Among the issues most commonly discussed are individuality, the rights of the individual, the limits of legitimate government, morality, history, economics, government policy, science, business, education, health care, energy, and man-made global warming evaluations. My posts are aimed at intelligent and rational individuals, whose comments are very welcome.

"No matter how vast your knowledge or how modest, it is your own mind that has to acquire it." Ayn Rand

"Observe that the 'haves' are those who have freedom, and that it is freedom that the 'have-nots' have not." Ayn Rand

"The virtue involved in helping those one loves is not 'selflessness' or 'sacrifice', but integrity." Ayn Rand

28 November 2008

Gen LaGreca - Noble Vision

I started reading Gen LaGreca's novel Noble Vision this last weekend. Due to being overloaded with work in the laboratory that I needed to finish prior to leaving very early Wednesday morning to visit Tulsa to be at my Mom's for Thanksgiving, I only managed to read about 40 pages before leaving. But that was plenty enough to convince me to take the novel with me and read it at the airport, on the plane, and once in Tulsa.

I worked through the night in my lab and got as much done as I could, before heading to the airport. I was dead tired once on the plane, but Noble Vision was much too interesting to go to sleep on the plane. Awhile after arriving at Mom's home, I took a two-hour nap and then got up and spent some time with the Tulsa family contingent and my visiting Greensboro, NC sister and her two daughters. In the evening, being a bit tired, I went to bed early and thought I would read a bit to relax before sleeping. I took Gen LaGreca to bed and read and read with great pleasure through the night. I am a slow reader. I like to process everything I read very carefully. If something is worth reading, it is worth reading well. In this case, the noble vision of Gen LaGreca was worth savoring, which I did until a bit past dawn. I dosed briefly a few times when my eyes lost their ability to focus, but I must have been dreaming about the novel because I never stayed asleep long. As soon as my eyes were salved enough to go on, I woke up and continued reading.

Noble Vision is a love story with very evil villains who seek to separate a man, David Lang, from his impassioned love of neurosurgery by forcing him into selfless service to the public. Of course, these evil socialists are really more interested in having David beg them for the right to practice his very demanding profession and to force him to compromise his ethics and his competence. They are aware that the system which provides free healthcare can do so only by arbitrarily cutting off services which the free market would be willing to provide to many who are in need of these services. Yet, they persist in backing a failing New York universal healthcare system called CareFree.

A lovely lady, Nicole Hudson, has become an inspiring ballet dancer despite a grueling childhood of poverty and depredation due to her determination from age six to become a ballet dancer. She has brought a reassuring joy with her exuberant, heroic dancing into David's life as he reels from the ugly senselessness of the brutally bureaucratic state medical system. David also chose his life work when he was a child admiring his father's work as a neurosurgeon. David has been struggling to prove that it is possible to get the brain and the spinal system to regenerate functioning nerves, which many decades of prior research has concluded cannot be done. But David, with a heroic dedication to his work both in the laboratory and in the operating room, needs to see others equally dedicated to their work, rather than the constant parade of those who have given up their dreams. His doctor wife and his father are among those who have made compromises with the CareFree healthcare system and become its advocates.

This system does not want David to succeed in developing techniques to regenerate nerve functions, because the procedure is likely to be expensive and add to the many innovations of new technology which will cost too much when offered free to everyone. Free care is, of course, used unwisely, because it is free. So everyone with even the most remote possibility of benefit from a free procedure wants it. Imagine being the heroic neurosurgeon whose own wife and father wish to put ignorant bureaucrats in charge of a brilliant and highly motivated neurosurgeon! I sure can, since nothing more infuriates me than those who would substitute their judgment for my own in my living my life and my solving materials problems.

Unknown to her, Nicole becomes his solace. But, then tragedy strikes and Nicole is injured and blinded. David becomes her doctor and is the only man alive who can possibly bring back her sight and make it possible for her to return to the inspired dancing she loves. But, at every turn, and I do mean at every turn, CareFree tries to keep David from saving the career, and really the life, of this wonderful lady. He in turn fights back fiercely, inspired by his own dedication to his life's work, by his commitment to his ethics, and by a growing love of Nicole. The odds must look hopeless to any objective observer, but then life is not worth living if you give up the fight.

Gen LaGreca has written a truly inspiring story of people rationally dedicated to making the world a better place for human life. This is a story of people who face terrible odds to try to claim joy in their own lives. This is the story of Nicole who several times tells David that joy does not belong only on the stage, but in real life. This is the story of David who asks "What's left of people after they give up the best within them?" This is a question I remember answering many times as a child. Of course, we also know that Ayn Rand posed and answered this question.

As you read Gen LaGreca, it is clear that she is an admirer of Ayn Rand. Certain phrases are familiar. Some readers may fault her for not having a completely unique expression of her ideas, but my take on this is that she has developed some very fine characters and she is telling a very good story. She has tackled an important conflict of our times in the battle between the individual and the socialist state and handled it remarkably well. Besides, Ayn Rand expressed so much of the heroic individual so well that it is probably foolish not to borrow some of her best expressions just as it would be foolish to insist that every human reinvent the wheel or the uses of fire.

I very appropriately began writing this late Thanksgiving evening. It is now well into the wee hours of Friday, but still this review is dedicated with my heartfelt and mind-felt thanks to Gen LaGreca for the joy this, her first novel, brought to me. I also wish to thank all the doctors, engineers, scientists, dancers, artists, writers, nurses, teachers, and others of many professions who are rationally dedicated to their constructive and voluntary work. Shame should be heaped upon those who would impose their foolish wills upon these dedicated, hardworking heroes of our world with the use of brutal force. I will not let you keep David from saving Nicole without my joining the fight! Such tragedy is too much to bear.

One of the things I like about Gen LaGreca's novel Noble Vision is that while David faces terrible odds, there are people who line up on his side. Several people have to make a choice to do the ethical thing or to betray their values and some do the right thing. So David is not entirely alone. This is still the way things are in America. There are too few people who will consistently do the right thing, but there are enough that our heroes should not have to be entirely alone and unsupported. If you are one of the heroes, it is important that you recognize and give your support to others who are also. Please do not underestimate the importance of gestures such as a smile, a simple thank you, or a hug and a kiss. Your fellow heroes deserve to know that they have allies.

Ladies, please do not underestimate how important it is for a man to feel your appreciation. With it, we are stronger, not to mention happier. For my part, I cannot tell you how often the smile of a woman has given me more energy and joy. Perhaps it is often the same for a woman when a man indicates his appreciation, though many a woman is so suspicious as to completely undermine a good man's effort to be supportive. A certain studied innocence may be a tool for a lot of good. It is a poor life that is filled with cynicism. To be happy and to live in a world in which happiness is the norm, we must banish such cynicism. You will have an easier time doing so after you have read Gen LaGreca's Noble Vision.


Joe said...

Sounds like a good read. I'll have to look it up on Amazon. Thanks.

Charles R. Anderson, Ph.D. said...

Hi Joe,

After you have read it, please come back here and make a comment about what you thought of Noble Vision. Or better yet, comment on it on your own blog. This is a book which I believe greatly deserves our support.