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Everything posted by ThatGuy

  1. "Easier said than done"? Perhaps it's what Chris Matthew Sciabarra was getting at in his chapter discussing Nathaniel Branden and integration in Russian Radical...or Ronald Merrill, in The Ideas of Ayn Rand: "From Theory to How-To" "Nathaniel Branden has pointed out the need for something beyond ethics as traditionally conceived. It is not enough, he suggests, to develop a set of rules for action, to tell people WHAT they ought to do. Ethics is not complete until it provides rules or prescriptions to advise people HOW to be moral. …Traditionally [psychologists] have have been prone to understand that if the patient only understands the roots of his behavior he will change it. As Arthur Koestler pointed out in Arrival and Departure, this theory doesn’t work. Branden…deserves credit for not only raising this issue, but making an effort to develop some useful techniques.”
  2. Thanks for the thoughtful analysis, especially the point about context. While I didn't mention it, I take the issue of context as a given to those familiar with Objectivism. (I can't remember the exact quote, and it may have been Rand or Peikoff, but it was something about Objectivism being about absolutes in context.) (Edit: Ah, I found the quote I was thinking of, in Objectivism: The Philosophy of Ayn Rand. Peikoff, pgs. 173-175, writing about context and absolutes. "Conceptual knowledge rests on logic within a context, not on omniscience. If an idea has been logically proved, then it is valid and it is an absolute- contextually." This last term, indeed, does not introduce a factor distinct from logic and should not have to be stressed: to adduce evidence for a conclusion is to place it within a context and thereby to define precisely the conditions of its applicability.")
  3. I think this stands out so much to me, when it comes to Objectivists, because of the Objectivist emphasis on integration of words and deeds.
  4. Hmmm. Yes, there's that aspect, and I knew it would come up, sooner or later. On that note, those Objectivists who are criticizing Trump for his China "orders" were Trump were upset when he praised Kim Jong Un...well, so did the parents of Otto Warmbier, so there's something to be said for the morality of it. But it almost seems like a Catch 22 for Trump... Not that the topic is unimportant, of course it is. I'm just personally stuck on, at the moment, just how "all over the place" (regarding consistence and application of princinples) this topic seems to be within the Objectivist community. That seems to be a phenomenon in itself worth looking at, philosophically speaking.
  5. Rand's article "How To Demoralize a Nation" (where she criticizes Kennedy for going to the Russian ballet during the Cuban Missile Crisis) keeps coming to my mind, in regards to Trump's "orders" re China. This passage, particularly: If that was her argument about dealing with Russia during the missile crisis was valid, wouldn't the same apply to dealing with China today, regarding Hong Kong?
  6. Well, it's to your credit, Michael, that I don't suffer from "Trump Derangement Syndrome" myself. I did read The Art of the Deal upon your earliest suggestions. And it's the reason I'm even having this discussion, today.
  7. That was the other thing about this that bugged me. People like Amy Peikoff were calling out Trump and Pence for not being strong enough on China in favor of Hong Kong. But now that he's "ordering" companies not to deal with China, he's a "fascist." Hmmm...
  8. I have to admit to an initial revulsion when I read Trump's seemingly authoritarian "I hereby order" quote, based on the better Objectivist reasons to do so. That said, I have no love for totalitarian China, either. Did Rand herself not say what Trump said, basically speaking, in her articles chiding Kennedy for attending a Russian ballet during the Cuban Missile Crisis, and for reaching out to the Soviet Union? Some are pointing out the "Obleftivish" response to this. But this isn't limited to "Obleftivists", of course. Which brings me to something I saw this morning on Facebook. Libertarian/anarcho-capitalist Jeffrey Tucker wrote a post about Trump as Fascist in regards to all this. In that conversation, someone called him out for a post of his saying that the "Deep State" is preferable to Trump. Another defender says: "Wow. Another fake-libertarian criticizing Jeffrey for yelling at a Nazi. You know what has poisoned the libertarian movement more than anything? Associating with and welcoming literal Fascists into their circles. Thank god Jeffrey yelled at him, you weird fash sympathizers ruin the name "libertarian" for the rest of us." Tucker, meanwhile, was defending himself about some conference in a hotel where white supremacist Richard Spencer was also present. One of Tucker's defenders wrote that "Again, physical removal was written precisely for someone like Spencer. Want to promote nazism? Do it somewhere else." Tucker himself said this: "Neither the hotel nor the conference wanted a Nazi on the premises whipping people up, pretending to be with SFL. I can't believe you are still on this. Amazing. You call yourself a libertarian and the day after the US president orders all US businesses to stop dealing with China, this is what excites you. this is what drives you. Truly, I'm sure you have something valuable to contribute but it's long past time to do a deep assessment of where your values are." Someone else on that thread responded to why Tucker and co. weren't going after the Left by responding that they aren't in power. Aren't they, though? Why else would have to ask the question of who's worse, the Deep State or Trump, let alone "sadly conclude" that the former is preferable to the latter? I'm not personally fond of Trump, overall, but in the context of our times, but I strongly support his anti-socialist message. And I have no truck with those exhibiting "Trump Derangement Syndrome." That said, up until now, I've been tolerant of criticisms of Trump from Objectivists and libertarians (with more qualifiers on the latter than the former), based on shared principles, when they've been legitimate. An anarcho-capitalist going against fascists, but not communists? (Makes me think that Rand was right all along about anarchists AND libertarians, but that's another story...) That's what Antifa does. This is coming off, to me, as inconsistent, as best, and hypocritical, heading towards the worst, to boast about ejecting fascists from a restaurant while condemning Trump for his "orders" via trading with China.
  9. Ah. I can see that. There are two shows, yes...THE BIG BANG THEORY and YOUNG SHELDON, which is the spinoff. BBT is (was, just ended) set circa 2007 to present.
  10. Note: The show takes place in the late 80's- early 90's. (Young Sheldon just dresses as if he were from the 50's-60's!).
  11. Interesting take, and quite plausible (even if I don't think it has to be either/or regarding the epic poem argument). This is not unlike what happens in comic books/sequential art. Those interested in pursuing this line of thought may be interested in a book called UNDERSTANDING COMICS: THE INVISIBLE ART by Scott McCloud. He examines how comic book artists and animators "draw in the reader" (pun intended) in how they balance realism and more abstract styles. The more detailed, the more distance the reader becomes, and the more abstract or "cartoony", the more the reader/viewer can project themselves into the character or story. Sounds very similar to what Michael is getting at, here; even talks about the child vs. adult modes of perception. (And its medium is its message; it's done in a comic-book format. But don't let that fool you, it's very sophisticated in its approach.)
  12. Darn, I didn't mean to be so controversial! Really, it was just offered up a light-hearted quip on the subject; advertising slogans as the poetry of our age. I just got swept up in all this sandwich verse leading to free association... As for the ad itself...It was the 80's in America... I guess you just had to be there...
  13. It was a tv commercial slogan from the 80's. (Manwich was the brand name, back when it was ok to assume a sandwich's gender...) Yeah, they were sandwiches, more conventionally called "Sloppy Joes". Basically hamburger in a tangy tomato sauce with onions and spices. (Just the sauce came in the can, not the meat.)
  14. That's because I was originally exercising poetic license in my quotation... "Oh....fudddddggeee..." (Only he didn't say "fudge"...)
  15. "What I want is a Red Ryder BB gun with a compass in the stock... "and this thing which tells time." Wow, that's great. "I think that everybody should have a Red Ryder BB gun. "They're very good for Christmas. "I don't think that a football's a very good Christmas present." Oh, rarely had the words poured from my pencil with such feverish fluidity. Poetry! Sheer poetry! A+ for Ralphie! A + + + + + + + !!!!!
  16. "A sandwich is just a sandwich, but a Manwich is a meal." Poetry in motion!
  17. Perhaps you're right. But since you're allowing for the slight possibility: since she did at least READ it, and even took the basis of her definition of art from it, it's possible that she absorbed his idea of epic poetry in her conception of Anthem as a poem. And if Chris Matthew Sciabarra is correct in his claim that Rand absorbed the dialectical method from her Russian education, despite openly being against such ideas, I'd have to extend at least the possibility that something similar happened here. (Only speculation on my part, of course, without something more definitive. I do think you may be onto something with the Nietzschean influence, though, and that would tie in with my earlier comment about Ronald Merrill's quote regarding Anthem and Thus Spoke Zarathustra.) On that note, maybe there's a connection to her idea of poetry and Nietzsche's use of aphorisms.
  18. Re: Roark, Cortland Homes, and the morality of his actions: for those who might be interested in reading more about this, and don't know about it already, there is an essay by Amy Peikoff in Essays on Ayn Rand's The Fountainhead called, appropriately enough for the discussion here, "A Moral Dynamiting". Her main thesis is that "[t]he moral justification for Roark’s dynamiting Cortlandt depends on the fact that he has no legal recourse available to him." Without getting into the debate over whether or not Roark was moral or not in his actions, I did find it interesting Peikoff's claim that Rand herself, at one point, questioned the morality of Roark's act, and the almost-alternate ending that would, perhaps, have been equally controversial. So it's no surprise that even those sympathetic to Objectivism are still debating the Roark's morality, today. Peikoff writes: Tying this into the discussion of "error of knowledge vs. breaches of morality": Whether Rand was right or wrong in her justification of Roark's actions as being moral (perhaps Rand herself made an error of knowledge in her justification?) , it does demonstrate Michael Kelly's point that Rand at least believed Roark to be acting morally, as she understood it, fitting in with her quote "And I mean it."
  19. It just dawned on me that perhaps Rand was drawing on Aristotle in her description of Anthem as poetry. It's been a while since I've read The Poetics, and not an expert, so I'm just speculating. And I can't vouch for the accuracy of the following, but this commentary sounds like Rand, as I mentioned before, may have been thinking of epic poetry. The claim below that epic poetry "consists of verse presented in narrative form" seems to allow leeway for the rhythmic aspects in favor of the idea of Anthem's poetry as being more about poetry as "verbal imagery?" (As my "poetic" turn of phrase suggests...perhaps Rand was taking "poetic license" with the word "poem"? .) "Aristotle discusses thought and diction and then moves on to address epic poetry. Whereas tragedy consists of actions presented in a dramatic form, epic poetry consists of verse presented in a narrative form. Tragedy and epic poetry have many common qualities, most notably the unity of plot and similar subject matter. However, epic poetry can be longer than tragedy, and because it is not performed, it can deal with more fantastic action with a much wider scope. By contrast, tragedy can be more focused and takes advantage of the devices of music and spectacle. Epic poetry and tragedy are also written in different meters. After defending poetry against charges that it deals with improbable or impossible events, Aristotle concludes by weighing tragedy against epic poetry and determining that tragedy is on the whole superior."
  20. Just wanted to add this to the list of Rand's informal definitions of poetry: “These four attributes pertain to all forms of literature, i.e., of fiction, with one exception. They pertain to novels, plays, scenarios, librettos, short stories. The single exception is poems. A poem does not have to tell a story; its basic attributes are theme and style.” Ayn Rand. The Romantic Manifesto (Kindle Location 1126). Signet. Kindle Edition. And here's comment from The Journals of Ayn Rand I think may shed light on what Rand meant when she called Anthem poetic: "It may be said that a spiritual exchange would be this: I receive all the great inventions, great thinking, great art of the past; in exchange, I create a new philosophy or a new novel. But this is more poetic than exact; there is no direct exchange; there is no way to measure one against the other." Ayn Rand; Leonard Peikoff; David Harriman. Journals of Ayn Rand (Kindle Location 8198). Plume.
  21. For fun, here's Ronald Merrill's comments on the style of Anthem, in The Ideas of Ayn Rand (pg. 56): "The novelette Anthem was pronounced during another interruption of Rand's work on The Fountainhead. This short but powerful story provides a further premonition of Atlas Shrugged, particularly in stylistic matters. The narrative makes scarcely a pretense of 'romantic realism'; the style is that of fantasy, sometimes more like poem than prose; quite unique among Rand's works. The stylistic influence of Nietzsche is evident, particularly in the eleventh chapter, which is strikingly similar to the opening of Thus Spoke Zarathustra. The actual events of the story range from improbable to impossible; it is the ideas that count." Merrill adds: "Rand adopts a literary technique popular in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, the diary-narrative. The story supposedly is an account written by the hero. The text thus consists solely of a sequence of flashbacks; each chapter jumps ahead in the story, maintaining a high level of suspense until the narrative explains what led up to the new situation. Though old-fashioned, this technique can he highly effective and is still used ) for instance, in Kubrick's 2001: A Space Odyssey.)"
  22. Also in Letters of Ayn Rand: Later that year, in September, Rand writes to Lorine Prouette, and describes Anthem as a "novelette":, this time, as a
  23. Hmm...I took Rand's description of Anthem as a poem as being in the tradition of the epic poem, something like The Epic of Gilgamesh or The Odyssey; like something pre-dating the invention of the novel.