Art and a Sense of Life


Recommended Posts

Art and a Sense of Life

NOTE FROM MSK: This article was deleted for a while when the plagiarism issue exploded, but was restored on August 13, 2007 with identification of plagiarisms for the record.

I suppose you are aware of Ayn Rand’s citing a painting of a beautiful women and the cold sore? She argued that a painting of this cold sore would evoke a more intense response than would the reality of a woman with a cold sore. That minor affliction, she argues, “acquires a monstrous metaphysical significance” by virtue of being included in a painting.*(1.1) The principle of her argument is that particular details do assume greater significance in a work of art than they would possess in reality, because the viewer is aware that their presence is intentional, and that the artist must have considered them important.*(1.2) [“Art is selectivity"]. And so Rand’s summery of this hypothetical painting is therefore negative.

It declares that a women’s beauty and her efforts to achieve glamour (the beautiful evening gown) are a futile illusion undercut by a seed of corruption which can mar them at any moment and that this is reality’s mockery of man.**(2.1)

Let me make up my own little hypothetical painting by comparing Rand’s Beautiful women example along side of another painting called Family Values. Let’s examine them side by side. And then, a question:

Here we go:

[1] FAMILY VALUES: suppose you saw two paintings side-by side. The first painting was a study of the macabre pathology of a generic family: father, mother, son and daughter stand frozen as if posing for a photograph. The parents are all smiles, but their dysfunction is nevertheless visible--as they are manifested physically. The mother is a steely eyed iron maiden, whose plastic smile looks as though it took considerable effort to achieve. The father is a yellow faced block head, literally. His smile is more genuine, but inane. The children look insolent and sullen and they, too, are grotesque caricatures of their emotional damage. At first glance, one would tend to conclude that some hideous accident had befallen the family, their faces discolored and deformed. But if one examines the portrait more closely, it becomes clear that the only real deformity present is not physical—it is psychological and philosophical. The abstract mental states were communicated visually:

*the mother is wearing a crucifix.

*The father is a yellow block-head.

*The son is wearing an Earth First t-shirt and the daughter adorns various Nazi symbols.

[2]THE BEAUTIFUL WOMEN: Ayn Rand’s hypothetical example: Imagine the painting of a beautiful women and the cold sore: Ayn Rand argued that a painting of beautiful women in a gorgeous gown--with a cold sore--would evoke a more intense response than would the reality of a woman with an actual cold sore.

To repeat Rand’s argument: That minor affliction, she argues, “acquires a monstrous metaphysical significance by virtue of being included in a painting. It declares that a women’s beauty and her efforts to achieve glamour (the beautiful evening gown) are a futile illusion undercut by a seed of corruption which can mar them at any moment and that this is reality’s mockery of man.*(1.3)

Here’s the question: is the painting of the beautiful women interchangeable with the Family Values painting?

I could very well agree with Rand’s summation of the painting of the beautiful women—and I would agree with someone else’s summation of the Family Values painting, which was:

“If I saw that painting, I would conclude that the artist's choice of subject was made in order to expose, pillory, and mock those irrational philosophies. If well-executed, the painting sounds like an insightful commentary on, and indictment of, those evil philosophies espoused by so many people.”

Why wouldn't we say that of the Beautiful Women painting?

The Beautiful women painting is offered up as an example of that which “attacks beauty and values” whereas the Family Values painting is an example of an artist ATTACKING ugliness, corruption and modern philosophical erosion, and in a rather visceral manner. The beautiful Women painting flaunts ugliness as a given; Family values mocks it. These are two different things.

How do we know this? By our emotional responses? No.

It doesn’t matter if your responses were exactly the same in viewing the two paintings—which could very well be revulsion. ["What an ugly family!" and "A beautful women--with a cold sore! Argh!"].

A WORK OF ART CANNOT BE PROPERLY EVALUTED AS “GOOD” OR “BAD” ON THE BASIS OF A SENSE OF LIFE RESPONSE.

Why is this? Ayn Rand draws a crucial distinction between ESTHITIC RESPONSE and what she terms ESTEHTIC JUDGEMENT. The former is a spontaneous emotional reaction—-the latter is a function of intellectual appraisal. In this latter case, that is what some other poster suggested: his conclusion about Family Values was a dispassionate evaluation of the success with which the artist projects his intended theme. [“Whether one shares or does not share an artist’s fundamental view of life,” Rand explains, “is irrelevant to an esthetic appraisal of his work qua art.”*(1.4)

The implicit meaning of any work of art is “This is life as I [the artist] see it”—and the meaning of one’s response to a work of art is “This is (or is not) life as I see it.” What an art work “expresses,” according to Rand, is not a emotion per see, but rather a concretized view of life---which has emotional significance for the artist, and has the power to elicit an emotional response in others. *(1.5)

**

PERSONAL CONCLUSION:

I believe many Objectivists make a crucial mistake in regard to the concept of a “sense of life” and its application to the arts. They incorrectly take their own emotions as “tool of cognition” and attribute their own negative response to a work of art and summarize that the artist must have an ugly sense of life---and sometimes this negative critique borders on making moral judgments. [This is common fair among the 'Orthodox Objectivists'].

For example, it may very well be good to criticize the Beautiful women painting if the artist created it with the express purpose to attack the good, to make a mockery of beauty---but just because the artist of the ‘Family Values’ painted a—shall we say, “ugly” portrait does NOT make him on par with the first artist! The ‘Family Values’ artist is attacking the ugly, the corrupt and wicked. The abstract meanings of the two paintings are exact opposites.

Integration: every element of the artist's product must in some way enhance and relate to that work's central theme.”***(3) In order to OBJECTIFY HIS VALUES, the artist must translate them into CONCRETES, into forms appropriate to the nature of reality as perceived by the mind.*(1.6)

Human cognition, Rand emphasizes, requires “dancing back and forth” between the abstract and the concrete. One must always ground one’s abstractions in real concretes, and one must always try to understand the abstract principles or concepts implicit in all concretes.*(1.7)

Did you hear that? ONE MUST CONSIDER THE ABSTRACT PRINCIPLES OR CONCEPTS IN ALL CONCRETES.

Consider again: the Beautiful women painting.

THE THEME: Our attempts at glamour are futile and laughable because they can be marred and undercut by something simple as a cold sore---or whatever other maladies this shit life has to offer. It’s the cold sore that would overshadow the beauty of this women and her stunning gown.

Let’s consider now the concretes used to communicate this theme.

THE CONCRETES: A beautiful women. A stunning gown. A cold sore. [and that’s all it took].

Now let’s consider THE THEME of Family Values: The philosophical erosion is a serious matter and is handed down from generation to generation thanks to evil and cowardice.

THE CONCRETES: Well, it’s a family where you have “generations.” The mother is, as I said, “a steely eyed iron maiden, whose plastic smile looks as though it took considerable effort to achieve” conveying that the cold “cerebral” philosophy has been imparted to the children and it has taken root. And the stupidity and cowardice is conveyed by the fact that the father’s face is yellow and the shape of his head is a block. The children: the boy attires an Earth First t-shirt, the daughter is draped in Nazi garb.

Conclusion: The “beautiful women” painting endorses corruption and ugliness as “the norm.” The Family Values painting—with a touch of macabre--INDITES human depravity in a very visceral manner. It is a ribald attack upon that which is bawdy and sordid in life--and this implicitly indorses its opposite. That’s the purpose that satire can serve.

Note: Even if you gave had a negative emotional response [esthetic response] to BOTH paintings--it does not mean they are equal--once you analyze their themes [esthetic judgment]. The themes in each painting are very much different. What has ye to say?

***

Feed-back is most appreciated; I would also like to hear from Barbara Branden.

NOTE FROM ADMINISTRATOR:

Plagiary first identified here.

* Plagiarized from What Art Is: The Esthetic Theory of Ayn Rand by Louis Torres and Michelle Marder Kamhi. The original passages read as follows:

(1.1) (p. 49)

Rand now returns to the question of
why
the painting of a beautiful woman with a cold sore would evoke a more intense response than would such a woman in reality. That minor affliction, she argues, engaging once again in exaggeration, “acquires a monstrous metaphysical significance by virtue of being included in a painting."

(1.2) (p. 49)

Rand's rhetoric aside, the principle of her argument is no doubt valid: particular details do assume greater significance in a work of art than they would possess in reality, because the viewer is at least subliminally aware that their presence is
intentional
, and that the artist must therefore have considered them important.

(1.3) (p. 49)

Rand now returns to the question of
why
the painting of a beautiful woman with a cold sore would evoke a more intense response than would such a woman in reality. That minor affliction, she argues, engaging once again in exaggeration, “acquires a monstrous metaphysical significance by virtue of being included in a painting. It declares that a woman's beauty and her efforts to achieve glamor (the beautiful evening gown) are a futile illusion undercut by a seed of corruption which can mar and destroy them at any moment—that this is reality's mockery of man..."

(1.4) (pp. 57-58)

A work of art cannot be properly evaluated as "good" or "bad" on the basis of a sense-of-life response. She thus draws a crucial distinction between
esthetic response
(though she does not use that term) and what she terms
esthetic judgment
. The former is a spontaneous, emotional reaction to the work as a whole. The latter is a function of intellectual appraisal; it is a dispassionate evaluation of the success with which the artist projects his intended theme. Whether one shares or does not share an artist's fundamental view of life, Rand explains, " is irrelevant to an
esthetic
appraisal of his work
qua
art."

(1.5) (p. 44)

The implicit meaning of any work of art is "
This
is life as
I
[the artist] see it"; and the meaning of one’s response to a work is "
This
is (or is
not
) life as I see it." What an art work "expresses," according to Rand, is not a emotion
per se
, but rather a concretized view of life, which has emotional significance for the artist, and has the power to elicit an emotional response in others.

(1.6) (p. 46)

In order to objectify his values, the artist must translate them into concretes, into forms appropriate to the nature of reality as perceived by the mind.

(1.7) (p. 47)

Human cognition, she emphasizes, requires "dancing back and forth" between the abstract and the concrete. One must always ground one's abstractions in real concretes, and one must always try to understand the abstract principles or concepts implicit in all concretes.

** Plagiarized from "Art and Sense of Life" in The Romantic Manifesto by Ayn Rand. The original passage reads as follows:

(2.1) (TRM, p. 37)

It declares that a woman's beauty and her efforts to achieve glamor (the beautiful evening gown) are a futile illusion undercut by a seed of corruption which can mar and destroy them at any moment—that this is reality's mockery of man...

*** Plagiarized from Summary of Peikoff's Objectivism: The Philosophy of Ayn Rand by Luke Setzer. The original passage reads as follows:

(3)

Integration:
every element of the artist's product must in some way enhance and relate to that work's central theme.

OL extends its deepest apologies to Louis Torres and Michelle Marder Kamhi, Leonard Peikoff the heir of Ayn Rand and Luke Setzer.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Why indeed? You must have been surprised to read that, and I didn’t elaborate on any specific context as to why I would be interested in hearing your views on art. Well, I’m interested because it seems that your views on art seem to largely swerve from Ayn Rand’s conclusions [as does mine]. This is so on her views of humor, music, et al.

Don’t get me wrong, I agree on a lot of basic points, but I do part ways big time with Rand. I’m interested in hearing from people who also have the reservations on the question of Rand’s esthetic views. As you expressed your own views in your book, I felt myself interested and compelled in what you had to say. You speak little of it, and I felt cut-off too soon! Reading your book, one does get the impression that there was a clash of perspectives between you and Ayn; I wish you would have elaborated further in your book.

I have hunted on this site for any posts about art by you. None, that I see. It was a let-down ;0

Honestly, in other areas, we have major disagreements. But that’s okay. But on the question of art---literature, music, painting, I’m truly curious and open to hear from you in regard to this post and art in general.

[And all others!]

Link to post
Share on other sites

Hey there Victor,

Do you mean to suggest that paintings have objective, denotative meanings? Or that Rand believed they did?

'Cause Ayn's (and your?) assessment of the "Beautiful Woman" sounds like pure subjective Ayn talking about her own serious issues with her own looks. I can't imagine seeing such a painting and perceiving it as some miserable indictment of human aspirations toward beauty.

A cold sore errupting on a big night is a pretty common occurance, owing to the stress and hormonal chaos associated with fancy parties, particularly if you're looking to "get lucky" as they used to say before STD was a household acronym. If you love human beings, you take this into account. A cold sore is not, even when rendered in art, the end of the world. The darkest I'd go with this painting would be something along the lines of a "best laid plans" kinda thing: our efforts, particularly in the short run and constrained by our vanity and expectations and the often very narrow time frames of modern living, are often thwarted. It's life.

But at the same time, these "set-backs" when looked at from a loving perspective are more'n likely extremely trivial. If I were to paint such a painting, I might put the woman before a mirror and show her face expressing some level of profound disappointment upon seeing her cold sore. And yet I'd invest the woman and her magnificent dress with all the grandeur and longing and statuesque beauty I could muster, so that the over-all effect of the painting were of a magnificent woman (two women counting the reflection) who cannot help but be utterly beautiful and poised, despite a mental preocupation with the "tragedy" of imperfection.

On the other hand, we painters often find ourselves falling utterly and unjudgementally in love with our subjects. I can easily see myself painting a portrait of a beautiful woman who happens to be afflicted with a cold sore during the sitting and going right ahead and painting the cold sore with as much loving attention as I give to any other detail of the radiant reality before me. I can imagine the woman looking at the finished painting and punching me in the arm for not omitting the cold sore. It would prolly take me a moment to grasp what the heck she's on about--and remembering the absurd catagorizing that we so-called civilized people do outside of artists' studios, I might laugh and tell her, "But I wanted to paint you exactly as you are, because you are absolutely and completely beautiful tonight." Hopefully, I'd keep it to that, but knowing me, I'd prolly go on for another 15 minutes at least about culture, philosophy, body image, dermatology, child rearing practices, scarification rituals, dead sea scrolls, and anything else I could think of to assure that I would not be getting lucky that night.

-Kevin

Link to post
Share on other sites

Kevin,

It appears to me that you have an inventive and creative mind.

It’s true that in both paintings—the Beautiful Women and Family Values—I extrapolate upon the artist's intended meanings, [or Rand's purpose in presenting the example] --BUT I confine myself to the concretes presented. When I painted Family Values, I believe I succeed in presenting my intended meaning. Many get it right away, as I said in the post.

You, however, extrapolate upon extrapolation...to a further extrapolation; a movie or a novel is unfolding with your take on the Beautiful Women painting, and I thought for a moment a plot was going to be built upon the theme of the painting. I can't take your post as really anything--except as humor. We are not talking about story telling. Paintings, the visual arts--it is true, unlike movies or novels, is limited.

Are you a creative individual?

-V-

Link to post
Share on other sites
...Family Values painting is an example of an artist ATTACKING ugliness, corruption and modern philosophical erosion...  

An example of another approach to attacking a form of ugliness:

Many years ago I saw a painting of an elegantly dressed, beautiful woman with a cleft lip. She had a gentle, bashful smile and was looking just slightly to the left of the viewer, which gave the impression that she was with someone not shown in the painting. The canvas was tightly cropped on the woman's upper body and face, and far in the distance behind her was a group of people who appeared to be whispering with each other while glancing toward the woman. The painting had a very Wyeth-like look to it, and the clothing of the characters was from a past century, which brought a feeling of superstition to their disapproval (you could almost hear the word "witch" being whispered). With the shy sweetness of the woman's gaze, I got the impression that she was seated with the man she loved. It was an interesting and very moving contrast to experience the irrelevance of her disfigurement and the certainty of her social isolation, and to recognize the interest that her companion had for her despite her "curse" (as implied by his willingness to be with her and endure or disregard the cruelty of society). I, and others who had viewed the painting with me, felt a strong sense of wanting to stand up for the couple. It felt good to be in their company instead of among the others.

After I left the gallery, Rand's cold sore example came to mind, and I wondered what she would have thought of the painting. Would she have grasped the context and the meaning of the work as a whole? I like to think that she would have, but, based on things she had said about other paintings, I have my doubts as well.

J

P.S. A few years ago I tried to find the painting, or a copy of it. I haven't yet found it, but I was pretty sure that the title was "Dragonflies," and using that and a few other relevant keywords in a web search, I came across several references to Mary Webb's book _Precious Bane_. The story has a chapter in which the main character (who has a cleft lip), while watching young dragonflies coming out of their shrouds, is given some pretty strong hints that the man she loves may feel the same for her. I think there's a good chance that the painting may have been inspired by the book.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I'll go religionist on you folks, but the objective fact of it (I'm thinking cold sore, here) remains....

Everything God ever made has a little crack in it. I forget who said that...Emerson? (more cannon fodder for the reactive).

The endless quest for "perfection." There is no perfection. And even if there was, what would one do with it?

Perfection is a means to an end. It is a goal. Shall we talk aesthetics? If I saw something that didn't have some little something "wrong" with it, I'd know the universe was in big trouble.

It is not about supposed "flaws," it is about the fact that all things are moving forward, all things are part of the process, of becoming.

That doesn't stop us from seeking perfection, even though it's a non-existent the way humans view it. Perfection, to my eye, includes little cracks.

Link to post
Share on other sites

First,

from Barbara -

Victor:"I would also like to hear from Barbara Branden."

Why?

Barbara

Then Victor retorted -

Why indeed? You must have been surprised to read that,

I am suprised too!

Barbara has had to put up with a lot of crap! Some of it has come from you!

Don't get me wrong. Your being here has put a spring in MSK's step. His recent posts show it. (I honestly think the dude has been bored of late!)

Your intellect has fired him up. I thank you for that.

But now it is kissy-kissy with Barbara?

After all the Branden bashing?

WTF?

As if - "I was run off from SOLO! SORRY! Everybody I have offended must love me now!"

I don't think so.

You must earn her respect first.

Remember, you are only a Perigo sycophant reject.

Only one step below a Hsieh! (Or is it Hseih?) Whatever.

I still do not trust you Victor. You are capable of such good things, but you carry some very, very bad baggage.

I simply have not made up my mind yet!

To put it simply - When it comes to Barbara; you haven't earned it yet.

And an apology is in store, at the least I think, before civil communication happens.

You and the Perigo-ites (Curmudgeons in Rich-ese!) you belonged to have been very vile concerning her.

Very vile!

I am not the only one who has noticed.

I simply do not know how someone can be so vile towards another human being and then expect cheerful dialog as if nothing has happend.

Strange!

And suspicious.

And with your intelligence and eloquence.....someone like you....well I don't quite trust your motives.

You came straight from a Barbara bashing bastion to.....here! You were one of the leading Branden bashers out there! And now you want dialog.

Why?

Put that big brain of yours to work and make us simpleton Ollies understand.

The onus is on you, smarty pants!

Of course you scoff at me for saying " I am watching you!"

That's okay!

Hahahahahahahahahaha!

If you only had my resources!

Hahahahahahahhahahah!

Don't even think of messing with one of my heros.

gw

Link to post
Share on other sites

Mr. Williams,

You weren't kidding when you said you were watching me.

Don't get me wrong. Your being here has put a spring in MSK's step. His recent posts show it. (I honestly think the dude has been bored of late!)

I'm pleased to hear that. Sincerely.

But now it is kissy-kissy with Barbara?

No kissy-kissy. Just questions about art. =;

After all the Branden bashing?

WTF?

As I said, I'm not here to "Branden bash."

As if - "I was run off from SOLO! SORRY! Everybody I have offended must love me now!"

I wasn't "run off" Solo; I left. I said 'piss-off' and took my posts down. I went else where to give my best.

Remember, you are only a Perigo sycophant reject.

I rejected Perigo. He begged me to stay in private email. It must have been my intellect.

I still do not trust you Victor. You are capable of such good things, but you carry some very, very bad baggage.

I can see that.

I simply have not made up my mind yet!

That's okay. These things take time.

And an apology is in store, at the least I think, before civil communication happens.

I have been upfront with Barbara B and acknowledged that we have disagreements in my post upbove. Read it again. No kissy-kissy. No two faces. I'm interested in her views about art...it's an isolated subject.

I simply do not know how someone can be so vile towards another human being and then expect cheerful dialog as if nothing has happend.

Strange? And suspicious? How can I get another perspective if there is no conversation. People don't to see eye-to-eye on everything. I'm not here to be rude. I'm here to exchange conversation, ideas and views. I want to hear what people have to say. I want to be heard. And on may subjects.

You came straight from a Barbara bashing bastion to.....here! You were one of the leading Branden bashers out there! And now you want dialog.

Leading Branden basher? Me? I thinks not. That's not true. There are posts and posts and posts and posts of people going on about this subject. After a while I got bored reading it. If all the posts were committed to print there would be no forests left. Anyway, there are no "Brandens"...there is two, viable, independent people...responsible for themselves.

Of course you scoff at me for saying " I am watching you!"

You don't mind that, do you?

Don't even think of messing with one of my heros.

I won't. Don't mess with mine.

Creativity. Ideas. Conversation. To hear. To be heard. To understand. To be understood. That's why I'm here. No bashing. Branden or otherwise.

Respectfully,

Victor

Link to post
Share on other sites

I understand that, Mr. Wiliams. Try to keep all things in perspective: That I have disagreements with Barbara Braden doesn’t mean I think the woman is wrong about everything--or that I think she is a blooming fool. Obliviously I don’t think that. There’s nothing wrong in my coming out and saying honestly that we have major disagreements. But I don’t care to dig into the dirt, and I don’t see why we can’t talk about philosophy and art--with civility.

Look, I’m not a “Solo Orthodox” kind of guy whereby one is not suppose to talk to “the enemy” of a cause. That’s collectivist shit. That’s cult-like shit [note that I said cult-like]. Objectivism isn’t a cult. Like Rand, I’m not interested in “the cause” or “a cause” or the “Objectivist movement.” Like I said, I’m a cult of one. Objectivism is a philosophy I follow for the purposes of living my own life. I decided that I don’t want to walk around on this planet [for the time I’m here] making choices in this life with an undefined or implicit chance-patched hatchet philosophy.

Ayn Rand’s philosophy makes the most sense to me. It is objective. It is rational. Hey, I have studied general philosophy and I’m sad to report that, with very few exceptions [and in very few isolated subjects] philosophy has been one major rationalization and con-game.

I believe in the power of ideas. Philosophy shapes the life of an individual and a society. Sure, I want to live in a society where people don’t see their interests best served by force or fraud. But I’m busy living my life and maintaining a career---and I don’t have the time to “spread the word.”

As far as I’m concerned, so long as people don’t interfere with my life--they are welcomed to believe any sort of crap they want and they are welcomed to live whatever jag-off life they want. They can twist their minds and psychology with junk philosophy all they want. Frankly, if they do it volitionally, I don’t feel sorry for them. And neither do I avert my gaze thinking ‘Oh, gee, how sad.’ Bullshit! It’s entertainment to me. I love it. People fascinate me. I get a real laugh. In fact, I see many of them as caricatures.

I remember reading this story about some guy who wanted to "test God" and decided to leap over a fense at the zoo--right smack middle of the lions. God will save me...or so he thought. He was killed. So much for the Wizard of Oz metapysics. ["Put em' up, put em' up."] I suppose God was on vacation that day.

Oh, well. Hey, it was his call. Hearing the story, someone near-by me said, 'oh, how sad. That's terrible.'

Huh? Terrible? No it's not. He was an idiot. Good-bye! He decided to do it. People speak of such things as if it were a tragedy. What tradedy? He was a fool who went in by his own choice--and yeah, we all do stupid things that we have to pay a price for---but this is beyond stupid! There are no words for it. And you don't call it a "tradedy." It's called natural selection.

Now show me an actual victim, people who don't deserve the cards they are dealt by other people--and then I get very sad and mad--and think 'that's horrible.' That's because I'm soft. I'm a sensitive artist, you see.

No, I’m not an “angry man”—I’m a fun-loving guy who is looking for like-minded people. Really, I'm having a good time. And if the jag-offs can entertain me in the process, well that’s great. Get me some popcorn and a soft drink so I can enjoy the show. They can go to hell as far as I’m concerned. I don’t care.

But I do get angry at what I take to be dishonest reports about Rand’s life and ideas. That’s why I posted my diatribe about “modern intellectuals”—the ones who do speak about Rand and who are obviously dishonest and crooked bastards. Yes, I want to talk with people who are rational, who don’t rub rabbits foots or contradict themselves on a daily basis. There's no need to be dishonest with others...or with yourself. Of course, I want to be around rational people, creatve people--funny people. Hey, maybe that's here at OL. Time will tell. ;)

The fact of the matter is...I'm not your garden-variety Objectivist. [That is to say, I'm not what has come to be the caricature of that].

You see, here's the problem: many people made one major mistake when they became Objectivists: they gave up their individuality. They decided to do that. You don't blame Ayn Rand for that.

Of course, I'm my own person. I don't listen to classical--I'm a rock fan. I don't like cats--I'm a dog person. I don't like blue-green--I like all colours [i'm a painter!] and I don't collect stamps. I lick them. I'm an individualist...or at least that's what my husband Frank said I was.

Victor

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 2 weeks later...

Victor, in regard to my asking why you expressed a desire to have me discuss with you my differences from Rand about art, you wrote:

“Honestly, in other areas, we have major disagreements. But that’s okayl.”

No, Victor, it’s not okay – not when your disagreements are expressed through gutter-style attacks on my character.

I looked at a few of your posts on SoloPassion, and found the following “disagreements” – none of which had any intellectual content.

“The term [Objectivist Rage] carries a more uncorked vitriol feeling to it, a foaming at the mouth and redness to the face. A barking mad dog!”

“I believe that my contempt for B. Branden. . . is known by now – and shared.”

“At first, READING [my letter of thanks to Michael] it was like kissing Toohey on the mouth.”

“More crap masters! The living end for me was having to read the Branden books. . . many honest and good people were suckered in.”

“I am proud – proud I say – that I can smell dishonesty like dog shit on your boot when you’re standing next to me and you have no after-shave on.”

Only in one of the posts I happened to look at did you say something of interest to me, and I wondered at your failure to apply it to your own attack-style:

“I'm old enough (and wise enough) to realize this: a person works hard to achieve a position and reputation in life. . . . All you need to do hurl charges and all the sycophants come our from the cracks demanding the details and public disgrace. Let me ask you this: what you make morally of a man who is driven – not by a calling of justice, but malice.”

I doubt if I need to tell you what I make morally of such a man.

I have not enjoyed reading or copying your remarks about me. But more important than my distaste is my wish to explain to members and readers of Objectivist Living, and only because you are a member here – that so long as you allow such remarks to stand without retraction, so long as you continue to ignore your own statement, when you first appeared here, that you intended apologizing for your behavior on Solo – I can have no wish to enlighten you about my disagreements with Rand or about any other subject.

Barbara

Link to post
Share on other sites

Victor, I agree with Barbara. You are free to post here -- or to not post, I really don't care. But before you expect ME to interact with you, you owe Barbara a huge apology and a retraction of those nasty things you said about her on So-Low Bashin'. What makes you think you deserve our fellowship and idea-sharing otherwise?

I mean it.

Roger Bissell

Link to post
Share on other sites

You really should take care of that, Victor. Maybe email her privately, too?

I got the impression that you said a lot of what you said because you got caught up in the poison. That happens to people, and it's certainly forgiveable- but there's definitely apology involved.

You can't expect that Barbara would engage in dialogue with you until you have put out the olive branch, and say what you did was, er, unfortunate and suboptimal.

If you've truly had a change of heart (I think you might have), it will show through.

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 11 months later...

Victor Pross, Art and a Sense of Life

"A WORK OF ART CANNOT BE PROPERLY EVALUTED AS “GOOD” OR “BAD” ON THE BASIS OF A SENSE OF LIFE RESPONSE.

Why is this? Ayn Rand draws a crucial distinction between ESTHITIC RESPONSE and what she terms ESTEHTIC JUDGEMENT. The former is a spontaneous emotional reaction—-the latter is a function of intellectual appraisal. In this latter case, that is what some other poster suggested: his conclusion about Family Values was a dispassionate evaluation of the success with which the artist projects his intended theme. [“Whether one shares or does not share an artist’s fundamental view of life,” Rand explains, “is irrelevant to an esthetic appraisal of his work qua art.”"

Louis Torres and Michelle Marder Kamhi, What Art Is: The Esthetic Theory of Ayn Rand (pgs 57-58)

"A work of art cannot be properly evaluated as "good" or "bad" on the basis of a sense-of-life response. She thus draws a crucial distinction between estetic response (though she does not use that term) and what she terms esthetic judgment. The former is a spontaneous, emotional reaction to the work as a whole. The latter is a function of intellectual appraisal; it is a dispassionate evaluation of the success with which the artist projects his intended theme. Whether one shares or does not share an artist's fundamental view of life, Rand explains, " is irrelevant to an esthetic appraisal of his work qua art.""

-------------

Perhaps Mr. Torres [and Michelle Marder Kamhi] stole this from Mr. Pross. In any case, Mr. Torres will be notified.

--Dan Edge

(Note from MSK: Thank you, Dan. Duly edited. Small corrections to add the coauthor Michelle Marder Kamhi have been made since this post is being used as a reference link. Also edited for gender error.)

Link to post
Share on other sites
Victor Pross, Art and a Sense of Life

"A WORK OF ART CANNOT BE PROPERLY EVALUTED AS “GOOD” OR “BAD” ON THE BASIS OF A SENSE OF LIFE RESPONSE.

Why is this? Ayn Rand draws a crucial distinction between ESTHITIC RESPONSE and what she terms ESTEHTIC JUDGEMENT. The former is a spontaneous emotional reaction—-the latter is a function of intellectual appraisal. In this latter case, that is what some other poster suggested: his conclusion about Family Values was a dispassionate evaluation of the success with which the artist projects his intended theme. [“Whether one shares or does not share an artist’s fundamental view of life,” Rand explains, “is irrelevant to an esthetic appraisal of his work qua art.”"

Louise Torres, What Art Is: The Esthetic Theory of Ayn Rand (pgs 57-58)

"A work of art cannot be properly evaluated as "good" or "bad" on the basis of a sense-of-life response. She thus draws a crucial distinction between estetic response (though she does not use that term) and what she terms esthetic judgment. The former is a spontaneous, emotional reaction to the work as a whole. The latter is a function of intellectual appraisal; it is a dispassionate evaluation of the success with which the artist projects his intended theme. Whether one shares or does not share an artist's fundamental view of life, Rand explains, " is irrelevant to an esthetic appraisal of his work qua art.""

-------------

Perhaps Mrs. Torres stole this from Mr. Pross. In any case, Mrs. Torres will be notified.

--Dan Edge

Dan,

Louis Torres is a Mr. not a Mrs. I'm sure he would probably want to be notified that way. Otherwise he will have the double indignity of being plagiarized and gender confusion at the same time :). Anyway, this has gotten to the point of surreal. Thanks for notifying everyone of yet another ridiculous breach of integrity. Did Victor write anything original anywhere?

Jim

Link to post
Share on other sites

Dan,

My sincere thanks for detecting and identifying the plagiary. I am in full agreement with you notifying the authors. I request you provide them with a link.

EDIT - NOTE: Actually What Art Is: The Esthetic Theory of Ayn Rand has two authors, Louis Torres and Michelle Marder Kamhi. I have corrected your post to include Kamhi since it is a reference link. Also, as stated elsewhere, I will notify them.

OTHER NOTE: Practically the same paragraph was used in another article by Pross on OL: Art, a Sense of Life and Selectivity:, The Dance between Concretes and Abstractions dated February 22, 2007.

Michael

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 3 weeks later...

I am wondering. Victor seemed to at least be holding his own in a first-hand way in the epistemology debate threads. Was there copied-and-pasted text in those as well?

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 2 weeks later...

Well, I guess I got my answer on this one.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Rodney,

Obviously there are many more plagiarisms. I haven't gotten to editing them yet. If you are interested in following the progress of what is being done, please go here. As of this posting there are 39 identified and edited plagiarisms. You can see the daily progress on a list. There are many more that are in a queue to edit. Then the plan is to go back to the beginning and examine the posts in chronological order. If you insist, I could probably do an Epistemology section thread first. I made a note in the edit queue to do one, but you have to wait until I get to it. There are other things in line to do first.

Doing the edits identified by others are easy. The hard part comes in looking at the rest. Here is an example of my new manner of editing the posts. (Doing the edits within the posts of infraction means no new post is made, thus more undue attention is not showered on this guy.) The original identification of this post only mentioned one author (George Smith) when in reality there are three that were plagiarized.

Here is one that was especially frustrating. The original identification mentioned only one author (Murray Rothbard). I found another. There is some more text that is screaming out at me that it is plagiarism, but I could not find anything online or in the books I am consulting. So for the time being, that part remains unidentified and possibly never will be identified.

This is sort of like doing a crossword puzzle and a jigsaw puzzle at the same time. Doing it right takes time.

Michael

Link to post
Share on other sites

No, I was just curious.

I must admit I only scanned these threads, because of my interest in the debate plus my busy work schedule--and I was more interested in what the opponents were saying on certain matters, than in what Victor and other Objectivists were saying.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Rodney,

I finally got to your request. I did a search in the "Epistemology" section and only came up with 6 posts by Pross, all in the same thread. One contained plagiarisms of Bertrand Russell (see here) and the other 5 were basically one-liners—questions and snarky barbs.

I remember other discussions of Hume (which is what I presume interests you). They are probably in the "Chewing on Ideas" section. I will look.

Michael

Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now