Now What?

I finished Atlas Shrugged this morning. I cannot remember the last time I read a book that left me with such a strong impression. It’s been years and I can’t think of a novel that has made me think this much. I’ve been feeling contemplative all day … what next? I don’t think the message of the book is terribly popular right now – but I think it’s right, for the most part. I’m anxious to talk about it but not that anxious to piss people off. And, after reading the book, maybe I should be more willing to piss people off? I don’t know. For now, I’m just thinking on it and going back through the book marking things that struck me as interesting or important.

In other news, I spent way too much time thinking about guinea pig cages today. We need to build a bigger cage, yet I cannot find the grid-cubes that made building our first cage so easy. I’ve passed the requirements on to Mike – I was making it far too difficult. This is his weekend project. I love a man that loves a project.

My mom lost her dear friend, Cathy this week. Cathy had been battling breast cancer (and its various evil incarnations) for years and years and years. I’m sure you all had friends’ moms that you really liked as you were growing up. Cathy was one of my most favorite moms. She was so smart and funny and just a touch of “don’t make her mad.” Her three children and her family and her friends are meeting in Pittsburgh to bury her this Saturday. Say a prayer, think a good thought, get a mammogram, plant a tree or something in the next couple of days. Everyone that ever knew Cathy will appreciate your effort.

For now, we’re trying to finish up the school year. I have to say that this, our ninth year, has been the longest and hardest. I want it to be done – but I want it to be done well. And, even as I type this, I can’t help but think most of what I’ve learned that is truly valuable was learned OUTSIDE of formal learning. If you can read, write and truly understand basic math (and maybe some Latin) … you CAN do anything.

Ugh … I’m too introspective to be blogging tonight. I’m going to go back to the massive cleaning I started (that seemed like a great idea at 9 PM) . . . It’s something to wake up to a clean, clean house, right?

4 thoughts on “Now What?

  1. You should piss us off. It’s hard to find people who will talk controversy. Everyone is so pleasy-pleasy. Blech!

    I have shunned WTM for the reason you stated. We’ll see if I made the right decision.

  2. I wonder how idealistic it is, though, as opposed to realistic. To me, the ultimate capitalist society she envisions is no less real than the ultimate visions of a Utopian communistic society.

    Dh is reading Samualson’s The Great Inflation and Its Aftermath: The Past and Future of American Affluence and says that it is surprising him with its view of capitalism in the early 20th century. And I’ve been reading more and more about government interference with markets (housing, in particular) since the 20’s and how cyclical it is and how traditional capitalists turn a blind eye to interference that benefits *them* rather than letting market forces work their way out. It’s a huge mix of factors in our society.

    Anyway, it’s fascinating stuff. And Rand’s deliberately cultivated persona has always fascinated me, much like Thoreau’s.

    The ideas and passion are interesting to view from a distance. Living in the real world with its flawed human beings, though, I’m not so sure that it’s so black and white as Rand tried to make it.

    Looking at people like you with your amazing work ethic and then looking at people like me with my lazy-aww’ed one, I wonder how people like me would manage to contribute properly in a Galt’s Gulch. I fear I’d be exposed for the fraud I am and voted off the island pronto.

    And heaven forbid I was mentally ill or some such thing. Where in that society do those folks fit?

    Lots to ponder. And looking through my shelf, I realize I don’t have AS, I only have Fountainhead. What happened to my copy of AS? (Or rather, whom did I lend it to that did not return it, and in what decade did this happen? LOL)

  3. Ok, no edit feature, so I’ll pop in another post to change the last sentence of the first paragraph:

    To me, the ultimate capitalist society she envisions is no more realistic than the ultimate visions of a Utopian communistic society. I think the most one can hope for are successive approximations within very tight parameters.

  4. ABC Pam – come visit me – I would love to talk to you face-to-face. I agree that AR’s vision is utopian to an extreme. But, if you think it through, I think a true free market allows for all with a passion to flourish. Some people become huge dynamic leaders as shown in the book. But, there are always going to be people whose passion is helping others. Think what they could do freed from crazy, random rules? I think the mentally ill, the disabled and the very old would actually end up with better lives in an Ayn Rand kind of world. Sure, it’s extreme and it’s never going to happen, but I think people are mostly good and mostly self-reliant (if encouraged to be self-reliant). We’re by no standard wealthy, but we give generously and according to what we feel is important. I think most people do. I do not want to live in a world where my kids’ college education is based on “forced” volunteer hours imposed by the government. Mandatory volunteerism is a HUGE oxymoron. I think it will crush true volunteerism and ultimately drive a lot of worthwhile non-profit organizations out of existence. I could go on and on. (See why you need to come here and we can talk?)

    I’d love to talk about Rand’s public personality. LOL – she’s a hoot. She certainly had a plan, didn’t she? Whatever you think, she’s remarkable. To think she wrote this book and her others with English as her second (or more likely 3rd or 4th language).

    As far as “people like me” go – everyone is a person like me. I refuse to tell you how late I sleep everyday. We all have something that holds us back and something that makes us unique and valuable. Finding whatever that is is another story. I’m still looking! It’s not black and white at all. For me, I function better in the evenings and live my life that way. BUT, I have no interest in starting a HUGE business or even changing the world. I do believe in using what I have to help my family and to just be able to talk to people I might never meet otherwise. I don’t crave a huge house or fancy cars. I’ll work to reach the point that makes us happy, but I’m not willing to give up time to earn more in exchange for time with my kids.

    I think, looking at Atlas Shrugged, it’s about having the freedom to choose. You’re not tied to 40 hours a week if the job can be done in 10. You’re not forced to slow down on an assembly line if the slowest person can’t keep up.

    Gah – I ‘ve been thinking about your comment all day and I feel like we could talk for hours and hours and hours about it.

    (FWIW – you’re not a fraud and I’d never vote you off the island!)

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