Howard Roark and the Collective
by Jon Rappoport
April 4, 2017
Why go to fiction to learn about power?
Because in art we can see our visions. We can see ideals and archetypes. These fictional characters have the energy we strive for.
When Ayn Rand, the author of The Fountainhead (1943), was asked whether Howard Roark, the hero of her novel, could exist in real life, she answered, with annoyance, “Of course.”
Her implication was: don’t you have the desire to discover your own highest ideals and live them out?
Roark is an architect who creates buildings no one has imagined before. His refusal to compromise his vision is legendary. He suffers deprivation and poverty and rejection with an astonishing amount of indifference. He is the epitome of the creative individual living in a collective world.
For reasons no one can discover (must there always be reasons?), Roark has freed himself from The Group. Perhaps he was born free.
Roark’s hidden nemesis is a little man named Ellsworth Toohey, an architecture columnist for a New York newspaper, who is quietly building a consensus that has, as its ultimate goal, the destruction of all thought and action by the individual for the individual.
But Roark, in his personality, spirit and force, is The Exception to the Rule.
He stands as a force that transcends the complication of Need and, instead, is pure Desire.
Desire, plus intelligence, plus creative power.
Whatever dross may once have existed in Roark’s character has been burned away.
Rand allows us to see that society encourages everything an individual does and thinks that keeps him from being self-sufficient. That is what society, in its advanced stage of dissolution, is for.
Therefore, as Roark moves through space and time, he ignites in others, without trying to, all the emotions that signal their self-betrayal: shame, fear, disgust, resentment, hatred.
Their dedication to endless compromise remains intact. They tell themselves whatever stories they need to, in order to protect their second-hand existences.
They enact the range of feelings that allow for entombment in The Group.
These days, when people talk about “self-improvement,” they unerringly manage to avoid the starkness of these matters. And this is why the so-called “helping professions” fail.
Those who own the systems that run the world enforce, celebrate, champion, and fund life-by-need.
Drug dealer and his addicts—that’s the societal model.
But then, what of community? What of family? These are often thrown in the face of The Fountainhead as accusations, as if Rand wants to stamp them out and leave them in the dust.
The obvious answer is, which community, which family? Are the individuals intact, or are they sacrificing themselves to an “ideal” of diminishing their power?
The Matrix has an entrance, a gate on which is transcribed, “Reduce your vision and surrender your separate power.”
Yes, “separate.” A word that is now considered taboo. “Separate” was what we defended before we “understood” that the only salvation was attained in “coming together” and melting down.
We can even find this Melt in physics. The latest version of coming together is the interpretation placed on quantum entanglement, in which atoms light years apart react simultaneously from a stimulus placed on either atom. We are supposed to believe that the whole universe is arranged as a spontaneously reacting Whole, with no part distinct from another. And this is confirmation that the Collective is the preferred pattern of life in every venue. In other words, political collectivism mirrors cosmic collectivism.
Are you sensing something strange here? You should be.
Once upon a time, in a document called the Constitution, separateness was considered a key element. There was separation of church and state. There was separation of the rights of an individual from what the state could arbitrarily do to the individual. There was separation among the three branches of federal government, a plan enacted to limit overall federal power. There was separation of the enumerated powers of the federal government from the far more numerous powers of the states.
DISTINCTIONS that created separation were absolutely necessary. Making and abiding by such distinctions were made possible by minds that could think, minds that could utilize logic—rather than minds that boiled down in a puddle of gray sameness.
Roark is shown to us as a man who stands separate from the mass, the crowd, the mob, the group, the collective, the majority, the minority. He isn’t seeking permission or approval or praise or consensus for his work, his art, his buildings, his creations.
The stunning intensity of his Desire isn’t watered down by a Need to be drawn into what the group wants or accepts or believes in.
The hallmark of The Matrix is a collective lens, through which the individual is supposed to view his life, his work, and the world.
“I see what everybody sees, and they see what I see, and we all see together.”
Talk about fiction. The collective lens is built, step by step, piece by piece, along a path of self-betrayal and corruption.
To speak about individual freedom while living and seeing and thinking through the collective lens is a contradiction and impossibility of titanic proportions.
“I have the inalienable right to see things as others see them. To melt down what might, in other circumstances, be my Separate Vision. To melt it down for the sake of the Whole. So that I might better serve others.”
Well, thank you for your sacrifice. I’m sure a gold star is waiting for you in some cosmic classroom. Now, if we all sacrifice all the time, someday soon we will all be invisible. We will all live in the great mouth of a great nothing. No one will have power. No one will be free. But we will speak as if we are free.
Our false words will sound important. Our rhetoric will, perhaps, convince us and everyone else that freedom still exists.
We will, in fact, be speaking like those politicians do, the ones we accuse of acting on ulterior motives.
Modern leaders have found their power through promoting a concept of endless need. This need can never be solved, it can only be accommodated.
Groups are educated and tuned up to demand more. They must have more of this and more of that. Without limit.
The individual, if he is thought of at all, is depicted as a bundle of needs.
Naturally, when someone defects, he is looked at as a betrayer. Actually, he is exposing the game.
That is when things become interesting.
That is when life takes over.
(To read about Jon’s mega-collection, Exit From The Matrix, click here.)
The author of three explosive collections, THE MATRIX REVEALED, EXIT FROM THE MATRIX, and POWER OUTSIDE THE MATRIX, Jon was a candidate for a US Congressional seat in the 29th District of California. He maintains a consulting practice for private clients, the purpose of which is the expansion of personal creative power. Nominated for a Pulitzer Prize, he has worked as an investigative reporter for 30 years, writing articles on politics, medicine, and health for CBS Healthwatch, LA Weekly, Spin Magazine, Stern, and other newspapers and magazines in the US and Europe. Jon has delivered lectures and seminars on global politics, health, logic, and creative power to audiences around the world. You can sign up for his free NoMoreFakeNews emails here or his free OutsideTheRealityMachine emails here.