Man in the Place of the Gods: What Cities Mean
March 31st 2016
“Analysis and insight on Ayn Rand’s life and work, embedded in a guide to New York’s architecture and public art, wrapped in a paean to cities: how they work and what they mean to us.” — Victor Niederhoffer, NYC Junto
When our ancestors felt reverent feelings, they expressed them through praise of gods, and imaginings of demons and elves and witches and angels and such. If we live in a secular age, though, does that mean we have to lose all reverent feelings? Not at all. We have music, and painting, and sculpture, and architecture to uplift us, and besides, we can be uplifted just by looking at all the creative, productive things that people do to make life possible and better. Cities can be our art works — our objects of reverence. Our temples. Have you ever thought about what shop windows imply? In a world of competitive free enterprise, transparency becomes an architectural, as well as moral, virtue. Governments need secrecy. Shops need transparency. A shop keeper wants to show the world his wares. Dr. Johnson, the great lexicographer, said “The man who is tired of London is tired of life.” That goes for all cities.
Includes my essays “Ayn Rand and the Indians” and “Ayn Rand’s UFO.”