It’s my birthday today and I’m going to enjoy it the way I enjoy most—reading. One of my favorite authors of late is Ayn Rand, the beleaguered woman from the past who dared to challenge 10,000 years of human thinking and upset the apple cart of civilization tremendously. I find her work wonderfully refreshing and most enjoyable.
But life for Ayn was not a pleasant experience. There is no question that her novels directly took on the philosophies of Plato, Kant and many others expanding to a level that Friedrich Nietzsche danced around before going mad—Ayn Rand figured it out without madness. And her stories are wonderful contributions to human culture that hold the key to mankind’s future. But it took almost 50 years for society to begin to appreciate Ayn Rand which was much to her personal distress. This was the topic of discussion with Barbara Branden at a talk about the 50th anniversary of Atlas Shrugged and in general the disappointment Ayn Rand had in realizing that the men and women of her books stayed silent and did not come to her defense when it counted most, during her lifetime.
Two weeks ago an angry letter writer sent me a note letting me know that their beloved teachers union was going to expose me as a woman hating, Ayn Rand worshipper, and that the power of my influence was coming to an end. My response to this person was how could I hate women if I love Ayn Rand? But what I didn’t tell the letter writer was that I have not always known about Ayn Rand, yet I have found that my own thoughts about things almost directly parallel hers, and I arrived at those conclusions without ever reading a single word of her work, but in discovering the “truth” through observation. I arrived at the truth through deductive reasoning, and no matter how one arrives at the truth, it is what it is. When a mind arrives at the truth whether it be me, or Ayn Rand, or some other thinker—it has it’s characteristics of reality that are unmistakable and universally experienced.
I have asked the same questions that Ayn Rand asked, “Where are the strong among us? Why do men desire to become intoxicated when it reveals they are weak? Why do humans pander to their weaknesses when it is strength that should be valued? Why do humans worship sacrifice as one of their highest concepts when it’s the ability to create that advances all life? And why do men and women who comprehend the answers to these questions hide from the parasites of the world?” Rand in the video above questioned why the “men of the mind” did not come to her rescue when she faced an angry world of parasites who wanted to silence her. It is because the “men of the mind” chose to stay hidden like her characters in Atlas Shrugged. They retreated to their condos, their books—to their solitude so to avoid the parasites of existence, and they did not come out just because Ayn Rand wrote a book to motivate them. They simply did as she suggested in Atlas Shrugged, they “quit the world.”
I haven’t been so lucky to free my mind with such surrender. As I recently read Leonard Peikoff’s book on Objectivism I discovered that I virtually held almost every concept of that philosophy word for word, but my arrival there was not by any guidance. It was by a quest of the truth even when the world said to behave otherwise. This tendency of mine has caused me a lot of trouble—and I mean————-A LOT OF TROUBLE. But I never understood why, since my intentions were ALWAYS to be good, and do what’s right.
When I was growing up and going to Sunday School at the age of 6 to 7 years old I used to get into terrible trouble when we’d sing the song–
“Jesus loves me! This I know,
For the Bible tells me so;
Little ones to Him belong,
They are weak but He is strong.
Yes, Jesus loves me!
Yes, Jesus loves me!
Yes, Jesus loves me!
The Bible tells me so.”
I would stop singing the song on that fourth line and my Sunday school teacher would berate me. “Rich Hoffman—you have to sing the whole song. Everyone else is!”
I’d say, “but it’s a lie—I’m not weak.”
“We are all weak and we need the grace of our lord to prop us up in times of weakness,” she’d say to me.
“I don’t have moments of weakness,” I’d say. Then I’d be punished and the teacher would tell my parents what a bad boy I was in class.
This went on for the next 11 years at my church and I never yielded, and they never gave up trying to convince me otherwise. I recently went back to that church and one of the older women there who remembered me from those days said, “You were the troubled one,” referring to my siblings who didn’t resist authority the way I did.
I had the same trouble in public school as has been well documented here. I never had a hard time understanding what the teachers were trying to say. I had a difficulty allowing my time to be imprisoned by the teachers and students personal limitations—since public school is built around a mediocre life approach–I thought they were stealing my time, and I treated them as though they were running a prison.
In my private life, I have had nothing but trouble interacting with the limitations most people place on themselves. I asked many times where the men and women of strength were, just as Barbara described above. Again, many of my stories are reported here at Overmanwarrior’s Wisdom.
My hunger for strength in human character took me to the work of Nietzsche, specifically his great book Thus Spoke Zarathustra. My oldest daughter who has watched me intensely for many years noted all the conflicts I’ve had and once she became older I explained to her that “most of society wants to place shackles upon your mind. They do not want to see you pull too far out in front of them. They do not want you to make them feel guilty for being less than they know they should be, so they throw stones and attempt to beat you into submission. That is when I use their skin as a flag on our flagpole.” She understood the context of my comments because she’s been there and seen how difficult it’s been, and I didn’t want her to feel she had to surrender her life to the parasites of existence. Additionally I told her “I don’t know how this ends, this line of thinking I’m on. Most people who think the way I do go mad since their version of reality and the reality of the rest of the world are so far apart.”
Nietzsche went crazy just a few years after he wrote Thus Spoke Zarathustra. Many will say the disease of his mind was natural, but I believe that if the mind and body finds itself overwhelmed by too many contradictions with reality the thinking mind tends to turn on itself. The same thing happened to Robert Pirsig author of Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance. Society put him through electro shock treatments in an attempt to “straighten out” his mind. He collapsed into himself by the weight of his realizations.
Recently a respected businessman asked me, “why do you do it—why do you find yourself in so many conflicts?”
I reported, “Because the conflicts deserve to be fought. Because not fighting them is yielding to the imposition of aggressors who do not know what they are doing. So to yield to them is to yield to evil.”
He’d said to me in reply, “Evil—really—nobody talks like that anymore. That kind of language is—out-of-touch.”
“By their doing,” I replied. “The way for evil to advance is for nothing to stand in its way. If they belittle attempts to identify them they remove their opposition from the battlefield.”
“But everything isn’t a fight,” the man said to me.
“Yes—it is,” I said.
I ran into Ayn Rand by reading a book about Ronald Reagan and was delighted to learn that Rand used similar terms that I loved from the work of Nietzsche. A few months after reading this Ronald Reagan book I heard from my friend Doc Thompson who was at 700 WLW at the time that one of Ayn Rand’s books was being made into a movie and that it would be considered a Tea Party friendly film. So I did what I could to help promote the film locally primarily through my site here at Overmanwarrior’s Wisdom generating enough interest to bring a presentation to Cincinnati since the production was on a limited distribution budget. That’s when I decided I needed to actually read the book of the film I was promoting, so I picked up Atlas Shrugged and read it. That was the first time I read Ayn Rand.
Needless to say I loved the book. I can understand why it’s the second most read book at the Library of Congress behind The Bible because it cuts to a truth that is missing from our human dialogue. I view Atlas Shrugged as the missing link in human understanding and is a paramount work of philosophy. I know that because I’ve read most of them. I can’t believe that I didn’t run into Ayn Rand sooner, but in some ways I’m glad I didn’t, because I find that her characters parallel my own experiences and have much more truth to me now. I don’t know that if I had run into Atlas Shrugged earlier, that my own experiences would be authentic to my life, but might reside in my mind as being parallel to the life of John Galt. Ironically when my son-in-law read Atlas Shrugged he told me that I reminded him of that iconic figure, and there is a part of my mind that finds that refreshing. There is a pride to be had when it’s realized that the life you’ve led reminds your son-in-law of such a character in an epic book. That means I must have been doing a great deal right along the way, and has given me a certain reassurance that my beliefs all along have been more than correct.
My emphasis on the value of Atlas Shrugged is due to the precise fact that I’ve read somewhere over 500 books and it is only Atlas Shrugged that offered a truth about life to the level I can validate proper and I’m glad I found it later than sooner. Not everyone will have the experience that I’ve had, since many would find my stance toward life uncomfortable. But due to my experiences, and feeling many times compelled to bend my will to those of the collective mindset around me, I can say with complete honesty that it is only John Galt who reflects accurately my own politics and life philosophy closer than any other character in literature. And it was a remarkable feat for Ayn Rand to capture such a concept in her mind.
I am glad to have read the work of Robert Pirsig before the work of Rand however, because it was Pirsig not Rand who explained why the character of John Galt is so proper, and ironically the goals I have set for myself my entire life is correct. Pirsig actually defined why Rand’s characters are proper in their outlooks on living—it is because they position their lives at the front of the “train” of thinking. Rand simply made the observation that certain types of people carried the world on their backs. Pirsig figured out why, even though it drove him to a level of insanity to arrive at those conclusions. But the concept itself was worth its weight in value upon the human race.
The mess the world currently finds itself in can be traced back to writers like Thomas More, H.G. Wells, Marx, Bernard Shaw and many, many others who shaped the modern world of progressive thought to the level it’s at today. Politicians followed those writers in forming their thinking and everything proceeds down hill from there. I became so fed up with that progressive world when a literary agent from Wilshire Blvd in Hollywood told me that my script The Lost Cannibals of Cahokia was “unrealistic, audacious, but was also breathtakingly exciting, yet way too political—that audiences would never be able to identify with the characters. You must rewrite more human weaknesses into these characters.” In anger I threw the script back on the shelf and dropped the pitch sessions where that particular script resides to this very day waiting for a time when movie producers come to understand the economic value of such characters. It can just sit there forever for as much as I care. CLICK HERE FOR MORE DETAIL. I knew at the time that I was right even though the whole industry told me I was wrong, and in the back of my mind I wondered if I was the only one in the world who thought this way—until I finally read Atlas Shrugged. It was then that I saw from a woman—a former Hollywood screenwriter, a glimpse from the past and future at the same time, into the minds of those who lived their lives in the front of Pirsig’s train, people like Walt Disney, Leonardo da Vinci, Albert Einstein, Warner Von Braun and the modern-day Richard Branson. The world should strive to be like those people, not the broken down derelict Karl Marx, Stalin, or Mao.
The failure is in the basic philosophies of the human race and through our history there have been moments of brilliance that has emerged, but overall, the basic idea of sacrifice before production has led mankind down a perilous path that has led to continuous cycles of cultures that rise, and fall based on their failed philosophies. I’ve seen it all my life, and people told me I was wrong. But it was they who were wrong, and it took me over 40 years to become comfortable with that conclusion. Along the way, I can honestly understand why Ayn Rand’s men and women of strength stayed hidden, because they did not want to be pummeled by the mob of collectivists and pulled to shreds by people who want to consume their essence simply because they are producers.
Atlas Shrugged as well as the other work of Ayn Rand is a uniquely American philosophy built upon the observations that made the United States the greatest country on earth in the history of mankind. Her work is a direct challenge to the entire motivation of the human race and she offers the first valid solution to many of our social problems since the time of Aristotle. Naturally the people who have built their lives around the wrong philosophic principles will be upset, and they will fight for their right to be stupid, because it’s all they know. But I can personally validate the work of Ayn Rand and can see the uniqueness of it based on my personal observation. It has confirmed in me a lifetime of observation and asking the same questions Rand wondered when she published her epic book.
But I will take it one step further than she did, I will not assume that the strong men and women of the world will come out of their hiding places to rally together against the forces of evil—evil here being defined as a collectivist, parasitic society. I will instead push back against the fools without care as to their peril by myself if need be. I will no longer care what happens to those who place themselves in the way of goodness. I have seen too much evil committed on the good intentions of the many only to be twisted to evil ends without understanding why it happened. “The good of the many do not out weigh the needs of the few,” sorry Spock. That method of thinking does not work, it has never worked, and it will never work. I’m not going to go along with it any longer.
In my next 40 years I am not going to allow myself to be a target for the frustrations of the collective, as those who think like me have been for years, and why the human beings of exception hid in the darkness to let Ayn Rand take all the ridicule that she would take to her grave. One foot can crush a million ants, and that is the way to begin thinking of the power the individual has over all forms of collectivism. It may be true that they outnumber us—but they do not match our intellects, or our will. They are the living dead sacrificing one moment of their lives for the next only to end up at the end depleted by their masters, and that is not my path.
So on my birthday I will celebrate the words of Ayn Rand and let my own brain rest for the day and relish this personal declaration of independence. There is nothing wrong with challenging 10,000 or even 100,000 years of human dedication to the wrong philosophy if you can prove that it is wrong—and at age 44, I am convinced that it has been. And I’m not going to go along with it any longer. I’ve tried to get along for the sake of keeping the peace, and it hasn’t worked. I’ve found myself in endless conflict anyway. So appeasing the collectivists won’t bring about peace—all it does is allow evil to advance it’s position with my assistance—and that has to stop.
For those who don’t want to go through the trouble that I have described above, that I have experienced in my personal life, I’d suggest study in the philosophy of Objectivism as a starting point. That is the best way to get quickly to the side of righteousness, and the fast track to the next great movement upon the face of the earth—a philosophy that will endure well into the next 100,000 years—Objectivism.
The key to living this full life and solving the answers to all of societies current problems are in the philosophy of Objectivism. CLICK BELOW TO BEGIN YOUR NEW EDUCTION