|Cal, from post 131, stating Rand's views:|
"Mozart had no special musical talent, neither had Rand a talent for writing, it was all just a matter of choosing your values and to work at some skill, and everyone could do the same.
I think people are born with certain aptitudes, but I think that a much more important factor is that they have certain inherent passions or interests, regardless of whether or not they have any skills to go along with them. I don't agree with Rand's apparent view that it's a matter of choosing your values. The particular passion, in effect, chooses the person.
For example, since as far back as I can remember, I've had a very intense passion for drawing, and I remember the frustration of recognizing that I wasn't very good at it when I was three years old. I wasn't more competent than others my age. But despite my lack of innate skills, my passion for it was much stronger and much more serious than my friends' interests (in drawing or anything else). I've always absolutely ~loved~ doing it, which made me spend a lot of time at it, which made me get good at it, which made me enjoy it more, which made me do it more, which made me get even better at it, which made me enjoy it even more, etc.
My kindergarten art teacher, seeing what I could do after my first day of class with her, thought that I had "talent" -- an innate ability that others didn't possess -- when what she was actually seeing was the result of hours and hours of focused effort which came from an inherent, unchosen passion for drawing. I suspect that Rand and Mozart were born with an even stronger passion for their particular modes of creativity. And I don't think that Rand could have disregarded her innate passion for stories, ideas and writing, and willed herself to have chosen instead to develop an interest in creating, say, music. Or at least she wouldn't have been as successful -- as "talented" -- at doing anything for which she hadn't already had an innate, intense passion.