I used to be enamoured of Ayn Rand as a teen. I was young and green and well, I was going through a phase where I was open to anything. So I was a huge grunge music fan. I listened to all of them. Singles was my favourite movie. I watched it many times. There was this band at the time called Collective Soul and I quite liked them. I remember listening to American Top 40 on radio every weekend as a ritual since I was like 8 or 9 and in my teens this didn’t change. So that memorable voice of the American Top 40 presenter… What was his name again? Wait. Have to use Google to jog my memory… Oh yeah. Rick Dees. Anyway, at that time, there was also this Top 20 music charts on telly as well. Late night. And they announced Collective Soul’s song at position number one or something. And they added that the name of the band was inspired by a novel the band member read. A novel written by Ayn Rand called The Fountainhead.
So I went out to the bookshop straight away to have that book placed on order. I loved that MPH bookshop around the old National Library. They would order in any book I wanted. It was great. That was like in the mid 90s.
I read the book and my mind was blown. Lol. Granted as a kid growing up there, it didn’t take much to blow my mind away. But I remember buying any Ayn Rand book that I saw on MPH’s shelves from then on. I realised later that I was actually reading Philosophy. It was, I discovered, a Uni subject. You could actually study just that for 3 years in Uni and get a shiny degree at the end of it?! Wow… That became my dream.
I started looking at taking a Uni of London external degree and at the time I was a lowly clerical worker in a MNC… I was rebellious and refused to go to college to do my A Levels and to go to Uni. I hated my mum and dad. So there. I could well afford the monthly fees for the degree but I was in two minds about it. Hey I’ve got dual citizenship. Why should I spend a penny of my hard earned cash on this when in UK I could study it for a heavily subsidised amount?
So I started looking at moving to UK… A place where I left as a baby and have no recollection of. It was hard. Took me about 5 years before I could get on that Uni course as a local resident. But I didn’t have the usual A levels to gain entry into the course. Luckily as a mature student, I just needed to ace an interview. I was asked why I wanted to study philosophy and I gushed on about how I admired Ayn Rand’s work and all that. I remember the philosophy lecturer looked a little bemused. He doesn’t like Ayn Rand, he told me. But he was impressed enough for me to be admitted into the course. On hindsight, I think he probably wanted me to get on the course so I’d eventually learn for myself what an abhorrent person Ayn really was!
Anyway it didn’t take me long to come to that realisation. By year 2 I had become a socialist. Thanks to my Uni. One thing puzzled me though. I was always eligible to vote in elections here, but never really understood at the time the differences (or should we say, similarities) between each political party. And when I asked my British friends, they all told me it doesn’t really make a difference who you vote. All the parties are really similar. But then I thought… But… Conservative, Labour, Green, etc… They all stand for different principles. How can they all be similar?
But after living here for more than 10 years, having had kids, knowing the system better, I finally concur that all the parties are similar. And so this year’s elections, I might not vote at all. If I do it will be tactical. I will vote so that Labour will never ever come into power. For my own reasons of course. Which I will not divulge here. And I will continue to hope and pray that my husband gets a job in another country so we can move the hell out of here.
Anyway what does all this have to do with Ayn Rand? Well because I can trace part of my lifetime journey starting with her.
I was less than impressed with her letter to her niece. I read that and I was like… God that’s so anal-retentive. Does this woman even understand the concept of giving? Anyway, I know first hand that if you give money to family, you may as well expect it never to be repaid.
But that’s life. That’s human nature. Human nature is not logical and not orderly and sensible like philosophy. And although I did not complete my philosophy degree in the end due to personal circumstances, I will never forget what the course did for me. It taught me the ability to understand complex texts and to think a little bit deeper than many others. But because of this I will never really fit in at the school gates with the hordes of mums who are only interested in TV (I don’t tend to watch TV because I find the information presented quite shallow and one sided), dressing up, men, going shopping, and gossip.