It is this fact that explains the astonishing technological progress and rapid rise in living standards in late nineteenth-, early twentieth-century America, when the nation approached laissez-faire. In July , Rand attended the launch of Apollo 11 to the moon. The muck came in the reaction from many intellectuals, whose critiques reveal the malignant nature of their ideas about man, morality and reason. This essay can be found in The Voice of Reason. It is these malignant ideas of mysticism and self-sacrifice that ARI opposes in the name of reason, which, when left free, can and does achieve the scientifically and technologically wondrous.
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On July 16, , one million people, from all over the country, converged on Cape Kennedy, Florida, to witness the launching of Apollo 11 that carried astronauts to the moon. On August 15, , people, from all over the country, converged on Bethel, New York, near the town of Woodstock, to witness a rock music festival.
These two events were news, not philosophical theory. These were facts of our actual existence, the kinds of facts — according to both modern philosophers and practical businessmen — that philosophy has nothing to do with.
But if one cares to understand the meaning of these two events — to grasp their roots and their consequences — one will understand the power of philosophy and learn to recognize the specific forms in which philosophical abstractions appear in our actual existence. The issue in this case is the alleged dichotomy of reason versus emotion. This dichotomy has been presented in many variants in the history of philosophy, but its most colorfully eloquent statement was given by Friedrich Nietzsche.
In The Birth of Tragedy from the Spirit of Music, Nietzsche claims that he observed two opposite elements in Greek tragedies, which he saw as metaphysical principles inherent in the nature of reality; he named them after two Greek gods: Apollo, the god of light, and Dionysus, the god of wine.
Dionysus is the symbol of drunkenness or, rather, Nietzsche cites drunkenness as his identification of what Dionysus stands for: wild, primeval feelings, orgiastic joy, the dark, the savage, the unintelligible element in man — i.
Apollo, according to Nietzsche, is a necessary element, but an unreliable and thus inferior guide to existence, that gives man a superficial view of reality: the illusion of an orderly universe. Dionysus is the free, unfettered spirit that offers man — by means of a mysterious intuition induced by wine and drugs — a more profound vision of a different kind of reality, and is thus the superior.
Those who, at a superficial reading, take Nietzsche to be an advocate of individualism, please note. This much is true: reason is the faculty of an individual, to be exercised individually; and it is only dark, irrational emotions, obliterating his mind, that can enable a man to melt, merge and dissolve into a mob or a tribe.
It is not true that reason and emotion are irreconcilable antagonists or that emotions are a wild, unknowable, ineffable element in men. But this is what emotions become for those who do not care to know what they feel, and who attempt to subordinate reason to their emotions. For every variant of such attempts — as well as for their consequences — the image of Dionysus is an appropriate symbol. Symbolic figures are a valuable adjunct to philosophy: they help men to integrate and bear in mind the essential meaning of complex issues.
Apollo and Dionysus represent the fundamental conflict of our age. And for those who may regard them as floating abstractions, reality has offered two perfect, fiction-like dramatizations of these abstract symbols: at Cape Kennedy and at Woodstock. They were perfect in every respect demanded of serious fiction: they concretized the essentials of the two principles involved, in action, in a pure, extreme, isolated form. If you want to know fully what the conflict of reason versus irrational emotion means — in fact, in reality, on earth — keep these two events in mind: it means Apollo 11 versus the Woodstock festival.
The most confirmed evader in the worldwide audience could not escape the fact that. It was the response of people starved for the sight of an achievement, for a vision of man the hero. This was the motive that drew one million people to Cape Kennedy for the launching. Those people were not a stampeding herd nor a manipulated mob; they did not wreck the Florida communities, they did not devastate the countryside, they did not throw themselves, like whining thugs, at the mercy of their victims; they did not create any victims.
They came as responsible individuals able to project the reality of two or three days ahead and to provide for their own needs. There were people of every age, creed, color, educational level and economic status.
They lived and slept in tents or in their cars, some of them for several days, in great discomfort and unbearable heat; they did it gamely, cheerfully, gaily; they projected a general feeling of confident goodwill, the bond of a common enthusiasm; they created a public spectacle of responsible privacy — and they departed as they had come, without benefit of press agents. The best account of the nature of that general feeling was given to me by an intelligent young woman of my acquaintance.
She went to see the parade of the astronauts when they came to New York. For a few brief moments, she stood on a street corner and waved to them as they went by. They just stood there, talking about it — talking to strangers — smiling. This is the only authentic form of unity among men — and only values can achieve it. There was virtually no comment in the press on the meaning of the popular response to Apollo 11; the comments, for the most part, were superficial, perfunctory, mainly statistical.
Then the subject was dropped, and the Apollo 11 story was dropped as of no further significance. The reason, obviously, is that collectivist slogans serve as a rationalization for those who intend, not to follow the people, but to rule it. There is, however, a deeper reason: the most profound breach in this country is not between the rich and the poor, but between the people and the intellectuals. The flight of Apollo 11 brought this out into the open.
With rare exceptions, the intellectuals resented its triumph. A two-page survey of their reactions, published by The New York Times on July 21, was an almost unanimous spread of denigrations and denunciations. The same attitude — with rare exceptions — was displayed by the popular commentators, who are not the makers, but the products and the weather vanes of the prevailing intellectual trends.
Walter Cronkite of CBS was a notable exception. On July 15, the eve of the launching, he broadcast from Cape Kennedy a commentary that was reprinted in Variety July We are a people who hate failure. It is a fair guess that failure of Apollo 11 would not curtail future space programs but re-energize them.
Should one love it? Surely, one would have to say that failure is un-British or un-French or un-Chinese. I can think of only one nation to whom this would not apply: failure is not un-Russian in a sense which is deeper than politics.
But what Mr. Sevareid had in mind was not failure. It was the American dedication to success that he was deriding. But success is never automatically immediate; passive resignation is not a typical American trait; Americans seldom give up. Sevareid was undercutting. We know that the human brain will soon know more about the composition of the moon than it knows about the human brain.
But not according to Mr. Well, each to his own hierarchy of values and of importance. On the same day, David Brinkley of NBC observed that since men can now see and hear everything directly on television, by sensory-perceptual means as he stressed , commentators are no longer needed at all.
This implies that perceived events will somehow provide men automatically with the appropriate conceptual conclusions. The truth is that the more men perceive, the more they need the help of commentators, but of commentators who are able to provide a conceptual analysis.
According to a fan letter I received from Canada, the U. One almost got the impression that they would be greatly relieved if the mission failed! An intelligent American newsman, Harry Reasoner of CBS, named it inadvertently; I had the impression that he did not realize the importance of his own statement. Many voices, at the time, were declaring that the success of Apollo 11 would destroy the poetic-romantic glamor of the moon, its fascinating mystery, its appeal to lovers and to human imagination.
Their resentment is the cornered Dionysian element baring its teeth. Such are the Dionysian followers. But who are the leaders? These are not always obvious or immediately identifiable. Kant was the first hippie in history. But a generalissimo of that kind needs lieutenants and noncommissioned officers: Apollo cannot be defeated by buck privates who are merely the conditioned products of their officers.
Nor can the buck privates unleash the Dionysian hordes on the world, out of the zoos, the coffeehouses and the colleges where they are bred.
Forty-two years ago, Lindbergh was a hero. His great feat — the solo flight across the Atlantic — had required major virtues, including a significant degree of rationality. It demonstrates what is left of what had once been a hero. Lindbergh confesses that he does not know all the motives that prompted him to fly the Atlantic which proves nothing but a failure of introspection.
Rationally I welcomed the advances that came with self-starters, closed cockpits, radio and automatic pilots. Intuitively I felt revolted by them, for they upset the balance between intellect and senses that had made my profession such a joy.
But I shall let him speak for himself and let you draw your own conclusions. With these conclusions, I began studying supersensory phenomena and, in , flew to India in the hope of gaining insight to yogic practices. But I know I will not return to them, despite limitless possibilities for invention, exploration and adventure. Decades spent in contact with science and its vehicles have directed my mind and senses to areas beyond their reach.
I now see scientific accomplishment as a path, not an end; a path leading to and disappearing in mystery. From the incoherent paragraphs that follow, one can gather only that what Mr. Lindbergh holds against science is the fact that science does not give us omniscience and omnipotence.
We are blocked by lack of time as we were once blocked by lack of air. Following the paths of science, we become constantly more aware of mysteries beyond scientific reach.
In these vaguely apprehended azimuths, I think the great adventures of the future lie — in voyages inconceivable by our 20th Century rationality — beyond the solar system, through distant galaxies, possibly through peripheries untouched by time and space.
Lindbergh claims a different means of cognition. We must find a way to blend with our present erratic tyranny of mind the countless, subtle and still-little-known elements that created the tangible shape of man and his intangible extensions.
And in this merging, as long sensed by intuition but still only vaguely perceived by rationality, experience may travel without need for accompanying life. Will we discover that only without spaceships can we reach the galaxies; that only without cyclotrons can we know the interior of atoms?
I have said, in Atlas Shrugged, that mysticism is anti-man, anti-mind, anti-life. I received violent protests from mystics, assuring me that this is not true. Observe that Mr. Well, reality has obliged him. He does not have to wait for tens of thousands of years, for evolution, for a reunion with wildness, for intergalactic travel. The goal, the ideal, the salvation and the ecstasy have been achieved — by , people wallowing in the mud on an excrement-strewn hillside near Woodstock.
The fair took place on an empty thousand-acre pasture leased by the promoters from a local farmer. These figures are from The New York Times: some sources place the attendance estimate higher. It was not just a concert but a tribal gathering, expressing all the ideas of the new generation: communal living away from the cities, getting high, digging arts, clothes and craft exhibits, and listening to the songs of revolution.
POV: Apollo 11
Apollo and Dionysis
On July 16, , one million people, from all over the country, converged on Cape Kennedy, Florida, to witness the launching of Apollo 11 that carried astronauts to the moon. On August 15, , people, from all over the country, converged on Bethel, New York, near the town of Woodstock, to witness a rock music festival. These two events were news, not philosophical theory. These were facts of our actual existence, the kinds of facts — according to both modern philosophers and practical businessmen — that philosophy has nothing to do with.
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