The Fountainhead: The Irrationality of Reason

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Reason is the opportune quintessence of logic. Ayn Rand’s “Fountainhead” explores the assets and disadvantages of employing reason as a weapon of persuasion. The protagonist of the novel, Howard Roark, is reason. He symbolizes, epitomizes, and embodies living logic. Assuming individualism, he achieves complex thought processes, simultaneously exploring the theme of the novel—society’s manipulation of individualism. As reason, Roark is faced with constant opposition—every semblance of his person is shunned, negated, and trampled solely for the presumption of his potential threat. In regards to Roark’s personal opinion, he lamented that: “…on [his] side [he] ha[d] reason…[he] kn[e]w, it [was] something no one really want[ed] to have on his side…” (Rand 165). Acknowledging that loss is imminent, Roark’s righteous ideals negate his failure(s). Furthermore, Roark has no choice. Reason is a constant aspect of his continuation—he is incapable of existing without it. Its role is a cosmic, undeniable force that, while consistently causing him to lose anything he ever desires, he masochistically reveres. Roark’s identity as reason is further cemented by his lack of it. “Then, without reason, he thought of Dominique Francon” (Rand 264). Roark’s unnatural relationship with Dominique Francon conveys to the reader of his infallible rationale. When with Dominique, Roark is unnaturally impractical and capable of human emotion, conveying to the reader that this state of being, this unreasonable existence, is a prosthetic state for him and therefore his true state is one of practicality. However, Roark’s adherence to this lifestyle signifies another facet of his individualism: “…unfortunately, in practical life, one can’t always be so flawlessly... ... middle of paper ... ...bol of individualism. As reason defines, it’s sensible to define individuals, individually; as separate entities. Collectivism, on the other hand, undermines this principle. Ironically, this lack of reason is exactly what allows for it to achieve political and societal success—by utilizing the undefeatable irrationality. “Fountainhead” identifies that, though treading down the path of imminent defeat, individualism is the only noble pursuit to strive for, backed by the reasonable arguments that logic provides. Collectivism, in all of its publicized glory, serves only to enslave man and force them into subservience. Even those in power, specifically Toohey, fail to reap the benefits that collectivism is famed to offer, because they themselves are slaves to its all-consuming chasm. Works Cited Rand, Ayn. The Fountainhead. Indianapolis: Bobbs-Merrill, 1943. Print.

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