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How Individual Is Not Only Passively Subjected To Social Discourses But Also Capable?
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As a literary artist, Rand works best when she is paying attention to the truth of human relations on many levels of consciousness, including their intuition. An example is the way that Keating's head can deny what his heart and the pit of his stomach keep telling him at the edge of his consciousness. Another example is the frequent wordless communication through which Roark and Dominique often understand each other's state of mind instantly. Another is when the perceptive Toohey not only says he has no need of logic, but can actually bypass it when encountering the face of someone elseâ€”most dramatically, in his instant appraisal of Roark's per-son before knowing who he is: "He did not know the man's name, his profession or his past; he had no need to know; it was not a man to him, but only a force".
If Rand had been able to accept the overwhelming evidence of the socialization of the Links Of London Charms individual mind and still account for one's independence from that socialization, she might have been on more solid ground. The view of self being developed here would do just that. It would explain how the individual is not only passively subjected to social discourses but also capable as an active subject of observing the inconsistencies within and between those discourses (as suggested by post-Marxist theorist Paul Smith), and thereby account for the critical and creative thinking that she values but does not adequately explain. This concept of self can be summed up as one that not only endorses Rand's insistence on the integrity of self-interest as primary, but also expands that self-interest beyond the narrow confines of the isolated thinker and actor to become an integral part of a holistic universe. In conceiving oneself as a unique site within a collective network a site that processes all inputs at both conscious and unconscious levels and then contributes one's unique insights back to the collective interchange the seeker of self-knowledge would have the advantage of greater breadth and depth over an isolated thinker. In affirming one's own sacredness as a unique member of the network, validating one's honest positions and rightful interests in negotiating with the rightful interests of others, one has a solid basis for self-esteem.
Such a self-concept would recognize the paradox of how our differences make us, as persons, equally important, even if ideas are not judged equally valid. I call this self "dialogic," because one can think independently by negotiating among ideas to construct, deconstruct, and Links Of London Bracelets reconstruct one's narratives to find meaning in experience. The freer the interchange is, the greater potential there is for a dynamically creative society, a "free market" of selves. Even the fictional stories of others may intersect with and enlarge one's own life story, as in reading Rand's fiction, which still lives as good storytelling when it escapes her ideological control. The strong allegorical aspect of her novel in the morality plays between Roark and Keating, Roark and Wynand, and all of them versus Toohey would have worked better had she not contaminated her otherwise observant realism by creating puppets of a static, idealized Roark and a psychopathic Toohey who caricatures socialism and altruism. As Mikhail Bakhtin demonstrates in his dialogic theory of narrative, the work requires the characters to be free from authorial interference to interact in their polyphonic world. Similarly, the dialogic self must be free to interact in the world rather than be dictated to by an authorized self-image or ideology.
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