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    Jonathan Smith
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  1. Paintings

    I do too! J
  2. Objectivist Esthetics, R.I.P.

    Thanks for bumping the thread, Brant. Aside from my being very busy, this is another reason that I haven't posted in a long time. There's been no need to. If I were to take the time to post an argument, it would be in regard to my primary area of interest, aesthetics. But there have been no substantive or intelligent responses to the challenges that I laid down in this thread. O'vishism's best, brightest, and most publicly prominent run from the challenges, censor or ban them from their websites, or are reduced to whimpering and throwing tantrums. Alas, I have no more O'vish Esthetics foes to conquer. J
  3. Paintings

    Thanks, MSK. J
  4. Paintings

    Hey kids, Long time no see. I haven't been around here at OL much lately due to practicing the virtue of productivity. :-) I've checked in now and again to try to keep up on the threads, but haven't had time to post. Recently I followed Jules Troy's lead and uploaded seven of my artworks to fineartamerica. Five paintings, one charcoal drawing, and a digital rendering from 3D models that I built. Check 'em out: Now, back to your regular scheduled discussions. J
  5. Objectivist Esthetics, R.I.P.

    You missed my point. I'm demanding scientific proof, not your or anyone else's anecdotal self-reportings. Your statements of what you experienced in a work of art while believing that you had not been exposed to any outside information prior to hearing it does not qualify as a scientifically controlled experiment. J
  6. Objectivist Esthetics, R.I.P.

    Wow, what a devastating zinger! The Kantians are attacking! Heh. And yet the fact still remains that my challenges remain unanswered, both by Rand's dumbest followers and her brightest. Nothing has ever been shown to qualify as art by the Objectivist Esthetics, nor by any of Rand's followers' personal variations on the Objectivist Esthetics. We're six pages into this thread, and my challenges remain unmet. All that Rand's followers have to offer is evasion, bluff, distraction and pouting. J
  7. Objectivist Esthetics, R.I.P.

    Um, I've already told you that that is not my position. I know that you wish that it is my position so that you can argue against it, but it's not my position. Wishing won't make it so. Address my argument rather than the ones that you've assigned to me but which I don't hold. Answer the questions that I've put to you and all other Rand-followers, rather than arguing against straw men. Heh. Kant is not my mentor. If he was anyone's mentor in the field of aesthetics, he was Rand's. She adopted his concept of the Sublime as her signature artistic style. (As an artist, I have not adopted it as mine -- I'm not attracted to painting the Sublime). So, you're saying that harmony is enough to make music non-abstract? Well, then, by the same standard, visual harmony is enough to make abstract visual art non-abstract! Neither makes sense to whom? To you? Where is your proof that it makes no sense to anyone? And, more importantly, where is your proof that any work of alleged art has ever made any sense to you or to any other Rand-follower? You have no such proof. All that you have is arbitrary assertions that the art forms that you like have met your shifting criteria, and that the art forms that you don't like (the ones that Rand told you not to like) don't meet your criteria. You have no proof that anything has ever met your criteria. Yes, it's "another topic," in that Rand accepted it as something which "re-creates reality" while explicitly saying that it "does not re-create reality." Hahahaha! J
  8. Objectivist Esthetics, R.I.P.

    You may believe that, but we'd need more than your belief. We'd need proof. Actual scientific proof. We'd need scientific testing of people who had never heard the music, and who were not exposed to any of what Rand called "outside considerations," such as the music's title, the composer's statements, the musical and film that the music inspired, or cultural discussions about the music or film, etc. For what it's worth, I'm not saying music can't approach representation. Composers sometimes include readily identifiable likenesses of things in reality, such as birdsong, hoofbeats, etc. But most composers consider such things to be gimmicks which they see as "extramusical" elements -- aspects that are outside of the true nature of music. People can easily be led to believe that they heard something in a piece of music without relying on "outside considerations," but in reality, they were actually exposed to quite a lot of detailed knowledge prior to hearing the piece. "Why, yes, I read the title of the piece, as well as the program notes just prior to listening, and I had heard others discussing the piece and its intended meaning, and their views about how well it works with the images in the film that it inspired, but, no, I didn't allow any of that to influence me. Trust me, all of that information had no bearing whatsoever on how I interpreted the piece! There is only one way to visualize the music, and I would have visualized in that way even without having been exposed to all of the explanations of how I was supposed to visualize it. I just know I would have!" Sorry, but your anecdotal opinions and beliefs aren't enough. J
  9. Objectivist Esthetics, R.I.P.

    Sez reality. Also, sez Rand. Remember, dippy, that she said that architecture "does not re-create reality.” That means it’s not representational. Art which is not representational must be abstract. She also said that music cannot convey specific entities, ideas or states. That means it is not representational. Art which is not representational is abstract. Let’s apply the exact same method to visuals: Is abstract visual art visual? Does one's sight perceive visuals? Can one's eyes and mind perceive a ~different and varying~ arrangements of forms -- colors, textures, shapes, etc. etc.? Can one distinguish distinct colors and shapes? and so on ... without requiring any expertise in visuals. No, dopey, not because it’s “not a ‘solid existent.’” Music is abstract because it does not present readily identifiable aural likenesses of things in reality, just as abstract visual art does not present readily identifiable visual likenesses of things in reality. Everything has identity, tard, including abstract visual art. Abstract visual art can be identified as abstract visual art by the consciousness, therefore, by your illogical method above, abstract visual art is NOT “abstract.” Nothing is! Moron. The above has no relevance to whether or not something qualifies as art. The same can be said of abstract visual art, as well as many things which are not art. Besides, the idea of "emotional value-judgments" being "affirmed" by "our percepts of music" would be what is known as "subjectivity." My “weapon” is a pretty damned good one, since none of you Rand-followers can answer it! She should have spent that time actually studying music, rather than just bloviating without having studied it. She should have learned, for example, how to play musical instruments, compose, etc., before posing on an expert. She knew very little about the subject. I haven't been deceitful at all. You only see me as deceitful because all of your opinions come from believing Rand, instead of from actually having learned real knowledge. Stop bluffing and evading. Prove that music meets Rand’s criteria. I don’t accept your assertions about it, just as you don’t accept the assertions of fans of abstract visual art. I’m simply applying your own criteria to you. There’s no "mystique/mysticism” involved. Other people simply don’t share your personal limitations. J
  10. Objectivist Esthetics, R.I.P.

    Indeed. The questions will not be answered. They're fundamental questions that hadn't even occurred to Objectivism's posing and preening "scholars" and pretend experts/authorities, and they're all too deeply invested in their beliefs now to admit to having overlooked such obvious and rudimentary issues. I don't expect answers from Rand's followers, but I would at least respect their acknowledgement of the significance of the issues I've raised. I have zero respect for the evasions, the censoring and the pouting. Those tactics are, frankly, despicable. J
  11. I agree that those are potential silver linings. Trump success at governing could be good, and Trump failure could also have some great benefits. The opposite is true of Hillary. There's not much potential for silver linings. J
  12. Objectivist Esthetics, R.I.P.

    The initial questions/challenges still remain unaddressed/unanswered: 1. If your argument does not boil down to your basing your claims of others’ “depth of meaningful response” on nothing but your own personal lack of response, then please identify the objective method that you’ve used to scientifically measure others’ depth-of-meaning responses to the art forms in which you personally experience little or no depth-of-meaning. 2. Please post the data and results of such objective testing methods and experiments so that we may analyze and review the research, weight its merits, and criticize any potential errors. 3. Please reveal experiments in which you’ve tested people’s ability to identify "artists’ meanings” in works of art which you have accepted as validly qualifying as art by your own criteria. Please objectively demonstrate that any work of alleged art has been objectively shown to comply with your criteria. As I mentioned in an earlier post, I’ve tested many Objectivists with representational paintings, and none, so far, has succeeded in identifying “artist’s meanings.” Have your tests yielded better results? 4. You suggest that, since some viewers “misread" Rothko’s intentions with his art, then it therefore surely indicates that there was something wanting in his approach. In the deleted post of mine, I identified ways in which people have interpreted Rand’s The Fountainhead much differently than she intended, and they did so based on the objectively identifiably content in the novel (Roark’s violating his own morality by working on a project to which he is morally opposed, his conspiring to commit the fraud of passing off his work as someone else’s in order to subvert the rights of the owners to not hire him, his presenting the false and irrational argument in court that a contract that he did not have with the owners was violated by them when the reality was that he actively hid his involvement in the project from them, etc.). Applying your own method that you just used on Rothko, shouldn’t we conclude that people’s “misreading” of Rand’s intentions also “surely indicate that there was something wanting in [her] approach [to literary/aesthetic theory]”? --- Where is such empirical testing of people's ability to identify artist's meanings in the images in the left hand column??? Why is it that none of you Objectivish aesthetic geniuses, and none elsewhere, has been able to identify any artists' meanings in any realistic, representational paintings? One of the points of my posting the two columns of images, long ago, was to apply Objectivist criteria to various works and begin to test them in reality. I did so because O'vishes had demanded proof from others that abstract visual art could actually meet their criteria. In other words, they weren't content to take people at their word when describing the depth and meaning that they claimed to experience in abstract art. Well, I decided to call the O'vishes' bluff by applying their own standards to them: I'm not content to take you at your word -- I don't accept your empty assertions that the works which you declare are valid art have actually been shown to meet your criteria. I require proof, the same proof that you demand of fans of abstract art! So, as part of my investigation and testing, I have challenged, and continue to challenge, you and all other O'vishes to identify the artists' meanings in the representational images in the left column (as well as other tests involving other representational images beyond still lifes). So far, only a few people have even attempted to identify only a couple of the artists' meanings, and none have succeeded. Actually, they failed miserably. Nothing, ever, has yet been demonstrated to qualify as art by Objectivism's criteria! --- Additional unanswered questions from past threads: From post 769: In post 781 I reminded you of some revious issues that you haven't addressed: A new unanswered question comes from post 890: And here's a bonus oldie-but-goodie post that remains unanswered: So, if Linda Mann were to choose colorful, well-proportioned, man-made stone tiles as the "beautiful objects" that she wanted to paint in a still life, and if she were to selectively cut them and arrange them in a manner which pleased her, like this... ...and if she were to then create a painting of them like this... ...the painting would qualify as art according to your criteria, right? If she were to explain that the theme of the painting is that the world is real, orderly and fascinating and that man is capable of understanding and enjoying it, and that she expressed this theme by choosing beautiful objects to paint, and by creating a composition that is purposeful and intriguing, and that she carefully rendered the objects and romantically enhanced their colors and textures, you'd agree that she succeeded, right? Anyway, "Roger," when are you going to stop evading, and answer the question that I've asked many times now? The question is not going to go away. When each viewer of a work of visual art has a different opinion of what it means, why is it that your interpretation represents the artwork's "real" or "actual" meaning and anyone who disagrees with you must be "rationalizing"? Why is it that when you can see no meaning where others do, they must be "rationalizing"? By what objective means have you tested and determined that your visual aesthetic capacities and sensitivities are not insufficient compared to those who you claim are "rationalizing"? Is it even a possibility in your mind that I and others might have visual/spatial abilities that you lack, and which allow us to see and experience things in ways which you'll never comprehend? Is it really so upsetting to consider the possibility that you might be lacking in some areas compared to others, that you might have a visual "tin ear"? Why do you avoid addressing the issue of a viewer's fitness to judge a work of art, and the relevance that such fitness has in qualifying or disqualifying him to opine on which things other humans can or cannot experience as art? I'm especially interested in hearing answers to the questions about tonal music's needing "training wheels," and about why an artist who collects round stones, arranges them, and then paints of picture of them is creating art, but another artist who collects stone tiles, arranges them, and then paints a picture of them is not creating art. Oh, and one more issue that I've raised to many people multiple times, but which still hasn't been addressed by anyone: --- Come on, kids. Think for yourselves. Rand didn't address these issues, and isn't around to tell you what to think. Put on your grownup philosopher panties and try to address the substance of the challenges. Evading, blanking out, and pouting isn't working. J
  13. I would like to see the gloves come off, but that wouldn't be necessary. A gentler approach could also work, as long as Trump addresses and substantively replies to Hillary's assertions, rather than just letting them stand unchallenged as he did in the first debate. Example of how I think it should be: Hillary: "I'm proud of my husband's accomplishments as president, especially what he did for the economy. I will do the same." Trump: "Your husband's accomplishments?!!! Don't you mean the accomplishments of the '94 Republican Revolution? Very strange, Hillary. Your husband only reluctantly went along with that Republican economic plan. He caved in to political pressure. And then when that Republican plan succeeded, he tried to take credit for it. The plan reduced taxes and the welfare rolls, which is the opposite of what you're campaigning on. Now you say you'll do the same as your husband? You'll compromise and abandon your plan to increase taxes and spending, and instead you'll lower taxes and reduce spending just as I plan to do? If so, why are you here? Why are you debating against my position while trying to give your husband credit for having enacted the same policies that I'm proposing? WTF?" Having said the above, I doubt that it will happen. I think that Trump will disappoint. He's off his winning strategy, and I don't get the impression that he's going back to it. J
  14. Trump's problem is that he made the serious mistake of showing compassion and generosity to Hillary. Doing so signaled weakness, and she and her crew have pounced on it. In the debate, she had brought up Trump's alleged horrific treatment of all women (his negative statements about a couple of specific women), and, like McCain and Romney before him in regard to other issues, Trump decided to take the hit and be nice and pleasant and "presidential," rather than hitting her back as hard as he could with her husband's treatment of women, and, more importantly, with her own treatment of her husband's victims ("bimbo eruptions," "narcissistic loony toons," "vast right-wing conspiracy," etc.). The debate was the time for Trump to do that, and to do it aggressively and succinctly. "Terminate with extreme prejudice." The time NOT to do it was the entire week following the debate, drawing it out and misfiring at targets other than Hillary. He has also missed similar opportunities. He hasn't corrected Hillary and her crew's assertions that he called all Mexicans rapists and murderers, or that economic freedom is a "risky scheme," or that low taxes on the rich caused the economic collapse that poor Obama inherited (rather than that the collapse was caused by government policies which both mandated and incentivized that institutions give loans to those who could not afford them), and that "trickle down" doesn't work. The left hits all of these points very hard, and over and over again, just like they hit the Trump-hates-women theme. And there is no immediate, deadly, substantive response from Trump and co. If they have any substantive responses to offer to those points, they've been bungling them, as Trump did with the Miss Piggy thing. Pence missed many such opportunities last night. The Trump team is off their game. They've got to get back to being on offense, immediately, and to showing no sympathy. Pull no punches, take no prisoners. J
  15. Objectivist Esthetics, R.I.P.

    That is indeed what YOU would probably do. A rational, intelligent person, on the other hand, would recognize that his own inability to understand someone else's sounds would not be sufficient evidence to conclude that he is not actually speaking a language. A rational, intelligent person would contemplate and then employ methods of testing whether or not anyone could understand the sounds as a language. The same is true of art. We don't just go by Tony's feelings, or lack thereof. Nor by Ayn Rand's nor Michelle Kamhi's. If you feel that some works are gibberish and some are not, your feelings and beliefs are not sufficient evidence. After all anyone can arbitrarily declare that they see, experience, and understand something about a work of art. They can make stuff up and read into it what they want to. What's required is proof that they've actually succeeded in identifying "artist's meanings" or whatever else their criteria requires in art. No Rand-follower has ever done so in regard to any work of art, ever. They haven't done so in regard to the abstract art forms that Objectivism accepts as valid (despite the fact that they don't re-create reality). They haven't done so in regard to any work of visual representational realism. And they even haven't done so in regard to any romantic realit novel! Nothing has ever been objectively demonstrated to qualify as art by the Objectivist Esthetics. J