Roark in Rand's book, I got where I am today due to my hard work and not hand-outs. Thus far I have not compromised my beliefs or goals to fit with prevailing norms, just as Roark would not deign to design that which disgusted him or sell out. Like Roark I listen to internal cues and heed not the call to conformity. Though others may scorn Roark and he outwardly fails at his career, Roark is an incontrovertible hero. Had he sold himself to earn a specific title or accolade or to be popular, Roark would have failed miserably.

Accounting might not be a glamorous job but I'm not after glitter and flash; those elements are not a part of my definition of success though they deserve a rightful place in someone else's life. I seek a stoic yet stimulating environment in which to practice my profession to the best of my ability. Yet to do so I will need further education and experience. At USC I intend to unwaveringly pursue my academic major with intensity, passion, and joy. Failure is not an option because I know that my career choice reflects innate talents in critical thinking and analysis.

Like designing a building demands structure and planning, so too does designing a career path. I am currently in the planning phase of my career, during which…… [Read More]

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Recurring Dream In Which I Am Standing Essay

Words: 699 Length: 2 Pages Document Type: Essay Paper #: 51932588

recurring dream in which I am standing at a podium in front of a large audience. I am the head of an organization, although my exact title and the nature of the organization are vague. In the dream, I deliver a speech, detailing some aspect of company policy. I am sure of myself; I speak with authority and conviction but for some reason I stand alone. Not one member of the crowd agrees with me, likes me, or supports me. When I wake up I feel a strange mixture of pride and humiliation. Yet like Howard Roark, hero of Ayn Rand's novel The Fountainhead, I realize that my unpopularity does not preclude my success. Roark succeeds not according to an external scale of measurement, based on societal values or norms and fueled by conformity. Rather, Roark is a hero and a success because of his unflinching individualism and his willingness to stand up for his principles in spite of immense opposition. Like Rand, I look to heroes like Roark for my inspiration and role modeling. Unlike the fleeting qualifiers of conventional success such as fame and fortune, the truly successful hero demonstrates unflinching idealism and unwavering pursuit of personal goals. Success defined by individualism and nonconformity is a difficult and demanding path but which in the end yields the true mark of heroism: integrity.

Roark succeeds in the end in spite of his struggles, just as I will succeed regardless of how unpopular my ideas or notions may be. In the short-term I will define success by my admission to a school in which I can thrive, a school that can help me to hone my talents and broaden my horizons. While I intend to participate fully in campus life and student activities, much as Roark participates fully in his social life, I will also develop my unique character traits, those characteristics that set me apart from the herd and enable me to truly shine. Roark's contribution to society was his glorious structures, his edifices…… [Read More]

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Ethical Egoism Essay

Words: 383 Length: 1 Pages Document Type: Essay Paper #: 34849182

Ethical egoism unsatisfactory moral theory; important corrective ethics -sacrifice. Briefly relate ethical egoism, defended Ayn Rand, ethics -sacrifice, presented Carol Gilligan's stage moral development.

Philosophy commentary

1st thread

Conventional morality tends to prioritize self-sacrifice as the ideal, particularly for females. However, the valorization of self-sacrifice can be taken too far -- Gilligan's theory of gender-based moral development seems to suggest that it is 'natural' for girls to prioritize harmony over objective ethical systems, even over their own welfare or personal sense of morality. For women to feel as though they have the right to pursue an education, to be competitive, and to have equal rights in the workplace and at home they must believe they have a certain intrinsic moral right to realize their personal goals. Too much self-sacrifice can result in codependency or supporting other people to the point that others take advantage of the person who is giving everything in an uncritical fashion. Thus emphasizing self-sacrifice too much can result in a loss of the meaningful creative contributions of women who instead expend their energies as helpers rather than seeking to shine in their own right. Also,…… [Read More]

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Progress And Technology Essay

Words: 1464 Length: 4 Pages Document Type: Essay Paper #: 87844581

Philosophical and Literary Representation of Capitalism

Progress & Technology in Capitalism

John Steinbeck wrote the social The Grapes of Wrath during the interwar years, just after the Great Depression harrowingly illustrated the power of unchecked capitalism. His novel takes the position that revolutionary change is needed, is inevitable, and that a just and non-exploitive society can only come about when capitalism is eliminated. Steinbeck is reported to have made clear his intentions as he prepared to write The Grapes of Wrath. In his words, "I want to put a tag of shame on the greedy bastards who are responsible for this" [the Great Depression and its widely destructive effects]." Steinbeck's collectivist-leaning voice at the time of his writing The Grapes of Wrath would become so altered over the course of three decades that it hardly seemed to belong to this writer who created on the very edge of moral fervor. Marxism acquired as decidedly Stalinist hue after the death of Lenin, further solidifying Steinbeck's skepticism about philosophical and political systems.

Despite the collectivist theme that is threaded throughout The Grapes of Wrath, Steinbeck considered socialism to be "simply another form of religion and thus delusional" (). The path that Steinbeck took to a practical -- if not moral -- acceptance of the capitalist-fueled Vietnam war stands as a microcosm of a view of capitalism which argues that workers are both the victims and the creators of the capitalism that damns them. With the industrialization o the nation -- and the laboring of American culture, as Denning (1996) put it -- people from the working class entered culture industries, becoming both subjects and producers of culture. In the cultural expressions of progress, which invariably engaged big business, workers could be compelled to sell their labor and, in effect, have their power co-opted against their own class's interests. Steinbeck saw clearly that poor migrants he wrote about in The Grapes of Wrath and the class of readers to whom he intended to most appeal -- were at once workers and victims of the same social processes. His understanding of production was decidedly…… [Read More]

Cunningham, C. (2002). Rethinking the politics of The Grapes of Wrath. [In Cultural Logic, ISSN 1097-3087].

Denning, M. (1996). The cultural front: The laboring of American cultural in the twentieth century. London and New York: Verso.
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Education And Meaning Essay

Words: 991 Length: 3 Pages Document Type: Essay Paper #: 9521882


When Henry Adams described the "task of education" as being "this problem of running order through chaos, direction through space, discipline through freedom, unity through-multiplicity," it appears that he was referring to something that people today would more readily refer to as the meaning of life. This may seem a loose phrase that risks cliche, but in fact it is the easiest way to make sense of Adams's set of paradoxes about education. After all, the events of life are a pure chaos of one event after another, unless one has obtained the mental criteria to evaluate them. Similarly, life is directionless unless one has a specific purpose, and life is marked by a bewildering freedom of options unless one is restricted to certain choices, and life can appear as numerous unique phenomena unless we have learned to recognize the underlying patterns and categories in those events. In some sense, then, what Henry Adams means is that education is our chief way of providing meaning to life (and religion, philosophy, science, art, politics, and economy) although he is too rhetorically elegant to come right out and say so. In the writings of great minds, as in life, the meaning is never readily apparent.

Certainly I agree with Adams's contention that education is how we discover meaning in life. This is perhaps easiest to see when a bad or inadequate education performs a pale parody of this task, and gives people an illusory meaning. The first example that springs to mind are devotees of the writer Ayn Rand. In these overheated paperback screeds familiar to many adolescents, Rand offers her readers a form of education: she has figured out her own meaning in life (and in religion, philosophy, science, art, politics, and, alas, economics) and she intends to share it, at great length. Ultimately these books are offering a course in the meaning of life -- the meaning propounded by Ayn…… [Read More]