I was just reading this interesting story about a high-schooler in 1963 who sent a survey to 150 well-known authors of literary, commercial, and science fiction. The story is worth a read unto itself, but my takeaway comes from Ayn Rand’s response to the boy, enshrined in the picture on the right.
“This is not a definition, it is not true,” Ms. Rand says, “and, therefore, your questions do not make sense.” Using a classic ‘forest for the trees’ argument, she derails the discussion and dismisses the topic. We’ll never know how she feels about symbolism in fiction, but we do know that she was as ethically egoist in real life as she was in Atlas Shrugged.
Ayn Rand’s response reminds me of the million-or-so
arguments discussions I’ve had on the Internet. If you don’t want to hammer the facts, hammer the law, as they say. It sucks, because someone who isn’t invested in the outcome can torpedo your search for truth at almost any time. Yet, that’s the truth that faces any one of us who attempt the Bard’s life. It was true back in 1963, and it’s true now.