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I don't know much about ARI but have read much negativity regarding that issue. Have been told much privately about the ARI and I'm curious as to why everyone's passing such harsh judgement on them.

I'm lacking words today so bear with me....LOL

I know for myself I do pass judgement on people as we all do. But I get to know them first and how they are as a person, their actions, etc., before making a final conclusion as to their character. I've read so much and have seen people jumping on the band wagon and joining the crowd to beat someone down before they know all the facts. Or just their ignorance and fear towards the unknown and what they don't understand; such as, the gay bashing I've seen on some sites. They are quick to the trigger and shoot them down before getting to know them as a person which I find horrifying and so uncharacteristic of being a true O'ist.

I have and had many friends and also have 2 family members that swing both ways as well as an aunt that is gay and a future stepbrother who is also gay. I've found that these people are the sweetest I've known. If anything, before they jump the gun, take the time to sit back and ask a lot of questions. You just might learn a lot.

But passing judgement, for me, doesn't mean it has to be harsh. Like I said, I've passed judgement on everyone I've known but pass that judgement once I get to know them and their actions first. The few that I've been talking with privately from OL, I've passed judgement on them and they know it, I've told them, but it's all good. Even though we may or may not have the same views or beliefs, they are truly good people, true and sincere and I admire that greatly.

One thing I've learned and going through it myself and walking that extremely difficult road as some on here know, one thing it taught me about being a true O'ist is this: You are not quick to the trigger. You are not quick to pass judgement. Yes, you see a lot and some of it is truly horrifying to witness. But the ultimate result is for myself as well as Neil, another true O'ist, I know for a fact, you are not quick to judge and not quick to anger. You get to know them first before you pass that ultimate judgement.

Some deserve harsh judgement and should be kicked to the curb quickly. I'm not denying that. I've done it myself numerous times unfortunately just as I'm sure many others have.

To each their own.

Eventually what you reap is what you will sow

But back to the original question and reason for this post: Why are so many people down on ARI? What have they done to deserve such harsh criticism?

But like I said, I know very little about ARI so I cannot pass judgement but have read much negativity. Just wanting to know everyone's experience with them so far.

Angie

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Angie,

Here are the policies for the Harry Binswanger List:

http://www.hblist.com/policies.htm

See the HBL Loyalty Oath, under number 5. How do you judge it?

Binswanger is a former member of Ayn Rand's Inner Circle and one of the founders of ARI, where he remains a senior figure.

Robert Campbell

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Angie,

I think it is a matter of mentality. I am not really into ARI bashing as a career, however some comments are in order. There are certain qualities I have observed that have turned me completely off to ARI.

One is the constant excommunications. The other is the rewriting of history, as you can see on a thread here on OL in the Branden Corner. Another is a tribal mentality I see exhibited by people who profess admiration of ARI. Another, which I am especially attuned to from living in Brazil, is the fact that "dirty-work" decisions are made behind closed doors, where the principals rarely soil their hands, yet minions gleefully carry out their "dirty-work" policies. This basically involves character assassination - and later, one can notice that a busy busy busy minion receives benefits from ARI. (As there usually is deniability all round, I see hypocrisy.)

The irrational nastiness and persistence of ARI's minions on the attack is what sparks so much negative comment and feelings about it.

None of this would be important to me personally, as I generally ignore organizations like that. (For example, I do not involve myself in controversies with a much larger organization with that profile, Scientology.) However, there is one inescapable detail. The founder of ARI holds the copyrights to Rand's works and ARI has the archives of her papers.

So if you want to make a movie out of Rand's novels, you have to go through those people (and there are plenty of horror stories about that on the internet, with precious few movies). If you want to research a part of Rand's life, you have to go through those people to use her papers. More horror stories abound.

There is one thing that will not happen, however. Truth always wins out in the end, so the false image of both Rand (morally perfect) and Objectivism (closed system) that the ARI people are trying to sell the public will collapse once Rand's works go into the public domain and once they release her documents to public scrutiny. I believe ARI will ultimately release them, too, because of the worshipful stance they have about Rand. Hopefully, this should keep them from altering or destroying any of her original papers.

I don't see much of a continuance of ARI or any widespread influence after it loses access control to Rand's stuff. That's about a half of a century down the road, though.

The mentality error I mentioned above is that you cannot control what people think in a free country. You can control disclosure of certain facts for a while if you have such control. I believe that many of the ARI people sincerely believe that controlling public disclosure of Rand's stuff will change what people think in a permanent manner. It won't. Her ideas stand and fall on the strength of them.

Nothing is more telling to me than the fact that Rand's books still sell about a half-a-million copies a year, yet ARI is essentially a charity organization, subsidized by donations. No best-sellers have been published there. Rand's ideas are getting a lot of disclosure from her own book sales - just not that much from ARI, despite some educational efforts.

Michael

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The route I'm taking that I've found really awesome is that the only alignment I have is to myself, first and foremost. You can choose to align yourself anyway you chose; but the whole attitude of individuality is that others also have their own choice.

Me? I choose either no organization or any number of multiple organizations. I stay away from any kind of written-in-stone-till-death-do-us-part loyalty oaths to organizations, either verbal or signed. As a human being, I retain the right to change my mind for a good reason over the course of the next 50 years I'm alive. I also stay away from anyone who think it's cool to grill me on my past. People change and grow. So I'm incredibly unsympathetic to complaints/drilling/etc. from others about who I choose to support, in my past, or now. It's like gay marriage [metaphor]-- if it's not for you, don't do it. Leave other people alone. And live your own life. :)

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Though the ARI would undoubtedly excommunicate me in a heartbeat, they still do more good than harm and are generally one of the good guys (along with others such as TOC, Mises Institute and Libertarian Party :) )

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Aaron,

In general I don't find fault with the "doing more good than bad" evaluation of ARI. I used to hold it. From the perspective of a consumer, even an Internet forum consumer, that is perfectly legitimate.

The moment you publish anything not ARI-sanctioned on Rand or Objectivism that gets any kind of audience, however, the whole ball game changes. That's when the minions become active and start spewing off nonstop yapping and "moral condemnations." Nobody I know of enjoys being attacked, especially by posturing irrational loudmouths. So those who get attacked see ARI behind it, while trying to present a public image of indifference, and they criticize ARI.

Try it sometime. You'll see what I mean.

Michael

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Thank you everyone for the posts and pointing me in a direction where I can get some good insight. I've looked on the internet but not always easy to find. I don't deal with ARI and honestly don't want to. I'm very heavily dependent on my own mind and don't want others attempting to drill their ideas into my head which seems to be in so many posts I've read elsewhere that THEY THINK in order to be an O'ist you have to accept every aspect of her philosophy. Oh, boy, do I know otherwise as some on here know already. Same conclusions but it seems the way they present it you have to accept every aspect of it in order to be considered an O'ist which I find to be absurd. I'm looking for more information and evidence before drawing my conclusion.

Don't get me wrong, don't mind listening to other people's view, etc., new evidence, new way of thinking and I actually invite it. I've just read some places that when these people have gone to ARI they walk out of their feeling "brainwashed." I found that interesting when I read it.

I very much agree with Jenna. I've never been a hero worshipper. After what I've been through and have seen, my only HERO is myself. I've read few books about her philosophy. For me personally, I've done pretty well integrating it, building my own self-esteem, drawing my own very accurate conclusions, etc., without any outside help from AR or any other book. So I'm doing a pretty damn good job as it is. I don't mind reading but I'm too strong minded to be sucked into any irrationality.

Also in regards to a statement Jenna made and I find running so rampant everywhere, Not one man should be judged on his past. He should only be judged on his actions and values in the present. You are so correct, Jenna. We all change, some for the better, some for the worse, just as long as we are willing to correct our mistakes and make it work for us rather than against us. For me personally, I get to know them first and their actions and then make that judgement. It's all about the present in so many ways when it comes to her philosophy !!

I'm hoping Roger responds to this thread. I would be very interested to hear what he has to say regarding this.

But thank you so much to everyone for posting and pointing me in a good direction to get info. So much info to check out :D

Angie

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Angie,

It is heartening to see your commitment to being the owner of your own mind. That is the most precious thing you own. The people I like are those who observe and question everything from that posture. The independent judgment of their mind is more sacred than any doctrine.

That means I like to be judged by independent people, even when they disagree with me. One disagreement or disapproval from an independent person has vastly more value to me than all the praise in the world coming from a person artificially filtering his/her observation through a doctrine.

I have one slight disagreement with something you said. (Clarification is probably a better word.) I believe you should judge a person by his past, present and future, all to the right degree. For example, a person who has had a soft life will tend to snap under pressure. One who has had a hard life will tend to be harder to fool, making him a good source of advice. Future-wise, a person who is dreaming about a goal and actively working toward it will probably get there, so you should make your own plans to take that into account if you are involved with that person.

I could go on, but I think you know what I mean. However, I don't think you were talking about judging on that level. I think you were talking about never ever forgiving someone for doing something bad after you see he has changed. But your words, the way they were stated, could be misconstrued.

Michael

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Hi, Mike.

Yeah, and I'll get the damn quote thing going eventually.....LOL But here is what you said.

I believe you should judge a person by his past, present and future, all to the right degree. For example, a person who has had a soft life will tend to snap under pressure. One who has had a hard life will tend to be harder to fool, making him a good source of advice.

For me, all of these point to the present and how they are in the present. For me, I can tell when I need a shovel to dig out of the bullshit they're laying out when talking to them in the present. Versus the man who has had a hard life will tell it like it is. I generally can tell when someone has been through some serious shit just by watching his demeanor, listening to what he says or reading what he says, etc. I've found that they don't pull many punches.

For me when it comes to their past, when they are willing to correct their actions, admit their mistakes, learn from it, have it work for them rather than against them, and take the steps and actions to becoming a better person; ie, how he is in the present, I don't hold his past against him. But for me, this still points to judging in the present rather than judging him according to his past actions.

A good example is my father, I have forgiven him because he owned up to his mistakes, realized what he did was wrong, took responsibility for his actions, learned and grew from it, and apologized. He took the blame that was rightfully his and admitted it. He then turned around and chose to make it work for him rather than against him. Rather than being a man dependent on his daughter (me) to help him survive and refused to take responsibility for his own life and expected me to give up my future for the sake of his, dropped out of highschool 3 times because of it, then my making the decision to leave knowing he would go homeless which he did and was brutal on me, but it was cold hard reality rearing its ugly head directly at him, he was given a choice, a very hard choice at that, his ultimate choice was to get his shit together and to not let it destroy him.

He has now become very successful because of that decision he made, owns 2 businesses and he is my father that I admire greatly because of it. I support him in his decisions and willing to help him with it because I know he will make good on his part. This is the type of man I will forgive. This is the man I judge in the present rather than judging him on his past. This is the man who made the choice to accept responsibility for his life. This is the man that realized that no one else can be responsible for his actions and his choices but himself. This is the man that is now my father and I have forgiven him for his past actions. The man that he was in the past is not the man he is now in the present.

For me, I can't judge a man on what he might be in the future. There are choices that haven't been made yet, some frivolous, some critical that will ultimately determine his character. For me, I base my judgment on that man as he is in the present and what he values.

I just wanted to clarify that a little bit better.

Even though we may not agree or just needed clarification, that's okay. There's still respect. We are both the owners of our own mind. Each of our roads we've travelled through life may be similar or quite different or one harder than the other but we draw our own conclusions based on the evidence at hand and our own beliefs and values.

But I'm sure, I'll clarify something sooner or later regarding these posts. I'm always very conscious of making sure that what I'm intending to say is clear and there aren't any misunderstandings.

There are a few other things I wanted to say about your first post though but running out of time now but will later. Don't know when I can but will eventually.

Angie :D

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btw, I seriously suck the big one at spelling sometimes. You would think in my line of profession I'd be a little more aware of that...LOL

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Robert,

Oh, I'm floored, totally speechless, oh, total control freak, no right to free speech or to express any ideas of your own that might fall outside her philosophy or that may be critical of her philosophy. Hell, I agree with many aspects of it but not all of it. I'm not an art buff, I'm not into classical music but conclusions for the most part are the same, as long as it guides your personal life is where it is at and where it counts the most. Also as Roger says it is a tool for living.

What the hell is that all about? I'm disgusted. Then if that's the case, yeah, BITE ME at least in regard to that list.

I gotta read that again. Wow, double wow, surprised, and at a loss for words, and disappointed.

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Wow, I've read all the links and floored by what I read. That's the biggest damn contradiction if I've ever seen it...CONTROL, DURESS, FORCE, completely against what the philosophy is all about. Wow, something seriously went awry someplace along the road. How unfortunate of what I've read in those links.

I haven't heard much good so far about ARI. Is there anything good about them aside from their lectures and books?

I've read so much negativity about them but that comes from some key people and surprised at what I've read.

Thank you, DF, for providing those links, serious eye opener about ARI and sheds a lot of light, very much appreciated. More later I'm sure.

Mike, more later as well

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The Fountainhead essay contest. Supplying Rand books and guides to schoolteachers. Those types of education-related activism I consider among the most likely to be productive, and primarily why I consider ARI a net good despite the unfortunate tendency some members have to craft themselves 'defenders of the faith'.

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Aaron,

I agree that those activities are good. The irony is that they are charity work in the name of capitalism and Objectivism.

Rand was far more competent in spreading her own ideas. She got people to pay for them by buying her books. She didn't have to attract her public with give-aways. And a good portion of her public was young people.

Those charity activities ideally should be done in addition to a profit-making scheme. (NBI, for example, was profit-making.)

Michael

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Hi, Mike

Nothing like another late night working...it is never ending for me and always so busy. But figure before I head out and go to bed finally, I might as well post. Rereading your post, that was the only thing I wanted to make more clear and I posted that clarification in that one post I put up.

But there was something I wanted to clarify in regard to my father but so late now for me that I've drawn a complete brain freeze. Oh, well. Maybe tomorrow if I get good rest and have time.

Ange

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Uh, Mike, I don't think Angie's father has Multiple Personality Disorder. :-)

However, I have been (self-)diagnosed as being a "Sybil," which is short for a person who is a "Cyclical Scanner," which means a person who keeps cycling back to the same projects and interests over and over, and who doesn't likely make a lot of progress in any of them unless he has organized himself and his time quite well. I'm reading about this in a book called Refuse to Choose by Barbara Sher, a life coach who has written a number of helpful books on achieving your dreams, the most famous of which I believe is Wishcraft. Her book is quite good, and if any of you have been spinning your wheels between various interests and projects, this book might be just what you're looking for to get you headed in a more productive, satisfying direction.

REB

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Mike, yes, my dad is a very good man or men maybe....LOL No, he's wonderful and I admire him greatly for the choices he has made in wanting to help himself and making his life productive, happy, and successful !!

Roger, that made me laugh about the MPD in reference to Mike's post.

If how I took your post to mean is correct, maybe not, your point is very well taken in regards to cycling back and forth regarding interests. I'm just wanting to weed through all the BS and wanting to cut to the chase in regards to some things I've read, just wanted the evidence to understand why and if it was justified and rational to form those conclusions and definitely got an earful or eyeful should say. I was provided with some great links that spoke volumes.

Aaron, thank you for the links you've also put up. I'm glad to hear some type of praise for ARI, although have been told that their lectures and books are still of value intellectually. So thank you

Angie

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I'm just playing with ideas and thoughts as usual. This goes back to Mike's posts and have been thinking about them. I enjoy reading everyone's thoughts because it offers me new material to pick apart and think about. There's several aspects in this one.

The first one is past, present, and future.

I agree with Mike's post that a man's past to an extent will determine how well he deals with high pressure, stressful situations and if he ultimately cracks under that pressure. First though what I am thinking about today is this:

His past explains: Why he is and who he is and what he is in the present. His choices he has made up to this point of his life in the present determines what he values in the present and how his life has ultimately turned out. My dad was a good example and also points to the choices he made then was indicative of what he valued. Then he valued destruction, pain, and death. He knew full well what he was doing and why he was doing it; ie, "trying" to make me believe he was truly incapable of sustaining his own life and that I should pity and feel guilt for him and it worked at that time. Make a man feel guilty and he can get you to do whatever he wants with you. Until one day, I saw it for what it truly was and what his true intentions were of playing that game.

His present explains: The road he has traveled to get to where he is in the present and is indicative of the quality of choices he has ultimately made and what he truly values now. In the present, he values life, happiness, success, productivity, money, and independence, etc.

His future: Since I know what he values in the present, his future choices will be more aligned with what he values now. Rather than destroying himself as he once did in the past and knowing that difficult road he travelled and saw, his choices he makes will be choices in order to sustain his life, stay productive, keep moving, independence, etc. After travelling that hard road, who wants to go back to it. I travelled that extremely hard road once and I definitely don't want to go back to it again. My choices I make now will be more aligned with what I value which is life, independence, happiness, productivity, etc.

But as I know very well and some others know, we can still make choices that will not align with what we truly value.

The other one I'm thinking about today is this:

The man that cracks under pressure or in a stressful situation is the man that lacks the confidence in himself and the competence in dealing with reality as it is presented to him. When he cracks under that pressure, this is his coping mechanism in order to deal with reality. It is his evasion of it. He's too much ruled by his emotions rather than by his mind so he cracks under that pressure of having to deal with reality.

The man that keeps his cool is the man that is confident in his own ability to think the situation through and deal with it appropriately. This is the man that knows he is competent to deal with reality as it is presented to him and to solve the problem and move on. This is the man that is ruled by his mind. When presented with a high pressure situation or stressful situation, he is able to cope with reality.

Hmmmm.....interesting for me to think about and sure I will think about this one more and will pick it apart even more. I really do love to think, it can be such a rush sometimes....LOL I knew there was something else I wanted to post about but so tired then and couldn't stay focused long enough. The only thing I wanted then was sleep. But these are some of my thoughts that I'm playing with and wanted to post and sure I will think about them more. Also I'm sure the more I think about this there will be clarifications of something or other.

Angie

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Angie,

I really like what you wrote here:

His present explains: The road he has traveled to get to where he is in the present and is indicative of the quality of choices he has ultimately made and what he truly values now. In the present, he values life, happiness, success, productivity, money, and independence, etc.

His future: Since I know what he values in the present, his future choices will be more aligned with what he values now. Rather than destroying himself as he once did in the past and knowing that difficult road he travelled and saw, his choices he makes will be choices in order to sustain his life, stay productive, keep moving, independence, etc. After travelling that hard road, who wants to go back to it. I travelled that extremely hard road once and I definitely don't want to go back to it again. My choices I make now will be more aligned with what I value which is life, independence, happiness, productivity, etc.

The ability for some to grasp this all too important point is paramount to the unvarying disastrous cycle of repetition which many find themselves in. They want to continuously blame other people, institutions, and situations which they see as being created by others for choices they themselves make in regard to their own life. This cycle is repeated over and over and unless something happens to allow a momentary glimpse outside the box so to speak they can go to their graves never understanding or accepting things(meaning their life) can be different.

When it hit me one day quite a number of years back that the reason my life was the way it existed at that moment was a direct result of choices I had been making all my life and in effect it could not be any different because it had followed a casual chain which I myself had created, I was able to start understanding the freedom which was available to me if I chose to put some effort and work into it and accept 100% responsibility for my life.

The results have been worth every moment of pain it took to bring about the change I was seeking.

Thanks for your post about your father.

L W

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This realization, I agree, is paramount and is a very heavy one to draw. Most people never realize it. Unfortunately my mother and sister are still travelling that road to destruction and vacuous state. Even when people hit serious rock bottom, they still don't realize it. They realize bits and pieces but never draw the entire picture within their sight. My mother has hit rock bottom numerous times due to extreme destructive behavior. This last time no one stepped up to help and she ultimately also went homeless and was very angry that no one would help her. My sister is even more destructive than my mother but has managed to stave off hitting bottom. She is so far entrenched in it she will more than likely never realize it.

But due to my mother also going homeless, she also came to some heavy conclusions. She has been sober for a few years, back in school, and doing what is best for her and not others. But she has thrown herself into religion. She may never realize it but she is trying.

For me, I came to a lot of very heavy conclusions before the age of 18. Out of my entire family, I was the only sane one and smart enough to see it for what it truly was. I never hit rock bottom but lived embroiled in all of that until 18 as well as my own destructive behavior at that time. But when I finally saw cold hard reality for what it truly was, I left in pursuit of my own life, a life that was mine and no one else's and no one had a right to it.

After leaving, I got back into school, completed 3 years of high school in about 7 to 8 months, valedictorian. Took a month off and went straight into college where I stayed for 6 years, extremely determined to succeed. So many times I was exhausted but never gave up. I refused to give up. When I got so tired of pushing ahead and tempted to give up, all I had to do was think about everything I had seen, all the heavy conclusions I had drawn about those around me, and that was drive enough to keep pushing forward. I swore I would never ever go back to that life again. And until this day, I've never returned to it. It's now become impossible to return to it. I've been through too much and have seen too much.

Out of all the pain, sweat, tears, perseverance, discipline, etc., the end results are tremendous and well worth the struggle. For me, I've completed what I set out for myself. Now it is just to sit back, relax with a big fat bank account, a big ass smile on my face, enjoying the moment while so many run by in such a hurry to get nowhere, so many wasted years running. Now I'm just sitting back ENJOYING what it is I have found.

I'm thrilled you enjoyed my post and thank you. :D

Angie

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This post is for LW, Roger, Myself, my Father and Anyone else on OL who have drawn and understood this critical realization and conclusion that takes precedence over most others. These are the men I pass judgment on in the present in a very good way !! These are the men that drew this conclusion on their own and it is a very heavy one to draw. These are the men that take 100 percent responsibility for their actions and their choices that they make in their lives and are thriving and flourishing because of it. They've chosen to make it work for them rather than against them.

If I ever see any of you on the street, I will tip my hat in your direction with much respect and much admiration with the mutual understanding of what we've accomplished !! We have the utmost independence and that kind of independence will only lead to the ultimate FREEDOM and HAPPINESS !!

You are the men I judge in the present and support you because you will always make good on your actions and choices !!

On the roads we've ultimately come to and have chosen to take, WE walk LIGHTER and definitely TALLER because of it, no more weight to bear !!

Much respect and admiration

Angie

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Angie,

For my part I would like to say thank you from the bottom of my heart for such kind words, and would like to also add how much I respect those like yourself who were able to face up to life and make it work for you instead of against you.

I also join you in saluting the many on here whose words and life deeds inspire me and even if I don't always totally agree with some of their viewpoints it does not mean I disrespect their nobility and quest for meaning in this at times chaotic world.

L W

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Wonderful thread...hopefully I can catch up with it. I've been away for a week, and unfortunately my hotel's internet access didn't like you damned objectivists one bit, so I have a lot of catching up to do.

Michael said,

it is heartening to see your commitment to being the owner of your own mind.

So very heartening Michael. Well said.

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