Ayn Rand

My mind is busy lately with pondering as I’m doing a lot of caring for a newborn and that requires hours and hours of quiet time. Please forgive the over abundance of journal posts… Ha!

Anyway…

When I was growing up my parents had a dear friend who had been a professor at Penn State in her young adulthood in the late 1960’s into the 70’s. And before that she had done her post graduate work at Washington University in Saint Louis. In both places she was part of a rather intellectual group of colleagues and peers. She was a smart lady.

Occasionally she would take me on outings and we’d go antiquing. Although, I did a lot of antiquing with other family friends and my parents too. No wonder I love it so now. …Or, we’d go to hear the Minnesota Symphony Orchestra. She too loved classical music.

And this lady always told me that she thought of me like an “honorary niece” and on our adventures we’d often have long conversations. Once she told me about how she had played with Bob Dylan as a little girl in Duluth, MN because they went to the same Hebrew School. He was just little Bobby Zimmerman then… Or sometimes we discussed my friends or dating. Other times it was my plans for the future. Occasionally politics. We covered almost everything… And when I was in high school I brought up a topic I wanted to hear her thoughts on: Ayn Rand.

A girl in my honors political science class my freshman year of high school (I didn’t finish my undergrad on time due to my undiagnosed hypothyroidism – I’ve always had an easy time in school otherwise and have a professionally documented IQ of at least well above average overall and genius in certain areas and I started reading at age two and a half. *brief nod and smile*) …was a serious ballerina (I’m fairly certain she went to NYU after high school). She drove herself very hard and later confessed to even developing an eating disorder to perfect herself for dance. …And one day I overheard her discussing Ayn Rand with our teacher – she seemed very intrigued by Rand.

Our teacher in honors civics was a progressive lady who was very politically active in our state and brought her enthusiasm into the classroom regularly and this teacher cautioned the young ballerina, “Ayn Rand is very artistic. Her books are very artistic. There’s a lot of beauty in her works and she brings up some fascinating ideas, but you have to be discerning about her ideology. It’s not particularly intellectually sound or empathetic.” My father had briefly warned me about Ayn Rand too. I had heard this all before…

And, my “honorary aunt” concurred. “Oh! We loved Ayn Rand in college. She was very popular then. I loved her books and read all of them.” she said emphatically at lunch one day. But then she hastened to add that once she developed her spirituality more, and had a deeper faith in God in the years that followed her stint as a professor, she began to believe that Objectivism was based on faulty thinking and then had to, “…work hard to throw it all out and forget everything Ayn Rand had ever written.”

Still, I wondered about it all. Although, after doing some research on Ayn Rand’s books and philosophy on my own I didn’t feel quite intrigued enough to defy the virtual smorgasbord of antagonism to her thinking that had entrenched itself in my world among those whose opinions I took to heart.

Years afterward, in my late 20’s Ms. Rand emerged again though when one of my good friends from high school joined the Tea Party Movement and not by coincidence also became a fan of her works. Of course, at that time I still believed Ayn Rand was a rather unfortunate thinker and my lack of warm feelings for the Tea Party Movement didn’t help her cause in my mind either, to say the least. And, the fact that I had a Libertarian ex who was also in her camp likely also dimmed her sparkle, in my perception, all the more. *laughing*

But…a year or two ago I stumbled on her words yet again, and this time I was terrified because they gave life to thoughts I was afraid to utter aloud. Of course, I still felt she was taking quite a few things much too far but I appreciated what she said enough to scare myself. Haha! And now…I know I need to finally open one of her books and finish it.

(I recently tried to watch the film version of “The Fountainhead” with Gary Cooper from 1949 but I realized quickly that it’d be more enjoyable to just read the book.)

…Am I becoming a Conservative? A heartless old woman? I don’t know… I hope not heartless, at least. But, I’m definitely a moderate except on environmental issues at the moment. And either way, I do realize I need to be brave enough to challenge my own long held beliefs once and while. Wisely, of course.

Do you ever feel the need to do that? Anyway… *smile*