Monday, August 08, 2005

Chapter 8: The John Galt Line

This chapter epitomizes the story of an entity's rise to success: the uncertainty--denouncing by the people, the loneliness of its creator--in its developmental stages and the event that renders it successful, the act that renders proof against the rampant disbelief in its good. It concludes by showing how one should respond to success: through euphoric joy, the recognition that it was a living mind that made it possible, and that that mind should feel the pride of mastering it all--of the loneliness of the creator finding consolation in a consciousness like her own.

The media denounces Rearden Metal, but they are careful to avoid explicit statements of fact. Instead, they denounce by means of implications: If I had children, I wouldn't let them ride on the John Galt Line. Morever, editorial writers like Scudder would cloud their point by usage of a bunch of words pre-condoned pejorative by the collective mind, viz., arrogant, greedy, selfish unbridled individualist. Instead of making an explicit statement of fact that the bridge made of Rearden Metal would collapse or stand, Scudder claims that the importance of the issue is what protection does society have against these people who would use their judgment against the overwhelming majority opinion of experts? He goes on to allude that Dagny and Rearden should be "kept bridled [like mad horses] and locked on general social principles." Society's protection against the success of something good would be by preventing it, by stifling the very creators of that good.

Dagny sits alone in her dinky office, the bottom floor beneath floors that are about to crumble in a building about to fall apart. She looks out into the darkness of the night through her office window, and she feels a heavy loneliness. The sudden weight of her fight descends on her, and she feels a longing for a consciousness like her own. But, she becomes certain that she would never find it.

Yet, the launch of the John Galt line brings her the rare moment of happiness, of living the life she expected. Its success is a brilliant slap against the media's fog of ambivalent blasphemy and the people's supposed disinterested petitions aimed at stalling the John Galt Line. Moreover, Dagny does not allow James Taggart to attend the event--he would not get to share the triumph of her success, not detract from the moment of her greatness, ascension to joy. Unfortunately, he would be the one who later reaps in the momentuous results of her success, as Taggart Transcontinental becomes moucher: absorbing the John Galt Line that, by dissent of the media, it had been forlorn to.

Thousands of people bathe in the light of its success, as the train makes its way on schedule down the green-blue tracks of Rearden Metal. Sentries stand at posts seperated by a mile's length to protect the tracks from any possible sabotage, as if protecting something immensely pure from the effects of the unworthy. Crowds cheer as it passes, the first blur of motion zipping through towns that had only the uncertain mileu of dust moles to compare its speed to. It easily, effortlessly, spans across the bridge of Rearden Metal--it did not crash, and moreover, if it did, it's a fright train, and it would only be those of the business who go down with it. The John Galt Line has completed its course, despite the non-fact-based doubts of those who had denounced it, despite the lack of people supporting it, despite the public claiming the utterly irrelevant, that it's no good for its welfare.

Wyatt greets them, and he is as joyous as if a little boy. They celebrate and are happy, until Wyatt lets his pessimism get to him--that this wouldn't last, this joy, the world being the way it should be, working the way it should work. As Dagny finds in Rearden a consciousness like her own, she allows herself to deliver and receive the mutual pleasure representing the recognition of what their minds have achieved.

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