20s is an impressionable age. You are figuring out not only yourself, but the world around you and a lot of what you are is a mixture of the influences on you in this age. The biggest influence I had at that age was of writer Ayn Rand.
Her most famous work is The FountainHead, a work of fiction chronicling the life and struggles of Howard Roark, a great architect. Ayn Rand is a believer of the philosophy known as ”Óbjectivism” and through Howard Roark, she tries to convey the principles of Objectivism and its day to day application. It is a principle where a human being is considered the best creation and the core of the book lies in a belief that a man should center everything around his own self, and he should be self motivated, self sufficient and self driven.
There are several interesting characters throughout the book, namely Toohey, Dominique, Guy Francon and Peter. They represent the opposing philosophies of collectivism as opposed to Roark’s objectivism. At the impressionable age of 22 I fell in love with Roark’s character. It was anti-system, rebellious, confident and supremely attractive in a movie hero way.
Now when I am over 30, married and have a family and seen more of life, this book seems like a radical idea that is impractical to achieve as a human cannot be the way Roark has been pictured in this boo. A (wo)man lives in a society and we are interconnected to each other in several different threads and saying I will go at it alone will just be what it is – “pompous”. While some concepts about integrity, self reliance, excellence are great, the core of the book is not convincing anymore. I wonder how my life would have been had I not read this book at all at that age.
So have you read a book that has changed its meaning for you over the years? Do let me know!