I told you a while back (katmosphere: Ways to Spend Money) about a car I saw driving to work. I saw it again today. Around the now famous license plate was a plate cover that said, “Who is…?” and I could not remember the name it said on the bottom. Today I saw the name, and remembered it! It read, “Who is John Galt?” I had never heard of the person (hence my difficulty remembering it), so I looked it up online today. Apparently, John Galt is a character in Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand.
According to Wikipedia, “John Galt’s name is enshrined in the question ‘Who is John Galt?’ The phrase is used popularly as an expression of helplessness and despair at the sorry state of the world.”
So there we have it! Had I known what he was trying to express, I guess I wouldn’t have laughed at the license plate as much.
I went through a phase in high school when I read a bunch a dystopian novels, and Ayn Rand’s Anthem was one of them. At some point later in school, I had the option to read Fountainhead or something else, and I chose the something else. I remember that I was unimpressed with Anthem, and did not have the desire to read more Ayn Rand, but I don’t remember why. Since I remember very strong feelings against some other books, I’m guessing it wasn’t too bad. Reading some summaries online, it seems like a lot of what she wrote was because of the time period and things going on in the world. It also has surprised me how much of an impact people say her books have made on America. If that were the case, wouldn’t I have heard more about her, and been told I had to read one of her books? Also, I don’t see her way of thinking fitting into the increasingly postmodern society we live in. Here’s a quote from Ayn Rand:
“My philosophy, in essence, is the concept of man as a heroic being, with his own happiness as the moral purpose of his life, with productive achievement as his noblest activity, and reason as his only absolute.”
Especially the last half (ideals of productive achievement and reason) don’t seem to have much of a place in postmodernity. Having fewer absolutes gets closer, though. Feel free to correct me if I’m wrong. Sorry – this post got serious! Anyway, my opinion of the guy with the custom plate and depressing plate cover has now diminished.