Friday, June 26, 2009

The Meaning of "Man Qua Man"

On May 21, 1934, Ayn Rand wrote in her philosophical journal:
"Mankind? It is an abstraction. There are, have been, and always will be, men and only men." (Johann Wolfgang von Goethe)

I would change that to go one step further: man, only man.

Has there ever been a history written from the viewpoint not of a nation's development through its outstanding individuals, but of these individuals' desperate fight against their nations, for the sake of the development and advancement for which the nation so noisily and arrogantly takes credit after it has made a martyr of the "developer" and "advancer"? History as a deadly battle of the mass and the individual. A scientific task for me: to trace just how many of mankind's "geniuses" were recognized and honored in their own time. And since they were not—as most of them weren't—is there any ground for the conception of any national cultures, histories and civilizations? If there is any such thing as culture and its growth—isn't it the culture of great individuals, of geniuses, not of nations or any other conglomerations of human creatures? And isn't history the fight of mankind against advancement, not for it?


"Man, only man." Man the achiever, man the genius, man qua man.

1 comment:

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