A discussion on Ayn Rand the author

I was reading an article on how polarizing Ayn Rand is really. Many many love her yet many also hate her to the point of vehemently and vociferously disapproving her.


And thought we needed our own discussion on her being a polarizing figure in the literary circles. What are your thoughts about her, her works and the characters she creates in her books? Do you love or hate her and why?

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I read this book a very long time ago. Actually, I tried reading this book three times in my life. And after attempting it three times I have understood that this book, unlike many others, can only be read when the reader’s mind is ready to manoeuvre through pages of verbose writing. My mind was ready for it when I was 21-22 years old. And, I hated it. I still do. I really can’t stand this book.

Personally, I would never recommend this book to anyone. I couldn’t grasp her philosophy of Objectivism - which I feel is an extremely fancy synonym for selfishness. She tries, really hard, to drill into her readers that there’s only one ideal-self love, any deviation from that ideal should not be tolerated. Now, that’s bullshit. Imagine the entire humanity trying to follow that philosophy! It would bring the end of world nearer. I also feel that maybe my Indian upbringing has fuelled my hatred for this book.

Indians are always accommodating. There’s a billion of us, we have no other option but to be accommodating. Having lived in an environment where people bend backwards to help others, to see others dreams fulfilled, Ayn Rand’s philosophy sounds absolutely hollow. Having said that, I must also point out that it is an important book. But its philosophy cannot and shouldn’t not be implemented both at a personal level and at the level of the society.

Here’s an example http://www.salon.com/2013/12/10/ayn_rand_loving_ceo_destroys_his_empire_partner/

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I am not really sure about this. My experience, having lived in foreign cultures, is that Indians come across as selfish, discriminating, crab-minded people compared to others. Though I know there are differences within cultures in India - for example, Kerala and Bengal both I noticed have a society oriented culture that makes people put others first before themselves. So IMO Ayn Rand’s ideology and philosophy will be in sync with many Indians with you being an exception.

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hmmm… interestingly, you pointed out Bengal and Kerala. I am a Malayalee from Bengal, so I would like to think that I am aware of both the cultures. I do have to agree with your opinions pertaining to these two places. However, that’s where my agreement stops. I understand your observation about Indians residing in other countries, as I have also lived a year abroad. But I think that attitude stems from both insecurity and a probable hard life. A huge chunk of Indians abroad are poor immigrants. they started low and had to battle racism, poverty, and the fear that often accompanies immigrants living in an alien land. I guess these, and many other factors came together to form their “selfish, discriminating, crab-minded” behaviour. I am not condoning their attitude, it is most definitely wrong. But one mustn’t forget why they turned out to be like this, esp outside.

Sorry, I think you have misunderstood me. I was saying having lived abroad I can compare the culture of Indians with others outside India and find that Indians come across as selfish and mean than most other cultures I have encountered outside India. Actually, Indians when abroad tend to huddle together and take care of one another sooner or later.