In my previous post I mentioned that Atlas Shrugged does a great job in presenting artistically those in the sixth gallery of my book. The individuals possess the four cardinal virtues of wisdom, courage, temperance, and justice. Unlike the other three cardinal virtues, the virtue of justice is less concerned with the individual and more concerned with the condition of one’s family, friends, and society at large. It is this final virtue that propels the individuals in Gallery Six to the threshold of Gallery Seven. But only one man has completed the threshold crossing to the seventh gallery and happiness, John Galt.
This individual has been brought over the threshold by one thing – love. It is the love of another woman that frees John Galt and affords him a successful crossing to the seventh gallery. Her love allows John Galt to present his boon to society. It is the acceptance of this boon by society that allows all the other individuals existing in Gallery Six to successfully cross the threshold to Gallery Seven. Not only do these individuals achieve happiness but, more importantly, their individual boons are presented to society. These boons are of such great importance that society is saved from destruction. In essence, in return for their achieving individual happiness, all the others in society benefit as well.
Aristotle mentions that the four cardinal virtues are requirements for traveling the road to happiness. However, it is Aquinas, who agrees with Aristotle, but who adds one final requirement – love of neighbor. It is this love that provides ultimate happiness to those in Gallery six and the general flourishing of society upon their entrance of Gallery Seven.
More to come!