This is the biography of Ayn Rand a Russian-American author and philosopher best known for her novels, “The Fountainhead” and “Atlas Shrugged,” which espouse her philosophy of Objectivism.
Born Alisa Zinovyevna Rosenbaum in St. Petersburg, Russia, in 1905, Rand experienced firsthand the political upheaval of the early 20th century, including the Bolshevik Revolution and the rise of communism in Russia.
These experiences would shape her worldview and inspire her to develop a philosophy of individualism and rational self-interest that continues to influence political and cultural discourse today.
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Early Life and Education Ayn Rand
Ayn Rand was born into a prosperous, middle-class Jewish family in St. Petersburg. Her father, Zinovy Rosenbaum, was a successful pharmacist, while her mother, Anna, was a housewife who had studied law and history.
Rand was a precocious child who taught herself to read at six and was already writing stories and plays by the time she was nine.
In 1917, when Rand was 12 years old, the Bolshevik Revolution broke out, and her family’s comfortable life went upside down.
The new Communist government seized their pharmacy and forced the family to flee to Crimea, where they lived in poverty for several years.
Rand’s father struggled to find work, and her mother’s health deteriorated.
Despite these hardships, Rand continued to pursue her education, attending a prestigious gymnasium in Crimea and later the University of Petrograd, where she studied philosophy and history.
In 1925, Rand was took permission to leave the Soviet Union and travel to the United States, where she would spend the rest of her life.
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Career and Philosophy of Ayn Rand
Rand arrived in the United States with only a few dollars and a rudimentary knowledge of English.
She found work as a screenwriter in Hollywood, where she became friends with prominent figures in the entertainment industry. This new friends includes director Cecil B. DeMille and actress Barbara Stanwyck.
However, Rand was unhappy with American culture and politics, which she felt were dominated by collectivism and conformity.
In the early 1940s, Rand began work on her first novel, “The Fountainhead,” which would be published in 1943.
The book tells the story of an architect, Howard Roark, who refuses to compromise his artistic vision for financial gain.
“The Fountainhead” was a commercial and critical success, establishing Rand as a major literary figure.
Rand’s next novel, “Atlas Shrugged,” was even more ambitious in scope and philosophical depth.
The book tells the story of a group of industrialists who go on strike in protest against a society that seeks to control and exploit them.
“Atlas Shrugged” was published in 1957 and became a bestseller, cementing Rand’s status as a leading thinker and cultural icon.
Throughout her career, Rand was an outspoken advocate of individualism and laissez-faire capitalism.
She believed that pursuing self-interest was a moral imperative. Also, that government intervention in the economy was a form of coercion that violated individual rights.
Rand’s philosophy, which she called Objectivism, also emphasized the importance of reason and rationality in human life. In addition, she rejected religion and faith as irrational and anti-life.
Legacy and Criticisms
Ayn Rand’s philosophy and novels have profoundly influenced American culture and politics.
Her ideas are embraced by libertarians and conservatives, who see her as a champion of individual freedom and limited government.
However, Rand’s uncompromising individualism and rejection of altruism appears to some as selfish and insensitive.
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Ayn Rand coined the term “Objectivism” to describe her philosophy, which she defined as the concept of man as a heroic being, with his own happiness as the moral purpose of his life.
As well as productive achievement as his noblest activity, and reason as his only absolute
The four basic foundations of objectivism philosophy are objective reality, absolute reason, self-interest, and laissez-faire capitalism.