I had a conversation with my very brilliant, verrrry intellectual uncle at our Sedar about Atlas Shrugged, the book by Ayn Rand which is now a movie. There was this lovely, embarrassing moment I had during our discussion when I said to my uncle, "What's the character's name again? Peter?" to which he replied in a thunderous bellow of enthusiasm,"John Galt! Who is John Galt? If you don't know this then you haven't really read the book."
To this I replied, "Yes I did! My mom leant it to me like 15 years ago. Isn't it about an architect and his relentless pursuit of individualism?"
My uncle didn't catch that I was confusing AS with The Fountainhead because he had already begun to wax philosophical about the meaning of the phrase "Who is John Galt?" and the rather, um, extreme ideals that Ms. Rand postulates about the weak and underprivileged. I believe he quoted Rand as saying, "Let them perish." Then he started talking about The Tea Party. We are both on the same side of the political fence. I don't wish harm on anybody but if The Tea Party as a movement perished, I'd have no problems with that at all.
The character in The Fountainhead is not named Peter, either, btw. It's Howard Roarke. Oh, yeah. Now the whisperings of John Galt and Howard Roarke started to rise in my mind. I did read both books. Just a side note about retention. I am convinced that two things have contributed greatly to what has become a compromised capability to remember what I learned in college and in my 20s (I'm 33 now). The first are the struggles I had with depression, anxiety and food, which I think screwed with my memory. The second is the advent of the internet which has hurled more data and information at us then our brains want to handle. It diverts, distracts and disrupts our attention. I was an English major at Cornell and did very well! :) I was a reader. I read but do not feel like A Reader these days but SO much of what I've read feels like a bear in hibernation. It's in there, alright, it's just curled up sleeping on its side and snoring.
Sometimes I think about getting an MFA in English lit just to go deep into novels again. I love them so much. I wouldn't go on Facebook for two years, I swear.
So, the conversation with my uncle about the book I read but didn't read led to one about another book I haven't read, but not in the "read it but didn't read it" sense of the word. I've really never read it. What? The New Testament. Bible numero dos. Ah, now here we have a Peter! My uncle asked me, "Do you believe in God? Do you believe Mind?" Do I believe in something bigger than the brain, some kind of Universal mind outside ourselves? "Yes, I do. Actually, I believe in the Tibetan concept of the mind, which says the mind is alllllll over my body! My head to toe mind is more than my brain." I was trying to steer the conversation into a religious area (Buddhism) which I could talk about with a little more confidence but that wasn't going to happen. Oh no. I was about to get schooled in the inconsistencies of the Bible (Old and New) and since I new I would have very little to say (if I can't recall what I learned at Cornell you think I'm going to pull up what I learned at Temple Beth Elohim?) I reached for a macaroon and in reclined deeper in my chair.
I listened intently while taking small bites of the chewy, coconut infused pastry. I enjoyed the learning. I love to listen to people drop knowledge about anything, from the microscopic makings of a euglena to the meaning of hieroglyphics. In this case, all I kept thinking as my uncle talked was God is a Gemini. (So am I, btw, so if you want to judge me me as having a God complex, feel free.) God has two faces. There is all this "good" and just, right, fair, loving treatment. Then there is the other side. The cruel, the harsh, the fear inducing, the one who taketh away. That's God, too. So maybe there aren't consistencies in the Bible because maybe God is ALL THAT IS.
Check out my awesome friend Tiffany Vaca's post about getting her prayer game on while riding the subway.
Since I spend about 90 minutes a day commuting, I like to listen to audiobooks on my iPod. I just bought Tina Fey's memoir, "Bossypants". I LOVE it and highly recommend you go out and get this book. If you're looking for book suggestions based on this post, I'd definitely recommend Bosspants over The New Testament, Old Testament, Atlas Shrugged or The Fountainhead. Who is John Galt? Irrelevant. Who is Bossypants Fey? That's what I'm talking about.
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