10 March 2007

Mine, Mine, Mine!

Author: Shelly Becker
Illustrator: Hideki Takahashi

Becker's latest biography focuses on the childhood of Ayn Rand, one of the 20th century's most influential (and controversial) thinkers. In this episode from her youth, Rand's mother forces her to share her toys with a cousin who is visiting from out of town. Though she is very young, we can already see evidence of the rational self-interest that would become a key component of her philosophical thought and the foundation for many of her most renowned works. The young Rand initially implements an ingeniously laissez-faire approach to sharing her toys, until the authoritarian mother figure demands a more equal distribution of goods. Will Ayn learn her lesson about sharing, or does this early experience in collectivist thought drive her towards her passionate development of Objectivism?

It is difficult to accurately trace the origins of Rand's intellectual development, but the following quote indicates that perhaps her early experiences did play a formative role in her thinking: "My philosophy, in essence, is the concept of man as a heroic being, with his own happiness as the moral purpose of his life, with productive achievement as his noblest activity, and possessing the freedom to play with the toys of his choice without fear of sanctions or judgment."


vi said...

Yeesh, if you'd only posted this sooner, I'd have saved a lot of time not reading Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged. Btw, I think she should be your nerd crush. Check it out: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ayn_Rand

Minh said...

I've made it a general policy to not go after women that have been with Alan Greenspan. I'm pretty sure that doesn't eliminate Sarah Vowell, my current nerd crush.