Lululemon Athletica has built a name for itself by promoting healthy living and selling yoga wear that you actually want to wear. Now, however, it seems like they’re moving in a different direction, at least in terms of philosophy.
For the past few weeks, the Vancouver-based chain store has been selling tote bags with the phrase “Who is John Galt?” emblazoned on the side. The question, of course, was made famous in the 1957 Ayn Rand book Atlas Shrugged, the novel that introduced many to the author’s personal philosophy called Objectivism. In short, Objectivism is an ideology that poses selfishness as a virtue.
The company’s blog posted an explainer about the totes, noting that Lululemon founder Chip Wilson read Atlas Shrugged when he was 18 and felt inspired by the book’s advocacy to “elevate the world from mediocrity to greatness,” a mission that Lululemon says it shares.
Which, of course, is a selective reading of the Randian meaning. Sure, Rand doesn’t really mesh with the Hinduism- and Buddha-inspired vibe of yoga. Then again, it wouldn’t be the first time the controversial author’s ideas have been parsed and fragmented to serve a particular group’s interests (think Tea Party), while the less palatable parts are cast aside. Perhaps the company expects its clientele is meditating too deeply to notice a silly thing like philosophical discrepancy.