Reflections on modern culture, America, the progress of reason and freedom, and on any other subject of interest to me.
Wednesday, February 13, 2008
Howard Roark, intransigent architect hero of Ayn Rand's novel, The Fountainhead, is one of the most inspiring creations in the history of literature. He had his own ideas about what and how to build, and he turned them into reality in spite of all the obstacles a timid and envious society could hurl against him.
Much more inspiring, though, is an intransigent hero who actually existed. Behold the man, Wilbur Wright. The oldest dream of man was to fly. Icarus, Bellerophon on Pegasus, flying carpets, and countless other myths and fables show the dream realized in fiction. Leonardo Da Vinci, a hero of the Renaissance, worked on making the dream a reality, but it was too early. Technology was not yet advanced enough.
When the technology was ready, Wilbur Wright (and to a lesser extent, Orville Wright) stepped forward and engineered the marvel of powered flight. From the dauntless self-confidence needed to believe he could achieve this "impossible dream," through long hours of research, countless brilliant experiments, successes and setbacks - all funded from the Wrights' own savings - to the epoch making first flight at Kill Devil Hills (near Kitty Hawk), Wilbur Wright overcame every obstacle.
He conquered the sky.
Wilbur Wright is man, the hero. Next time someone moans that he is "only human," remind him of what heroes men can be, by pointing to Wilbur Wright.
The views expressed on Edelweiss are my own, and do not represent an official position of Objectivism or of Ayn Rand. I recommend Ayn Rand's writings to learn about her philosophy first hand. You will be amply rewarded for your efforts.
"Edelweiss, edelweiss, Every morning you greet me. Small and white, Clean and bright, You look happy to meet me. Blossom of snow May you bloom and grow, Bloom and grow forever. Edelweiss, edelweiss, Bless my homeland forever."
"It is in vain, sir, to extenuate the matter. Gentlemen may cry, Peace, Peace--but there is no peace. The war is actually begun! The next gale that sweeps from the north will bring to our ears the clash of resounding arms! Our brethren are already in the field! Why stand we here idle? What is it that gentlemen wish? What would they have? Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what course others may take; but as for me, give me liberty or give me death!" Patrick Henry, 1775