Fountain Head gives me "A New Life"
Fountain Head by Ayn Rand is one of the best books I have ever read, and best in the philosophical genre. This blog is not for any reader, it's for me and my memories. I want to preserve the feelings I am having right now after reading this book and how deeply it has changed my thoughts and way of living.
We all want to be happy, it's a natural human tendency. We all think why is that happiness ends and why can't we always be happy. Why is that everything is temporary and we can't achieve permanent happiness. What is pursuit of happiness and why we always fail to be happy and end being sad.
The answer to all these questions is as simple as saying that we all strive for virtual happiness, which means we just want others to have a projection that we are happy. We all do a lot many things, achieve some commendable stuff, create some mind boggling records, but do we do it for ourselves? If you are true enough to yourself, you will get the answer and I don't think there is a need to mention the answer. I confess I have done 99% of the things in life to get some attention, to get some compliments or just for the sake of achieving some future options. I get happiness out of it, but I get happiness by not achieving it or doing it my way, but by the projection which others have about me after having done the respective. I can count on my fingers the permanent happiness in my life and it doesn't cover all fingers even.
Having confessed the truth about my life, I would like to live my future life for myself and not for others. For my happiness, for my work and not about others view on it. I exactly know how my work is and how it can be improved. If I enjoy my work, it's happiness and no one can change it or give it an end to that happiness. Basically, living for self is the foremost thing to be understood. If you enjoyed the work you did, then it doesn't matter whether it is appreciated or criticized later. Cherishing that work will always give you happiness if you did that work for yourself and not thinking for what others will think about it.
Howard Roark: "Never ask people about your work"
Howard Roark - The Architect is the best character of the book, who creates buildings for himself and enjoys his work. He doesn't do the work for clients the way they want rather he takes commission only from those clients who wants the work that he creates.
It is really difficult to work for self, as the world is full of people who live for others instead of themselves. They will try hard to fail you, finish you, demotivate you and end your strive for self-happiness. I may not be able to live for self, but at least I will try to do so and try to live some part of it my way.
Ellsworth Toohey, an architect critic in the book believes in stagnant progress and doesn't believe in individualism. He tries hard to finish the career of Howard Roark and ensures that he doesn't receive any commissions. He writes column in the most reputed newspaper of that time "The Banner", and his article use to have a great effect on the public. Howard was not at all bothered about him, and here is the most interesting conversation between the two.
Ellsworth Toohey: There's the building that should have been yours. There are buildings going up all over the city which are great chances refused and given to incompetent fools. You're walking the streets while they're doing the work that you love but cannot obtain. This city is closed to you. It is I who have done it! Don't you want to know my motive?
Howard Roark : No!
Ellsworth Toohey : I'm fighting you and shall fight you in every way I can.
Howard Roark : You're free to do what you please!
Ellsworth Toohey : Mr. Roark, we're alone here. Why don't you tell me what you think of me in any words you wish.
Howard Roark : But I don't think of you!
It had a great feeling when I read the above sequence and that's what happiness is all about.
There is general doubt,expectation in our mind that how can we remain always motivated to do the work and not expect it to be appreciated. It happens with me and will happen again, till the motive of my work is not the compliments I get from it but the work itself and the joy of doing my work. It is very difficult but that's the happiness which lasts forever, not only for us but for the work done also.
Howard Roark: Before you can do things for people, you must be the kind of man who can get things done. But to get things done, you must love the doing, not the people! Your own work, not any possible object of your charity. I'll be glad if men who need it find a better method of living in the house I built, but that's not the motive of my work, nor my reason, nor my reward! My reward, my purpose, my life, is the work itself - my work done my way! Nothing else matters to me!
One of the other most impressive characters of the book is Dominique Francon. She was also column writer in The Banner, and she was the daughter of Guy Francon, owner of the biggest architect firm "Francon and Heyer". She was a self built person, who use to live the life she wanted. She use to criticize some one or compliment some one else. She struggled being herself and was not happy with the world as it was. She got to know about Roark, and she immediately knew he is the kind of person she always wanted to be. She tried to destroy Roark, but in order to test his patience. She did manage to do the work well and make him live without work. She expected some reaction from him, that whether he was noticing her work, that she was working hard to destroy him. Roark heard about her from one of his clients who said that they changed their decision because of Dominique. He understood that Dominique asked the client to transmit the message to him and knew she will approach him soon. She reached his room the same night, and here is the conversation between them.
Dominique: You are not surprised to see me.
Roark: I expected you tonight.
Roark: What do you want?
Dominque: You know what I want.
Roark: Yes. But I want to hear you say it. All of it.
Dominique: If you wish. I want to sleep with you. Now, tonight and at any time you may care to call me. I want your naked body, your skin, your mouth, your hands. I want you- like this not hysterical with desire- but coldly and consciously without dignity and without regrets- I want you - I have no self respect to bargain with me and divide me-I want you - I want you like animal, or a cat on a fence or a whore.
Dominique: You know that I hate you,Roark. I hate you for what you are, for wanting you, for having to want you. I'm going to fight you, I'm going to destroy you and I tell you this, too -even though I believe in nothing and have nothing to pray to. But I will fight to every step you take- I will hurt you - I will hurt you through the only thing that can hurt you-your work. I will starve you. I have done it today, so I shall sleep with you. I will do it again and will wish to sleep with you.
Roark: Take off your clothes
They slept and the talk after it.
Roark: You are going to weaken in a moment Dominique and you will regret it tomorrow.
Roark: You are lovely.
Roark: You are very lovely Dominique.
Dominique: Roark, I will still want to destroy you.
Roark: Do you think I would want you if you didn't?
She was a women with self respect and never wanted to loose it before she had heard about Roark. She found it desirable to loose it to him because it can't have a better self than him to loose it.
They both loved each other like anything for what they are, so they didn't want to ruin their love by saying I love you and start caring for each other.
To say "I love you" one must know first how to say the "I". Ayn Rand
They knew the I and you are very important in "I love you", the sentence looses its sense if the "I" or "you" changes.
Now taking the story further, there was a person named Gail Wynand- The publisher of "The Banner". He had struggled a lot to get this life he wanted and he is a person who would love Roark and his work. He met Dominique someday, and Dominique divorced her husband and married Gail. Dominique married him because he was the second best option for her life after Roark, and so she took the decision.
Gail was such a person, who wanted world to think the way he wanted them to think. He returned to New York and got to know about what all had happened since he had left. He heard about Roark, saw his work and he knew he is the man whom he can live for. They both were fond of each other and you can say that they enjoyed the best part of their lives being with each other. They use to see things their way and live for self even when they were together. Gail was the only person Roark enjoyed being with, because it was like being with self.
Roark: “You have been the one encounter in my life that can never be repeated”
Roark, as expected was struggling in his life and world tried to destroy him. He had a very bad image from the point of view of world. They considered him an insane architect who creates buildings not for humans.
Gail tried to change the thoughts of world towards Roark and this was his mission for life. Roark told him that he was going to fail in this mission and he doesn't need him to do this favor for him. Gail, still continued in his mission, in his own ways, he used all his powers, to make it work.
Reaching to the end of story....
Roark was guilty of dynamiting a structure which was created by him, but was modified by the architects who erected it. His payment for creating it was not money but the only condition that it should be erected the same way as he sketched without any modifications. It was modified and Roark destroyed it using dynamites. It's obvious that he will be guilty of the charge and will be imprisoned, but let's see what happens.
Gail tried to change the view of public, judges, architects and everyone in favor of Roark, but he failed. Roark knew this would happen and he was prepared to face the jury, without a lawyer and was confident enough that he will not be guilty. He was just worried about his friend Gail, who will be sad for life for not having been able to change the thoughts of people as he desired.
Proceedings of the judgement were as follows.
Roark didn't object or said anything while the opposition were saying their point. He was given a final chance to say something before the judgment could be made and this is what his arguments were. Please don't read his arguments if you are planning to read the book.
Howard Roark: [delivering the closing statements of his own defense] Thousands of years ago the first man discovered how to make fire. He was probably burned at the stake he had taught his brothers to light, but he left them a gift they had not conceived of, and he lifted darkness off the earth. Through out the centuries there were men who took first steps down new roads, armed with nothing but their own vision. The great creators, the thinkers, the artists, the scientists, the inventors, stood alone against the men of their time. Every new thought was opposed. Every new invention was denounced. But the men of unborrowed vision went ahead. They fought, they suffered, and they paid - but they won.
Howard Roark: No creator was prompted by a desire to please his brothers. His brothers hated the gift he offered. His truth was his only motive. His work was his only goal. His work, not those who used it, his creation, not the benefits others derived from it. The creation which gave form to his truth. He held his truth above all things, and against all men. He went ahead whether others agreed with him or not. With his integrity as his only banner. He served nothing, and no one. He lived for himself. And only by living for himself was he able to achieve the things which are the glory of mankind. Such is the nature of achievement.
Howard Roark: Man cannot survive except through his mind. He comes on earth unarmed. His brain is his only weapon. But the mind is an attribute of the individual, there is no such thing as a collective brain. The man who thinks must think and act on his own. The reasoning mind cannot work under any form of compulsion. It cannot not be subordinated to the needs, opinions, or wishes of others. It is not an object of sacrifice.
Howard Roark: The creator stands on his own judgment. The parasite follows the opinions of others. The creator thinks, the parasite copies. The creator produces, the parasite loots. The creator's concern is the conquest of nature - the parasite's concern is the conquest of men. The creator requires independence, he neither serves nor rules. He deals with men by free exchange and voluntary choice. The parasite seeks power, he wants to bind all men together in common action and common slavery. He claims that man is only a tool for the use of others. That he must think as they think, act as they act, and live is selfless, joyless servitude to any need but his own. Look at history. Everything thing we have, every great achievement has come from the independent work of some independent mind. Every horror and destruction came from attempts to force men into a herd of brainless, soulless robots. Without personal rights, without personal ambition, without will, hope, or dignity. It is an ancient conflict. It has another name: the individual against the collective.
Howard Roark: Our country, the noblest country in the history of men, was based on the principle of individualism. The principle of man's inalienable rights. It was a country where a man was free to seek his own happiness, to gain and produce, not to give up and renounce. To prosper, not to starve. To achieve, not to plunder. To hold as his highest possession a sense of his personal value. And as his highest virtue, his self respect. Look at the results. That is what the collectivists are now asking you to destroy, as much of the earth has been destroyed.
Howard Roark: I am an architect. I know what is to come by the principle on which it is built. We are approaching a world in which I cannot permit myself to live. My ideas are my property. They were taken from me by force, by breach of contract. No appeal was left to me. It was believed that my work belonged to others, to do with as they pleased. They had a claim upon me without my consent. That is was my duty to serve them without choice or reward. Now you know why I dynamited Cortlandt. I designed Cortlandt, I made it possible, I destroyed it. I agreed to design it for the purpose of seeing it built as I wished. That was the price I set for my work. I was not paid. My building was disfigured at the whim of others who took all the benefits of my work and gave me nothing in return. I came here to say that I do not recognize anyone's right to one minute of my life. Nor to any part of my energy, nor to any achievement of mine. No matter who makes the claim. It had to be said. The world is perishing from an orgy of self-sacrificing. I came here to be heard. In the name of every man of independence still left in the world. I wanted to state my terms. I do not care to work or live on any others. My terms are a man's right to exist for his own sake.
The final judgement - Not Guitly.
He wanted to live a life for self and not for others or lived by others. He was born to create something new from one's self and not do something already done by others. He always believed:
“Anything may be betrayed, anyone may be forgiven. But not those who lack the courage of their own greatness…I was not born to be a second-hander.”
Howard Roark succeeded in his mission for life, living for self and enjoying his work. He was building the biggest skyscraper of New York - "Wynand Building" and the name on it "Howard Roark, Architect".
I just wish I can try to live 10 percent of my life like Howard Roark lived his....