ThatGuy

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  1. Two more on Ayn Rand Institute Watch

    Shortly after reading the above link (ARI's Andrew Bernstein's defense of Nat Turner's revolt by ignoring the massacre of woman and children, and the proliferation of "white snuff" films), I came across this, in the news: http://www.fox32chicago.com/news/crime/227116738-story "A young African American woman streamed the video live on Facebook showing at least four people holding a young white man hostage. The victim is repeatedly kicked and hit, his scalp is cut, all while he is tied up with his mouth taped shut. The suspects on the video can be heard yelling, "F*** Donald Trump! F*** white people!"
  2. Concerning "Essences," Especially in Art

    Perhaps worth mentioning, in regards to the objection over the parable of the elephant: Chris Matthew Sciabarra ends his AYN RAND: THE RUSSIAN RADICAL with a mention of the parable in relation his study of dialectics in Objectivism and the dangers of reification: "Some of you may know the story of the four travelers who on a moonless night chanced upon an elephant and came away separately convinced that it was very like a snake, a leaf, a wall, a rope. Not one could persuade any other to change his mind, for each had touched a different part. Not one could resolve their differences for none of them knew the entire elephant. The moral of the story is not the inevitability of subjectivism. Rather, it is a lesson in the fallacy of reification. Each traveler abstracted a part of the whole and reified that part into a separate entity, which was identified as the totality. Reification is possible because no one—and no human being—can achieve a synoptic vantage point on the whole. Our definition of what is­ essential depends on a specific context."
  3. Love defined in one sentence?

    I found the quote: "They knew of no way of loving their God other than by hanging men upon the cross!" It's not an exact quote, however. It was from a book called HAMMER OF THE GODS, that I read back in 1996. I've long lost my copy, and only found the quote on Google Books: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/226188.Hammer_of_the_Gods "Madness is something rare in individuals - but in groups, parties, peoples, ages it is the rule." Hammer of the Gods presents Friedrich Nietzsche's most prophetic, futuristic and apocalyptic philosophies and traces them against the upheavals of the last century and the current millennial panic. This radical re-interpretation reveals Nietzsche as the only guide to the madness in our society which he himself prophesied a century ago; Nietzsche as a philosopher against society, against both the state and the herd; Nietzsche as philosopher with a hammer. Compiled, translated and edited by Stephen Metcalf." So it's a "radical interpretion" of the passage I quoted in my post, I believe. (I don't have the book to see where the quote was sourced from, but the idea in that quote is spot-on, just not as "archaic.")
  4. Love defined in one sentence?

    Hmmm... Sacrifice Etymology: sacrifice (n.) late 13c., "offering of something (especially a life) to a deity as an act of propitiation or homage;" mid-14c., "that which is offered in sacrifice," from Old French sacrifise "sacrifice, offering" (12c.), from Latin sacrificium, from sacrificus "performing priestly functions or sacrifices," from sacra "sacred rites" (properly neuter plural of sacer "sacred;" see sacred) + root of facere "to do, perform" (see factitious). Latin sacrificium is glossed in Old English by ansegdniss. Sense of "act of giving up one thing for another; something given up for the sake of another" is first recorded 1590s. Baseball sense first attested 1880. sacrifice (v.) c. 1300, "to offer something (to a deity, as a sacrifice)," from sacrifice (n.). Meaning "surrender, give up, suffer to be lost" is from 1706. Related: Sacrificed; sacrificing. Agent noun forms include sacrificer, sacrificator (both 16c., the latter from Latin); and sacrificulist (17c.). (Wiktionary): Verbsacrifice ‎(third-person singular simple present sacrifices, present participle sacrificing, simple past and past participle sacrificed) (transitive) To offer (something) as a gift to a deity. (transitive) To give away (something valuable) to get at least a possibility to gain something else of value (such as self-respect, trust, love, freedom, prosperity), or to avoid an even greater loss.  [quotations ▼] (transitive) To trade (a value of higher worth) for one of lesser worth in order to gain something else valued more such as an ally or business relationship or to avoid an even greater loss; to sell without profit to gain something other than money.  [quotations ▼] (transitive, chess) To intentionally give up (a piece) in order to improve one’s position on the board. (transitive, baseball) To advance (a runner on base) by batting the ball so it can be caught or fielded, placing the batter out, but with insufficient time to put the runner out. (dated, tradesmen's slang) To sell at a price less than the cost or actual value. To destroy; to kill. (Can we find and add a quotation of Johnson to this entry?)Synonyms(sell without profit): sell at a loss Rand never addresses the etymology, AFAIK, but seems to address the criticism that she is using the word against its dictionary meaning ("surrendering a value for a greater value"), and, specifically, the religious connotation, in these quotes referenced from Galt's speech: http://aynrandlexicon.com/lexicon/sacrifice.html "A sacrifice is the surrender of a value. Full sacrifice is full surrender of all values... "You are told that moral perfection is impossible to man—and, by this standard, it is. You cannot achieve it so long as you live, but the value of your life and of your person is gauged by how closely you succeed in approaching that ideal zero which is death. and "Do not remind me [emphasis mine] that it [moral perfection] pertains only to this life on earth. I am concerned with no other. Neither are you." -Galt’s Speech, For the New Intellectual, 139 That last part seems to be a direct challenge to those pointing out that the definition holds the religious promise of gaining a greater value for a lesser one (in the afterlife), as it's related to the idea of moral perfection, while using her atheism to deny such a thing, and, hence, denying the validity of the concept of sacrifice being able to produce a greater value (Craig Biddle's argument, see below...). I could be reaching, there...but also, after reading that passage, it reminded me of a quote I once read attributed to Nietzsche: "They knew of no better way to honor their god by hanging him on the cross." (Paraphrased from memory, I can't find the source of this exact quote, as I heard it.) This is the closest I can find, but the spirit is the same, and more explicit: "When the lesser men begin to doubt whether there are higher men, then the danger is great...When Nero and Caracalla sat up there, the paradox originated that "the lowest man is worth more than the man up there." And an image of God was spread which was as far removed as possible from the image of the most powerful-the god on the cross." (The Portable Nietzsche, pg. 440). Given the influence of Nietzsche on the early Ayn Rand, that could be what's behind her challenging the dictionary definition in the way she did... (For those interested, Craig Biddle addresses the topic of Rand's usage versus the dictionary.) https://www.theobjectivestandard.com/2013/04/why-sacrifice-means-loss-not-gain/ That's all I have. From "the sublime", to "sacrifice", thanks again for peaking my interest with questions of etymology.
  5. James Bond: Objectivist Assassin

    Michael, this is interesting, and you may have actually clarified something else for me, in the process. And with your interest in Trump, you'll probably appreciate this, in return... While thumbing through Trump's ART OF THE DEAL, yesterday, in a bookstore, I came across two passages that caught my attention, in a contradictory way. The first was Trump talking about the design of his buildings, how we would get the opinions of others, first, get to know the neighborhood, etc. It had a suggestion of a "Peter Keating" approach to it. But he then remarked about how certain heralded styles of the moment go forgotten the next. From that, I started thinking it was "not quite Keating", because what he was doing, then, was obviously not simply pandering to the opinion of the moment, but going for... I don't know if it was something "universal", but "something else", at least.. The second passage was Trump addressing his critics, and it was just a brief remark, but notable, by Objectivist standards (and notable in light of your claims that Trump puts the emphasis on creating). Basically, he just said something to the effect of "why are the trying to destroy me, instead of creating their own thing?" That last, combined with the first, while I was thinking of it the my initial Keating-like impression, seemed to be a contradiction: why would a creator worry about the opinions of others? (Of course, that's reading the passages from an Objectivist frame, and Trump is not an Objectivist, so it wouldn't be fair to stay within that frame without at least giving him a full hearing/reading from within his own.) But with your observations about Rand's introspection to get to the universals of her audience, that would be a possible explanation of that seeming contradiction. I don't know enough about Trump to know if that's how he thinkgs, or would even be aware of something like that, philosophically, but then, it could be that "water springing up from that same underground source..."
  6. Michelle Marder Kamhi's "Who Says That's Art?"

    Great post, but I have just a tiny nitpick. If we were to redact only the Kantian influence, we'd still have the historical concept that existed before Kant, which would still leave us with the "terror that delights."... Oh, fair point, and no argument, there. I was just riffing on Ninth Doctor's quip: "So I wouldn't worry about some anti-Newspeak thoughtcrime, a banned concept of the Sublime, as though Kant's work is to be consigned to the flames when the Revolutionary Objectivist Total Freedom Liberators (ROTFL) seize control and de-nationalize the libraries. And put the collected writings of Newberry in their place. Redacted, as needed, to eliminate traces of Kant's actual ideas as might be reconstructed from his presentation (not that such redaction would take much effort)."
  7. Michelle Marder Kamhi's "Who Says That's Art?"

    Writers subsequent to Kant came up with their own variations on the concept. It's not like he had the last word. Schiller, Hugo, and Schopenhauer are a few names to look up. Concepts are supposed to be open-ended.So I wouldn't worry about some anti-Newspeak thoughtcrime, a banned concept of the Sublime, as though Kant's work is to be consigned to the flames when the Revolutionary Objectivist Total Freedom Liberators (ROTFL) seize control and de-nationalize the libraries. And put the collected writings of Newberry in their place. Redacted, as needed, to eliminate traces of Kant's actual ideas as might be reconstructed from his presentation (not that such redaction would take much effort). Well, I'm not seeing Michael Newberry burning down any libraries in Alexandria, so I'm not so worried. ;) Just taking the idea to its conclusion, in principle... But a more limited, immediate, concern is the latter part of that, the emotional repression, in light of the claims about such repression found/promoted in and by Objectivism/Objectivists...even if the libraries aren't burning en mass, it's just as bad if a light is being hidden under a bushel on the individual level because of a concept being "updated" in a way that erases the concept (instead of choosing an alternative concept.) (And, in theory, if the concept were erased by zealots redacting the Kantian influence, it would no doubt simply rise again under a new name, when some aspiring artist or philosopher encountered a forbidden "terror that delights"...)
  8. Michelle Marder Kamhi's "Who Says That's Art?"

    (continued from last post): Newberry's proposal to UPDATE the concept of "sublime": I posted the etymology of the word itself, to see if it would support such an update: Regarding the necessity of "fear" to invoke the sublime, and the proposal of removing the idea of fear from the concept, it might help for clarification, to go beyond Kant's usage by looking at the etymology of the word...("overcoming fear", while not directly mentioned, may be implied in the word "imposing", and, perhaps, "threshold"...) sublime (adj.) 1580s, "expressing lofty ideas in an elevated manner," from Middle French sublime (15c.), or directly from Latin sublimis "uplifted, high, borne aloft, lofty, exalted, eminent, distinguished," possibly originally "sloping up to the lintel," from sub "up to" + limen "lintel, threshold, sill" (see limit (n.)). The sublime (n.) "the sublime part of anything, that which is stately or imposing" is from 1670s. For Sublime Porte, former title of the Ottoman government, see Porte.He replied: "Excellent suggestion. I think this shows a good example of the divide between our everyday usage of the sublime as something wonderfully high vs. the creepy philosophical idea." But that ignored the implications of the words "imposition" and "threshold", which would give the word a specific context and meaning beyond "exaltation." And that wasn't even looking at the earliest usage by Longinus... Add to that Jonathan what Jonathan added: "The philosophical inquiry into the Sublime came about simply because everyday people observed that they had experienced seemingly contradictory states when viewing certain things. They sought to resolve the apparent contradiction of why something which instilled in them a sense of fear or incomprehension could also, at the same time or almost the same time, cause them to experience a delightful rush of exaltation....The concept didn't come about because some thinker was advocating the idea that there was only one way to stimulate exaltation in people." To update the word "sublime", then, would not just be unnecessary (since "exaltation", or "ecstatic/ecstasy" would do just fine)...actually, it wouldn't even be an UPDATE; it's not expanding or adding (since it's already subsumed under a larger concept as a type of exaltation, maybe?)...it would actually be doing a dis-service by destroying the differentiation between those words/concepts. It would not be the equivalent of Rand reclaiming "selfish", or putting the religous concept of an "anthem" into a secular context (nothing is lost in that way), whereas the particular concept invoked in the sublime (the contradictary state of "the fear that delights") would be lost. LOST. Not just a concept lost, but an emotion REPRESSED, because someone interprets it as "philosophically creepy."
  9. Michelle Marder Kamhi's "Who Says That's Art?"

    A nice example to distinguish between Kant's Sublime and Rand's "sublime"... The contrast that you're making in regard to the above is not really between "Kant's Sublime" and "Rand's 'sublime.'" Rather, the contrast is between the historically established philosophical concept of the Sublime which existed long before Kant, and, on the other side, a sort of cognitively blurry layman's notion of a vague, undefined and shifting something, with the word "sublime" attached to it. Rand never addressed the philosophical issue of the Sublime. She did occasionally use the word "sublime" when describing things, but she didn't quite have a handle on what she meant, and she used different meanings. She wasn't a student of the philosophy of aesthetics proper, and, as is true of most of her followers, there's no reason to believe that she was even aware of the fact that there was a philosophical concept of the Sublime. In fact, there are reasons to believe that she was completely oblivious to the existence of the concept and its long history. J One may over-elaborate the word-concept until it connotes more than it denotes, and takes on a mystique. "Sublime" isn't the property of anybody, let alone Kant and antecedent philosophers Rand tended to know the precise meanings of words she used - she defintely had a handle on what she meant. As I do in reading it. She might have said "exalted" almost equally. My early-50's Concise Oxford defines 'sublime', "a. Of the most exalted kind, so distinguished by elevation or size or nobility or grandeur or other impressive quality as to inspire awe or wonder, aloof from and raised far above the ordinary, (~mountain, scenery, tempest, ambition, virtue, heroism, selfsacrifice, love, thought, beauty, genius, beauty, poet, etc)." It's well known that Rand 'borrowed back' and reclaimed words that previously had quasi-religious connotations. (Worship, reverent, sanctity, sacred, spirit, soul). Concepts that were created by men, used by men, for men...and in the absence of god, about man. Whether she knew of Kant's Sublime or not (I can't see how not) or its precedents, she used the word accurately here. So, she "never addressed the philosophcal issue of the Sublime" most likely because she already constantly revered and advocated man's mind and reason, and didn't recognize sublimity as a philosophy in its own right. In trying to find the quote from Newberry re: redefining "sublime", and mentioning Rand's reclaiming of "selfish" as radical ("to the root" of the concept), I was reminded of her use of the word "Anthem", a word she claimed from religious usage. But there, I note that she acknowledge the religious history explicitly in her explanation of the choice of title for the story. I don't recall, though, that it was meant to be "radical" in the sense of reclaiming the word, and she didn't change the meaning, but simply put it into a secular context. What Newberry proposed with the concept "sublime" was NOT to "reclaim" it, but to "update it... (continued)
  10. Michelle Marder Kamhi's "Who Says That's Art?"

    A nice example to distinguish between Kant's Sublime and Rand's "sublime"... The contrast that you're making in regard to the above is not really between "Kant's Sublime" and "Rand's 'sublime.'" Rather, the contrast is between the historically established philosophical concept of the Sublime which existed long before Kant, and, on the other side, a sort of cognitively blurry layman's notion of a vague, undefined and shifting something, with the word "sublime" attached to it. Rand never addressed the philosophical issue of the Sublime. She did occasionally use the word "sublime" when describing things, but she didn't quite have a handle on what she meant, and she used different meanings. She wasn't a student of the philosophy of aesthetics proper, and, as is true of most of her followers, there's no reason to believe that she was even aware of the fact that there was a philosophical concept of the Sublime. In fact, there are reasons to believe that she was completely oblivious to the existence of the concept and its long history. J One may over-elaborate the word-concept until it connotes more than it denotes, and takes on a mystique. "Sublime" isn't the property of anybody, let alone Kant and antecedent philosophers Rand tended to know the precise meanings of words she used - she defintely had a handle on what she meant. As I do in reading it. She might have said "exalted" almost equally. My early-50's Concise Oxford defines 'sublime', "a. Of the most exalted kind, so distinguished by elevation or size or nobility or grandeur or other impressive quality as to inspire awe or wonder, aloof from and raised far above the ordinary, (~mountain, scenery, tempest, ambition, virtue, heroism, selfsacrifice, love, thought, beauty, genius, beauty, poet, etc)." It's well known that Rand 'borrowed back' and reclaimed words that previously had quasi-religious connotations. (Worship, reverent, sanctity, sacred, spirit, soul). Concepts that were created by men, used by men, for men...and in the absence of god, about man. Whether she knew of Kant's Sublime or not (I can't see how not) or its precedents, she used the word accurately here. So, she "never addressed the philosophcal issue of the Sublime" most likely because she already constantly revered and advocated man's mind and reason, and didn't recognize sublimity as a philosophy in its own right. In trying to find the quote from Newberry re: redefining "sublime", and mentioning Rand's reclaiming of "selfish" as radical ("to the root" of the concept), I was reminded of her use of the word "Anthem", a word she claimed from religious usage. But there, I note that she acknowledge the religious history explicitly in her explanation of the choice of title for the story.
  11. Michelle Marder Kamhi's "Who Says That's Art?"

    Hypsos is a Greek philosophical concept considered comparable to the modern concept of the sublime, or a moment that brings oral speech to an astonishing and monumental pause. Its root hypso- literally means "aloft", "height", or "on high". However, a distinguishing feature of hypsos in rhetorical studies is that it combines conflicting emotions: fear and awe, horror and fascinations.%5B1%5D It is a climactic moment in speech that generates uncertainty for the audience. I do have to thank Jonathan, here, for the lead on Longinus and of the larger usage of the word beyond Rand's examples (it does appear, indeed, that she ignored the "fear" or terror-awe side of it, in the quotes listed earlier.) The etymoloyy of "hypsos" implies "outside" or "above" one's self, a kind of ecstasy. Whether or not one can have that without some kind of fear and awe that is overcome, I'll leave that to the psychologists. But Jonathan has demonstrated that the concept HAS not just centered around beauty, but fear, awe, terror, and the overcoming of such, from the earliest known concept of it. It does not seem wise to ignore the dark part of the concept to simply mean outside one's self because of something beautiful, lest it delves into something like Rand's "tiddlywink" music: light, airy, without suffering, or just simply "beauty". Maybe another word is called for in Newberry's personal project; I don't know if "ecstasy' is enough, or too strong...but sublime seems to be wrong. I don't know if it's worth it to try to redefine "sublime" without the fear and terror vs. coming up with a new word, the way Rand kept "selfish" instead of another word; that's another argument...) If one did, would it still be "Sublime"? I know that's what she tried to suggest with Halley's "Concerto of Deliverance" ("we never had to take any of it seriously, did we?), but he had to overcome all the obstacles to get to that point, so, it does demonstrate, again, Jonathan's point about ATLAS being demonstrative of Kant's sublimity. Anyway, just thinking out loud, thanks for the food for thought. I'm looking forward to reading more about the topic, in general. Excellent post. Your should study Rhetoric it seems to be a comfortable area for you. Are you a student? A... Thank you. No, not a student, just a layman.
  12. Michelle Marder Kamhi's "Who Says That's Art?"

    You're welcome! Thank you for having the curiosity to follow up on the issue with your own research, and for thinking about it independently. We don't have to leave it to the psychologists. Of course people can experience ecstasy without having it stimulated by some sort of fear or awe that is to be overcome. No one has suggested that ecstasy, or exhilaration or whatever, can only be stimulated or achieved via Sublimity. The philosophical inquiry into the Sublime came about simply because everyday people observed that they had experienced seemingly contradictory states when viewing certain things. They sought to resolve the apparent contradiction of why something which instilled in them a sense of fear or incomprehension could also, at the same time or almost the same time, cause them to experience a delightful rush of exaltation. The concept didn't come about because some thinker was advocating the idea that there was only one way to stimulate exaltation in people. J Ah! I think you just filled in a missing piece of the puzzle for me, there, and simply put, at that. Like I said, I still have a lot of reading to do, but if that is the case, above, then there really would be NO reason to subvert/redefine the term. Thanks again.
  13. Michelle Marder Kamhi's "Who Says That's Art?"

    This to my knowledge is not connected to the Kantian sublime, although some rhetorical critics keep trying to round hole square peg everything prior to Kant into his definitions. This gentleman below does pick up on Loginus' work whose favorite philosopher was Plato. Seems that he has it correct as far as I can tell. http://www.lukewhite.me.uk/sub_history.htm A... Thank you for sharing this. While reading through it, I came across the Greek word for "sublime", as used by (or attributed to) Longinus, "hupsous", or "hypsos"... When Michael Newberry proposed, some time back, to redefine the concept of "sublime" so as to exclude the part about "fear" or "terror", I proposed to look beyond the Kantian usage and go to the etymology, to see if the word itself could be used in that way. The etymology for "sublime" only somewhat suggested the idea of fear ("...that which is stately or imposing"): sublime (adj.) 1580s, "expressing lofty ideas in an elevated manner," from Middle French sublime (15c.), or directly from Latin sublimis "uplifted, high, borne aloft, lofty, exalted, eminent, distinguished," possibly originally "sloping up to the lintel," from sub "up to" + limen "lintel, threshold, sill" (see limit (n.)). The sublime (n.) "the sublime part of anything, that which is stately or imposing" is from 1670s. For Sublime Porte, former title of the Ottoman government, see Porte. But if we go back to Longinus, as Jonathan did suggest, back at the time of that discussion, and if we go to the word "hypsos", we get this: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hypsos Hypsos is a Greek philosophical concept considered comparable to the modern concept of the sublime, or a moment that brings oral speech to an astonishing and monumental pause. Its root hypso- literally means "aloft", "height", or "on high". However, a distinguishing feature of hypsos in rhetorical studies is that it combines conflicting emotions: fear and awe, horror and fascinations.%5B1%5D It is a climactic moment in speech that generates uncertainty for the audience. I do have to thank Jonathan, here, for the lead on Longinus and of the larger usage of the word beyond Rand's examples (it does appear, indeed, that she ignored the "fear" or terror-awe side of it, in the quotes listed earlier.) The etymoloyy of "hypsos" implies "outside" or "above" one's self, a kind of ecstasy. Whether or not one can have that without some kind of fear and awe that is overcome, I'll leave that to the psychologists. But Jonathan has demonstrated that the concept HAS not just centered around beauty, but fear, awe, terror, and the overcoming of such, from the earliest known concept of it. It does not seem wise to ignore the dark part of the concept to simply mean outside one's self because of something beautiful, lest it delves into something like Rand's "tiddlywink" music: light, airy, without suffering, or just simply "beauty". Maybe another word is called for in Newberry's personal project; I don't know if "ecstasy' is enough, or too strong...but sublime seems to be wrong. I don't know if it's worth it to try to redefine "sublime" without the fear and terror vs. coming up with a new word, the way Rand kept "selfish" instead of another word; that's another argument...) If one did, would it still be "Sublime"? I know that's what she tried to suggest with Halley's "Concerto of Deliverance" ("we never had to take any of it seriously, did we?), but he had to overcome all the obstacles to get to that point, so, it does demonstrate, again, Jonathan's point about ATLAS being demonstrative of Kant's sublimity. Anyway, just thinking out loud, thanks for the food for thought. I'm looking forward to reading more about the topic, in general.
  14. History's Best Conquerors

    Definitely Khan... (A large picture of their guest in on a screen) KIRK: Name, Khan, as we know him today. (Spock changes the picture) Name, Khan Noonien Singh. SPOCK: From 1992 through 1996, absolute ruler of more than a quarter of your world. From Asia through the Middle East. MCCOY: The last of the tyrants to be overthrown. SCOTT: I must confess, gentlemen. I've always held a sneaking admiration for this one. KIRK: He was the best of the tyrants and the most dangerous. They were supermen, in a sense. Stronger, braver, certainly more ambitious, more daring. SPOCK: Gentlemen, this romanticism about a ruthless dictator is KIRK: Mister Spock, we humans have a streak of barbarism in us. Appalling, but there, nevertheless. SCOTT: There were no massacres under his rule. SPOCK: And as little freedom. MCCOY: No wars until he was attacked. SPOCK: Gentlemen. KIRK: Mister Spock, you misunderstand us. We can be against him and admire him all at the same time. SPOCK: Illogical. KIRK: Totally. This is the Captain. Put a twenty four hour security on Mister Khan's quarters, effective immediately. KHAN!!! KHAN!!!!!
  15. Horror Story - Fun or Psychopathology?

    I don't have time right now to look for more similar quotes, but there is no lack of them. Also, the fact that Rand's most influential work (Atlas Shrugged) brings about an Apocalypse makes me cut people some slack when they infer she meant it. Michael True. Ironic, and true.