Thursday, April 15, 2010

Proud of One’s Station

“In the eyes of his contemporaries, he was a man who had committed the one unforgivable sin: he was proud of his wealth.” Atlas Shrugged, Ayn Rand. 

I am still working on reading Atlas Shrugged.  It’s been a year since I began reading it.  I have been trying a little harder to read it this spring.  Still I only have a little time in the evening to read it.  I read about five to ten pages a day. I still have other reading I have to do too.  At this rate I will finish in four or five months.  Oh well, such is life.  I have really loved this book so far.  It’s especially intriguing when I see reflections of our current affairs in this book.

The above quote really hit me.  At first I thought as the heroine, Dagny Taggart, implies, that’s right, he should be proud of the wealth he has earned.  He should be proud of the GOOD work he has done and for which he has been monetarily rewarded.  He does not have to share it, but if he does, then that is a noble good for the neighbor he shares it with and his good deed will benefit his own soul…

This got me thinking though.  It is perhaps easy to be proud of wealth, especially if one earned it.  But it is also important to be proud of where ever one finds himself in life.  So long as one lives nobly, honestly, works hard, lives the good life, then there is much to be proud.  I think in this case the definition of  “proud” is owning one’s station in life.  If one is poor, then take pride in living simply, being frugal and not being ashamed of poverty.

I am not rich, famous, or on the fast track to corporate leadership, but I have much.  I am proud of being a good wife and not only making my marriage work, but making it beautiful and part of our salvation.  I am proud of nurturing and teaching my children.  I am proud of slowly, but surely making my way in the world, nobly, honestly, and you should be proud of your station in life too.


Kayleen said...

Renee, I have read most of Atlas Shrugged and I actually did not enjoy it. Have you read much about Ayn Rand? It's been a while since I did some research on her but overall I found her to be too harsh on the poor and there were some other political ideas that did not mesh with me. I think she came from a former USSR country and did not like the idea of the government taking care of poor people (something I agree with) but then she seemed to believe that all poor people are poor by choice and have almost no value to society as a whole.

I'm sure there are many reasons to like her books and her too, but I just wanted to share my own experience :) It is quite a book to tackle...I wasn't able to completely finish. But it is an important book in the literary world. What are your reasons for reading it?

Renee Clayton said...

I agree with your take on Ayn Rand. I hated her portrayal of the poor, especially in this story. I think that was part of my point in saying it is important to be proud of poverty as well.

I have read other Rand works and she is quite hard to take--infuriating. But, I truly am enjoying Atlas Shrugged. The similarities to our own political situation are eerie. I feel very sympathetic to the story, because free enterprise is very important to the founding of our great nation. Also, Atlas Shrugged is an intriguing story.

Renee Clayton said...

Did I mention I was a philosophy major? I began reading this book, because I heard a radio show host say that if he had to restart a society and he could only take three things with him, he would take the Bible and Atlas Shrugged. His point was that you cannot create a Utopian society. That is our plight as a part of the Fall. But also as a part of being human, you cannot force humans to make the right choices for himself and his neighbor. Making the right choice, the good choice must be of free will. Otherwise there is no good attached to it.

Also, since Rand did come from the USSR, she was playing out in this book the pitfalls she experienced in her fatherland.

My current financial status IS of my own choice. I chose to take out student loans, etc., I choose to stay home with my children, I chose to have children. There is a great deal in my control. For others, poverty is no choice, but here in the U.S. a lot of people do make choices that cause them to be poor.

Good thoughts, but I am with you on Rand, and still enjoying Atlas Shrugged.

Michelle M. said...

Thanks for the encouragement!