Sunday, June 10, 2007

The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand

The first book we chose to read was The Fountianhead by Ayn Rand, a novel describing the philosophical theory of objectivism through a story of an architect and the different personalities surrounding him. This book was seen in Season 3 episode 12 ("Par Avion") being read by Sawyer. A little side-note, this is a very long book (694 pages to be exact). I realize Sawyer has nothing but time on the island, however he must be a pretty fast reader to finish such an intense, lengthy book in such a short amount of time.
Wikipedia Links
The Fountainhead
Correlations to the Episode Featured
  • One of the most obvious correlations is found not in this episode, but in episode 13, "The Man From Tallahassee" In this episode, Locke blows up the submarine that could potentially provide access to leave the island. This is very similar to the way that the main character Howard Roark blows up a building that he has designed, after others have changed it from his original design, he cannot stand to see something that erected that disagrees with the way he intended it to be. In this same fashion, Locke blows up the submarine because it does not fit in with his personal plan of how he feels things should be. He so desperately knows that he must stay on the island that he is willing to go to any lengths to prevent the 'losties' from being rescued.
  • Ellsworth Toohey, in one of his famous speeches to Peter Keating, discusses the idea that if a free thinking individual is born into a society they must either join the collective way of thinking or go crazy trying to live their life as an individual. At the end of the episode Jack is seen playing catch with Tom and it appears as though he may have joined their group's way of life and thinking.

Correlations to LOST in General
  • The existence of selflessness vs. selfishness in a society is a very prevalent theme in both.
  • There is a group of people in the book who, through coercion, are able to dictate the thinking of the collective society. As in LOST, the idea that a group or foundation can force people to press a button every 108 seconds among other things is a reoccurring theme.
  • A book in The Fountainhead is written called the Gallant Gallstone, which discussed the existence, or lack thereof, of free-will. That is also reoccurring theme, free-will vs. destiny.
  • Gail Wynand, the owner of the Banner, has groups of people at his disposal to find out any amount of information about any individual to be used against them. Ben appears to have the same network at his finger tips.
  • Ellsworth Toohey, a writer for the Banner and an all-around ruthless guy, says at one point in the book that the way to destroy someone these days is not to murder them but to destroy their soul by taking away what is most important to them. Ben displays this same philosophy as he tends to go for the "losties" self respect as opposed to their lives. Another parallel between Toohey and Ben is that they are both masters at manipulation. They do not need to use force to get someone to do what he wants. They are both crafty enough to make the person believe that it was their idea all along.
  • Howard in the end blows up a housing development because it wasn't part of his design. Locke also blows up both a building and a submarine because they don't fit in with his plan, or his design, to stay on the island.
  • A huge theme throughout the book is dependence on other people and whether it is ethical or smart to depend on others or to rely solely on oneself. The theme of live together die alone is also part of LOST.
  • Ellsworth Toohey is a proponent of a very socialistic ideal which entails that nobody in a society should be so good at their trade that they become irreplaceable, and that anybody and everybody should be able to do the job of another person. If ever, according to Toohey, someone becomes so good at their trade that they become irreplaceable, then it would mess up the balance in life. It appears that the 'others' are part of a quasi-socialistic society that may encompass the same ideals.
  • A very big reoccurring theme in the latter stages of the book is that of sacrifice. The idea of objectivsim has a little bit to do with how sacrifice is an idea put up by leaders of groups to gain control over the actions of a collective. It is also stated where sacrifices are given, there must be someone receiving offerings, so it is adviced to avoid those people who ask one to sacrifice things. Locke on multiple occaisions claims that the island demands sacrifices of both people and things as well as habits. It also discusses the true reason for not having vices or habits as a selfish one which does not make it a true sacrifice. Charlie sacrificed his addiction to heroine but it really was selfish motive. Objectivism states that through selfish motives, all positive things are done.

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