ThatGuy

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  1. ThatGuy

    Review of Stephen Hicks' postmodernism book.

    For consideration, RE: The Emerson quote... https://www.noblesoul.com/orc/essays/emerson.html
  2. ThatGuy

    Benevolent Universe premise

    (And, for a chuckle, here's Rand's humorous take:) The altruist ethics is based on a “malevolent universe” metaphysics, on the theory that man, by his very nature, is helpless and doomed—that success, happiness, achievement are impossible to him—that emergencies, disasters, catastrophes are the norm of his life and that his primary goal is to combat them. As the simplest empirical refutation of that metaphysics—as evidence of the fact that the material universe is not inimical to man and that catastrophes are the exception, not the rule of his existence—observe the fortunes made by insurance companies. “The Ethics of Emergencies,” The Virtue of Selfishness, 48
  3. ThatGuy

    Benevolent Universe premise

    Here, try this. It's Peikoff's explanation of the Objectivist position: http://aynrandlexicon.com/lexicon/benevolent_universe_premise.html Quote: Although accidents and failures are possible, they are not, according to Objectivism, the essence of human life. On the contrary, the achievement of values is the norm—speaking now for the moral man, moral by the Objectivist definition. Success and happiness are the metaphysically to-be-expected. In other words, Objectivism rejects the view that human fulfillment is impossible, that man is doomed to misery, that the universe is malevolent. We advocate the “benevolent universe” premise. The “benevolent universe” does not mean that the universe feels kindly to man or that it is out to help him achieve his goals. No, the universe is neutral; it simply is; it is indifferent to you. You must care about and adapt to it, not the other way around. But reality is “benevolent” in the sense that if you do adapt to it—i.e., if you do think, value, and act rationally, then you can (and barring accidents you will) achieve your values. You will, because those values are based on reality. Pain, suffering, failure do not have metaphysical significance—they do not reveal the nature of reality. Ayn Rand’s heroes, accordingly, refuse to take pain seriously, i.e., metaphysically. You remember when Dagny asks Ragnar in the valley how his wife can live through the months he is away at sea, and he answers (I quote just part of this passage): “We do not think that tragedy is our natural state. We do not live in chronic dread of disaster. We do not expect disaster until we have specific reason to expect it, and when we encounter it, we are free to fight it. It is not happiness, but suffering, that we consider unnatural. It is not success but calamity that we regard as the abnormal exception in human life.” This is why Ayn Rand’s heroes respond to disaster, when it does strike, with a single instantaneous response: action—what can they do? If there’s any chance at all, they refuse to accept defeat. They do what they can to counter the danger, because they are on the premise that success, not failure, is the to-be-expected.  Leonard Peikoff, The Philosophy of Objectivism lecture series, Lecture 8
  4. ThatGuy

    Questions about the Romantic Manifesto

    William, you may find it interesting, then, that Rand herself wanted to do something just like that, but in a musical form. Atonal music, at that! In the Anne Heller biography, Ayn Rand and the World She Made, Joan Kennedy Taylor claims Rand "asked him to write an operatic rendition of Anthem, using romantic themes to identify the heroes and atonal music to represent the authoritarian social order." But Deems declined: "Although flattered, the elderly man didn't want to compose atonal music." This story also appears in Deems Taylor: A Biography, by James Pegolotti.
  5. ThatGuy

    Questions about the Romantic Manifesto

    You might be interested in the late Ronald Merrill's take on this question, from his book, The Ideas of Ayn Rand (pgs. 122-126.) Merrill thought her theory was fundamentally flawed, but offered his own theory to work out that flaw. Pg. 124 gives a taste of his critique: "According to Rand, the reader or viewer or listener responds to art on the basis of the level of agreement between his sense of life and that of the artist. This seems open to challenge; many people deliberately choose art which expresses the sense of life they would like to have, rather than the sense of life they do have. Consider Ayn Rand herself. Rand’s sense of life, as projected in her novels, is one of a world in which men can accomplish great things, but only by means of a violent, tortured struggle against desperate odds. Yet in her own esthetic tastes, exemplified by her choice of music, she sought a sense of life which was free of all challenge or threat, pure undiluted happiness." Check it out, if you can find it. Hope it helps.
  6. ThatGuy

    Alex Jones and Bullying by the Establishment

    The ARI is now to Ayn Rand what the Ministry of Defense was to Hogwards in HARRY POTTER. (Meaning, mealy-mouth appeasers ignoring the larger threat...)
  7. ThatGuy

    Donald Trump

    Fair enough. (And I wasn't suggesting that you were indicating an alliance, sorry if it seemed so; I was just speaking loosely.)
  8. ThatGuy

    Donald Trump

    https://twitter.com/TheFinalCall/status/1000775830488997891 https://twitter.com/TheFinalCall/status/10007758 30488997891 So much for that alliance...
  9. ThatGuy

    Ayn Rand And The End Of Love

    That is a grossly misunderstood interpretation of that scene.
  10. ThatGuy

    Michelle Marder Kamhi's "Who Says That's Art?"

    But Superboy would...
  11. ThatGuy

    Objectivist Esthetics, R.I.P.

    "An artist reveals his naked soul in his work-and so, gentle reader, do you when you respond to it"? And did she not say that architecture was both art and utilitarian? “Is that it? Is that the objection you have (and, you say, Ellen had)? I consider your remarks a cynical appraisal of Rand's well-meaning words. “ To be fair, that appraisal is not unique to Jonathan or Ellen... “In March 1966, she wrote an article for The Objectivist title ‘Art and Sense of Life’…which she concluded with these ominous words: ‘When one learns to translate the meaning of an art work into objective terms, one discovers that nothing is as potent as art in exposing the essence of a man’s character. An artist reveals his naked should in his work—and so, gentle reader, do you when you respond to it.’ The use of worlds like expose, naked, and gentle reader could have no other purpose than to intimidate—to scare the hell out of her audience.” Nathaniel Branden, My Years With Ayn Rand But the purpose of the quote, to brick it all back around to the point, which wasn't whether or not Rand meant this to be helpful or harmful, but to link it to the idea of a duel purpose of a creation as both art and utilitarian...(in this case, a creation as both artist and psychology, which see seems to both affirm in this quote, and her defense of fantasy literature, and frowns upon, in the case of her comment about horror being less about art than psychopathology...)
  12. ThatGuy

    Objectivist Esthetics, R.I.P.

    I've thought the same thing, specifically in regards to her comment in THE ROMANTIC MANIFESTO regarding horror stories being more akin to psychopathology than art? "Strictly speaking, this is not a metaphysical, but a purely psychological projection; such writers are not presenting their view of life; they are not looking at life; what they are saying is that they FEEL as if life consisted of werewolves, Draculas, and Frankenstein monsters. In its basic motivation, this school belongs to psychopathology more than to esthetics." My reaction was "why not both?" Did she not say something similar, in THE ART OF FICTION, while defending fantasy writers for the same kind of metaphorical usage of unicorns and enchanted forests? Yes, she did...commenting on a passage from SEVEN GOTHIC TALES by Isak Dinesen: "This is one of the most beautiful descriptions I have read in the Romantic styel..Isak Dinesen is hard to classify, but she is certainly nearer to being a Romanticsts than a Naturalist." And: "That an old gardener at a convent tells something to a child has in itself a fantastic quality; and when he tells him that he has seen unicorns, this impossible fantasy projects the exact eerie quality of the afternoon. 'A herd of hourse' would not have produced the same effect, because the purpose is to suggest something supernatural, odd, almost decadently frightening, but very attractive. " (I can anticipate the counter-argument that Rand distinguished fantasy as metaphor for real life as from the "escapist" fantasy-for-fantasy's-sake, without realistic counterparts (like her "giant ant" stories example in RM. But then, was not FRANKENSTEIN a stylistic, fantastical take on real-life concerns? Some even put it in the science-fiction category...) What about art therapy? Someone like Jordan Peterson may even invoke Jung's use of drawings not as art, but as a means of psycho-analysis*... What about Rand's own claim/accusation that "An artist reveals his naked soul in his work-and so, gentle reader, do you when you respond to it"? And did she not say that architecture was both art and utilitarian? Why can't art serve two functions at the same time? *(Relatedly, there's a quote an album by the rock band Living Colour, that goes "In Africa, music is not so much an art form as it is a means of communication..." It always comes into my mind when I read TRM...)
  13. ThatGuy

    Objectivist Esthetics, R.I.P.

    Reminds me of Ronald Merrill's discussion of Rand's theory, in THE IDEAS OF AYN RAND, where he ask similar questions and makes similar criticisms. Some relevant excerpts: ...... “Absolutely central to the Objectivist esthetics is the notion of ‘sense of life… “The creator of a work of art expresses his sense of life—or at least a sense of life. Barbara Cartland expresses the sense that romantic love is all-important; Stephan King that fear and horror are fundamental to existence; Mickey Spillane that conflict and violent are the essence of life. Horatio Alger expresses the sense that justice is ultimately decisive in human affairs; Jean-Paul Sartre that it is not. These are the metaphysical judgments of one-dimensional writers; the judgments of Jane Austen, or Victor Hugo, or Ayn Rand, could not be so briefly summarized. “How is a sense of life projected by a work of art? Rand’s approach is epistemological: Just as a concept is formed by dropping the concrete examples and retaining the essence which characterizes them, art expresses the creator’s sense of life by dropping that which he regards as unimportant and retaining only the important. “According to Rand, the reader or viewer or listener responds to art on the basis of the level of agreement between his sense of life and that of the artist. This seems open to challenge; many people deliberately choose art which expresses the sense of life they would like to have, father than the sense of life they do have. Consider Ayn Rand herself. Rand’s sent of life, as projected in her novels, is one of a world in which men can accomplish great things, but only by means of a violent, tortured struggle against desperate odds. Yet in her own esthetic tastes, exemplified by her choice of music, she sought a sense of life which was free of all challenge or threat, pure undiluted happiness. ESTHETIC DIFFICULTES AND DEFINITIONS “Yet though she makes a major contribution to the field, Rand’s esthetic presents some serious problems. … This leads us further: What of non-representational art in general? ‘Modern’ (non-representational) painting and sculpture challenge the Objectivist esthetics also. Are they not art? Certainly not by Rand’s definition. Many people, including myself, would say that non-representational paintings are not important art, that they might be better be classed as decoration. Even so, they can convey a sense of life, albeit only in a mild and very generalized form. …. “These problems arise because Rand’s definition of art is fundamentally flawed. It violates an important principle of epistemology: Every man-made entity is properly defined in terms of its function. … “Applying this principles to art leads us to a better definition. To begin with, it is certainly true that all art is man-made; a painting of a landscape may be art, but not the landscape itself. There is our genus. What is the function of art? Note that when we speak of function, we mean the purpose from the point of view of the user. For what purpose do we use art? What we seek from a work of art is to be induced to feel an emotion—specifically, a sense of life. There is our differentia. Thus, the correct definition of art is: A man-made object or process the function of which is to induce a sense of life in the observer. “Though this definition does not immediately lead to an esthetics of music, it at least does not make the problem more difficult, as Rands’s does.” "
  14. ThatGuy

    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!"