Fri 9 Jan, 2004 06:50 pm
Seriously, who is John Galt? I know it's from one of those cult classics but tell me more. I don't want to wait till I stumble across the book.
John Galt is the protagonist in Ayn Rand's book, "Atlas Shrugged". In the book he is the man who said that he would stop the motor of the world, and did.
I think that you would find the book fascinating, to say the least!
Ok, but is there special meaning to the question itself?
I strongly suspect the question is a part of the book.
Who is John Galt?
This is a quote from one of the greatest books of all time, or at least in my opinion... Atlas Shrugged, by Ayn Rand! I must warn you that this book is 1070 pages long...and the last 150 pages are painfully slow. I can't tell you who John Galt is, but I can tell you that this book is one that changed my outlook on pretty much everything. For better or for worse, it will probably change yours too...and I'm gonna guess it'll be for the better.
My avatar is a clip from the front cover. If you can get your hands on a copy of it, DO SO IMMEDIATELY!
(you'll know where the name comes from soon too... :wink: )
What's the context of the quote? I doubt I will read the book for at least a year or two.
The context is pretty much anything...the phrase means nothing and yet everything.
(they don't actually say this in the book verbatim)
"Everything's shutting down...we can't get it back up...the Taggart Bridge is collapsing...oh well, who is John Galt?"
No one really knows where it came from or what it means, but Galt becomes an integral part of the book and the main character, who winds up destroying the economy to punish the hypocritical moneygrubbing Enron-CEO style people. Among other things.
It is the first line of the book. In a world where things are starting to grind to a halt, people are going around saying "Who is John Galt" as a metaphor for "why is this all happening?"
This novel was published in 1957. It's theme is: the role of the mind in man's existence- and as corrolary, the demonstration of a new moral philosophy: the morality of rational self-interest.
The story shows what happens to the world when the mind goes on strike- when the men of creative ability, in every profession, quit and disappear. To quote John Galt, the leader of the strike:" There is only one kind of men who have never been on strike in human history. Every kind and class have stopped, when they so wished, and have presented demands to the world, claiming to be indispensible- except the men who have carried the world on their shoulders, have kept it alive, have endured torture as sole payment, but have never walked out on the human race. Well, their turn has come. Let the world discover who they are, what they do, and what happens when they refuse to function. This is the strike of the men of the mind.
Passage quoted from, "For the New Intellectual- The philosophy of Ayn Rand" by Ayn Rand
Oh boy! Objectivism arrives! Oh, well.
edgarblythe- It's been here all the time! :-D
Craven, you of all people, must read this book. Your perspectives, on so many topics, lead me to believe you already had. Phoenix and I have discussed having similar "outlook changing" transitions as "Francisco D'Anconia"s above (who by the way is a character in the book). I've personally distributed dozens of copies and pay my younger relatives $100 each for reading it. I strongly urge you to put it on the top of your "things to read" list immediately. Also, you should discontinue reading this thread, as I've never heard anyone do an adequate job of describing this book (including myself). Reading other people's praises will probably lead you to underestimate the value of the messages contained in it's entirety. The question "Who is John Galt" is basically code for "have you read Atlas Shrugged". There seems to be a bond between those of us who have.
Oh, well. Y'all have a nice time.
Edgar, what happened to your signature? Did your puppy start loving you again?
Very popular with people just starting university. There was just some discussion of this amusing phenomenon on a book program I listen to.
"A person who pursues his best interests at the expense of others is better off than one who does not; it follows that if everybody pursued a policy of their own interests at the expense of others, we would all be better off." (note: in economics, this is referred to either as the theory of ethical egoism as championed by Ayn Rand who believes this is actually valid, or the Tragedy of the Commons by most people who recognize this as a fallacy)
^^ from a list of common fallacies
OCCOM BILL wrote:
There seems to be a bond between those of us who have.
This book is about as bonding as Alice in Wonderland. Or maybe it is. Some are bonded in fascination, others in distaste.
it follows that if everybody pursued a policy of their own interests at the expense of others, we would all be better off
ehBeth- What you have described is a very common misunderstanding of Rand's philosophy.She does not believe in getting ahead at the expense of others. She believes that in an ideal world, people come together as equals, as traders, with each receiving a value from the other.
Trading value for value, to the mutual benefit of them both. :wink:
Craven, if you didn't stop tracking this thread like I suggested, I add:
In 1991 in a joint survey by the Library of Congress and the Book-of-the-Month Club, Atlas Shrugged ranked second (to the Bible) on a list of "books that made a difference" in peoples' lives.
Here is the rudiments of her philosophy, in a nutshell. It is from an early book of Rand's, called "Anthem". Read each word carefully. This is not a philosophy of exploitation, and gaining for onself at the expense of others.
The book is about a society that is so collectivist that people talk of themselves as "we". Here the protagonist has discovered the word "I" for the first time.
I am. I think. I will.
My hands . . . My spirit . . . My sky . . . My forest . . . This earth of mine. . . .
What must I say besides? These are the words. This is the answer.
I stand here on the summit of the mountain. I lift my head and I spread my arms. This, my body and spirit, this is the end of the quest. I wished to know the meaning of things. I am the meaning. I wished to find a warrant for being. I need no warrant for being, and no word of sanction upon my being. I am the warrant and the sanction.
It is my eyes which see, and the sight of my eyes grants beauty to the earth. It is my ears which hear, and the hearing of my ears gives its song to the world. It is my mind which thinks, and the judgement of my mind is the only searchlight that can find the truth. It is my will which chooses, and the choice of my will is the only edict I must respect.
Many words have been granted me, and some are wise, and some are false, but only three are holy: "I will it!"
Whatever road I take, the guiding star is within me; the guiding star and the loadstone which point the way. They point in but one direction. They point to me.
I know not if this earth on which I stand is the core of the universe or if it is but a speck of dust lost in eternity. I know not and I care not. For I know what happiness is possible to me on earth. And my happiness needs no higher aim to vindicate it. My happiness is not the means to any end. It is the end. It is its own goal. It is its own purpose.
Neither am I the means to any end others may wish to accomplish. I am not a tool for their use. I am not a servant of their needs. I am not a bandage for their wounds. I am not a sacrifice on their altars.
I am a man. This miracle of me is mine to own and keep, and mine to guard, and mine to use, and mine to kneel before!
I do not surrender my treasures, nor do I share them. The fortune of my spirit is not to be blown into coins of brass and flung to the winds as alms for the poor of the spirit. I guard my treasures: my thought, my will, my freedom. And the greatest of these is freedom.
I owe nothing to my brothers, nor do I gather debts from them. I ask none to live for me, nor do I live for any others. I covet no man's soul, nor is my soul theirs to covet.
I am neither foe nor friend to my brothers, but such as each of them shall deserve of me. And to earn my love, my brothers must do more than to have been born. I do not grant my love without reason, nor to any chance passer-by who may wish to claim it. I honor men with my love. But honor is a thing to be earned.
I shall choose friends among men, but neither slaves nor masters. And I shall choose only such as please me, and them I shall love and respect, but neither command nor obey. And we shall join our hands when we wish, or walk alone when we so desire. For in the temple of his spirit, each man is alone. Let each man keep his temple untouched and undefiled. Then let him join hands with others if he wishes, but only beyond his holy threshold.
For the word "We" must never be spoken, save by one's choice and as a second thought. This word must never be placed first within man's soul, else it becomes a monster, the root of all the evils on earth, the root of man's torture by men, and an unspeakable lie.
The word "We" is as lime poured over men, which sets and hardens to stone, and crushes all beneath it, and that which is white and that which is black are lost equally in the grey of it. It is the word by which the depraved steal the virtue of the good, by which the weak steal the might of the strong, by which the fools steal the wisdom of the sages.
What is my joy if all hands, even the unclean, can reach into it? What is my wisdom, if even the fools can dictate to me? What is my freedom, if all creatures, even the botched and impotent, are my masters? What is my life, if I am but to bow, to agree, and to obey?
But I am done with this creed of corruption.
I am done with the monster of "We," the word of serfdom, of plunder, of misery, falsehood and shame.
And now I see the face of god, and I raise this god over the earth, this god whom men have sought since men came into being, this god who will grant them joy and peace and pride.
This god, this one word:
As craven said to start this off, it's a cult classic.
I guess that explains the bond. :wink: