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Oh - Okay. I've been arguing this with a 18 year-old first time reader.

(You should have mentioned it more often.)

You should read more attentively.:laugh: I've mentioned my age when I first read Atlas so many times, I'd expect people to be tired of the repetition.

Given what you know now, does the informed Ellen think Rand showed relish?

Yes, I still read the scene as having a quality of relish in the authorial description, as I've also said.

Ellen

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Yes, I still read the scene as having a quality of relish in the authorial description, as I've also said.

Ellen

On the basis of "the first cut is the deepest"- right?

I got over it.

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Yes, I still read the scene as having a quality of relish in the authorial description, as I've also said.Ellen

On the basis of "the first cut is the deepest"- right?I got over it.

No, not on a "first cut is the deepest" basis, Tony.

Your "I got over it" indicates that you read the author's description as exhibiting relish the first time you read Atlas.

Ellen

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What about people that first became interested in Rand through reading The Virtue of Selfishness?

Darrell

Interesting question, too. I think I only know about four or five examples, if that many. Are you an example? :smile:

Ellen

Yes. Absolutely. I consumed a great deal of Rand's non-fiction before I decided to read her novels. I found the Fountainhead more interesting than Atlas Shrugged which seemed to me to mostly reiterate her non-fiction (which, in reality, probably reiterated Atlas Shrugged).

Unfortunately, my memory of Atlas Shrugged is sort of foggy and I don't have my copy handy, so I can't look up the train scene. However, it does seem that Rand tried to justify the deaths of the passengers. I think the scene would have been more powerful if she had cast it as a tragedy in which the innocent died along with the guilty. In real world events, that's what happens. In Soviet Russia, millions of the innocent died along with millions of the guilty. So go we all if we lose our freedom. And, of course, most people's hands aren't perfectly clean. Only a dead man can completely avoid making a devil's bargain.

I work at a company that produces fingerprint identification software for police departments. Although the police are a legitimate government function, police departments are supported by taxpayer dollars. So, I know that most of the dollars in my pocket probably originated in the pockets of taxpayers. Does that make me guilty? Who doesn't have at least a few taxpayer dollars in his or her pocket?

So, the woman on the train was married to a guy that worked for the government enforcing directives. Did that make her guilty, or is it how she justified his actions? Was she supposed to divorce him in such uncertain times, not knowing how she would care for her children, or was she actually acting in her self interest in a world turned upside down? Were the deaths a form of justice? Perhaps. But, I think the scene would have worked much better as the tragic, yet inevitable outcome of an unjust system, sweeping up the good, the bad, and the truly evil together. I actually think that would have conveyed a much stronger sense of how evil the looters really were --- if their actions had led to the deaths of innocent people.

Darrell

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Ellen, Did I ever say that scene didn't disturb me? For many reasons, AS wasn't my favourite novel.

Too..didactic, I suppose, too large a scale. Like War and Peace.

But those things about a society had to be said, and Rand was the one to say them. They are holding true about my society, in an accelerated fashion.

"Rand's Relish", though - I never recognised, more of a sadness and desperation that time is running out for a great nation. That I understand too well.

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There's something I'd like to try to clarify while the thought is fresh in my mind. It was percolating as I walked home in pleasant air after dinner at a local restaurant.

When I say that the omniscient-author passage describing the Tunnel disaster has a tone of relish to me, I'm not therefore saying that this was Ayn Rand's actual emotion writing the passage. I have no idea what her actual emotion was, maybe a feeling of hellish struggle trying to get the words to behave.

Take a different example in the book, Galt's Speech. To me that reads in most of it with a tone similar to that of the Old Testament Yahweh mocking the hapless Job. It reverberates forward like a thunder and lightning storm, no pause or relief in the progression.

Yet on that one we have the knowledge that Rand needed two years to write the speech, and her report to Barbara about the struggle she went through getting the tone she thought suitable - "drops of water in the desert torture," she said (or words close to those).

One doesn't know from text what the writer of the text is feeling, experiencing. For instance, is there something in the words I've just written which tells you that I feel a desire to close my pained eyes and go to sleep? (Not that I'll be doing that for awhile.)

Ellen

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What about people that first became interested in Rand through reading The Virtue of Selfishness?

Darrell

Interesting question, too. I think I only know about four or five examples, if that many. Are you an example? :smile:

Ellen

Yes. Absolutely. I consumed a great deal of Rand's non-fiction before I decided to read her novels. I found the Fountainhead more interesting than Atlas Shrugged which seemed to me to mostly reiterate her non-fiction (which, in reality, probably reiterated Atlas Shrugged).

Three of the other few people I've met whose introduction to Rand was through her non-fiction say much the same, and they're all three people who weren't swept into a conversion-experience sort of excitement and didn't engage in the attempts to live the role of a Rand hero. (All three who I'm sure said that their introduction was through the non-fiction are male.) You sound to me like you weren't swept away either.

I think the scene would have worked much better as the tragic, yet inevitable outcome of an unjust system, sweeping up the good, the bad, and the truly evil together. I actually think that would have conveyed a much stronger sense of how evil the looters really were --- if their actions had led to the deaths of innocent people.

I think so too. Also that if written like that, the scene would not have had the (presumably) unintended consequence of providing a convenient focus for criticism from people antipathetic to Rand. Also that people sympathetic to Rand would do better to address criticisms by first acknowledging that there might be plausible textual basis for criticizing or at least for being disturbed by the scene.

Ellen

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I am another VOS-first reader and my reactions to Atlas were much like Darrell;s. As you know, I had more of a don't-wanna-convert than a conversion experience!

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The "scene" was meant to disturb.

Rand, in a sense, 'sacrificed' those people (on a page...) toward a greater value. (Which naturally is no sacrifice.) The value is that we -the living- learn the lesson once and for all.

I quite like Darrell's version- but maybe not:

There is another angle I'm considering, that the author drew such thin, cardboard cut-outs of those people heading for their doom because she herself felt the horror, and maybe had to distance herself - but certainly the reader - from their humanity.

To show: there can be other interpretations other than "relish".

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Unfortunately, my memory of Atlas Shrugged is sort of foggy and I don't have my copy handy, so I can't look up the train scene. However, it does seem that Rand tried to justify the deaths of the passengers. I think the scene would have been more powerful if she had cast it as a tragedy in which the innocent died along with the guilty. In real world events, that's what happens. In Soviet Russia, millions of the innocent died along with millions of the guilty. So go we all if we lose our freedom. And, of course, most people's hands aren't perfectly clean. Only a dead man can completely avoid making a devil's bargain. . .

So, the woman on the train was married to a guy that worked for the government enforcing directives. Did that make her guilty, or is it how she justified his actions? Was she supposed to divorce him in such uncertain times, not knowing how she would care for her children, or was she actually acting in her self interest in a world turned upside down? Were the deaths a form of justice? Perhaps. But, I think the scene would have worked much better as the tragic, yet inevitable outcome of an unjust system, sweeping up the good, the bad, and the truly evil together. I actually think that would have conveyed a much stronger sense of how evil the looters really were --- if their actions had led to the deaths of innocent people.

Darrell

This is the very point I wished to make when I wrote in Post #4, "The tragedy of socialism is that it cuts a wide swath through society. Even people who've read and understood all of Rand's books will suffer."

You, perhaps, have expressed it better.

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Unfortunately, my memory of Atlas Shrugged is sort of foggy and I don't have my copy handy, so I can't look up the train scene. However, it does seem that Rand tried to justify the deaths of the passengers. I think the scene would have been more powerful if she had cast it as a tragedy in which the innocent died along with the guilty. In real world events, that's what happens.

I agree about the innocents, but it is a novel.

It seems to me the person most responsible for the accident was Kip Chalmers, a looter-politician (known by James Taggart) on his way to an election campaign stop. Rand names and briefly describes three of his companions. When Rand later lists and briefly describes several of the people who die in the accident, she does not link them to Chalmers personally. She only wrote, "It is said that catastrophes are a matter of pure chance, and there were those who would have said that the passengers of the Comet were not guilty or responsible for the thing that happened to them." However, several in the list could easily fit people who were following, or even working, Chalmers' campaign, making it not "pure chance" for them.

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. . . Certainly my strongest impression amongst her caricatures of the soon-to-die looter and moocher passengers, was the woman who had just put her children to bed, and of those children, future moochers ruthlessly despatched along with the adults.

Those children are represented as innocents, not as future moochers. The heartstrings are pulled on that. The adverse relation of the mother's ideas to those lives is a recurrent one with Rand, recurrent within Atlas as well. In this Rand is child of Socrates and Plato.

The woman in Bedroom D, Car No. 10, was a mother who had put her two children to sleep in the berth above her, carefully tucking them in, protecting them from drafts and jolts; a mother whose husband held a government job enforcing directives, which she defended by saying, “I don’t care, it’s only the rich that they hurt. After all, I must think of my children.” (AS 606)

Somewhere, he thought, there was this boy’s mother, who had trembled with protective concern over his groping steps, while teaching him to walk, who had measured his baby formulas with a jeweler’s caution, who had obeyed with a zealot’s fervor the latest words of science on his diet and hygiene, protecting his unhardened body from germs—then had sent him to be turned into a tortured neurotic by the men who taught him that he had no mind and must never attempt to think.

. . .

Men would shudder, he thought, if they saw a mother bird plucking the feathers from the wings of her young, then pushing him out of the nest to struggle for survival—yet that was what they did to their children.

Armed with nothing but meaningless phrases, this boy had been thrown to fight for existence, he had hobbled and groped through a brief, doomed effort, he had screamed his indignant, bewildered protest—and had perished in his first attempt to soar on his mangled wings.

But a different breed of teachers had once existed, he thought, and had reared the men who created this country; he thought that mothers should set out on their knees to look for men like Hugh Akston, to find them and beg them to return. (AS 994–95)

I mean that you are going to entrust the care of your soul to a man who is, in your own words, a Sophist; though I should be surprised if you know just what a Sophist is. And yet if you don’t know that, you don’t know to whom you are entrusting your soul, nor whether he represents something good or bad.

. . .

Do you realize the sort of danger to which you are going to expose your soul? If it were a case of putting your body into the hands of someone and risking the treatment turning out beneficial or the reverse, you would ponder deeply whether to entrust it to him or not, and would spend many days over the question, calling on the counsel of your friends and relations; but when it comes to something which you value more highly than your body, namely your soul—something on whose beneficial or harmful treatment your whole welfare depends . . . . (The Protagoras 312–13)

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Unfortunately, my memory of Atlas Shrugged is sort of foggy and I don't have my copy handy, so I can't look up the train scene. However, it does seem that Rand tried to justify the deaths of the passengers. I think the scene would have been more powerful if she had cast it as a tragedy in which the innocent died along with the guilty. In real world events, that's what happens.

I agree about the innocents, but it is a novel.

It's "life as it could be and should be," so said its author.

It seems to me the person most responsible for the accident was Kip Chalmers, a looter-politician (known by James Taggart) on his way to an election campaign stop. Rand names and briefly describes three of his companions. When Rand later lists and briefly describes several of the people who die in the accident, she does not link them to Chalmers personally. She only wrote, "It is said that catastrophes are a matter of pure chance, and there were those who would have said that the passengers of the Comet were not guilty or responsible for the thing that happened to them." However, several in the list could easily fit people who were following, or even working, Chalmers' campaign, making it not "pure chance" for them. [emphasis added]

Thanks for posting that quote, Merlin. I think it plainly indicates that the omniscient voice relating the scene is saying that the passengers described were "guilty or responsible for" what happened.

But consider what did happen.

I've been analyzing further why the description of the scene gave me a feeling of "relish." (I'll use "relish" as less weighted, possibly less likely to produce defensive reactions, and definitely easier to type than "gleeful schadenfreude.")

A background factor is something which hasn't been emphasized on the thread, the exact details of the disaster. Part of my reaction resulted from Rand's extremely strong ability to produce a visual experience. I'm prone to visualization in any case, but I know of readers who typically aren't prone to visualization who say that Rand often gave them a visual experience of what she described.

In any event, I could "see" what was happening in that scene in horrific detail. A train collision, and more so the faster the trains are going, produces a terrible mess of shattered metal and debris. If it happens in the open, as well as the lead cars accordianing into each other, following cars are thrown off the tracks. Here, the collision is in a long tunnel. No room for cars to be scattered around. They'd pile into the rock walls, causing structural damage and further entombing debris.

It's a horrific scene. It gave me a worse sense of horror than anything in the Book of Revelation.

And a similar sense of disproportionality.

"Let the punishment fit the crime."

Where, in the description of the passengers (with the exception of Kip Chalmers), is there any crime plausibly deserving of "the thing that happened to them"?

The overkill, the non-proportionate scaling of the crime and the punishment, was important in my reaction. And there were additional details which contributed.

Ellen

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Ths is a really interesting discussion, and I have more thoughts on Rand's ideas on the parent/child relationship I might gather later.

You know, despite the long, scrupulous, arduous labour she gave to AS, I wonder if she put as much deep thought into all the implications of this scene as we are doing!

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Ellen, Did I ever say that scene didn't disturb me? For many reasons, AS wasn't my favourite novel.

Too..didactic, I suppose, too large a scale. Like War and Peace.

But those things about a society had to be said, and Rand was the one to say them. They are holding true about my society, in an accelerated fashion.

"Rand's Relish", though - I never recognised, more of a sadness and desperation that time is running out for a great nation. That I understand too well.

Just three posts previous on the thread, you wrote this:

Yes, I still read the scene as having a quality of relish in the authorial description, as I've also said.

Ellen

On the basis of "the first cut is the deepest"- right?

I got over it.

What was it you were saying you "got over," if not seeing "a quality of relish"?

As to whether you've ever said the scene didn't disturb you, I don't know. As I told you on the "Romanticist Art Is Not..." thread, I've historically mostly skipped your posts because the typography is hard on my eye troubles.

On this thread you've leveled charges against persons who do find the scene disturbing, but then you indicated that you found the scene disturbing yourself and got over it.

So, if not a felling of descriptive "relish," what was it in the scene which disturbed you?

Ellen

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Where, in the description of the passengers (with the exception of Kip Chalmers), is there any crime plausibly deserving of "the thing that happened to them"?

Where does Rand say the other passengers deserved death? She only challenged the proposition that their deaths were "pure chance" and they were completely innocent.

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Ellen,

The trouble I have with any of the phrases you mentioned for describing Rand's "voice" in the train wreck passage (schadenfreude, glee. or relish) is that they all deal with pleasure. Here are links to the freedictionary.com definitions:

Schadenfreude = Pleasure derived from the misfortunes of others.

Glee = Jubilant delight; joy. // Great merriment or delight, often caused by someone else's misfortune.

(Apropos, Delight = Great pleasure; joy.)

Relish = An appetite for something; a strong appreciation or liking. // Hearty enjoyment; zest. // To take keen or zestful pleasure in.

I don't detect the pleasure component in Rand's words. If anything, I detect her pointing the finger of blame and maybe something subconsciously akin to, "I told you so." Possibly, due to the encroaching violence of the scene, the lack of emotion in the passage speaks to some people louder than any emotion present in the words.

Incidentally, I'm not criticizing you or anyone who honestly believes Rand's message is tinged with pleasure derived from the misfortune of the passengers. I'm just trying to understand it and, maybe, be understood.

But here they are--Rand's own words (pushing the envelope of fair use a bit)--so the reader can judge for himself.

It is said that catastrophes are a matter of pure chance, and there were those who would have said that the passengers of the Comet were not guilty or responsible for the thing that happened to them.

The man in Bedroom A, Car No. 1, was a professor of sociology who taught that individual ability is of no consequence, that individual effort is futile, that an individual conscience is a useless luxury, that there is no individual mind or character or achievement, that everything is achieved collectively, and that it's masses that count, not men.

The man in Roomette 7, Car No. 2, was a journalist who wrote that it is proper and moral to use compulsion "for a good cause," who believed that he had the right to unleash physical force upon others—to wreck lives, throttle ambitions, strangle desires, violate convictions, to imprison, to despoil, to murder—for the sake of whatever he chose to consider as his own idea of "a good cause," which did not even have to be an idea, since he had never defined what he regarded as the good, but had merely stated that he went by "a feeling"—a feeling unrestrained by any knowledge, since he considered emotion superior to knowledge and relied solely on his own "good intentions" and on the power of a gun.

The woman in Roomette 10, Car No. 3, was an elderly school teacher who had spent her life turning class after class of helpless children into miserable cowards, by teaching them that the will of the majority is the only standard of good and evil, that a majority may do anything it pleases, that they must not assert their own personalities, but must do as others were doing.

The man in Drawing Room B, Car No. 4, was a newspaper publisher who believed that men are evil by nature and unfit for freedom, that their basic interests, if left unchecked, are to lie, to rob and to murder one another—and, therefore, men must be ruled by means of lies, robbery and murder, which must be made the exclusive privilege of the rulers, for the purpose of forcing men to work, teaching them to be moral and keeping them within the bounds of order and justice.

The man in Bedroom H, Car No. 5, was a businessman who had acquired his business, an ore mine, with the help of a government loan, under the Equalization of Opportunity Bill.

The man in Drawing Room A, Car No. 6, was a financier who had made a fortune by buying "frozen" railroad bonds and getting his friends in Washington to "defreeze" them.

The man in Seat 5, Car No. 7, was a worker who believed that he had "a right" to a job, whether his employer wanted him or not.

The woman in Roomette 6, Car No. 8, was a lecturer who believed that, as a consumer, she had "a right" to transportation, whether the railroad people wished to provide it or not.

The man in Roomette 2, Car No. 9, was a professor of economics who advocated the abolition of private property, explaining that intelligence plays no part in industrial production, that man's mind is conditioned by material tools, that anybody can run a factory or a railroad and it's only a matter of seizing the machinery.

The woman in Bedroom D, Car No. 10, was a mother who had put her two children to sleep in the berth above her, carefully tucking them in, protecting them from drafts and jolts; a mother whose husband held a government job enforcing directives, which she defended by saying, "I don't care, it's only the rich that they hurt. After all, I must think of my children."

The man in Roomette 3, Car No. 11, was a sniveling little neurotic who wrote cheap little plays into which, as a social message, he inserted cowardly little obscenities to the effect that all businessmen were scoundrels.

The woman in Roomette 9, Car No. 12, was a housewife who believed that she had the right to elect politicians, of whom she knew nothing, to control giant industries, of which she had no knowledge.

The man in Bedroom F, Car No. 13, was a lawyer who had said, "Me? I'll find a way to get along under any political system."

The man in Bedroom A, Car No. 14, was a professor of philosophy who taught that there is no mind—how do you know that the tunnel is dangerous?—no reality—how can you prove that the tunnel exists?—no logic—why do you claim that trains cannot move without motive power?—no principles—why should you be bound by the law of cause-and-effect?—no rights—why shouldn't you attach men to their jobs by force?—no morality—what's moral about running a railroad?—no absolutes—what difference does it make to you whether you live or die, anyway? He taught that we know nothing—why oppose the orders of your superiors?—that we can never be certain of anything—how do you know you're right?—that we must act on the expediency of the moment—you don't want to risk your job, do you?

The man in Drawing Room B, Car No. 15, was an heir who had inherited his fortune, and who had kept repeating, "Why should Rearden be the only one permitted to manufacture Rearden Metal?"

The man in Bedroom A, Car No. 16, was a humanitarian who had said, "The men of ability? I do not care what or if they are made to suffer. They must be penalized in order to support the incompetent. Frankly, I do not care whether this is just or not. I take pride in not caring to grant any justice to the able, where mercy to the needy is concerned."

These passengers were awake; there was not a man aboard the train who did not share one or more of their ideas. As the train went into the tunnel, the flame of Wyatt's Torch was the last thing they saw on earth.


I study marketing these days, so I am sensitive to the emotional whisper in between the lines of text and the subliminal tugs of persuasion. I just don't get where pleasure is involved in any of this.

However, I do detect something that could cause a lot of discomfort. I believe it was the cause of my discomfort when I first read Atlas Shrugged.

Rand does not have a good word to say for any of those about to die. They are described normally, for example, "man," "woman," "professor of sociology," and so forth. And that's the best they get. Only one description was pejorative: "sniveling little neurotic." But all the people are thinking corrupt thoughts or had lived according to some kind of moral shortcoming or outright villainy that was directly related to denying reality. (Except maybe the children.)

In our culture, it is an ingrained habit to not say anything bad about the dead. But this goes even go further. People are subconsciously nudged and encouraged to find something, anything at all, good to say when they speak. And if they can't, they are told they should keep their peace.

Another no-no is to blame the victim when a direct cause of the misfortune is easily perceived.

(This is more subtle because the direct cause of the train wreck was bullying by Kip Chalmers, but Rand "chunked up" abstraction-wise, showed the underlying cause was denial of reason, then "chunked back down" to the concrete and blamed the victims for denying reality so much, by their very way they lived their lives they contributed to--and sustained--a culture of unreason so bad, Kip Chalmers could bully a train engineer to ignore reality on purpose and run it on a suicide mission.)

Rand not only violated both of these no-nos by implicitly criticizing the passengers (i.e., showing instead of telling), she did it sixteen times for sixteen different cases.

The effect of that much callousness (according to current cultural norms) causes discomfort. And I understand that discomfort. I, too, felt it.

I don't get where people think Rand derived pleasure from this event or the tone in the omniscient voice conveys it, though. The pleasure is not there in Rand's words, so it has to be implied. And I don't see any markers of pleasure.

Maybe people who do feel the pleasure is present in some form, either directly or implicitly, cannot imagine how a person is not a sadist (on some level) when they speak bad of the dead or blame victims for misfortune.

(This fits perfectly with my thoughts on cultural core storylines, i.e., in this case, standard villains within a culture, but that is another discussion.)

Michael

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Michael, perhaps it is your marketing-writing focus that causes you to forget that novelists generally do not employ those persuasion-tugs techniques in their writing (unless they are aiming to a paint-by-numbers surefire seller - which usually backfires, unless the marketing of the novel is intense). The novelist expresses his story in his own voice, as best he can. That is all.

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What about people that first became interested in Rand through reading The Virtue of Selfishness?

Darrell

Interesting question, too. I think I only know about four or five examples, if that many. Are you an example? :smile:

Ellen

Yes. Absolutely. I consumed a great deal of Rand's non-fiction before I decided to read her novels. I found the Fountainhead more interesting than Atlas Shrugged which seemed to me to mostly reiterate her non-fiction (which, in reality, probably reiterated Atlas Shrugged).

Three of the other few people I've met whose introduction to Rand was through her non-fiction say much the same, and they're all three people who weren't swept into a conversion-experience sort of excitement and didn't engage in the attempts to live the role of a Rand hero. (All three who I'm sure said that their introduction was through the non-fiction are male.) You sound to me like you weren't swept away either.

I had my conversion experience before I encountered anything written by Rand. I grew up Christian, became an agnostic in high school, was toying with atheism in college, was studying the Russian revolution as a freshman in college and was aware of the meaning of "nihilism," which states that all ends are the same, including death. That last one scared me. But, then I realized that if a person chooses life, that choice breaks the symmetry and, consequently, a person needs a moral code to survive.

Later, in grad school, when talking to a Christian about my beliefs, he asked me if I was talking about "self interest" or "rational self interest" --- I don't remember exactly what he said so many years later --- and, thinking that sounded about right, I said "yes." Then he went on to say that there were problems with that philosophy, but I went off looking for authors/philosophers that had written about "self interest" and that is how I found The Virtue of Selfishness. I didn't stumble upon her books by accident or have them handed to me by a friend as, I suppose, most people do. I was looking for them. And when I found VOS, I immediately recognized the value of her philosophy.

I won't claim that I independently invented Objectivism. Her philosophy was much more fully developed than mine. But, I did understand the objective need for a moral code before discovering her works.

As an aside, I think that if Rand had not invented Objectivism, someone else would have sooner or later. Being as smart as she was, she did it decades or centuries earlier than might have otherwise been the case.

Darrell

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As an aside, I think that if Rand had not invented Objectivism, someone else would have sooner or later. Being as smart as she was, she did it decades or centuries earlier than might have otherwise been the case.

Darrell

Part of her great achievement was the vertical integration from the bottom to the top of the four basic areas of philosophy with morality centering on individualism and individualism from the essential nature of cognition. Where she didn't do so good was with the superstructure which involves the social nature of human being. We might describe that as liberal artsing which is mostly empirical. Thus she was surely right about the overarching underlying importance of philosophy relative to civilization and the optimization of the possibilities of happiness and achievement.

--Brant

teachers of English: hold thy tongues

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Michael, perhaps it is your marketing-writing focus that causes you to forget that novelists generally do not employ those persuasion-tugs techniques in their writing (unless they are aiming to a paint-by-numbers surefire seller - which usually backfires, unless the marketing of the novel is intense). The novelist expresses his story in his own voice, as best he can. That is all.

Carol,

Are you kidding me?

Great novelists are masters of persuasion tugs. They have to keep the reader turning the pages and not put the book down.

Just because they are not covertly trying to get the reader to buy a product, that doesn't mean they are not covertly trying to get the reader to buy anything. The biggest buy of all is called "what happens next"? The persuasion trigger is called curiosity.

I just finished this book: Stein On Writing: A Master Editor of Some of the Most Successful Writers of Our Century Shares His Craft Techniques and Strategies by Sol Stein.

Here are some of the authors he edited (but the list of eminent authors is looooong): James Baldwin, W.H. Auden, and Lionel Trilling. He's also written some great novels himself, but I'm supposing this based on the reviews and my read of his writing book as I have not read a novel by him yet.

Everything in that book is about persuasion tug techniques for writers--starting with the title and going all the way through to how to add them during revision. I can't recommend it highly enough.

Michael

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Michael,

Before I address your post #92, I'd like to know if you saw my #53 to you and #55 to Stephen. I'm not sure if I need to repeat, maybe in a different way, some things I said there which I think partially address your wondering where I see pleasure.

Your providing the full set of descriptions gives me details about which I can say more, but I'd first like to know if possibly you missed the two indicated earlier posts.

THANKS for posting the whole set of descriptions. I was hoping someone would post them.

Ellen

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Where, in the description of the passengers (with the exception of Kip Chalmers), is there any crime plausibly deserving of "the thing that happened to them"?

Where does Rand say the other passengers deserved death? She only challenged the proposition that their deaths were "pure chance" and they were completely innocent.

It seems to me the person most responsible for the accident was Kip Chalmers, a looter-politician (known by James Taggart) on his way to an election campaign stop. Rand names and briefly describes three of his companions. When Rand later lists and briefly describes several of the people who die in the accident, she does not link them to Chalmers personally. She only wrote, "It is said that catastrophes are a matter of pure chance, and there were those who would have said that the passengers of the Comet were not guilty or responsible for the thing that happened to them." However, several in the list could easily fit people who were following, or even working, Chalmers' campaign, making it not "pure chance" for them. [emphasis added]

"...there were those who would have said that the passengers of the Comet were not guilty or responsible for the thing that happened to them."

I.e, those who "would have said" this are wrong, the passengers were "guilty or responsible," as she goes on to "document" in the particulars list which Michael provided.

Ellen

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[Rand's] philosophy was much more fully developed than mine. But, I did understand the objective need for a moral code before discovering her works.

Same here, and I worked out my own little guidelines my freshman year of college. That's why I generally say "eighteen and a half" when giving my age upon first reading Rand. The "a half" was important because it was during that half year that I became pre-equipped.

Ellen

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Before I address your post #92, I'd like to know if you saw my #53 to you and #55 to Stephen. I'm not sure if I need to repeat, maybe in a different way, some things I said there which I think partially address your wondering where I see pleasure.

Ellen,

Of course I saw them.

They added to the reason I made my long post.

Michael

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