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On the Spectrum: An Existentialist Comparison of Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged and Aldous Huxley’s The Doors of Perception

The Person: Bruno

Two truths inform my nature as a reader: I read books primarily for entertainment and I read passively. My books you’ll find devoid of highlights and notes on the margins, each paperback or hardcover unburdened by the weight of sticky notes. I find those activities distracting and ultimately inconducive towards a meaningful immersion into the book’s universe. My nature informs my reading method as I’m reading, that is, while the book has yet to end. Invariably, the intellectual osmosis that occurs from passively ingesting an author’s ideas begins to set after the last punctuation mark and then calcifies; this process provides a concrete dimension to what was previously equal parts fluid and transcendent, like a state of matter that is and is not, at the same time.

They say you should make a to-do list before you sleep, or think about something that you want accomplished in the future, to let your mind ruminate over the list or ambitions while you sleep and find some kind of answer filed away in the forgotten files of your consciousness. I don’t make to-do lists before sleeping, but I have experienced my mind performing the equivalent of a background task at a book’s conclusion. A few days will go by after I have finished a book and I will suddenly become aware of much more than I had even been thinking about. Having recently completed Atlas Shrugged and The Doors of Perception, I am forced to examine, by a nagging desire, the two polar answers to the question of existence, to its meaning and purpose. Continue reading On the Spectrum: An Existentialist Comparison of Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged and Aldous Huxley’s The Doors of Perception