21 March 2010


(See below for explanation)

The Death of Logos

The spirit . . . the mind – how different are these two entities which inhabit the human psyche? The essence of the human – I am, I think, I will – is found in the mind. Most scholars would agree that the “spirit” or “soul” is the core of humanity. But isn’t the mind the core? It is with the mind that we think, feel, and create.
If the mind – the essence of “I” – is broken there is no longer an individual. The great “We” reigns supreme and there is no reason to have either guards or locks at the Palace of Corrective Detention. The mind – the will, the spirit – is broken. A being not capable of thought has no will, and thus is unable to act. To such a being self preservation means nothing, there is no self to preserve.
The person who has surrendered to the indoctrination of “We” has no desire to act in discordance of the whole. To this person that is all there is, the overwhelming desires of We. “I” has no place in the thoughts of the mindless. Persons with no will have no need of prison bars to hold them; they have tethered themselves by surrendering their ability to think. The creative thought which would make escape possible has been executed on the altar of the majority. The Council has nothing to fear – the prisoners have no desire to escape.
When will is surrendered along with conscious selfish thought the desire to live also perishes. What kind of existence is a life free of “I”? If there is no me to begin with, then the truth of the matter is that “I” am already dead, and a dead man needs not fear anything. The lone prisoner does not know to fear death, for what is death to him? He is not a person, not an individual. He does not exist – only “We”, and if “We” wills it then he is subject to the whim of “We”.
There is nothing to fear in death to the dead man, the only thing that he must fear is life. Living without a mind, a mindless existence, is a life that no man would – should – wish for; unable to act, to desire, to love, to think . . . to be. To be free one must have one’s own thoughts, ideas, and beliefs. If the ideas are another’s, then ego is a slave to the other’s superior mind. The thoughts must be owned, the desires personal. The majority may desire something – that does not bequeath it with goodness.
The prisoners have no will and no identity. The question raised – by the absolute void of will and inability to action – is why there are any locks at all. If the prisoner has no will, reason, or inclination to escape why go to the – fairly futile – effort of securing rusty locks? The answer can be found in the survival instinct humanity possess. When faced with dire straits – where death is imminent – life will break forth. The instinct to survive – even if there is no sense of self – remains intact. The fear of pain, the terror that the final death of the body holds for creatures awakens the latent and instinctive fear of death.
Though the prisoner may have a strong urge to save the body from pain, the lock on the door prevents him from attaining this goal. He lacks the creative and innovative thought necessary to formulate a plan at escape. The surrender which forbids him conscious thought has signed his death warrant and he is helpless to thwart the sentence.
Being carried away in the mob of majority is comfortable. In the crowd there is no pressure to make choices and thus no fear of mistakes. Thought – logic – is hard. It is bleak, sad and lonely . . . but if humanity does not use its soul – its mind – what are we but cattle? Cattle are beasts led by the wind and the grass, shuffled around by forces outside their control. The mind is the most important thing humanity possesses, and a logos – no thought – is the fatal weapon.
Is pleasure preferable to pain if in the bliss of ignorance one loses oneself?

EXPLANTAION: The Ayn Rand Institute hosts an "essay contest" every year for students. The essays are based on one of Ayn Rand's books and - depending on which grade you are in - you are allowed to write and submit one essay on either Anthem (8th, 9th or 10th grade) The Foutainhead (11th and 12th grade) or Atlas Shrugged which is for college students, graduate students and/or anyone who is "re-attending" college. I read Anthem - a good, if disturbing, book - and wrote an essay. My prompt for this paper was - "The old locks and lack of guards in the Palace of Corrective Detention indicate that prisoners never try to escape. Why do you think they do not? Explain." This might help you better understand the content! Hope you enjoyed. . .