By Michael Livingston
On the correct time, within the correct position, phrases have the ability to alter the realm.
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Additional resources for At the End of Babel
She was writing Atlas Shrugged at the time; I was a pre-medical student who loved The Fountainhead and was brimming over with philosophical questions to ask her about it. That meeting changed my life. Ayn Rand was unlike anyone I had ever imagined. Her mind was utterly firsthanded. On intellectual issues, she said what no one else said or perhaps had ever even thought, but she said these things so logically—so simply, factually, persuasively—that they seemed to be self-evident. And she was passionate about ideas; she radiated the kind of intensity that one could imagine changing the course of history.
What makes this possible is the profound seriousness of Irene’s passion. This is what transforms and transfigures an otherwise ordinary tale. There are, of course, major flaws in the story’s execution. Important events are not dramatized, but merely narrated (and sometimes only sketchily explained). This is a practice opposite to that of the mature Ayn Rand. The moral code of the small town—the narrow respectability of sixty years ago—is thoroughly dated, and, in our age, virtually unbelievable.
He had a strange look, eager and excited. At home, he was always busy, working with an unusual speed, then hurrying somewhere. I saw it, I was astonished; that was all. I had no suspicion whatever. The thing I could have suspected was so horrible, so unbelievably atrocious, that it simply could not slip into my mind. I could not think of it. Then, suddenly, he broke off every relation with her. He did not want to go out. He refused sternly every invitation. He was dark, and beneath his darkness I distinguished one thing—fear.
At the End of Babel by Michael Livingston