“I often think that he’s the only one of us who’s achieved immortality. I don’t mean in the sense of fame and I don’t mean that he won’t die some day. But he’s living it. I think he is what the conception really means. You know how people long to be eternal. But they die with every day that passes. When you meet them, they’re not what you met last. In any given hour, they kill some part of themselves. They change, they deny, they contradict–and they call it growth. At the end there’s nothing left, nothing unrevered or unbetrayed; as if there had never been any entity, only a succession of adjectives fading in and out on an unformed mass. How do they expect a permanence which they have never held for a single moment? But Howard–one can imagine him existing forever.”
This is a quote from The Fountainhead, a book that changed my life when I first read it at the age of 15. I’m not really a philosophical person, rather quite the opposite. Since most family dinner conversations tend to be fairly philosophical, and that is all I have had as my side dish for years, I have unconsciously developed a dislike to them. They are thought provoking, screw with my ignorance (they say ignorance is bliss- and I vehemently agree) and make me lose my precious sleep. So maybe not unconsciously, but I have developed an allergy to philosophy. But sometimes I come across something which I can personally relate to, that has to power to change me, to shake me up, to leave a permanent scar, and so I let it burst the pink bubble I usually tend to live in. This is one such example.
This quote has more depth to it than I had at first imagined. Peter Keating says this about Howard Roark, the protagonist of the novel, two architects completely different from each other.
The characters in the novel struggle to act independently from society and their desire to assert themselves becomes the single greatest virtue each of them possesses. The novel ends triumphantly not because Roark defeats or converts his enemies, but because he wins the right to act according to his own principles. The thesis at the heart of The Fountainhead is that society has a herd mentality, and individuals must act selfishly in order to be free. He has in a way achieved immortality as he has risen above the bounds of emotions and societal pressure which cage us and stunt our growth.
The frivolities we live in, the emotional appeals over logical agreements and sentimentalism which I believe to be like quicksand confuse the mind and compromise individualism.
In a battle between emotions and logic, one that wins determines our growth. Our destiny, our mortality is in our hands.
PS- If you haven’t had the chance to read The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand, the next thing you should do is visit Amazon and order it. It is bound to leave a mark on you (the impact it had on me was so profound that it was all I could talk about for months, and hence resulted in me being nicknamed “the fountainhead” by friends.)