Posted tagged ‘the fountainhead’

Divine Design by You

October 30, 2008

Have you ever created something, thought it was really great, then looked at it again and started to doubt it? Have you ever made something wonderful but then compared it to someone or something else and decided it wasn’t? Unless you are Wonder Woman, my guess is that you have doubted yourself on more than one occasion. I do it all the time. And while I feel a little humility is always a good thing, so is being realistic about what you’ve done. If you really love it, then who cares what anyone else thinks? If you love to paint, then by all means keep painting. If you enjoy writing then start typing now. Whether its acting, singing, design or whatever floats your boat – keep doing it!


I think I’ve had a tendency to value the creations and accomplishments of others because they were “someone else’s” achievement. But we each have had many achievements in our lives. So be sure that you don’t overlook yourself and your contributions to the world. Appreciate and include yourself with the awe you witness in others as well.


It was another Ayn Rand bit from “The Fountainhead” that got me thinking of today’s post. It’s from the character Howard Roark again and he’s defending his artistic vision and his very unique (and totally unappreciated, in fact for the most part detested) architectural style.


“Every form has its own meaning. Every man creates his meaning and form and goal. Why is it so important – what others have done? Why does it become sacred by the mere fact of it not being your own? Why is anyone and everyone right – so long as it’s not yourself? Why does the number of those others take the place of truth? Why is truth made a mere matter or arithmetic – and only of addition at that?”


The Great Song of Me

October 29, 2008

It’s another Ayn Rand morning. Life seems to move in themes and for me lately that has meant “The Fountainhead.” There are tons of great messages in this book. The enjoyable thing so far is that they’re embedded in characters and a plot that are very real. There is no “and they lived happily ever after” so far – the characters are too human to be so simplistic.


I came across another passage on the plane that I dogeared and wanted to share for the past few weeks. Many people talk about “giving your power away.” I’ve heard Oprah write and speak about it. That you hand your personal power and your life over to others when you ask them or let them make decisions for you. I’ve read about it from many authors. In fact in a book I’m reading parallel with “The Fountainhead”- the authors (Esther and Jerry Hicks and Abraham) speak of the wisdom of making your own choices because really only you can know what’s best for you. Other people can try to give you advice but no one is ever truly capable of being totally unbiased in their advice. I think that’s why this particular passage struck me. It’s between Howard Roark (who was expelled from architectural school the day before graduating – and totally doesn’t care) and Peter Keating (a “friend” so-to-speak, schoolmate, and roommate).


Hopefully as you read this exchange, it will spark some remembrance in you of the great privilege and obligation each of us has to chose our own life, to make our own decisions, and to live our unique and specific purpose. Only we can ever know what that is. No one will ever be able to tell you.


“If you want my advice, Peter,” Roark said at last, “you’ve made a mistake already. By asking me. By asking anyone. Never ask people. Not about your work. Don’t you know what you want? How can you stand it, not to know?”

“You see, that’s why I admire you Howard. You always know.”

“Drop the compliments.”

“But I mean it. How do you always manage to decide?”

“How can you let others decide for you?”


The Fountainhead

October 28, 2008

I picked up a copy of “The Fountainhead” a few months ago and started reading it the weekend I went to New York. It seemed like sizeable enough material to cover the cross-country flight. The premise is the idea that “man’s ego is the fountainhead of human progress.” It’s one of Ayn Rand’s masterpieces. I find Ayn Rand a very fascinating author. Every man I know loves this book. Hearing a man tell me he loves this book is about as an original statement as hearing one of my girlfriends say they love Sex and the City. So who is this woman who writes men in a way men completely identify?


The answer? I don’t know. It’s a 700 page book and I’m only about half through. I’ll keep you posted. But I will tell you that I’m liking it myself. There are some great quotes and exchanges running through out the book that I’m liking. Plus the “man’s ego” outlet in the book is through architecture and I loved reading it at the same time I was in New York City. There are skyscrapers and buildings to delight even the most ignorant person (mainly, me!).


So today’s thought comes from the book “The Fountainhead” and is an exchange between one of the principle characters Howard Roark and the Dean of his architectural school (of which he’s just been expelled). I like the indomitable spirit that Howard presents and I think it’s a good challenge to all of us. When the door is shut, go through the window. When someone says no, keep searching until you find the one that says yes. To me it’s a spirit that will not be discouraged or deterred. That’s a bit of the American spirit in us all – Yes we can!


Go get ’em ladies!


“Do you mean to tell me that you’re thinking seriously of building that way, when and if you are an architect ?”


“My dear fellow, who will let you?”

“That’s not the point. The point is, who will stop me?”