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  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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...)
  4. 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.)
  5. ThatGuy

    Donald Trump 30488997891 So much for that alliance...
  6. ThatGuy

    Ayn Rand And The End Of Love

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

    Trump calls the bluff

  8. ThatGuy

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

    But Superboy would...
  9. 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...)
  10. 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...)
  11. 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.” "
  12. 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: "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!"
  13. ThatGuy

    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."
  14. ThatGuy

    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: "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.")
  15. ThatGuy

    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: "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.) That's all I have. From "the sublime", to "sacrifice", thanks again for peaking my interest with questions of etymology.