Sunday, June 13, 2010

Before Leigh Irwin Came to Be: Chalet Eagle Looks At Ayn Rand

PHILABURBIA, Pennsylvania, USA. "A dark night in a world that thinks it knows how to keep its secrets. But in a small office, just north of Philly, one man is still looking for the answers to many of life's persistent questions: Leigh Irwin, Investigative Reporter." (MUSIC FADE)

It was a quiet afternoon in Philaburbia.  It was very muggy out and I was very glad to get back to the big fan in my office. I had been to a local food place within walking distance (exercise I now need badly). I had had the "two eggs on a bagel" choice along with something cold to drink. While eating that I had finally finished a book that I had been reading since March. Now I figured it was time to finally get back to a subject that had been written about by my predecessor, or maybe better said, the person that invented me and this blog.  I looked back at what he had written on April 25th, 2010 in an email discussion list. I wondered whether the friends from back then would still want to discuss it. Then I thought maybe others would be interested as well.  So as a kind of a reintroduction to the subject I have included what he wrote below. But this time there are a whole bunch of links included for those who want to know more about what is being discussed.
(begin quote)
In writing about how I was introduced to Ayn Rand first let me give an overall acknowledgment. If it was not for the Lord leading me to discover L'Abri, the ministry of Francis and Edith Schaeffer, I wouldn't even be talking about people like Ayn Rand. I would be too busy with everyday life, not believing that it was my place to even discuss such a formidable and intellectual person as this author of the once-again-much-read book, Atlas Shrugged.

I also acknowledge my brother Warren. He is almost six years my senior, and like many younger brothers sometimes do, they follow along in the footsteps of their older siblings, either intentionally or unintentionally. I don't remember the circumstances years ago when Warren mentioned the writings of Ayn Rand and how they interested him, but that morsel of thought has always stayed with me. That morsel was like a seed that is now expanding into a tree of study that seems to have a life all its own.

Then there is the most recent re-introduction to Ayn Rand through a ministry that has worked hand-in-hand with the teachings of the Schaeffers and L'Abri but does quite well in its own right separate from them. That would be Mars Hill Audio and the work of Ken Myers. His bimonthly audio journal that comes out in CD form, where he is always interviewing a plethora of interesting people, has always caused me to think deeper about life and the meaning we each try to make out of that bigger picture on which we can never quite understand but wish we could.

Also, there is need of acknowledgment for a few things of recent years that have caused me to become what some may call an Information Junkie. Like many I spend a great deal of time on the personal computer. That first step leads to another, exploration of the World Wide Web, what I call The Wild, Wild West of the 21st century. With it comes tools like Google and Wikipedia and YouTube, and yes even Facebook. They give you enough frontier to explore that can keep you busy for hours if you have those hours. I do not. I have to be careful with my time like most. But there is a thirst there that never seems to be satisfied and they provide much of the water that seems to take care of that thirst.

Then there is Alvin Toffler, another formidable character of this era, who should be studied, perhaps right along side Ayn Rand because of the influence he has had, not only in the United States, but worldwide. As a developing futurist back in 1970, His original claim to fame was the book Future Shock. It woke people up to say the least. He and his wife Heidi have written several books, but the next one of importance was The Third Wave, published in 1980, and billed as the sequel to Future Shock. It was this book, in the Spring of 1981, that caught my eye. I found it in a bookstore in paperback. It was more than three hundred pages long but I couldn't put it down until I had read the whole thing. In my limited experience as a reader of books back then and now, this obsession about a book had never reared its head before, nor since. I am a student of the Bible, and always will be, so that is my magnificent obsession with a book. But for some reason, this particular book grabbed me at this time in my life.

Right now I am going through Toffler's newest work, Revolutionary Wealth, published in 2006. Why? I remembered The Third Wave and I wanted to see what he was writing about concerning the future now. This is especially since the economy went south, the present U.S. administration can not seem to be the miracle worker too many people expected him to be, and voters are trading in their Blue and Red t-shirts for some color that symbolizes the word Independent. But guess what?

The Tea Party movement, that independent political group which is heavily in the news, is in many ways Libertarian in their politics. Well, back in the day, when Ayn Rand was still alive, it was the Libertarians that bought into the world view written in novel form in Atlas Shrugged. She did not like them being on her side at all and always chided them whenever she could. But she is not alive anymore to do that and the Libertarians are back into Atlas Shrugged again, for better or for worse we do not know.

Also, when thinking about this economic disaster of recent times, and the politics that has erupted along with it, there is another Ayn Rand connection here. There is one person, right in the middle of our recent economic past, that was closely connected to the philosophy of Ayn Rand and this connection she herself did not mind. In fact he wrote pieces for her publications, before he became Chairman of the Federal Reserve. I am speaking of Alan Greenspan.

In getting back to Alvin Toffler though, which is a kind of a personal connection for me, there is an article from 1964. It is an interview of Ayn Rand that has been described as one of the more telling conversations that can help the average person to really understand who Ayn Rand is and what her philosophy called Objectivism is all about. The person who did this landmark interview was a younger, less famous, Alvin Toffler.
What is uncanny about all this, in a personal way, leads back to the work of Francis Schaeffer and L'Abri. The intellectual vocabulary that any discussion of Ayn Rand includes, is like opening up Schaeffer's Trilogy - The God Who Is There, Escape From Reason, and He is There and He is Not Silent. Both Rand and Schaeffer philosophically speak of such wide subjects as Metaphysics, Morals, and Epistemology. With Rand perhaps you would throw in another major subject, which the Libertarians are looking at - Economics. Rand did not like politics but when you throw in economics you can not help but go there.

So, we will see what happens with this growing tree of thought that is blooming into words here at Chalet Eagle. We will see how far we can go with it for now until we are lead to move on to something else of interest. I am not an expert. I am not a teacher. All I am is a fellow traveler looking for truth and perhaps to help others along the way to perhaps find truth.
(end of quote)
It has taken a while to get started again on this subject. The preparation for that restart has involved the creation of me, Leigh Irwin, a type of fictional character, and this blog.  Perhaps when you think about the fact that Ayn Rand's most read legacy used the genre of fiction, maybe you will understand why my creator did what he did. The subtitle of this blog is, Where Fiction Meets Reality - Head On. Does that help to make sense of it all? Anyhow, not to worry. For how all this is going to somehow work is still one of life's persistant questions for me as well. Enough said for this go round :-)

"A dark night in a world that thinks it knows how to keep its secrets. But in a small office, just north of Philly, one man is still looking for the answers to many of life's persistent questions: Leigh Irwin, Investigative Reporter." (MUSIC FADE)


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