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Blog Posted in avatar   Jonathan Farrell's Blog

Ayn Rand's 'Atlas Shrugged' is a prophetic insight of our times; a book for this Recession

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By Jonathan Farrell
Posted Nov 23, 2012 in Arts
A book that might resonate very well with people right now during this economic recession is "Atlas Shrugged." The insights the author, Ayn Rand describes are more than just uncanny, its prophetic. This reporter happened to see a documentary on Netflix about the book which discussed its premise in detail while also providing a brief biography of Rand.
Born in Russia, Rand was 12 when the revolution broke out in 1917. She witness the tremendous upheaval the onset of Communism brought to the Russian people. Her family lost everything. This made her determined to go to America. Yet once in America she was disappointed at how naive and narrow-minded the American political system was. Some of the documentary is devoted to the efforts to make "Atlas Shrugged" into a movie. And, what a movie it would be, this report has no doubt.
The documentary prompted this reporter to find "Atlas Shrugged." Fortunately, a copy was at the local library. It is a large book of over 1000 pages. The most fascinating aspect of the book is the way Rand describes the depth of the characters, the setting of the scenes and her overwhelming sense of inner turmoil.
As with any author, the details have some of the blueprints to the larger focus, some obviously intended and others unexpected. The book is fiction and is set in an obscure dystopian time. But it was clear to this reporter, some references and descriptions are clearly of the 1920's and 30's, ("brother can you spare a dime") kind of scenes, where hard times clash with the ambitious and the shortsighted aspects of greed. But the poetic way she writes its like Steinbeck's "The Grapes of Wrath" meeting F. Scott Fitzgerald's "The Great Gatsby." That aspect is a gem. And, of course even more valuable is the sense of prophecy in which Rand writes her novel.
When this reporter uses the word "prophecy" it is used cautiously because it leans toward religious ideas. But it is fascinating how a secular novel can have so much insight and foresee a "day after tomorrow" with so much accuracy. As far as I understand, Rand is a realist, she is skeptical of religion. But I think she is not undermining of ethics. In fact, she urges readers to truly examine the ethics in what is often taken as granted.
Rand prizes the sense of honest individuality and the true format of enterprise is individuals participating in free and honest trade and commerce. Yet, as greed and power gets hold of governments and bureaucracy, the principles get shuffled and lost.
For all those that like to read books of intrigue and prophecy, check out Rand's "Atlas Shrugged." And, hopefully at some point, some portion of this very sweeping novel will be made into a major movie. Yes, it is that good and worth one's time and effort.

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