Tag Archives: second-handers

Creators. Collaboration. Compromise. C^3?


I’m still musing about Ayn Rand’s The Fountainhead and her classification of people in two general categories of creators and second-handers. Since this a major theme of the book, I’m not going to explain it as a basic Google search will bring up all kinds discussions and I highly suggest reading the book but one of her quotes got me thinking about the how people are using the internet.

“The basic need of the creator is independence. The reasoning mind cannot work under any form of compulsion. It cannot be curbed, sacrificed or subordinated to any consideration whatsoever. It demands total independence in function and in motive. To a creator, all relations with men are secondary. The basic need of the second-hander is to secure his ties with men in order to be fed. He places relations first. He declares that man exists in order to serve others. He preaches altruism. ”
-Rand, Ayn (2004). The Fountainhead (pp. 665-666). Penguin Group. Kindle Edition.

A couple years back Time Magazine voted You the person of the year instead of an individual and here’s where Rand’s creators and second-handers start getting blurred in my mind. Are the creators the ones who created Twitter, Google, Facebook, Ebay, Etsy, blogs, and so many other software tools for linking people, information, and products or are the creators the ones who use those tools to accomplish their goals? An example of this would be what is now known as the Arab Spring. The makers of Twitter didn’t organize the revolts but individuals used the tool to spread the word about the location and times of the protests. Even then it wasn’t one person organizing the protests, it was a movement of multiple people across multiple countries. Who then is the creator and who’s the second-handers?

Rand’s main character was an individualist architect who refused to work with others because it compromised his vision and work. In today’s world, large visions usually are accomplished by large projects requiring collaboration between multiple disciplines because it’s just about impossible for one person to have the specialized knowledge across multiple fields to build something like an LEED platinum certified building on their own. Rand used the Cortland building project as an example of how wrong a project could go if second-handers tried to add their inputs to the artist’s original vision but how do you get anything done these days without collaboration and some compromise?

The reason I think my mind is churning so much over these matters is because I’m in the process of starting a home business. My ultimate goal being to work for myself instead of someone else as I’m tired of feeling like a second-hander so much of the time. People tell me I’m in my head too much and I should not over analyze but it’s part of who I am.

Anyways, enjoy this funny cats video as it always makes me smile: