What is extroversion, anyway?

by Andrea Elizabeth

Needing a break from isolationist romantic introversion, I browsed through Netflix documentaries and came across Ayn Rand and the Prophecy of Atlas. I’ve never read her and know very little about her, but have had a long-standing rebellious curiosity about her. Rebellious, because of her atheism and love of the industrial revolution. Curious, because of her intellectual respectability and how compelling the title, Atlas Shrugged, is.

The documentary makes its best case for reading the book. It does a decent job of explaining some of the concepts. Lastly, it sort of makes a case for how her doomsday warnings are coming true.

The most surprising thing to me about it is that she criticizes altruism based on guilt. I have sort of explained this same opinion in some of my posts. It also shows how she was demonized for promoting selfishness, though it defends her meaning of that term with qualifications. To keep from also sounding like an atheist, I suppose I’ll have to defend the Bible and what traditional Christianity says that Jesus was about, which the documentary does not do.

But first I’ll say that the opposite of (selfish) individuality is collectivism or statism. I do not comprehend nor believe in the state. I only believe in individuals. The picture I have in my head is of judgment day, where each person has to give an account of himself, and the Jesus prayer, where the person enters his own heart and says “Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me a sinner”. And I believe that giving should be voluntary and not coerced. Becoming Orthodox, however, has given me exposure to a more communal point of view. I’ll admit that I do not really understand how we can be called one body, nor how this body can be said to be Christ’s. Yet even in thinking about that, I see the importance of each individual part of the body. Yet I do believe it all works together, despite my being mostly unconscious of it.

The documentary also describes excessive governmental regulation, which seems based on a belief in total depravity. That we cannot trust the common person to make good decisions. Support for this can be made by citing slavery, the extermination of the American Indian, and sweat shops. I wonder, however, if the remedy for that swing of the pendulum can be in a better application of the laws that were already in place, instead of making tons of new laws and agencies based on fear, and with the intention to control the future.

Back to defending Christianity. Actually the more primitive concept is, is there such thing as an unselfish motive. It can be argued that Christ of obtained a better life by dying for others, if you believe in the resurrection. I already mentioned voluntary versus coerced giving above. I’ll let the documentary make a better case for that.

Maybe I’ll tackle objectivism and her belief in rationality if I read the book.