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About Revah

  • Birthday 03/16/1987

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  • Location
    London, England
  • Interests
    Early childhood education, writing SF, anthropology, philosophy, tea-drinking

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  1. Happy Birthday Revah

    What a lovely surprise! Thank you! I had a wonderful birthday. I took the initiative and set in order a few things that had been bothering me at work; the lessons I had planned for the children all went well, and then I had dinner in the evening with the members of my family whose company I really enjoy. I also ordered myself a couple of gifts (I'm almost too good at budgeting, I very rarely use up much of my 'disposable income,' so a birthday is a good excuse to treat myself). I bought a few books on writing, which I may post about after I've read them and can judge how useful and/or insightful they are. I also got a copy of The Virtue of Selfishness. I wanted to read another of Ayn Rand's books, and that title was just too delightful to pass up. I hope you're right, Carol! Certainly the last 5 years have been a little easier than the 5 before them, so perhaps that trend will continue. Life became a lot easier since I began to live purposefully, anyway.
  2. The Currency of Love

    I'd agree that love is a currency. The way in which it manifests itself depends entirely on the nature of the relationship, but there are always elements of exchange. Perhaps the simplest is the idea that when you act in a loving or kind manner towards someone, it gives you a good feeling. It benefits you. Smiling at the clerk in the store or laughing at their bad joke isn't an obligation, but if you do it, and you hold kindness as a virtue, then you're reaffirming that value, and giving your sense of self-worth a boost as you do so. It's not pure altruism at all, it's self-interest. The same is true, albeit on a deeper level, of loving one's friends or family. You're living out your higher values by caring for, providing for or spending time with them. Provided, of course, that it's something you have chosen to do of your own free will, and you aren't being coerced into it or acting out of some misguided sense of duty. The trouble comes when someone says I love you and they assume that the very words are a service, which you then must pay for. "But you have to do this for me...I love you!" I have to look at situations like that in terms of contract: they've made you an offer, but if you don't accept (love unrequited, or unwanted) there's no contract there. No obligation. Then again, as a person who doesn't experience romantic love, I realize I might have a more dispassionate view than most on this. Regarding "I see you," and not encouraging weakness - yes. I've got a supporting anecdote. Once when I was having a very hard time at work, I was getting incredibly emotional and acting off of what I see now were a bunch of false premises. Anyway, the person who helped me most wasn't the friend who told me they felt sorry for me, but the one who listened to everything I had to say and then asked, very simply: "Now what are you going to do about it?" It was what I needed to kick the rational part of my brain back into operation, realize I wasn't powerless, and find a solution to the problem. I wouldn't call them the better friend, per se, but they were the one who made the most difference.
  3. Kony Baloney Invisible Indoctrination 2012

    After reading this thread, everything I've been hearing about Kony and this campaign makes so much more sense. I've been hearing about it second-hand, from the younger people that I know, teenagers who are cutting their political activist teeth on this cause. Teenagers who until a few weeks ago probably had never heard of the LRA. It seems that if you want to motivate the younger generation to careabout anything, YouTube is the way to go about it. The strange (or perhaps the not-so-strange) thing is that nowhere in all their enthusiastic explanations of the campaign was US military involvement mentioned. It was all about 'raising awareness' and sending money to help the children in Uganda. Rallying the left around military action is certainly a nice propaganda trick. I almost don't want to disillusion the young people I know who are taking an interest in socio-political issues and the wider world for the first time because of this (and planning direct action! That's one way not to feel utterly hopeless about the world's problems.) Truth's more important, though. I'll be passing on a few of your video links, Michael.
  4. This is quite frightening. I think it's important for people to write a "living will" or at the very least make their wishes about what should happen to them if they are incapacitated in this way very clear to their next of kin. Although of course if "brain dead" now equates to just plain dead, in the legal sense, then maybe it won't make all that much difference. It's not as if things are any better here in the UK. A few years ago, Gordon Brown was trying to push through legislation that would rework the organ donation system to be based on "presumed consent;" that is, unless you expressly declare otherwise, your organs are automatically up for donation. It seems as if the same idea is now being recycled in Wales: People don't seem to understand that being opposed to these measures doesn't make you a "heartless bastard" who wants people who are in need of organ transplants to die. It's about not wanting such a fundamentally illiberal alteration to the relationship between the individual and the state. From the above article: It's worryingly dystopian. I'm glad it didn't pass here. it might well become law in Wales, though. This article states that 52% of people responding with comments on the scheme were in favor (though the statistic seems to be skewed given how many of the favorable responses were form letters from charities) ~ Revah (apparently also a heartless bastard, since I don't believe my body belongs to the state...)
  5. To make manifest my own individuality

  6. I hope you don't mind me adding in an opinion even though the question wasn't addressed to me. I think a certain amount of consumers, the intelligent, reflective ones, will outgrow it. But there will always be others to take their place. There's a reason products aimed at children are so heavily marketed; it's creating a mindset, a need for instant gratification. Children understand advertising before they understand money or its value. I think that some consumers, those who spend money they haven't got on inessential items, have to be falling back psychologically into that child's mindset when they make their purchases, because obviously their decisions aren't based on rational thought. The adverts that irk me the most are the ones selling beauty products, containing nonsensical pseudoscience and statistics based on tiny sample sizes. I won't buy those simply because they insult my intelligence as a consumer with the way they're marketed. What does increase my good opinion of a product and of the company selling it, however, is honest, informative marketing. If the product is of value, then it doesn't need a lot of bluster, nonsense or irrelevant images of conventionally attractive women to convince people of that. As far as safe cigarettes are concerned, yes, safe itself is the selling point.
  7. So I just read The Fountainhead

    Adam - It's wonderful to find someone else who appreciates Gatto's sound critique of the educational system. I may work in a school, but if I ever had children of my own, you can be sure I'd homeschool them. There's a nice clause in the Education Act here which states that children must be educated "either by regular attendance at school or otherwise," which makes it a fairly simple process. In the meantime, I do what I can to make the system a little less oppressive for the kids I teach. MSK - You've given me plenty to think about there, and I certainly didn't perceive any hostility at all in the way you put your ideas across. I shan't debate it now, then, just: Absolutely not. I'm a libertarian, if a left-leaning one, and I like to think the less government interference the better, excepting where protecting the rights of individuals is concerned. And yet... I've never asked myself those questions before. Which says something itself about my value-sets and the way I perceive "government officials" as a class, as opposed to "businesspeople". I'm going to reflect on that one for a while.
  8. So I just read The Fountainhead

    You're quite right that the peripheral issues don't matter all that much. In fact, I'd say that if someone based their opinion of a musician purely on the opinions held by Rand (or any of her intellectual successors) then they aren't relying upon their own independent reasoning at all, but a sort of cultish devotion, which would be at odds with Objectivist philosophy. If I'm honest, though, my problem with the philosophical system comes far before that point. It's the notion of advocating laissez-faire capitalism that I can't agree with. I do agree that under a system where everyone was an Objectivist - where everyone acted rationally and wished neither to rule nor to serve - then capitalism would be the best system, the only system to suit. However, to advocate it now seems to be a misunderstanding of the nature of wider humanity. It would so easily be taken advantage of by the unscrupulous. It is perfect for an Objectivist society, but not for ours. (I understand that my view here is likely to be an incredibly unpopular one! I'm posting in good faith, though, putting forward why I cannot call myself an Objectivist, so hopefully it'll be understood in that spirit and not as an attempt at political trolling.) I admire you for having seen your work through to publication! I haven't got anything close to that point as of yet; I stopped writing seriously when I began to work full-time. The plan, however, is as follows: test out a few pieces here, to see if I'm anywhere close to publishable standard or if (as I believe more likely) it'd be better for me to focus on improving my technique. I've got the ideas, but not necessarily the right way of conveying them. When I'm ready, I'll start submitting to small-circulation magazines, not with a view to making significant profit from my work, but just to build a publication history. From there I'll work up to the more popular magazines and actually writing in full one of the several novels I have outlines and sample chapters for. I also intend to start a website showcasing selections of my work and offering viewers the opportunity to independently purchase more through the site. Sort of a serial story for the modern age. This is a long-term plan, however. It's my passion, but it can't as yet be my primary focus. As I've said, I do work full time (in a day nursery) and that does leave me physically and mentally tired much of the week, with little energy for writing. I'm also planning for my site some opinion pieces dealing with the education system (my view leans closer to John Taylor Gatto's than the British government's) but that's something to take care with since I do depend on the system for my livelihood. At present, anyway. I'm planning on opening my own childcare centre once I can afford the startup costs, but that's probably 7-10 years away. More immediately, I'm buying an investment property next month, with a view to purchasing another a few years from now (depending, of course, on what the market does between now and then) and thus eventually generating additional income once the rents outsrip the mortgage payments. It's quite nice to be able to write down my long-term plans and know that I probably won't be told they're impossible, like I have been offline. (Difficult? Sure. But I don't believe impossible.) So writing is just one aspect of my career plan, but it's a significant part, because it's something I find very intrinsically rewarding. Very interesting about Richard Feynman! And yes, I do recognize that Keating's fate as a character was not intended as a literal statement about anyone who might at present bear more resemblance to him than Roark. I was just - surprised, I suppose. As someone said above, I expected Roark to tell him the paintings might be terrible, but at least they're his own work. I suppose in my initial post I was playing off the comparison a little heavily for dramatic effect. (Besides, even if Rand had intended it quite literally, my resolve wouldn't be worth much if her opinion was enough to stop me trying... )
  9. So I just read The Fountainhead

    Thank you all for the kind welcome! Revah, please. It's a name I use online quite often, so it's one I'm comfortable with. Oh yes. But part of moving forward is understanding that I can't set her free, regardless of how much I may want to or how clear it is to me that she's got her own demons to fight. She's got to do that on her own and not look for me to do it, because it's not my responsibility and it's not my fault if she's not where she wants to be. I wish, Stephen, that I had read it at nineteen, although perhaps it's better that I didn't. I probably wouldn't have been in a place, mentally, where I could understand it. Still, I'm twenty-four now. Not so very much lost time, taking the bigger picture into account. Michael, thank you for your advice - it may be unsolicited, but it's very timely! Yes, and that's one of my problems, that I can't handle it at all. If I'm ever going to make anything of my writing, though, I need to overcome that. I think I'll start work on a piece to post here. I don't expect it'll be good, because I haven't worked on anything of the sort in a while. But it'll be something. Oh, but isn't that a sticking point! One of the reasons I stopped was because I was told, by people close to me, that my work was not marketable. They advised me that while maybe I had future potential as a writer, I wouldn't get anywhere unless I wrote the sort of thing that would appeal to the masses - comedy or mystery or romance. Don't misunderstand, there's nothing at all wrong with these genres, they're just not where my interest (and whatever measure of talent I may possess) happens to lie. Holding as I did that the only reason for writing at all was the approval of others, and unwilling to compromise on my creative vision to appeal to those others, it's no wonder that I just stopped. I rather like your notion of combining writing for self and writing for audience, though. After all, I write the sort of thing I would enjoy reading, and my tastes can't be all that unique. I hope you'll be willing to offer some comments when I post up some of my work! (Even if they're negative. Like you said, I've got to start somewhere in order to improve.) jts, I'm going to have to disagree. Howard Roark was a success on his own terms, which is an accomplishment far greater than being a success on society's terms - unless, yes, you consider Wynand the better man. I certainly don't. I'd actually hold that even if Roark had 'lost,' in the end, to do so with his level of integrity is a greater achievement than 'winning' with the knowledge that you have betrayed your own values in order to do so. Again, thank you all for responding and making me feel as if there's a place for me here. I look forward to seeing you around the forum! ~ Revah
  10. Hello all, I'm Revah. I'm not an Objectivist. I'm a woman who has just finished reading The Fountainhead and found it to be one of the most profoundly influential and life-changing books I have ever come across. I shan't bore you all with too many details of my life history. I find it sufficient to say that I was raised by a narcissistic mother, to whom I was worthless and only had value to the extent that I met her needs, that I lived for her. I have spent my adult life thus far seeking the approval of others, basing my conditional self-esteem on the extent to which I could sacrifice myself for others, and hating myself for failing to live up to my own altruistic ideals. I was, in the words of Ellsworth Toohey, asking to be whipped. This is not an excuse. This is an explanation. The truth is that reading this book has given me a hope of a freedom that I didn't have sight of before. The creative impulse, the intellectual delight of meeting a challenge, they remain still within me. Perhaps they will never burn so bright as when I was a young girl who had not yet learned to be conscious of the opinions of others, but the flame is not yet stamped out; I can rekindle it. To think that I stopped writing for fear that nobody would approve of my words, denying myself that simple joy of creative work! Someone one told me that I needed to put myself, my own goals and my happiness first. I laughed, because it was a mindset to alien to me. I came last, if at all, for that was the only way to be a good person. I did so want to be good. I suppose I'm here because I think that in one instance, Howard Roark was wrong. I don't think it was necessarily too late for Peter Keating. It would be a long road back to integrity and authenticity, and not an easy one, beset by trial and the lure of living at second-hand - because that is easier. Not better, by any means, but easier. However, I don't believe it would have been impossible. (After all, it had very little to do with the quality of his paintings, and everything to do with the quality of his mind. A person committed can always improve.) If it wasn't too late for Peter, then it's not too late for me either. I read somewhere on this forum athread about self-esteem and that if nothing else, you have the knowledge that no matter what you may have done, you can do better in the future. I'm here to read, to learn, and to resolve to do better, because I deserve better than to carry on squashing down every part of me, mind and soul, that ever really mattered. ~ Revah