On the subject of Any Rand, we may be at too wide a gap for e-mail. I am not getting lost in her, rather she is causing me to lose myself in my Beloved. That is, after all, the object of religion. Its purpose is not other people, but God; the individual and his approach to his Creator. This is why Rand appeals to me: because she understands that, even if she uses a much different language.
Now, where do other people come in? It’s simple: because we are all one. We all want the same thing, at heart. We are all trying to approach the same God. If you see me approaching, it will help you take heart; if I see you exemplifying honesty, it will help me see its value. Everything we do wholly for the sake of God benefits humanity. What it does not benefit is human egos.
In that book1, there are two types of people: Peter Keating and all his crowd — who represent the majority in that story — and Howard Roark and his friends. The crowd in the “The Fountainhead” are people without a center, who do not care about God; Howard cares only for God.
Howard has no interest in “people”, because what they want is for him to be interested in them instead of God. This is the nature of his lack of feeling. The people know he loves God instead of them, so they call him heartless, cruel, etc. They don’t realize that he loves whatever aspect of God he sees in them also. They want to dictate his love, but it cannot be dictated.
If you feel he lacks a conscience for men, reread his relationship to Gail Wynand. Gail had the love of God in him, but he used it to feed others’ inward poverty. He worked to provide them with an alternate reality, of their choosing, and this is why Henry Cameron — a lover of man, not men — hated him.
But Howard knew the fire that kept Gail burning, however he misused it, and for this reason he loved him deeply. Some of the most profound “feeling” and “conscience” of that entire book is expressed by Howard Roark toward Gail Wynand. Howard loves man, but does not love the images that men ask him to love. When men feel slighted in that hope, they call him cruel and unloving.
Somehow we need the warmth of another to fuel our own creativity.
I cannot express how oppositely I feel to this statement. If they are fueling you, who is fueling them? The tree in the forest is not a conscious being. If I fell in the forest, I would be there to hear the sound. I don’t need anyone else to tell me what I heard.
The nature of helping one another deserves much thought. I do not help a man by pushing him up hill every day. I help him by inventing a cart and showing him how to use it. His response? To persecute me because I don’t care enough to keep pushing him.
To invent the cart I need to be left alone, in my own mind, fired by my own purpose: which is the love that makes me want to see the cart built in the first place. I don’t build the cart for the man, I build it for the sake of God. It happens that my efforts will benefit all men, and this is the nature of living for virtue.
If I ask you to tell me what is good, I can only write what you think is good. The limit of my ability will be the limit of your vision. This leads to a situation where all limits all, and the common denominator is held to be “the best” — because everyone can say so. The man who creates what you do not like, knowing you only dislike it because you haven’t seen it before, is the person who will offend you, ignore you, oppose you — in order to truly help you.
Mankind has killed all of its true benefactors. It does not like them. Nor did they succeed by looking to their fellow man for “fuel”. Withholding that fuel is the great punishment men have devised for keeping people in line. Had our benefactors depended on it, we would still believe that the earth is flat and the sun stationery. We always create alone. But then, we are not alone. There is God. And I don’t mean the God that exists beyond human affairs; I mean the God referred to by the verse, “He who hath known himself hath known God.”
You are a child of God, with a mind, a stake in living. We share this in common. I am writing to that aspect of you, because it is identical to that aspect in me and I will do anything I can to foster its growth. I worship what I love in life by writing a letter to you about these things; which I am writing not for you, but for Him. Which is to say, for you — for the truest part of who you are.
This is the difference between the ego and the soul. We are alone, amidst six billions, in terms of the ego; because the ego feels so alone it cries for companionship. But we are one — a single humanity — in terms of His light within us. There is no loneliness possible in that. Thus `Abdu’l-Bahá says that we will love each other only when we look to the light of God, that point of unity, shining in each person. It is only this Light that we can love. The person around that light may serve it, but deserves no special praise. That, I believe, is being selfless.
In my opinion, this is what the Seven Valleys refers to as the Divine Unity. All of the Prophets are different, yet They are one. When fight in respect to Their differences, but unite in respect to Their unity. When you pray to one, you are praying to all. When you write for one, you are writing to all. When you serve the highest in one, you serve the highest in all. There are no special claims to be made in respect to our distinctions, they are only attributes of this world — to be valued for beautifying the Light, but not loved in place of the Light. It is only in respect to such unity that the world can advance toward its ultimate Goal: not its particular members, but the beauties of God it is capable of manifesting.
The Fountainhead ↩