Monday, April 18, 2011

Atlas Shrugged

Went with my girlfriend to see the movie this weekend and I didn't think it would be very good, but like Star Wars, I had to see it. Anyway, it wasn't as bad as the critics said, but it wasn't very good either. The book the movie is based on is nothing more than a thin veil of Ayn Rand's philosophy, and unfortunately it doesn't come across as a very entertaining, nor comprehensible movie.

What the movie needed was a major rewrite. For G-ds sake, make the characters act and speak like human beings! Also, it might be blasphemy, but temper the philosophy to its essential and universally appreciated points. Maybe it wouldn't be "Atlas Shrugged" to the faithful, but so what? If people want the undiluted version of the book, read the book!

Most people, including myself, find the appeal of Ayn Rand in her unrelenting celebration of the individual. That Man doesn't exist for other men, but for himself. She believed that the philosophy of altruism/collectivism, where man is viewed as a sacrificial animal to others/society, is abhorrent.

I don't ascribe to Objectivism, and I am certain that the adherents of Objectivism would castigate those like me. But the reality is that there are tons of us out there who implicitly understand and celebrate, the message that individual achievement is moral and admirable for its own sake. Capitalism is moral, not because it's "Dog eat dog", but because it is the manifestation that what you produce is your achievement, and that others placing a claim on your life is immoral.

That's what inspires me about Atlas Shrugged, and I think that's what inspires others too. It isn't some philosophically consistent diatribe, but universal themes of individual achievement, freedom, and morality. One day, that will make a great movie.


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