"If a writer wrote merely for his time, I would have to break my pen and throw it away."
The Fountainhead, written by a Russian immigrant in the USA (Ayn Rand), is an undeniable masterpiece. And it’s also completely misunderstood. It is something of a must-read for all aspiring writers, but at its core the message is universal.
I‘m going to summarize the story without depriving you of the benefit of reading the book and making your own mind up about the matter. Because what you get out the book is more of a reflection of where you are than on the book itself. The book may not be riveting or entertaining, be it should speak to your Soul.
Most would say that Howard Roark, the leading character, was a supreme egotist. Howard was an architect that refused to construct any buildings unless he got to design them himself. The client would have to agree that Howard would build the building the way that Roak said it was supposed to be built. Which meant without excess or superfluity, and taking the surrounding environment into account.
Roark did not care what anybody else thought. He did not need them for anything. He did not want to convince them of anything. And as the book progresses, we see that the entire world pretty much turns on Roark. They detest him. Despite the fact that Roark never did anything in the entire book to attack another person in any way, he was universally set upon. He is also set upon in many online reviews sites - readers hate what Roark stands for. And what he stands for is empowerment and integrity, independent of some sort of group setting or democratic valuation system.
Those on the spiritual path will see what is going on immediately with the story. Howard Roark was not an egotist. He was the perfect embodiment of the human spirit, the soul, the Higher Self. He was going to build the buildings his way, and his way only. He loved what he did. He was the best in the world at it. And he would not sully his soul by creating an unnatural building. He would not bend to illusion - because even a slight bend will ultimately result in a complete distortion, similar to what happens today.
To survive in this 3D continuum often means bastardizing your Soul essence. Everybody in this place is shallow, superfluous, vain, and superficial. They all try to suck energy away from value creators, but under the guise of ‘betterment for all’. And so they strike down anybody who does not conform to their ideologies. Howard Roark was uncompromising in speaking the truth, much like Jesus the Christed One. And the outcome was similar.
Ayn Rand herself was going to abandon the project because none of the publishers wanted to listen to it. The message was too pure, too strong, and they did not want to face this kind of truth. Basically, it disagreed with their egos, who prefer superfluity and vanity than truth and honesty. And it is testimony to Rand that she, like Roark, refused to give up and got the book published all the way back in 1943 after 12 rejections.
Needless to say, the public were absolutely outraged at the book. Many still are, if you read the online reviews. But it speaks of the neverending battle. There are people who want to control and manipulate your behavior so you are acceptable to their version of reality. If you do not conform, you are ‘selfish’. This trend repeats itself at the micro and macro level, whether it is your partner or your government that seeks to do the manipulation under the guise of group betterment.
It’s also worth noticing that Howard Roark was amazingly creative and super competent. Which can only happen when you go against what everybody else is doing and produce an authentic piece of work.
Try it - build a better world while conforming to the views of everybody else. It’s impossible. The views of everybody else are what creates the mess in the first place.
The ego perpetuates the problem, denounces the problem, and crucifies the solution to the problem.
Welcome to Planet Earth.
PS: I realize that Rand herself meant Roark to be an egotist, saying that positive ego was needed to survive and was the pinnacle of human development. I say that positive ego and soul are one and the same - at least in the context of physical matter, practical activities, and human development.