There are certain segments of certain groups that irk me. Libertarians and conservatives that argue for capitalism exclusively — without ever acknowledging man’s individual right to his own individual life and the right to live it as the individual that he is — on the grounds of “efficiency” are one, because it ignores and damns the source of that efficiency.
Objectivists that promote Objectivism while foregoing it’s source are another. And what is the source of objectivism? Objective reality? In a distant sense, yes, but in the sense I am speaking of, no.
Objectivism is a philosophy for life on earth. It is a philosophy of reason. It is a product of man’s mind — the mind of Ayn Rand. It did not grow on a tree.
She had to think — and she required a particular connective piece of the puzzle that was Objectivism in her subconscious — as she claimed, that she possessed since she was a very young child.
And what was that piece you ask?
It was both the ideal man and a universe he could, and in fact did exist in. Objectivism was made possible by these abstractions and Ayn’s subsequent novels, The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged.
It is for this reason that Ayn rejected the validity of the question of whether she was primarily a novelist or primarily a philosopher. The question made no sense to her in the way it was presented. One was not possible without the other.
This is what we call reciprocal causality.
Much like the depiction and actualization of the ideal man.
To betray one is to betray them both.
I mention this because I find it disturbing how utterly rare it is for John Galt to be specifically defined, while promiscuously and simultaneously used in abundance (in a general sense).
Sure, John Galt is the productive man. The man who loves his life. The man who refuses to live for the sake of others. He is the man who goes “on strike”. He is a man of genius.
But these are applicable to any man on earth — and indeed, many men claim such things. None of these are singular, individual traits, applicable to one man and one man alone.
The source of the problem I see then, is that none of these traits are singular because few, if any, give serious consideration to the idea that any one man could actually be John Galt.
And if no one man could exist, there is no purpose to specifically and individually defining — and therefore recognizing — him. How silly — John Galt actually and specifically exist? He is a fictional character produced by a radical, romantic extremist.
Yet, Rand passionately believed ideals to be possible. To be achievable. “Getting real” in fact necessarily included projecting the best and highest possible — and then actualizing it.
Not idly day dreaming, longing, and wishing for it. FUCKING DOING IT.
It is for this reason, and its gaping lack thus far, that I propose the following definition of and for John Galt.
John Galt is the man who holds the most power over reality — which is to say, the only real and legitimate power possible to man.
(Legitimate and possible because it is the only productive power possible to him, where as all others are in some way and to some degree eventually or immediately destructive to others, and to himself).
His connection is strongest, above any other man’s on earth, because it encompasses the highest degree over the widest range.
He is the man who is most in alignment with reality. It is for this reason John Galt was largely a “2d” character. His values were set so high, that his struggles were so great as to be unperceivable by most, especially within the scope of the novel. This is why for the majority of Atlas Shrugged people are unsure as to whether he is even a living person.
Such a man is so far outside the bounds of most people’s self-concept that to cede he could and should exist is an act in psychological suicide. This is why James Taggart essentially dies at the conclusion of Atlas Shrugged — he is forced to cede this fact. He can no longer fake the reality that such a man does not in fact exist.
His options left are death, and death.
And what else could they be? Lose/lose is the natural consequence of the morality of death he “lived”. The same morality most people live their lives by today.
A morality of spiritual/metaphysical cannibalism, of contradiction, pain, suffering, guilt, frustration, unnecessary and unjust suffering, a denial of the mind, and an unspeakable resistance to reality at every turn.
John Galt is the man who defeats such a morality in the process of living and owning his own. A morality of life, liberty, and reason.
And to deny that John Galt can and should exist in a specific, individual sense — as an actual, living, breathing human being — is to damn him and bastardize him in concept, and spit in Ayn’s face.
— Anthony Dream Johnson