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Ayn Rand’s We the Living and What It Means to Truly Live

In this episode of New Ideal Live, Onkar Ghate and Elan Journo are joined by Robert Mayhew, professor of philosophy at Seton Hall University and ARI board member, to discuss the enduring relevance of Ayn Rand’s novel We The Living, especially regarding its theme of what it means to truly live.

Among the topics covered:

  • Why we should read We the Living today, even though it was published eighty-five years ago;
  • What the title of the novel means by “living”;
  • Kira as a heroine, her value-orientation and focus on her own life;
  • The meaning of the “benevolent universe premise” and its portrayal in the novel;
  • Ayn Rand’s secular conception of the “sacred” in We the Living;
  • Kira’s and Rand’s rejection of religion in the name of the sacred;
  • The sense in which We the Living is autobiographical;
  • Whether the character of Andrei is realistic;
  • Why the character of Leo loses sight of his values;
  • Whether Rand was influenced by Spinoza;
  • Whether the “benevolent universe premise” could be construed as religious.

Mentioned in the discussion were Robert Mayhew’s book Essays on Ayn Rand’s “We the Living” and Onkar Ghate’s course on the novel on ARI Campus. 

This podcast was recorded on February 2, 2021. Listen to the discussion below. Listen and subscribe from your mobile device on Apple PodcastsGoogle PodcastsSpotify or Stitcher. Watch archived podcasts here.

Podcast audio:


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Agustina Vergara Cid

Agustina Vergara Cid, LLB and LLM, is an associate fellow at the Ayn Rand Institute and an opinion columnist at the Orange County Register.

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