Tuesday, January 24, 2006
Monday, January 16, 2006
Tuesday, January 10, 2006
The Ghost of Howard Roark
"What do you think of me ?", he asked Howard.Moving back he replied "I don't think of you";My favourite lines from the epic 'THE FOUNTAINHEAD'.
The Fountainhead is not only an epic, it is a peice of art,it is something that will never be reproduced again.After finishing it for the third time,I feel the strong urge to put my thoughts on paper however insignificant they may be.The article is not about the book and it would be a lie if I said it is about its hero 'Howard Roark'.It is about the ghost of Howard Roark.It will get clear with explanations.Rand puts forward her ideas and philosophies through its characters,Roark being the strongest of them.But there is one character she forgets to sketch out in her book and this character although has no incarnate form,it is the one that teaches me the most.The character is what I call 'The Ghost Of Howard Roark'.
The character is a dynamic one.The reader is the one who plays the character.The character plays the role of I,me,myself,the ego,the soul,the self or whatever else you decide to call it.From here onwards I will address 'you' as the character,so it is easier for me to explain.
You open the book,you start reading it.After reading through the first two chapters,you are impressed by Roark's character; you immediately go back to real sitautions.You come across two feelings.
1)Regret-You remember times when you acted meekly where you could have stood affront and told the other person 'This is what I feel and this is what I will do.'
2)Pride-Because you feel the strength of Roark's character inside you when you remember an incident when you acted like him.
You always had a complaint in school,in college and at your work place that the system sucks; we are forced to follow it blindly,there is no excitement and what not.But suddenly those 2 chapters open a whole new dimension of your thoughts which tittilate your cerebrum.You smile.This is what goes through your mind.If the system sucks,why should I suck along with it,why cannot I build my own system because I have to live in it.If my job gives me no excitement,why don't I move ahead and do something that excites me.I am brave enough to do it.
This is what the 2 chapters do to you.
You feel as if you were standing alone on a piece of road wondering in which direction to move ahead,Suddenly an angel like figure pops-up on your head and all of a sudden there is an aura around you !Your eyes seem to emit a silver beam like flash which shows you how the real world looks like...It shows you the world of Objectivism.
Halfway through the book and all your dreams and promises of being Howard Roark like slowly start shattering as Peter Keating starts making his moves in the epic.It is then you realize,what a big loser he ends up being.And the pain;The pain of being what others want you to be starts paralyzing Keating.You too start feeling the same pain,even worse when you start the process of recounting a million encounters where you have been a classic Keating;Keating the Loser.
If you managed to find pride when you found 2 ways in which you were similar to Roark,you end up finding hundreds of which are similar to Keating.In short Keating rattles you to SHAME.
Then comes the real character Toohey.Not only is he the 'PEOPLE' we talked about earlier,he is also the most intelligent character of the epic.The character who thinks free of his emotions.The earlier half of the epic depicts Toohey as the average intelligent guy just involved in politics here and there. But in the later half,the character takes the drivers seat as you realize that the people are the real drivers of every soul,every ego.People like Keating become useless in the pursuit of being what others want.And the others become useless because they get heroes like Peter keating who is in himself useful to none.I mean he can never be a source of inspiration.
And so the cycle begins;useless heroes,useless people,useless societies and back to useless heroes. The central character to a useless society i.e. characters like Toohey know who the real Hero is.He knows Roark is what a human being should be,egoistic and objective and he knows Keating,is what a human being should not be,a loser.But Toohey makes the people believe the opposite.He promotes losers like Keating for the simple game of Power.Its always easier to have power and control over heroes like Keating rather than champions like Roark who love themselves more than anyone else.
Now you are lost stranded not knowing who the real human is ,because ideally you know you have to be Roark but when you open your eyes to the practical world,you know you depict Keating very closely?But the Hero for you is Roark.Although you know or should I now say we know we are Keatings in most senses.You have the smartness of Toohey and you want to develop the will power of Roark.
So you leave the book,planning to implement all your ideas you have gathered.The book is gone ,so has the reading.The characters of Toohey,Roark and Keating have gone but one thing will remain with us/me/we forever 'The Ghost of Howard Roark' and the day I feel like Peter Keating again,I simply pick up my copy of the epic by Rand.