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Ayn Rand. 1905-1982 American Author. Ayn Rand Background. Born in Russia in 1905 as Alisa Zinov'yevna Rosenbaum She moved to the United States in her twenties in 1926 less than a decade after the 1917 Russian Revolution This revolution established the

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Ayn Rand

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ayn rand

Ayn Rand


American Author

ayn rand background
Ayn Rand Background
  • Born in Russia in 1905 as Alisa Zinov'yevna Rosenbaum
  • She moved to the United States in her twenties in 1926 less than a decade after the 1917 Russian Revolution
  • This revolution established the

Union of Soviet Socialist Republics

(U.S.S.R. or Soviet Union), a

communist government

Communist troops in Red Square in 1917

ayn rand background1
Ayn Rand Background
  • She opposed the communist government that had taken over her country and which was beginning to spread around the world
  • Actually, Rand opposed all forms of Collectivism
  • She is famous for several novels including Anthem, The Fountainhead, and Atlas Shrugged, which voiced this opposition through literature
the collective vs the individual
The Collective vs. the Individual
  • Collectivism: a philosophy that stresses human interdependence and the importance of a social collective, rather than the importance of separate individuals.
  • Collectivists: one who focuses on community and society, and seeks to give priority to group goals over individual goals. Cooperation is key.
  • Its roots go back to the concept of “Holism” from Aristotle
  • Holism: “The whole is more than the sum of its parts” –Aristotle
the collective vs the individual1
The Collective vs. the Individual
  • Collectivism inspired some political philosophies:

--Socialism: property & distribution of wealth are controlled by governments to increase social and economic equality.

  • Another philosophy inspired by Collectivism:

--Communism: goal is to form a classless society based on common ownership of the state where everyone is equal. The roots of communism go back to the philosophical work of Karl Marx who believed communism should replace other forms of government.

Marx: “From each according to his ability—to each according to his needs.”

Thomas More (English Author) invented the term “Utopia”

in 1516—it translates to no place, and it is a fictional paradise where everyone is equal. In some ways, Communism seeks to achieve this kind of paradise or at least a “workers’ paradise.” The “workers’ paradise” was Marx’s last stage in his vision for his collectivist society.

society vs the individual
Society vs. the Individual
  • Dystopia is a vision of an often futuristic society, which has developed into a negative version of Utopia. A dystopia is often characterized by a totalitarian form of government. It often features different kinds of repressive social control systems, a lack or total absence of individual freedoms and expressions and a state of constant warfare or violence.
  • Look for some of these features in her novels, such as in Anthem
society vs the individual1
Society vs. the Individual
  • Individualism: a term used to describe a social outlook that stresses independence and the importance of individual self-reliance & liberty. Individualism is therefore opposed to collectivism, holism, socialism, communism, and totalitarianism.
  • Totalitarianism: government regulation of nearly every aspect of public & private behavior. Some individualists believe that collectivism will ultimately lead to a totalitarian government, leading to a form of dystopia
rand and the individual
Rand and the Individual
  • Rand came to see the individual as the answer, in many ways, to the purpose of life
  • The expression of the individual is continually expressed through her fiction, such as in the lost “I” in Anthem, Howard Roark in The Fountainhead, and John Galt in Atlas Shrugged
rand and objectivism
Rand and Objectivism
  • Rand’s belief in the self, or ego, came to be represented in a philosophical framework of thinking she called Objectivism
  • Objectivism can best be understood by its goal, which is to achieve personal happiness through one’s own efforts
  • One does not give or receive anything undeserved, and one does not envy what others have
  • It has been criticized as a philosophy that is, in essence, selfish or self-centered
rand and objectivism1
Rand and Objectivism
  • 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.“
  • The idea of objective principles relates to the idea that there are objective realities about life that are not dependent on what anyone thinks – they are independent
  • Some of these are the fact that people deserve respect and individual rights, and one should live with moral integrity
  • The bottom line? We must create our own happiness