The Power of Certainty

>I’m reading The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand.
It’s not the first time. I read it about once every decade as its a great barometer against which to measure where I am in the evolution of my own consciousness. Presently, I find myself pushed to nearly the breaking point by her merciless objectivism and dismissal of all things related to human emotion. I seem able to endure this aspect of her writing, however, because I am simultaneously nourished (it’s the only word I can think of to describe the fullness and satisfaction I feel) by the unwavering integrity of her male and female protagonists…Howard Roark and Dominique Francon.

These two characters also suffer from this emotional detachment that runs through all of Rand’s writings. But, what they may lack in emotion they more than make up for in their dedication, almost obsession, to what they perceive to be the highest good. It is their >certainty that is so compelling…not just for the way it impacts the tenor of the novel, but also the reader. Howard Roark and Dominique Francon don’t know what the word compromise means. On second thought, they have no such word in their vocabulary. Their every breath, thought and physical movement is in alignment with, and in support of, living a Life that refuses to be anything other than fully present and fully engaged in manifesting greatness
So here’s the irony of Rand.

She despises small, insincere people who espouse an allegiance to the highest good yet act in ways that pray at the altar of mediocrity. She admires people who refuse to participate in such fraud and, instead, are willing to face the inevitable aloneness and ostracism that follow from independence of thought. But while she mocks emotion in reverence to the rational mind, it is the passion and certainty of Roark and Francon that captivate Rand and makes them so appealing to me.

In the world of moral relativism in which we now live, it’s the passion, the certainty and the courageous aloneness, not  loneliness, of these characters that truly inspires.
Truth is different for each of us. But the power that drives one toward the pinnacle of one’s own truth is a certainty of the intention combined with a passion to pursue that intention regardless of the cost.

Ironically, this is what drives Islamic extremism as well and provides it it’s successes.  Such believers have both certainty and passion, in infinite measure, and it powers their mission, however misguided it may be. On the other hand, we in the West have certainty and passion about little other than maintaining our materialism and acquiring more…even when more is never enough.

And so in the end we get no more than that about which we are certain.

If we in the West would redirect our certainty and energy toward peace, or healing the Earth, or even one another…there would likely be many more Howard Roarks and Dominique Francons to be found beyond the pages of The Fountainhead and, I suspect, as would the joy of witnessing the harnessing of true power for the highest good of all concerned.

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