John Galt's Atlas Shrugged

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“Why ask useless questions? How deep is the ocean? How high is the sky? Who is John
Galt?” (45) When Paul Larkin gives the above reply to Rearden’s sincere question, “What’s wrong with the world?” (45), he implies that there’s no point in trying to answer either question. Indeed, throughout Atlas Shrugged, when people ask, “Who is John Galt?” the last thing they expect is an answer. The cryptic phrase is a way of throwing up one’s hands and pleading ignorance about questions and problems one is either unable or unwilling to deal with. Dagny Taggart is particularly bothered by the expression, eventually searching for the John Galt behind the empty rhetorical abdication. As her search progresses, John
Galt starts to coalesce in her mind from figure of speech into mythical …show more content…

Other myths focus on the demise of heroes who use their gifts in selfish or “antisocial” ways: Phaethon’s ambition almost sets the world on fire; Aesclepius’ skills in medicine threaten to put Hades out of business. John Galt transcends the myths in that he does not act altruistically, he does not let society punish him for his selfishness, and he successfully deprives society of its victims.
In I See Satan Fall Like Lightning, René Girard argues that a close reading of mythology reveals a universal tendency to engage in collective violence against innocent scapegoats.
Though much of Girard’s work contrasts with Objectivism, his hypothesis that a scapegoat mechanism underlies mythology is exemplified in Atlas Shrugged. Ayn Rand’s novel shows both real and mythical heroes being punished and misunderstood until, finally, Galt bucks the trend. John Galt is the realization of the heroic ideals that are obscured, punished, and subverted in mythology.
Although many great individuals could rival John Galt’s ability and industry, he stands out in his absolute refusal to act altruistically. Men like Galt have always held the world on

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