Rebirth of Reason

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Wednesday, October 2, 2002 - 9:23amSanction this postReply

Great article! I think it is very important to let novels influence us in our everyday life. The good thing about Rand's novels is that you can find plenty of great role models that express the kinds of positive rewarding behavior that help you be successful. It is especially nice to hear you speaking so positively about the workplace. I worked for a Communications company that was unionized. Many of the employees went to work everyday thinking "how can I milk this company?" That is thoroughly unhealthy! I embraced my company, my Managers, and my co-workers in order to stay sane. The union was a constant source of division and they were EXACTLY as I had seen them described by Rand: PARASITES. It took a great deal of courage to work for a union and keep my distance from them. Luckily I did not have to go through a strike! Whew!

Post 1

Wednesday, October 2, 2002 - 2:32pmSanction this postReply
Not sure I want to be like clockwork at the office, or be all-devoted to my boss. But I certainly agree that today's massthink about "worker vs boss" is nonsense. There are only people who make life more difficult for others, there are people like that everywhere.

Work is productivity. Whatever kind of work you're doing, you certainly have to respect it. And it definitively helps when you love your work.

Unions are a real bane on honest people. If there is something that deserves to be called "parasite", apart from politicians, that is it. Here in Quebec they are allowed to vandalize property and nothing is done about it, because our government is syndicalist.

Post 2

Wednesday, October 2, 2002 - 6:49pmSanction this postReply
Excellent article, Anton. I agree with Anthony Teets in that it's important to seek ideals and role models through good art.

There's probably a contradiction in my thinking regarding unions, but I think that people have the right to voluntarily associate with their fellow workers and attempt to collectively bargain with their employer on points agreed upon by the workers involved. I think there are times when an employer may make an honest mistake and not notice it until most of his employees come to him and say, "We all think that there is something wrong, it's making our jobs unnecessarily difficult, and we'd like to discuss a solution." On the other hand when a union starts acting like a medieval guild and requiring that all employees join the union, it most certainly does become a parasite. Perhaps I'm not thinking about unions at all, but of temporary coalitions where the employees of a company agree on a given issue and choose a representative to speak with management, a coalition that will disband once the issue has been resolved.

I do know that I am not loyal primarily to my employer, but to myself. I'm selling him my skills, not swearing fealty to him. I won't sell out his secrets to the competition, confidentiality is part of the service, but I feel no particular loyalty to my employer. He pays me on time, and I do my best to earn my pay. On the other hand, I do see myself primarily as a mercenary -- a theme I explored a bit in another essay. At root, however, I work in order to live. I don't live to work; I have other interests as well. While Miss Ives was a supporting character, I think that Rand portrayed her as one who lives to work.

Post 3

Wednesday, October 2, 2002 - 11:52pmSanction this postReply
Cheers guys. I figure it's good to have a positive attitude towards work - after all, it's where I spend a hell of a lot of my time.

I didn't want to come across like an automaton - I just wanted to show how AS has had a huge impact on my work ethic. The novel is brimming with wisdom about work. It has changed my work ethic for the better, but for all that I certainly still have a good laugh with the boys.

As for unions - I have no time for them. My first job was with a stauch unionist from the old school, and when push came to shove and they wanted to get rid of him, the union didn't do anything about it. Besides, I'm happy to negotiate my own pay, hours etc - I'm a big boy now.

I agree with what you're saying Matt - I sell my skills to whoever will pay me the most, of course with the aim of increasing my skills and furthering my career prospects. In that respect I guess I'm really my own boss.


Post 4

Thursday, October 3, 2002 - 6:52amSanction this postReply
This article comes at an interesting time as I've been treated to discussions from my husband about the dynamics at his lab.

There are things in science that one must accept -- grants have deadlines, publications require a certain level of professionalism and good work, at times, extra effort must be made so that the lab can continue to get funding to operate. It is quite a job getting a grant together, each foundation or company (and yes, there are some government grants for science as well though it is a private institution he works for) has it's own guidelines, deadlines, and ways of working.

However, some people in Tim's lab fail to understand these basic things, feel imposed upon to get their job done, thinking they shouldn't have to be under pressure to do these things. I'm sure certain individuals would love Stadler's Institute where they wouldn't have to worry about the mundane and 'dirty' work of 'grubbing for money'. LOL!

Sadly, these few people create a negative work flow, impeding those in the lab that do what must be done, support their boss, and understand that grants and work are integral to their jobs. This galls me to no end! It is always the more able that have to pick up the slack of these people and for the able (like my husband) it often comes down to larger issues -- ie., they see the value of the work themselves and so do it anyway, because it does ultimately benefit ... which leads to the perception that these slackers can get away with it. Argh!

I should tell my husband to show them this article. LOL! But I'm sure they wouldn't get it.

What I'm seeing in some younger people today is a complete lack of work ethics, or even basic understanding of why one goes to work in the first place! It seems people have come to believe that work is a social hour where personal problems take the forefront, as well as 'personal enrichment' times such as attending aerobics or yoga classes in the middle of the workday and then acting the martyr when they must then stay late to finish up, as if they were actually working hard, and long into the night. LOL!

In addition to the clear lack of real training and education some graduate students exhibit, they severely lack in the basics of time management, setting goals, understanding priorities and generally have the attitude that everyone should be pleased simply by their presence. This is the result of our public education system and all these extra rights for all the hyphenated Americans in this country.

Sorry, I seem to have turned this into a rant! *grin*

But it is refreshing to know that some out there take their jobs seriously, understand what it means to be professional and respect what those things stand for! There is much too little of it in life!

Joy :)

Post 5

Friday, September 8, 2006 - 11:31amSanction this postReply
Do you think Rearden should have gotten her in the sack?

Post 6

Friday, June 19, 2015 - 4:07pmSanction this postReply

In fact, Gwen Ives does break down into laughter when Rearden refuses Dr. Potter's offer to buy a shipment of Rearden Metal.  That aside, Gwen Ives was not the only one who was ruthlessly efficient at work or lacking in spontaneous emotion. Rearden is saddened to learn that Ken Dannager called him "the only man I ever loved" because Dannager's only words to him were on the order of "look, here, Rearden."  Being Rand herself, Dagny Taggart did express her emotions, the sum of her conscious thoughts as instanteous value judgments. She laughs, she cries, she chills into anger.  No one else does in the course of their working day.


The characters in Atlas Shrugged did not have the range of depth that Rand gave to the characters in The Fountainhead. The latter opens with, "Howard Roark laughed." Mike Donnigan has no corollary in Atlas. The analog to Steven Mallory would be the Wet Nurse, Tony, but the differences between them are fundamental. Allow me to coin the term "psycho-metaphysical."  I mean a quality different than "sense of life"but rather the total possible range of actions of which a person is capable.  In The Fountainhead, Mallory and Dominique developed an easy working relationship. Although Gwen Ives married Eddie Willers in a fanfic universe, even within that universe it would have been impossible for them to go out for a drink after work. 


The answer to Chris Baker is that it would be wrong for the same reason that Dagny could never have slept with Eddie Willers.  As much as they shared in sense of life, their psycho-metaphysical natures were vastly different. That is what made the relationship between James Taggart and Cheryl Brooks wrong and ultimately ironic. An efficient shop girl might keep the inventory of one store in order. As the CEO of a transcontinental railroad, he was supposed to have all of that in his head -- which Dagny did: her conceptual range was orders of magnitude beyond Cheryl Brooks', moral and commendable as Brooks was. James Taggart just made himself dumber, considering less and less, as the plot progressed. He was not even a wiley looter.


(Edited by Michael E. Marotta on 6/19, 4:16pm)

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