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 Post subject: Atlas Shrugged vs. the Standard Works
PostPosted: Mon Aug 03, 2009 1:04 pm 
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This past weekend I finally finished reading Ayn Rand's Atlas Shrugged. It was very gratifying to discover that all the ideas mulling around in my head had already been given clear, articulate voice by an established author.

The climax of the book is, of course, John Galt's radio broadcast to the world which runs from pages 1009-1069, which you can listen to in serial format if you click here and fast-forward to 1:24. Be prepared; it's only part 1 of 17. In addition, the first part especially might be a little confusing if you haven't read the book.

As I was reading it, a conclusion was forced upon me: How much more grandiose, epic, succinct, insightful, and universally applicable to the human condition is that particular section of the book than all of the LDS Standard Works combined? As I read it, the realization dawned on me that what I was reading was, in every respect I could name, superior to the Standard Works.

I stepped back and took an inventory. Compared to pages 1009-1069 (and also compared to other enlightening and, dare I say, "revelatory" sections in the book, such as Francisco D'Anconia's lecture on the nature of money), the scriptures seemed, believe it or not, amateurish in comparison. Now, in FAIRness, I'm sure that many if not most of the original biblical authors intended their documents to be nothing more than rote recitation of their accepted history, and would've been shocked and amazed at the level of importance that people nowadays place upon them, but nevertheless the scriptures--especially the books of the Old Testament--seem like nothing more than poorly-constructed myths, like what the rough drafts of something like Grimm's Fairy Tales might look like, compared to that particular section of Atlas Shrugged.

Sure, the Bible appears epic thanks mostly to its ancient-ness (gr?) and similarly appears grandiose thanks to its now-obsolete dialect of early 1600s English--the Book of Mormon also looks that way thanks to the authors' specific attempt to imitate the Biblical style--but as far as a beginning, middle, and end description of the human condition and the proper way to advance to a higher state of being, Atlas Shrugged beats the Standard Works hands-down.

When they aren't being bogged down by minutiae, the methodology by which the Standard Works seek to elevate mankind is through prescribing quasi-arbitrary conduct by which to appease and placate an invisible deity. On the other hand, that section of Atlas Shrugged examines man's inner nature and uses pure, unadulterated logic to appeal to the greater virtues and outline a correct path to follow.

Of course, I'll be the first to admit that some portions of the Standard Works are better than others--the four gospels, in particular, outshine most works of literature in terms of pure quality--but taken as a whole, page-for-page, as far as sheer practical (as opposed to spiritual) value to humanity is concerned, I daresay that pages 1009-1069 of Atlas Shrugged--along with a number of other passages--are, on balance, superior to the four LDS Standard Works.

If you've read the book, I'd like to hear your thoughts.

.

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 Post subject: Re: Atlas Shrugged vs. the Standard Works
PostPosted: Mon Aug 03, 2009 1:11 pm 
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I have to completely disagree. I've read Atlas Shrugged twice and find Galt's broadcast to be the dullest part of the book. I don't find it epic or insightful. I also didn't enjoy the book much.

However, in fairness, I find Rand's whole philosophy repugnant.

In case you missed this:

Image

Hey, what are the odds -- five Ayn Rand fans on the same train! Must be going to a convention.

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 Post subject: Re: Atlas Shrugged vs. the Standard Works
PostPosted: Mon Aug 03, 2009 1:31 pm 
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As much as I resist having my head stuffed by mortals I will read the 68 pages.
I already noted your qualification of practical as opposed to spiritual values. That might exlain your entire point. But I will take a look. If only because Nehor hates it.


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 Post subject: Re: Atlas Shrugged vs. the Standard Works
PostPosted: Mon Aug 03, 2009 1:41 pm 
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Nightlion wrote:
But I will take a look. If only because Nehor hates it.


I will pay you to work Rand's philosophy into Mount Olympus; what figure will you find to demonstrate the virtue of selfishness? :lol:

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 Post subject: Re: Atlas Shrugged vs. the Standard Works
PostPosted: Mon Aug 03, 2009 1:53 pm 
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I was really into Ayn Rand's novels and non-fiction when I was seventeen or so.

Superior to the standard works? Not in my judgment. Not even close. Of course, I never considered myself an "Objectivist."

Ayn Rand's personal life was repugnant, and her moral philosophy was and is, as well. I'm still pretty much an economic libertarian, though. But not because of Ayn Rand.

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 Post subject: Re: Atlas Shrugged vs. the Standard Works
PostPosted: Mon Aug 03, 2009 2:00 pm 
Atlas Shrugged has been said to embody a philosophy attractive to college freshmen but repelling to college seniors.

The philosophy is repelling; an arch-libertarian and hedonistic view of the world where everything goes as long as it meets one's object. I mean -- everything; destroying others' lives, cheating and adultery -- it goes. The "ideal man" in the Fountainhead was one who did not believe in altruism and believed that the "ideal man" was one who subjugated (the first encounter between them was a rape) his married, but willful mistress as well as all women.

Who is John Galt?


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 Post subject: Re: Atlas Shrugged vs. the Standard Works
PostPosted: Mon Aug 03, 2009 2:03 pm 
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Daniel Peterson wrote:

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Ayn Rand's personal life was repugnant, and her moral philosophy was and is, as well.


I guess it is all in the eye of the beholder. Some, .....excuse me, a hell of a lot of people say that about Joseph Smith, too.

Moral philosophy?

I am thinking of Joseph's letter to Nancy. Wasn't that the one? Now there is some kind of moral philosophy for you. You know, the one the General Authorities keep quoting out of context.

I was really into Joseph Smith's philosophy, too, when I was ....oh, seventeen or so.

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 Post subject: Re: Atlas Shrugged vs. the Standard Works
PostPosted: Mon Aug 03, 2009 2:05 pm 
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rcrocket wrote:

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I mean -- everything; destroying others' lives, cheating and adultery -- it goes.


Sounds just like Joseph Smith, doesn't it?

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 Post subject: Re: Atlas Shrugged vs. the Standard Works
PostPosted: Mon Aug 03, 2009 2:07 pm 
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I first read Atlas Shrugged several years ago. I was very intrigued by the initial portion of the book. In fact, I would have to say that a lot of what Rand seemed to be advocating resonated with me. But as the story continued, I found myself perceiving fundamental flaws in her ideas. Not all of them, mind you, but I could see significant holes in what I perceived to be the real practicality of the philosophy she was describing.

Take, for example, the supposedly self-built utopia-esque “Village of Superiors” (my term, not hers) that she describes. Frankly, it is ridiculous to believe that her well-heeled capitalist geniuses would have been able to—absent a large labor force—construct the kind of “city” she describes. Indeed, the whole book breaks down at that point for me. It becomes absolutely laughable, and John Galt’s interminable ramble on the radio only makes things more comical.

I struggled to finish the last few hundred pages of the book. I consider it a more or less well-intentioned but perfectly naïve elucidation of an economic model that could never function in actual practice. It wouldn’t “get off the ground” sufficiently to even become a spectacular failure, such as the great American capitalist experiment has done.

Nope, I’m afraid that the Law of Consecration, as practiced by the inhabitants of the City of Enoch in ancient times, is the only economic order that has the potential for long-term viability. The problem, of course, is unifying the purposes and goals of a society sufficiently to marshal all their capital and labor into specific objectives, and wealth-building endeavors.

Can you imagine what the USA might have accomplished had it ever been able to do just that? I mean, this country has possessed the greatest single accumulation of wealth, technology, and skilled labor ever seen in the history of the world. And yet, it has now become so fragmented and disunified that our entire civic infrastructure and social order is beginning to crumble before our eyes—and within the same generation that saw it rise to become the envy of the world.

The only time this country ever came close to unity of economic purpose was during World War II and during the race to put a man on the moon. World War II was the only war in history that saw a major participant in a major war emerge from that war significantly more powerful and wealthy than when it entered it—and over the course of less than 4 years time!

As far as the moon missions are concerned, it is a sad, sad commentary on what has happened to this country since 1969. We couldn’t go back to the moon right now even if we wanted to, let alone send men beyond the solar system, which is precisely what people in 1969 expected would have happened long before 2009 rolled around. The new millennium brought not a "Space Odyssey," but rather inaugurated the most profligate era of waste this world has ever seen. We have just observed almost a trillion dollars--more than it cost for the entire 1960s space program--disappear into thin air without stimulating anything but the bureaucratic appetite for MORE, MORE, MORE.

Alas, this country has seen its apex, and we and our children will now have the dubious privilege of watching it disintegrate before our very eyes.

Quote:
... and the fall thereof was exceedingly great ...

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 Post subject: Re: Atlas Shrugged vs. the Standard Works
PostPosted: Mon Aug 03, 2009 2:11 pm 
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grumps wrote:
Sounds just like Joseph Smith, doesn't it?

Cute. But no, not really.

Do you know much about Ayn Rand's personal life? About her "objectivist" moral philosophy?

I have a book entitled Remembering Joseph, a massive collection of personal reminiscences by those who knew him. No remotely comparable book is imaginable regarding Ayn Rand. She was a monster.

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 Post subject: Re: Atlas Shrugged vs. the Standard Works
PostPosted: Mon Aug 03, 2009 2:19 pm 
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Daniel Peterson wrote:
gramps wrote:
Sounds just like Joseph Smith, doesn't it?

Cute. But no, not really.

Do you know much about Ayn Rand's personal life? About her "objectivist" moral philosophy?

I have a book entitled Remembering Joseph, a massive collection of personal reminiscences by those who knew him. No remotely comparable book is imaginable regarding Ayn Rand. She was a monster.


My great, great, great uncle thought the same of Joseph. Joseph did some seriously wacked out stuff. But, there is no reason to compare. Joseph is luckily separated by many more years from us today than Ayn Rand. A lot of that history, the day to day stuff disappeared. Which is too bad.

Now, what about the letter? Do you follow that philosophy yourself? Do you teach it to your children? Anything pretty much goes, doesn't it, according to that letter. Too bad it wasn't burned, huh?

Oh, about Ayn Rand. Only a little. Have never been interested. Even when I was seventeen.

Too busy smooching with girls, I guess. :cool:

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 Post subject: Re: Atlas Shrugged vs. the Standard Works
PostPosted: Mon Aug 03, 2009 2:23 pm 
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Daniel Peterson wrote:
grumps wrote:
Sounds just like Joseph Smith, doesn't it?

Cute. But no, not really.

Do you know much about Ayn Rand's personal life? About her "objectivist" moral philosophy?

I have a book entitled Remembering Joseph, a massive collection of personal reminiscences by those who knew him. No remotely comparable book is imaginable regarding Ayn Rand. She was a monster.


Ayn Rand went through a lot during the Russian Revolution - her family lost everything. Joseph Smith's family also lost the farm and was poor. I'm sure both as adults did not want to be poor again.

Although they lived in different times, in a way Joseph Smith and Ayn Rand were soul mates.

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 Post subject: Re: Atlas Shrugged vs. the Standard Works
PostPosted: Mon Aug 03, 2009 2:25 pm 
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"Soul mates"? Sorry. That's ridiculous. They had very little, if anything, in common with each other.

grumps wrote:
My great, great, great uncle thought the same of Joseph. Joseph did some seriously wacked out stuff. But, there is no reason to compare. Joseph is luckily separated by many more years from us today than Ayn Rand. A lot of that history, the day to day stuff disappeared. Which is too bad.

An enormous amount has been preserved, enough to give us a pretty complete picture. You don't know much about Ayn Rand. I do. I know quite a bit about Joseph Smith, too. Whether you do or not isn't clear (or very important) to me, but Joseph Smith was no Ayn Rand.

grumps wrote:
Now, what about the letter? Do you follow that philosophy yourself? Do you teach it to your children? Anything pretty much goes, doesn't it, according to that letter. Too bad it wasn't burned, huh?

I like the letter.

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 Post subject: Re: Atlas Shrugged vs. the Standard Works
PostPosted: Mon Aug 03, 2009 2:38 pm 
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DCP wrote:

Quote:
I like the letter.


What about it do you like?

Yeah, I saw the name change. Cute. Moving down to The Nehor's level, huh? Or reverting back to the age when you enjoyed Ayn Rand?

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 Post subject: Re: Atlas Shrugged vs. the Standard Works
PostPosted: Mon Aug 03, 2009 2:53 pm 
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Well, despite my best intentions, it looks as though I'm not going to be able to resist making post #1000 and thereby achieving a status on this message board that gives me great cause for shame: Godhood in The Great and Spacious Trailer Park™.

But apparently I just can't help myself. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is regrettably so weak. Maybe I'll find greater strength tomorrow to overcome this peculiarly virulent sickness. As the Master well-noted:

Quote:
... this kind goeth not out but by prayer and fasting.


I would beseech the good professor, the venerable Dr. Peterson, to fast and pray for me, but he also is afflicted--even worse than I.

Quote:
Physician, heal thyself ...


Alas, I was provoked by gramps' indictment of the famous letter from Joseph Smith to Nancy Rigdon. gramps asks:

gramps:
Quote:
Now, what about the letter? Do you follow that philosophy yourself? Do you teach it to your children?


Indeed I do! I consider that letter a veritable revelation; a marvelous window into the mind of God; one of the most notable "pearls" of great price to issue forth from the mouth of the Prophet of the restoration. I not only believe in and follow that philosophy myself, but I seek every opportunity to teach it to my children.

Of course, I am quite certain that neither gramps nor any of his buddies here in the GSTP™, have even the remotest clue about the meaning of the concepts espoused in that letter. Nevertheless, and notwithstanding the pervasive ignorance of those who condemn Joseph Smith for what he wrote in that letter, I consider it—along with the King Follett discourse—to be among the crowning jewels in the revelations that poured forth from the Prophet during his all-too-brief career.

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 Post subject: Re: Atlas Shrugged vs. the Standard Works
PostPosted: Mon Aug 03, 2009 3:03 pm 
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Hi Will!

How are the horses? Hope all is well in the south.

Congratulations for making Godhood. It is the only place you will ever make that grade. You shouldn't begrudge us here so much. :lol:

And, I am so honored to have helped push you over the top.

Well, explain now for us what is so special about the philosophy Joseph espouses in that letter. And, let's be sure we keep it in context. No General Authority, from the pulpit, crap, if that is o.k.?

Oh, and when did the King Follett sermon become a revelation? It was a funeral discourse, no?

I claim ignorance as to the meaning of Joseph's letter, really. Could you share with us the pearls of wisdom we can glean from such a letter?

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 Post subject: Re: Atlas Shrugged vs. the Standard Works
PostPosted: Mon Aug 03, 2009 3:07 pm 
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William Schryver wrote:
...to be among the crowning jewels in the revelations that poured forth from the Prophet during his all-too-brief career.

The only revelation that really matters (to get a sense of what he was like) is all that poured forth from Joseph's jewels during his brief career.

(Just trying to speak Will's language here).

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 Post subject: Re: Atlas Shrugged vs. the Standard Works
PostPosted: Mon Aug 03, 2009 3:11 pm 
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gramps wrote:
Congratulations for making Godhood. It is the only place you will ever make that grade.

I think the real reason he resisted it so long is that he instinctively knew none of the ladies would meet him in the goddess suite, and it would prove a terrible blow to the fantasy of his manhood he's sporting.

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 Post subject: Re: Atlas Shrugged vs. the Standard Works
PostPosted: Mon Aug 03, 2009 3:15 pm 
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Some Schmo wrote:
William Schryver wrote:
...to be among the crowning jewels in the revelations that poured forth from the Prophet during his all-too-brief career.

The only revelation that really matters (to get a sense of what he was like) is all that poured forth from Joseph's jewels during his brief career.

(Just trying to speak Will's language here).


LOL.

Tipping another just for Will. Congrats on becoming God!

Ask DCP. It's not such a bad honor. It doesn't seem to have affected him any.

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 Post subject: Re: Atlas Shrugged vs. the Standard Works
PostPosted: Mon Aug 03, 2009 3:20 pm 
karl61 wrote:
Ayn Rand went through a lot during the Russian Revolution - her family lost everything. Joseph Smith's family also lost the farm and was poor. I'm sure both as adults did not want to be poor again.


Sort of a Wiki-ish approach to analyzing a complex author. I'd say the comparison is frivolous.

gramps wrote:
Sounds just like Joseph Smith, doesn't it?


Uh, yeah, I suppose if you are Warren Parrish.

Let's start a thread about Genghis Khan, or Hitler or Mussolini and see if we get the likes of you chiming in with "Sounds like Joseph Smith." Somehow, I doubt the two lacked even a clue as to Rand (before today), much less Genghis Khan, Hitler or Mussolini. Oh, wait, there's always Wiki.


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 Post subject: Re: Atlas Shrugged vs. the Standard Works
PostPosted: Mon Aug 03, 2009 3:26 pm 
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I think it is kind of ironic so see a thread about Atlas Shrugged having better philosophy than the standard works, or Ayn Rand being better/worse than Joseph Smith. Ironic because the objectivist anti-religion became a kind of religion of its own, at least according to Michael Shermer (who I trust more than I trust most people).

The Unlikeliest Cult in History

I've never read Atlas Shrugged and I don't plan on it. Life is too short. I wasted enough time on the Book of Mormon.

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