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Everything posted by Jules

  1. My lady friend and I are Victor Hugo nuts. We saw the American tour of the new production in its first stop in Nov/December 2010 at the Paper Mill Playhouse in NJ. It was phenomenal--I recognized the VH original artwork that forms part of the concept and scenery for this new production. I've read pretty much all major VH translations in English, because I collect old books and my college library got a big endowment of VH books probably around 1915 (there's a whole stack dedicated to him) and which I've probably spent the most time standing in front of, perusing. I'm beginning to study his work in French (really cheap collections in e-book form). I was an Ayn Rand fan. She was a Victor Hugo fan. So, in our high school, we had a cultural cross-generation or some sort of strange amalgamation--we made sure a lot of students and teachers at our high school knew about Ayn Rand and Victor Hugo, you could say, because we were the leaders of the political and school activism club, and I was the editor of the school newspaper. She writes essays for the Ayn Rand essay contests and, if there were a VH essay contest, I would enter! Société des Amis de Victor Hugo! It just creates an interesting dynamic and friendship because we still hang out and share and explore our passions with the world. Personally, Ayn Rand made me realize how great the soul could be, Victor Hugo showed me how expansive it could be. I experienced clarity, logical inexorability and focus reading Ayn Rand, but reading Victor Hugo, a whole new universe opened up to me, in my soul, for me to explore. Just an enormous sense of freedom, which I think liberated AR when she was young, and which many newcomers to Objectivism would find liberating in the search for their sense of identity, as well.
  2. Hi, Mary Lee. I share your wish that there were a similar project underway for Barbara's POET lectures. The transcriptions have been completed for over a year now, and they await Barbara's decision to have them published essentially "as is," or to incorporate them into an expanded book on how and how not to think. If Nathaniel's book of lectures does well, as it appears it will, Cobden Press may have a definite interest in publishing Barbara's lectures as well. We will see. Best for the New Year, REB Roger, the last time we were here was back in May, 2010. Any word about Barbara's publishing plans? Does she think that the book needs a lot of updating? If so, can she get some help from her friends to get it done? Mary, since my family and I moved from SoCal to Tennessee last summer, I have heard very little from Barbara, and nothing in several months. I have not heard that she is seriously ill, and my wife spoke with her a few weeks ago, and she seemed all right over the phone. SO FAR AS I KNOW, there is nothing to report about Barbara's publishing plans. If I hear anything about which I am not sworn to secrecy, rest assured that I will post it here! The original lectures have all been transcribed, so it is really up to Barbara whether she wants to publish them as is, or to revise them first, as well as whether to add some additional material on new, but related topics. She ~was~ interested in having Cobden Press publish her book, since Cobden also published Nathaniel's Vision of Ayn Rand book last year. I don't know what she would need in the way of help we might give her. Becky (my wife) and I discussed several lectures with her, offering suggestions and seeking clarification on some points. But I think that she is simply working on her own time frame, and we will just have to be patient. REB Roger and Mary Lee: My work on the Efficient Thinking lectures has been slowed up both by illness and by other projects that I couldn't pass up.. But part of my brain is always working on the lectures, and as soon as I can, I'll get back to them. Barbara I am a student at Vassar College studying Barbara Branden's Principles of Efficient Thinking. The distributor of the audio tapes is giving me access to the lectures because I have agreed to create a student question/study list for each lecture. I am starting a Vassar Values Reason project, affiliated with the Ayn Rand Institute, for which I am undertaking this work on my own. I am willing to use any Objectivist work, especially high quality, classic, seminal work like Barbara Branden's Thinking lectures, which is why I sought them out. I too have been slowed down by illness due to a car accident, in which I sustained head and bodily injury, so I am taking this semester off from school to recover. However, I am continuing my small contribution to the academic use of the lectures, because it's good for my mind and my thinking!
  3. Hello, I sent you all PMs awhile back, but I would just like to say here that your responses are personally amusing for me to read and encouraging. I printed out a hard copy of this thread tonight to put in my relatively recent "writer's binder"--for the advice, humor, insight, and good writing contained in the posts. I have new projects in sight, but I may return to this one in the future. Still struggling to overcome my depression--I am taking this semester off from university to recover from an auto accident I was in but am taking the time to develop nascent literary talent. I am glad that I shared my writing and received all of your comments because I can look back at a difficult time in my life and smile.
  4. Thank you for sharing your experience, Stephen. While I had a similar reaction to the novel, I haven't gone through life yet. I hope the promise of "life undefeated" will prove as resilient as it was for you.
  5. I can understand that you find the events in We the Living, like Schindler's List, painful to encounter. But they are real events, they occurred in the world you live in, the world you need to know about and understand. What these books do is to give such events a iiving reality not found in newspaper headlines or history textbooks. You need to know what these books show you: not only that such horrors occurred, but what they did to the lives of people one comes to care about, to people like oneself. If we have any hope of banishing such atrocities from our future, it will be only by allowing them full reality in our minds and emotions. Barbara I liked Barbara’s comment. The theme of We the Living is the metaphysical self-preservation of man in a specific setting, a dictatorship. Self-preservation is an issue that must be faced by every individual in every generation, in any country at any time. It is inescapable and every human being must ultimately deal with these issues because of the fact that we are mortal and have a specific way of surviving, whether one lives in a dictatorship or not, whether one is young or old. Art and philosophy must address all aspects of life or they fail to be relevant and meaningful. The Man Who Laughs is necessary along with Les Miserables and We the Living is necessary alongside Atlas Shrugged. They are all integrations of the basic nature and conditions, though not contradictions, of human existence. I am a college student and I am glad to have read We The Living early in my life, when I think Ayn Rand meant it to be read. Every book that aims to be serious must have historical and psychological reality.
  6. Can someone delete this post? I don't need it up anymore. Thanks
  7. I am sophomore starting an effort at Vassar College titled "Vassar Values Reason" to promote rational metaphysics and epistemology on campus through the study of Ayn Rand and Aristotle. We have received limited material publications from ARI. I will be using the pamphlets of Rand's essays they sent me, and most likely Peikoff's summary of Objectivism, but will not be using any essays by ARI writers, which are mostly political in nature. If anyone on here would be willing to help support the project please contact me. Printed material or CDs would be greatly appreciated and fully utilized. Our ultimate goal is to create a permanent place for reason on Vassar and to encourage research underlying Ayn Rand's theories of human knowledge. I know it says I only have 11 or so posts, but I have been a member here for the past 3 years and have posted under a different username. My thanks, Julian
  8. Do we have any pictures or descriptions of what they looked like?
  9. What ever happened to Oscar and Oswald???????????? I am shocked when I look up "Ayn Rand and her stuffed animals" or "Ayn Rand Escort by lion" on Google and nothing comes up! My guess is that the moochers took them and strapped them to a chair in an old attic before... Feel free to continue this thought. Best, Julian
  10. Hello everyone, I started this piece when I was 18, wrote a synopsis, and did pretty serious research for several months--I am now 19. I never finished it because I fell into a period of depression which affected my school and creative work to a certain degree. These are just the rough drafts of the opening two sections. I now see its defects, but I am still really proud of the rough style I achieved--its virtues, if you agree that it has any. I fall into those periods of brief subjectivity where I think that no one else will like it or think it's any good. I debated putting it up here for awhile. I'm not seeking praise, just honesty. It would help me a lot in challenging my grasp of objectivity, and I'll come on here and respond when I get a chance. Html text link: http://fc01.deviantart.net/fs71/f/2010/094/5/f/St__Elmo__s_Fire_by_heyjude83190.html Thank you.
  11. I was very sad to hear about Chris Grieb's passing. Chris left an impression on me with his kindness, generosity, and intellectual kinship, even though I am a student and had never gotten the chance to meet him unfortunately. He was on my mind while I was at college, and has been since I heard about his death a few days ago. I'll remember him and try to be as warm and generous as he was when I have reached intellectual maturity.
  12. No problem, Philip. I'm in college actually, but when I went to their concert at the Beacon Theater during their American tour last October in NYC there were married couples, college students, younger couples/older couples, a teenage son with his mother, people in suits, a single, middle-aged man in loose jeans and a cap rocking his head next to us etc. etc. I don't know if that's how concerts usually are because I don't go to many but their widespread appeal surprised us. I like what you said about them, I think it captures what I like. And I couldn't agree more, Rich. Thank you, I like to hear the co-recognition from other people of things that I value : )
  13. Addendum: I would like to know what you guys think about Snow Patrol's music. I don't know how to describe their melody, but they have beautiful lyrics and a very different sound. I associate them with Hugo because of the ebullience and beautiful sentimentality of their lyrics and their slightly melancholic but mild joyful sense of sound. Many of their songs are popular on the radio and in movie soundtracks, but I have never met a big a fan as me, except at concerts, where the age group is surprisingly middle age, with people of all stripes. They have a much more silent, private audience. I think this is unique about Snow Patrol. Though their universe is touched with a private sense of pain and loss, I think they come closest to projecting a universe warming up to a more benevolent sense of life. Some of their more well known songs: Chasing Cars, Open Your Eyes, Run, You Could Be Happy, Just Say Yes. My personal favorites: Dark Roman Wine I will hang on the hook of your splendor As the night rolls us up in its arms And the square of your thumbs and your fingers Is the blanket of the sky that's so warm I know it's late but I can't help but think here That the day hasn't shown all its cards Now it's out to the stars of the ocean Let's not retrace our steps to the car Picking out all the stars that we like Between finger and thumb You laugh as you pass me the night As if it's too fragile to hold And I hold it so close to my chest With your hands in my hands [ Find more Lyrics on http://mp3lyrics.org/C8dl ] An Olive Grove Facing The Sea Sworn to secrecy I might go after school She was an angel I saw her swimming there I am in such a mess I can't cope without this She just teases me pretends she can't see me here Crack the Shutters Crack the shutters open wide I want to bathe you in the light of day, And just watch you as the rays tangle up around you face and body. I could sit for hours finding new ways to be odd each minute, Cause the daylight seems to want you just as much as I want you. The Planets Bend Between Us The winters mar the Earth It's floor was frozen glass You slip into my arms And you quickly correct yourself Your freezing speech bubbles Seem to hold your words aloft I want the smoky clouds of laughter To swim about me forever more
  14. Feel free to move. This is my dedication to a band and a book which I deeply love. Thought I'd share. Lost the formatting after pasting this from a Facebook note-I had boldfaced the text to make it darker in many places to further emphasize the dark-light pattern of the text so characteristic of Les Miserables. --- Whether you're a child of 25*(from a Snow Patrol song) or a man of 80 with the stature of a giant, this Earth is one heck of a place to live. A Tribute to Snow Patrol's The Lightning Strike and Victor Hugo's Les Misérables, two souls struggling from the darkness into the light... The Lightning Strike 1. What If this Storm Ends? Les Misérables Volume IV - Book Fourteenth.--The Grandeurs of Despair: The Flag: ACT I "Several minutes passed thus, then a sound of footsteps, measured, heavy, and numerous, became distinctly audible in the direction of Saint-Leu. This sound, faint at first, then precise, then heavy and sonorous, approached slowly, without halt, without intermission, with a tranquil and terrible continuity. Nothing was to be heard but this. It was that combined silence and sound, of the statue of the commander, but this stony step had something indescribably enormous and multiple about it which awakened the idea of a throng, and, at the same time, the idea of a spectre. One thought one heard the terrible statue Legion marching onward. This tread drew near; it drew still nearer, and stopped. It seemed as though the breathing of many men could be heard at the end of the street. Nothing was to be seen, however, but at the bottom of that dense obscurity there could be distinguished a multitude of metallic threads, as fine as needles and almost imperceptible, which moved about like those indescribable phosphoric networks which one sees beneath one's closed eyelids, in the first mists of slumber at the moment when one is dropping off to sleep. These were bayonets and gun-barrels confusedly illuminated by the distant reflection of the torch." 2. The Sunlight Through the Flags The Flag: ACT II "A murmur of gloomy and energetic assent followed these words. Enjolras bent down, raised the old man's head, and fierce as he was, he kissed him on the brow, then, throwing wide his arms, and handling this dead man with tender precaution, as though he feared to hurt it, he removed his coat, showed the bloody holes in it to all, and said:-- "This is our flag now." *(I love this idea) 3. Daybreak Book Ninth.--Supreme Shadow, Supreme Dawn: Pity for the Unhappy, but Indulgence for the Happy "Moreover that which is called, far too harshly in certain cases, the ingratitude of children, is not always a thing so deserving of reproach as it is supposed. It is the ingratitude of nature. Nature, as we have elsewhere said, "looks before her." Nature divides living beings into those who are arriving and those who are departing. Those who are departing are turned towards the shadows, those who are arriving towards the light. Hence a gulf which is fatal on the part of the old, and involuntary on the part of the young. This breach, at first insensible, increases slowly, like all separations of branches. The boughs, without becoming detached from the trunk, grow away from it. It is no fault of theirs. Youth goes where there is joy, festivals, vivid lights, love. Old age goes towards the end. They do not lose sight of each other, but there is no longer a close connection. Young people feel the cooling off of life; old people, that of the tomb. Let us not blame these poor children." “I met in the street a very poor young man who was in love. His hat was old, his coat worn, his cloak was out at the elbows, the water passed through his shoes, - and the stars through his soul,” ...and I'm sure something like Snow Patrol was stopped in his mind, and heart. THE END. Best
  15. Ian, I don't think you are the type of reader Nietzche had in mind. Nietzche would not consent to making himself an object of self-contempt. Though his style can be war-like or "uncomfortable," it is largely a sense of life issue. And I don't think you understand reverence in the way Nietzche meant it. He would not regard reverence as respect due from everyone. He is not trying to win friends or the respect of society. He regards this as "the mob" and reverence as something quite apart from it. Jules, How do you think Nietzsche would have regarded a person who couldn't spell his name? Sorry, you kind of had that coming. You make an interesting case here and if I were arguing from the perspective of objective rationality I would agree with you - maybe. However, I was arguing for a phenomenological reading of Nietzsche (it may have been confusing because I argued for a phenomenological reading using objective rationality - in an attempt to place my argument in the context of a site dedicated to Ayn Rand), which is quite different and, in my opinion, closer to the type of reading he intended. I personally don't find it interesting to read Nietzsche searching for his intent or the "true" meaning of his words, e.g. for his meaning of "reverence". The basis of my argument is that Nietzsche can't be read as one would read traditional philosophical texts. I view reading Nietzsche as an experience and that "experience" is precisely what I'm interested in probing. Aside from that, I don't think you had enough to go on to gauge my understanding of "reverence" or to make some of the other claims you've made about my comprehension of Nietzsche. I wasn't talking about reverence as "the respect of society" as you attributed to me before using it as your main argument against my understanding of Nietzsche. Please, while I can sometimes sound condescending in my writing (my apologies to Stephen) I do try to limit my arguments to what others have actually said. Ian Ian, It wasn't your academic prose. It was what you actually said that was offensive. I'm not picking on your style, so don't pick on my spelling (I don't know why you have to keep pointing it out). I am not a graduate student. I am a freshman in college. You frankly used "reverence" as some sort of mob-respect issue. And actually, the "s.o.b" remark was the least offensive thing you said. You can probe Nietzsche all you want, but I don't care to probe what you mean. True, Nietzsche can't be read exactly as other philosophers, but his work is not pure fiction, so it can't be read just for the "experience." It is primarily didactic. You don't have to search for Nietzche's "true" meaning or intent. If you're reading objectively and the passage is clear, it's either there or it's not. I don't care to argue about your understanding of Nietzsche. I just found what you said offensive.
  16. Ian, I don't think you are the type of reader Nietzche had in mind. Nietzche would not consent to making himself an object of self-contempt. Though his style can be war-like or "uncomfortable," it is largely a sense of life issue. And I don't think you understand reverence in the way Nietzche meant it. He would not regard reverence as respect due from everyone. He is not trying to win friends or the respect of society. He regards this as "the mob" and reverence as something quite apart from it.
  17. Hey Jeffrey, Alice in Wonderland was really bad--painfully so. I took my girlfriend to see it last weekend. We are both Tim Burton fans of the '90s generation, so this was really disappointing, though being familiar with his recent work we were prepared going into it. We love his old work like Nightmare Before Christmas, but his craftsmanship has really declined over the past decade and hasn't been matched (Coraline was a movie which should have been done by Burton but wasn't). My girlfriend adores Alice in Wonderland as well, though I haven't read much of it yet. Note: this movie is NOT a remake of Alice in Wonderland, it is "inspired" by it, though it's nothing like Rachmaninoff's Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini Burton's Wonderland has absolutely NO plot, character development, theme, or any semblance to the original story beyond a lot of concretes and patriotic odes to "impossibility." Alice escapes her wildly exaggerated and cliched engagement party to go down the Rabbit Hole, which is not much more interesting. The scene where Alice consumes the "Drink Me" bottle is the only scene that is carefully reconstructed and makes you think something may be going on. It is all down another hole from there. Upon Alice's entrance to Wonderland, all of the characters are immediately introduced and waiting for her. Any semblance to a plot or a logical sequence of events that Carroll had constructed is completely gone. They escort Alice to the caterpillar who, reading a mystical scroll, tells us exactly what is going to happen in the next two hours. The only thing to hold the audience on edge is that we don't know if this is really the "real" Alice (though we all know she is), since she doesn't remember and thinks it's a dream, and the caterpillar says she isn't the "same" (she has forgotten to believe in impossibility). The rest of the movie just drifts along from there. I found myself yawning and bored to the very end (especially during the anti-climactic scene where Alice slays the Jabberwocky-I'm not spoiling because there's nothing to spoil-the movie spoils itself in the first 20 minutes). If there's any meaning to the businesswoman ending, it's just to show that the impossible (by Victorian standards) is possible. We saw it in 3-D; I'm not sure if there's a regular offering. The cinematography was beautiful and offered us really cool eye-candy, especially the cherry blossoms of the White Court. I also enjoyed Helena Bonham Carter's performance as the Red Queen. As I saw one reviewer mention, there was a chance for more depth and something *interesting* when the Red Queen reminisced about beheading her husband for fear of disloyalty, and when it is revealed that her court has been wearing fake, over-sized body parts to comfort her, but as the reviewer says, most of this probably ended up on the cutting room floor. What makes Carrol's absurd book witty and brilliant is that there is an underlying logic to it (correct me on this if I'm wrong). This is just absurd. The only thing that kept my interest was curiosity, but as they say, curiosity killed the Cheshire cat. For awhile I was interested in Tim Burton's work, so I bought a copy of Burton on Burton, a very poorly edited collection of interviews with Burton. He doesn't have a coherent artistic philosophy and is a confessed emotionalist. My favorites by him remain Nightmare Before Christmas, and to a lesser degree Edward Scissorhands, and Victor, a charming short about a boy who wants to be just like Vincent Price, which is available on YouTube.