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#30649 - 10/20/09 06:28 AM Understanding Ayn Rand through the music of Rush
School Bully Offline
member


Registered: 08/28/07
Posts: 142
Loc: Melbourne
Many people have unfairly maligned Ayn Rand, the greatest philosopher of the 20th century. This has always confounded me, for no other person has developed such a rational approach to living as she. I believe the underlying reason is that most of her works, like The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged, are simply too complex and involved for most people. Thankfully, a group of Canadian musicians took the time during the 80's to distill the complexity of Rand's philosophy into music that we can all understand.

Modern rock pioneers Rush not only produce some of the hardest rocking tunes ever recorded, they also are pioneers when it comes to infusing rock music with deep insight into the natures of human behavior. The band consists of guitarist Alex Lifeson, deeply crooning singer/bass & keyboard player Geddy Lee, and drummer/lyricist Neil Peart. Peart is mostly known for his wildly improvisational, jazz-inspired drumming technique, but he plays an even greater role as the person who has single handedly brought the power of Ayn Rand's Objectivism to a level that can be understood by even the most stereotypically ignorant, drug-addled teen.

Ayn Rand's highly influential Objectivism is a deep topic, and her purely philosophical writings on it are quite dense. Realizing this, she took on the task of translating her thoughts into the realm of fiction in order to make it more accessible to the general public. Unfortunately, the task still proved formidable, and two of her resulting books totaled over 1,000 pages each. The complex nature of what she advocates even dictated that she spend the final 50 some-odd pages of Atlas Shrugged reiterating everything she had spent the previous 1,000 pages explaining. Thankfully, Neil Pert was up to the task of reinterpreting her work for her in layman's language.

Live for yourself, there's no one else
More worth living for
Begging hands and bleeding hearts will
Only cry out for more

Rush - Anthem

With that one verse Peart has reached deep into the very core of what is important in Objectivism. Utilizing the power and reach of rock music, he and his bandmates have taught us much of what being an Objectivist is really all about. But how is it that a humble drummer was capable of such a feat? Quite simply, it was due to his environment. You see, Rush is a Canadian band, and as such they know first hand how the forces of socialism can destroy all that is important in man. Why this skill developed solely in Peart and not Lifeson or Lee is due to Peart's journey to England when he was eighteen. It was there that he first came to truly understand how important Objectivism is, utilizing the excessive governmental involvement in daily life prevalent in England as a catalyst for his enlightenment.

There is unrest in the forest,
There is trouble with the trees,
For the maples want more sunlight
And the oaks ignore their pleas.

The trouble with the maples,
(And they're quite convinced they're right)
They say the oaks are just too lofty
And they grab up all the light.
But the oaks can't help their feelings
If they like the way they're made.
And they wonder why the maples
Can't be happy in their shade?

There is trouble in the Forest
And the creatures all have fled
As the Maples scream 'Oppression!'
And the Oaks, just shake their heads

So the maples formed a union
And demanded equal rights.
'These oaks are just too greedy;
We will make them give us light.'
Now there's no more oak oppression,
For they passed a noble law,
And the trees are all kept equal
By hatchet,
Ax,
And saw.

Rush - The Trees

Indeed, we are kept down with hatchet, ax and saw. This parable clearly underscores how the small people continue to force those graced with power and influence to bend to the will of those who are not worthy, resorting to violence rather than reason to have their way. The music of Rush asks: Which are you? A noble oak, rising towards the sun, or a weak maple, whining about the unfairness of it all rather than bettering yourself through improved photosynthesis and nutrient gathering? The implied inferiority of the maple, national tree of Canada, is clearly intentional and represents Peart's dissatisfaction his socialist homeland.

You can choose a ready guide in some celestial voice.
If you choose not to decide, you still haven't made a choice.
You can choose from phantom fears and kindness that can kill;
I will choose a path that's clear-
I will choose Free Will.

Rush - Free Will

Lyrics such as these are the basic essence of Objectivism. Free will. The power to change your destiny should you so choose. Total rejection of the idea that some people are born into situations from which they cannot rise out of without help. Another line from the above song goes, "Blame is better to give than receive". No greater sarcastic truism has ever been uttered. The simple truth of the world is that absolutely each and every person who finds themselves in difficult circumstances is there as a result of their own actions. This is what Objectivism teaches us, that those who have problems deserve no help because it is all their fault anyway.

Of course those who are the little people among us are not content taking responsibility for their own failings, choosing instead to blame their problems on "phantom fears" like global economics, abuse of power, and the inherent inequality of capitalism due to its rewarding of greed above all else. This would be fine if there weren't so many of them, but that is not the case. Those who are accepting of their inherent inferiority outnumber us in such great numbers that they actually are able to influence world events. As a result, our politicians are forced to enact destructive socialist programs like retirement benefits, public transportation and health care for the indigent.

However, we now have hope. In addition to Ayn Rand's scholarly and deeply thoughtful writings, we also have a means of making the truth understood to the masses. The music of Rush can be a highly effective tool for spreading the word of Rand. By combining high level philosophy with the power of primitive rhythm and repetitious melody, we finally have an effective tool for convincing the less perceptive among us that our cause is right and that getting in our way is extremely counterproductive. By further simplifying our message we will finally succeed in teaching the meek that the earth is not theirs to inherit, but should either be seized with force or surrendered to those who are stronger.


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#30652 - 10/20/09 01:11 PM Re: Understanding Ayn Rand through the music of Rush [Re: School Bully]
Dan_Dread Offline
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Registered: 10/08/08
Posts: 3813
Loc: Vancouver, Canada
I've always been a big fan of Pearts lyrics. One thing:
"If you choose not to decide, you still have made a choice."

Hate to see it misquoted \:\)
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#30659 - 10/21/09 01:23 AM Re: Understanding Ayn Rand through the music of Rush [Re: School Bully]
Bacchae Offline
Satan's White Trash Neighbor
member


Registered: 05/13/08
Posts: 438
Loc: los angeles
 Originally Posted By: School Bully


but he plays an even greater role as the person who has single handedly brought the power of Ayn Rand's Objectivism to a level that can be understood by even the most stereotypically ignorant, drug-addled teen.





first... true Rush fans tend to be more on the intellectual tip. whoever wrote this should understand the nature of what they are writing about a little more. (in fact MANY 70's and 80's hard rock/proto-metal bands had a much deeper lyrical content than what we are accustomed to snoring through today.)

second... when presenting essays or articles you find on the internet, please include a source or acknowledge that you in fact did not write the material.
I have read this particular piece many years ago.

third... I'll add this, from The Temples of Syrinx:

"We've taken care of everything
The words you hear, the songs you sing
The pictures that give pleasure to your eyes
It's one for all, all for one
We work together, common sons
Never need to wonder how or why"

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#30662 - 10/21/09 08:00 AM Re: Understanding Ayn Rand through the music of Rush [Re: Bacchae]
School Bully Offline
member


Registered: 08/28/07
Posts: 142
Loc: Melbourne
 Originally Posted By: Bacchae


first... true Rush fans tend to be more on the intellectual tip. whoever wrote this should understand the nature of what they are writing about a little more. (in fact MANY 70's and 80's hard rock/proto-metal bands had a much deeper lyrical content than what we are accustomed to snoring through today.)


The worst terror of any fanatical devotee of Mother Alissa is not the style but the sincerity.

 Quote:
second... when presenting essays or articles you find on the internet, please include a source or acknowledge that you in fact did not write the material.
I have read this particular piece many years ago.


A minor oversight on my part, even though I have never considered it necessary to place ethics ahead of appearances, consider me suitably chastised.

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