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  1. Today
  2. This is the painting I had in mind while writing about the sunny landscape. It isn't a landscape per se - its focus is the woman, but you can perhaps see what I mean by saying that VG's sunny landscape is not a sunny landscape due to a very striking aspect: his style of portrayal. It's mildly malevolent, so it definitely both. I can revel in gloomy, sad artworks. I enjoy a dark foil in positive artworks and a positive foil in dark artworks. But I don't enjoy positive artworks without some ironic or gloomy foil. I'm certainly not malevolent all the way. Out of the two paintings mentioned above, I prefer the Van Gogh, though his style is not my cup of coffee. I agree with your analysis of Starboy. Either way, to illustrate what I mean by gloomy and happy-sad, here is a song that is malevolent througout (minus the instrumental breaks) and one that is ridiculously upbeat - but with a strong foil (I skipped the long intro). What the latter one betrays is not sadness, but a strong feeling of apprehension.
  3. Sure, but part of that is, perhaps, not knowing a lot about opera. Van Gogh probably is one example: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vincent_van_Gogh#/media/File:Vincent_van_Gogh_-_Wheat_Field_with_Cypresses_-_Google_Art_Project.jpg This is a sunny landscape. There is little reason to suspect he had an overall positive sense of life judging from his behavior and unstable mental health. As a non-painter, I don't know how to judge it besides "dreamy floatiness is important here". As a viewer, there are many unknowns. For a creator, there are fewer unknowns, but even then, how will I get down to what is my sense of life as opposed to an emotion as fed through sense of life? It starts to reach a point where more analysis is draining. It starts to become special science, e.g. psychology. I'll tease this apart. On the one hand, you are speaking of how your explicit ideas have been habituated. On the other, you are attributing your reaction to the bad ideas you held a while ago. Your philosophy sets the criteria for emotional abstraction, that is, classifying things according to the emotions they evoke (paraphrased from somewhere before page 33). But you may still be reacting through largely positive/pro-life philosophy. I believe you when you say there is a malevolent streak somewhere. The issue is if it truly is malevolent per se, or a result of searching for the good in the bad. Maybe it's both. Also, a written interpretation is not one in the same as your feeling and the depth there. Take this song I like a lot: I hear many reasons to say it is malevolent, even I can explain the malevolent vibes. But, my reaction to the song isn't a tragic appreciation for the starboy (the character who The Weeknd is singing as in the video). It's more that he fell from grace for doing wrong, the song captures what it means for bad people to get their just desserts. The feeling I get is like one I feel if a bad person has bad things happen to them. I don't feel as if I need to resign myself to living my life through force. What counts is how you feel.
  4. Yesterday
  5. I've never seen a real-life example of this, but perhaps you can provide some? Also, it's tricky to imagine a succesful, happy person reveling in a four hour opera about a man being endlessly tortured by unachievable desires. I mentioned this in my initial post: ___________ I'm an avid collector of everything I like. From my extensive experience with art that I feel at home in, I can definitely say there's malevolent streak there. I've picked up and habituated a lot of damaging ideas across the years, and I'm gradually working to correct them.
  6. How do you know this? I mean, this is a simplification of symbolism, such that you seem to base this on the connotations you've learned. I don't really like sunny landscapes, while I prefer dark landscapes generally. If a person hated life, and painted a sunny landscape, would they actually love life? You would be best off saying that what you choose to paint shows something about a person. What it shows, well, depends on your knowledge of art. I can say I really like this painting: I can attempt to give reasons, but I am not a painter or art historian. I would be making guesses. This isn't to say "there is no reason", only that it's really hard besides some really general ones, like "peculiarity is seen as important". What do the swans suggest, the clouds, the weird trees? I don't know. Delving deeper is beyond my ability. By the way, you'd also need to consider the degree of liking when it comes to one's sense of life. Paraphrased from page 33, "one's sense of life is fully involved only when one feels a profoundly personal emotion page". I understand you are talking in broad strokes, so here is paraphrasing from page 43 to remind you of some ideas: "it must be stressed that the pattern is not so gross and simple as preferring happy music to sad music according to a benevolent or malevolent view of the universe" "it is not merely what particular emotion a composition conveys, but how it conveys the emotion" I want to remind you that Rand didn't say any two people shared the same sense of life, so there will be many variations of even positive senses of life. Sense of life described here is her theory, so it's worth noting this point. There may be a broad category "positive sense of life" with differentia allowing for variations of individuals in their background experiences. Why is this mildly malevolent? Sure, you describe it with these words, but it's hard to say that you aren't missing something or lack the conceptual vocabulary to say the sense of life captured. All you can do is say if you feel good or bad. Rand understood at least in RM how hard it is to judge your own sense of life, and how we can't really judge what sense of life another person has.
  7. An artwork is concerned with convincingly illustrating two fundamental facts: what the world is like, and what man is like. The specific themes, subjects, events and characters are merely the vehicles by which the artist 'proves', or concretizes, his view about those two interconnected aspects. He does not need to show all aspects of a man's relationship to reality - only enough points to convincingly show the gist of his view. Every metaphysics has enormous implications for ethics. For example, if the world is auspicious to human goals (knowable to man, and reshapable by him), and if man is efficaceous and free, those basic facts lead to enough metaphysical value-judgements to fill up all of the world's libraries. 'It's important to fight for what I want', 'My life is important' etc. Those metaphysical value judgements are the direct results of your worldview. So when you experience the artwork, you reduce the conveyed metaphysical value judgements back to their roots: the total metaphysics. To show a man's entire metaphysics, there is very little you need to show in terms of concretes. What man needs is to maintain, in his mind, the reasons why he chose his present course of action. 'My course in life is right, right to the core, because the world is so and so, and man is so and so'. Artworks help him hold that enormous context in mind. To summarize, an artwork is about two things: the specific themes and events conveyed, and the entire metaphysics implied by those facts.
  8. This implies a single work of art need not attempt to sum up every and all aspects of a man's relationship to reality. In fact to really get at any particular important subject, i.e. any particular aspect of metaphysics and man being dealt with, what is not important to its presentation is eliminated. Selection implies a work of art does not need to be about the whole of man's metaphysics, but can (and properly) be about some aspect of it. Now what is presented needs to be provided in a single concretized whole summing up what the artist is drawing the viewer's attention to... but the subject of the work of art can and should be delimited. An artists sense of life may inform the chosen subjects and what he/she is aying by the art but each piece is not about that single monolithic sense of life, it is about the specific subject it is directed to. There is not but only one painting depicting the metaphysical reality of man but uncountably many possible works showing various particular important aspects thereof. Does this make sense?
  9. Certainly. But those outside considerations are not a substitute for judging the artwork qua art. Even if a statue or musical composition is created for the purpose of commemoration, it must still be a good piece of art in and of itself. Not even the noblest backstory will save a poorly done artwork. A good commemorative artwork must show the abstract, universal meaning of what it commemorates. If it meets this requirement, it can be applied to your own life, even if you know absolutely nothing about its backstory.
  10. By virtue of being a single, internally consistent artwork, it does convey the summation. More specificaly, that summation is what Ayn Rand called 'the objectified reality of one’s own sense of life'. To recap, a sense of life is an emotional appraisal of the whole of existence. The artwork is the ability to see that feeling outside of you, in reality. It's common to see a lot of things in life that seemingly contradict your own sense of life, which inevitably leads to self-doubt and loss of perspective and conviction. When you concretize this all-encompassing feeling about the universe, you must do it via specific means: specific themes, events, people, styles. A theme can be philosophical and universal (e.g. the importance of love/honor/truth) or more narrow (e.g. the injustice of society toward its lower classes, the impact of the Civil War on Southern society). All of the elements present in the artwork add up to a totality which illustrates the artist's sense of life - in a single concrete, which might be a painting or a very long novel. The way you interpret an artwork depends on your own sense of life and deeply held values. The above is a way of interpreting it. Similarly, a depressed person can feel affirmed by the Angel of Grief sculpture for a completely different reason: because he applies the sculpture to the whole of existence. The real issue is: would you want to have that artwork in your house, as a way to preserve the irresistible reality of your own sense of life? Yes. The key idea is: do you present pain and suffering as the norm, or merely as a foil to the good parts of life? This adds to the previous point. For example, Roark in the Fountainhead is attacked on all sides; yet the evil is merely a vehicle to show Roark's greatness and the fact that life's challenges are not the focus in life, but merely foils or preludes to the good. Yes - if you're referring to a benevolent sense of life. Somebody who concludes that he's at the mercy of the entire universe will develop a tragic sense of life as a result. A positive sense of life depends on feeling in control of your existence.
  11. Not all forms of art are the same. Sculpture can definitely be commemorative - so taking into account "outside considerations" is perfectly acceptable and adds tremendously to the meaning of the work. Some examples of this are the Statue of Liberty and the Vietnam Veterans War Memorial in Washington D.C.
  12. Does Art necessarily have to represent the entirety or the whole of a metaphysics? Must it be THE summation? It would seem such would imply art cannot be about i.e. depict and explore an "aspect" or "part of life" which is important and profound. (As for the highest form of art.. I suppose some restrictions need to apply) A work such as the fallen angel, although it is sad, might not be about sadness as such. It might be about loss, and by implication, it might actually be about value, and specifically and more importantly about the greatest value one can have in another: Love... by seeing how devastating the loss is, one sees how great the love was and can be, and by seeing how great the love, one perchance sees how wonderful life can be... but with full knowledge and acceptance (not evasion) that neither life nor love lasts forever. Is this a malevolent view? I'm not so sure. Would a sculpture of a woman smiling and dancing in the flowers with a doting husband smiling and watching her conveyed the greatness and the depth of the emotion he had for her and her importance to him? Only so much can be captured in a sculpture of a smile... Set backs are a part of life, and dare I say they are important challenges that test people's character and resilience and provide opportunities to grow and flourish in the face of them. So an artwork which presents a challenge or a disaster or a loss, unless it is clearly shown that there is and can never be recovery (granted another possible interpretation of the fallen angel...) the art can present positive sense of life, one which is psychologically adjusted to the facts of reality which face man but which exalts his ability to adapt and to flourish. I don't think art is limited to the widest presentation of metaphysics. Specific, selected and important aspects of life, of man's relation to reality can be portrayed. A work depicting a freak and tragic accident befalling a man and his triumph over it is NOT about the metaphysics of the randomness of reality (which is a fact), it is about the more important fact (also a fact of reality) of the resilience and strength of man, the potentialities possessed and residing inert within every man which perhaps not even the viewer would have otherwise suspected he himself possessed. A sense of life is NOT about what the universe does to you: Life is not what "happens" to you. A sense of life is about man, about man's place in the universe, his ability to deal with it, no matter what part of it he faces: Life, wherever you find yourself, is what you do.
  13. Notable Commentary "None of these problems [poverty, cronyism, and low economic growth --ed] has anything to do with the inequality gap between rich and poor." -- Yaron Brook, in "Economic Equality Is an Immoral Ideal" (PDF) in The Harvard Journal of Law & Public Policy, vol. 40, no. 1. "[Coolidge] did not merely recognize medicine's contribution toward mitigating disease and increasing life expectancy, he went further, praising the root cause of those advances: reason." -- Jared Rhoads, in "Calvin Coolidge's Speech to American Doctors: Praising Medicine and Venerating Reason" at Coolidge Blog. "The Saudi regime's domination of women; the public executions of apostates; the floggings for blasphemers; the patrols of the morality police; the prohibition on buying or consuming alcohol; the subjugation of the individual under sharia law -- all of that calls to mind the horror of daily life in Raqqa, a stronghold of Islamic State." -- Elan Journo, in "Why Trump Should Disrupt the Scandalous US-Saudi Relationship" (blogged here) at The Hill. "[G]overnment health administrators might be more interested in using AIs to maximize overall cost savings for a large population by mandating 'cookie cutter' health guidelines." -- Paul Hsieh, in "3 Big Questions About AI-Guided Medicine" at Forbes. "[My 2014 book, The Moral Case for Fossil Fuels] argues that the way we have been taught to think about and discuss energy issues is wrong, and that if we follow a better method of thinking, we will conclude that the proper energy policy for the foreseeable future requires increasing our use of fossil fuels -- not dramatically and coercively restricting our fossil fuel use." -- Alex Epstein, in "A Straw Man Attack on the Moral Case for Fossil Fuels" (PDF, blogged here) at Energy Law Journal, vol. 37, no. 3. "The story switches midway from the-dollar-will-collapse to gold-will-go-up." -- Keith Weiner, in "The Gnome Underpants Gold Model" at SNB & CHF. "[Gold and silver] perform different functions." -- Keith Weiner, in "Will Gold or Silver Pay the Higher Interest Rate?" at SNB & CHF. "In a free country, soldiers who fight against an actual threat to America are not sacrificing what is most important to them -- they are upholding it." -- Peter Schwartz, in "Memorial Day -- but Don't Call It a Sacrifice" (2015) at Huffington Post. -- CAV Link to Original
  14. The aesthetic value of an artwork is not judged by the worldview it conveys, only by how masterful it concretizes it. So it's not a contradiction to say 'this is a great work of art, but I don't like it'. But disagreement with the worldview conveyed can certainly curve your enjoyment of it. The sculpture was created by a grieving artist to commemorate the death of his beloved wife. It was his last sculpture and the only thing he could get himself to sculpt before his own death the following year. It's used as the grave stone for the artist and his wife, though it's wildly reproduced. While I didn't provide my personal evaluation of the weeping angel sculpture, I agree that it refects a tragic sense of life - but the context in which it was created is irrelevant. Quoting from The Romantic Manifesto, ch. 3, p. 42: "...an objective evaluation requires that one identify the artist’s theme, the abstract meaning of his work (exclusively by identifying the evidence contained in the work and allowing no other, outside considerations), then evaluate the means by which he conveys it". [bolded words mine] This is why it is possible to appreciate a religious artwork even if you're an atheist. When picking your favorites, the element of personal meaning is also very important, even if that meaning was not necessarily intended by the artist. Ayn Rand herself is said to have contemplated Dali's Corpus Hyercubus for hours at end. Apparently, it strongly reminded her of the John Galt torture scene in Atlas Shrugged. Certainly not. But the importance attached to sadness and loss can greately differ from person to person. Is it the metaphysical norm for man, or not? An artwork deals with what is important in life. And it might be important that certain courses of action might lead to suffering. For example, see the novel We The Living. Judging by the artworks I feel at home in, I would say I have a mildly melovolent SoL. I also noticed that changes in mood can influence which types of music I want to indulge in at a given time. But even when I'm in a particularly good mood, I usually pick what I call happy-sad music: upbeat songs or pieces that nevertheless convey a strong air of seriousness or tortured complexity beneath the façade.
  15. Not all great art has to be heroic, cheery and up-beat. The weeping angle sculpture posted by the OP (while not necessarily "great art") is for a tomb. To say, or imply, that this sculpture reflects somehow a tragic "sense of life" of the relative who commissioned the piece (which I assume is what the OP is doing) is capricious at best. Sadness and a feeling of loss is not something that should be denied. I'm an atheist, but I can respect Michelangelo's Pieta as a great work of art.
  16. Last week
  17. I agreed, mostly, up to here. Wouldn't it be better to say it is knowledge because it is about how the world is presented? Alternatively, you could say the "likeness" is not conceptual so it isn't knowledge. But I certainly lack knowledge of the first person details. It is no issue, though, as the form in which you know isn't the same as holding a belief of a fact of reality. I will -never- know the form in which you see a red cherry through the eyes and awareness of you ass an individual. However, we and all other aware animals can know in principle all about cherries. So, it presents no asymmetry with reality.
  18. Let me know what you think Kaladin. Also if you still have any specific example (of the unknowable) for contemplation I would be interested to hear about it.
  19. Over at the web site of The Energy Law Journal is a reply(PDF, from Vol. 37, No. 3) by energy advocate Alex Epstein to a non-review of his best-selling book, The Moral Case for Fossil Fuels (MCFF). The piece is not a point-by-point rebuttal, because, "Such a rebuttal would require that her criticisms and arguments were of the actual content of the book; they overwhelmingly were not." I would add that such a reply would also be a waste of his and his readers' time. Epstein does much better than that: He takes the opportunity afforded by Harvard's Jody Freeman to introduce readers to his book for the first time, by explaining his overall approach -- and then demonstrating beyond the shadow of a doubt that, whatever Freeman was talking about, it wasn't his book. The latter Epstein does by comparing several passages from Freeman's "review" with passages from the book that contradict them. In the process of doing these two things, I think Epstein will (1) encourage any honest, curious reader to consider his book, and (2) help other fossil fuel advocates anticipate the kinds of evasive, context-dropping, and dismissive attacks they will likely encounter. For the second group of readers, this will be a good refresher. I recommend reading the whole thing, but will provide a couple of excerpts below. On his overall approach to the question of fossil fuel use, Epstein writes: In 2007, as a philosopher analyzing popular thinking on numerous cultural, industrial, and political issues, I concluded that popular thinking and discussion about energy and its associated environmental issues was severely flawed. For example, logic dictates that when analyzing any course of action we carefully consider both the positives and negatives of all our alternatives. Yet in popular discussion only the negatives of fossil fuels were considered, while the negatives of "green" sources of energy were all but ignored. ... In MCFF, I argue that we have to learn to think clearly and precisely about fossil fuels. Specifically, I highlight three key thinking methods we need to follow:Be clear on our standard of value: is our goal to maximize human flourishing or minimize human impact? Think big picture: look precisely at the positives and negatives of all the alternatives. Use experts as advisers, not authorities: demand clear explanations from experts of what they know, what they don't know, and how they know it -- and use that information to form our own big picture assessment of the best way to promote human flourishing. These methods are present in every chapter of the book, and they are the keys to understanding and evaluating the book's arguments...It is too bad Freeman never actually gets around to understanding these arguments, let alone evaluating them. To wit, the following is a quote from Freeman's "review":Since there is no persuasive evidence that any warming effect is associated with greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere, Epstein claims there is no basis to believe predictions about likely warming in the future. Moreover, Epstein's claim that the climate is not sensitive to CO2 concentrations is contradicted by both the climate models and physical data about past climates, which scientists have collected from a variety of sources, including CO2 concentrations found in ice cores and sedimentary data on the ocean floor. [notes omitted]"Yet MCFF repeatedly states that there is a warming effect associated with greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere," Epstein replies, before quoting what I thought was one of the more helpful passages of his book on exactly that matter:A huge source of confusion in our public discussion is the separation of people (including scientists) into 'climate change believers' and 'climate change deniers' -- the latter a not-so-subtle comparison to Holocaust deniers. 'Deniers' are ridiculed for denying the existence of the greenhouse effect, an effect by which certain molecules, including CO2, take infrared light waves that the Earth reflects back toward space and then reflect them back toward the Earth, creating a warming effect. But this is a straw man. Every 'climate change denier' I know of recognizes the existence of the greenhouse effect, and many if not most think man has had some noticeable impact on climate. What they deny is that there is evidence of a catastrophic impact from CO2's warming effect. That is, they are expressing a different opinion about how fossil fuels affect climate -- particularly about the nature and magnitude of their impact. So why do we have the idea that the greenhouse effect means rapid global warming? Because the proven greenhouse effect is falsely equated with the related but speculative theory that the greenhouse effect of CO2 is dramatically amplified by other effects in the atmosphere, leading to rapid warming instead of the otherwise expected decelerating warming. Some predictions of dramatic global warming (and ultimately catastrophic climate change) posit that the greenhouse effect of CO2 in the atmosphere will greatly amplify water vapor creation in the atmosphere, which could cause much more warming than CO2 acting alone would. This kind of reinforcing interaction is called a positive feedback loop. [notes omitted, bold added]What I like about this piece, as I did with Epstein's debate with Bill McKibben, is that he does not allow himself to be drawn into squabbling over non-essentials (as McKibben's Gish Gallop was intended to do), but focuses on helping his audience think about the issues themselves. This approach not only promises hope for a more rational debate about energy, but about countless other issues. -- CAV Link to Original
  20. This is a nice, succinct summation of the theme of The Romantic Manifesto.
  21. Epist, you literally said you don't understand what universal entities are - while also criticizing the idea. It's not at all reasonable to criticize it in any sense before you do. It's fine to ask questions about it, but you can't rationally take a definite stand. It's not dishonest to say there's no point in discussing it with you based on that. If you meant that -now- you realize you don't get quite get it, then I think it's a simple misunderstanding.
  22. Onkar's talk has run its course, and has been started anew from the beginning in the mobile university. Drawing from Galt's speech, Onkar reiterates to whom the speech is directed, the remnant of rational minds still remaining in the world, asking them to join the strike and hasten the reclamation of a world to be reshaped by moral virtue. Onkar indicated that Galt gave his speech thus, contrasting it with the Declaration of Independence being a public declaration of the causes underscoring them as a rational appeal to the rest of the world citing: When in the Course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation. By writing Atlas Shrugged, Rand likewise broadcasts Galt's speech to mankind, speaking to any mind that reads it, and reaching any mind that understands it. While not as dramatic as hijacking the radio-waves of the entire world for three hours, equally impressive is that the message is being continuously broadcast via a medium available anytime someone wants to settle down with her novel in the privacy of their own mind. She lays out the incontrovertible demonstration of morality's foundation to and in existence, and in pondering this, consider the incontrovertible demonstrations provided by the ancient Greeks in geometry and mathematics that are universally held today. She shows morality is just, and like justice, can preserve or destroy depending on adherence to it or abandonment of it. Onkar breaks Galt's Speech up as follows: The introduction (as the first 19 paragraphs per For The New Intellectual) The morality of life (paragraphs 20 through 88) The morality of death (paragraphs 89 through 206) Your choice is either the morality of life or the morality of death (paragraphs 207 through 296) The course outline breaks these groupings up further by identifying the paragraphs in accordance with his outline of Galt's Speech provided for the presentation.
  23. Today
  24. Sculptures, symphonies, novels and paintings are time consuming to make, just like any other human value. What exactly does an artist choose to sculpt, compose, write or paint? Obviously, there's only one thing you can represent in art: things from reality. But what exactly? Just beautifuly rendered objects, people and events for no reason whatsoever? What separates sculpture, painting and theater from toys, photographs and soap operas? The meaning of fine art is not the objects portrayed in it. It's also not about politics or morals or the weather or the stock market, but something much, much, much more important. In fact it's so important that it needs to be present in your awareness at all times. I'm referring to the reasons and causes of your actions. For example, if you're generaly scared of the world and you don't like to take much space etc. this isn't a causeless fact. It's because you sincerely believe deep down that the universe is a dangerous place to live in, that man is always in grave danger. This is life-and-death information that is essential to remember in the backdrop of all of the irrelevancies of life - as the facts that cause, explain, give meaning to, and tie your disparate, confusing daily experinces into a coherent mechanism (the overall nature of the universe). Is the universe antagonistic or auspicious? Am I good or bad by nature? Am I in control of my inner and outer life? Is this a knowable world, subject to identity and certainty? The answers to this category of questions are called metaphysical value judgements, and for a great deal of people they're arbitrary and implicit, not objective and consciously held. Without seeing perceptual instances of the most important facts of life - of the foundation of everything else - your view of life quickly loses its reality and power of conviction. After all, if you believe that the essential nature of man is a heroic being, but life is filled with cowards and corrupt politicians and irrational people, your worldview can quicky collapse, you can forget what you believe in the first place, and you can become confused. More than that, this crucial, underlying perspective of the whole of reality (not merely contextless bits and pieces) cannot guide people because it can't be held in the mind (crow epistemology). A worldview is made up of endless, scrambled and seemingly disparate metaphysical value judgements - 'it's important to fight for what you want', 'it's important not to stick your neck out' etc. Only condensation into perceptualy available concretes can do the job and show you the conclusion, the payoff, the cashing-in of all of your value judgements, i.e. your worldview at a glance. To see what I'm talking about, compare those two sculptures: one and two. This type of conretization is like language, except instead of condesing concepts into visual-auditory tags (words), you condense a worldview into a concrete in order for it to be operative as a guide. Like metaphysics, epistemology, ethics and government, art is the only other need of man within the province of pure philosophy. Another crucial effect of art is the emotional fuel it provides. The work that goes into achieving your material and spiritual values can sometimes get tough. Seeing the full, immediate reality of your distant goals, experiencing the sense of your completed task, of living in your ideal world (a universe where your values have been successfully achieved) can replentish you spiritualy. The fuel comes not from what you might learn from the artwork, but from experiencing a moment of love for existence. This is why art is ruthlessly selective - not journalistic; integrated - not full of irrelevant elements that compromise the theme; clear - as opposed to the opaque or non-objective. It must have an abstract meaning, pertaining to the nature of the world in relation to man (or the reverse, which is the same thing). An artist selects what he considers to be important in life and integrates it into a mini-universe, a man-made universe. ___________ Sense of Life As soon as you become able to make generalizations about the world, you make them. You have no choice, because they're absolutely crucial for knowing how to act, i.e. for your survival. Based on conscious or randomly formed conclusions about the world and man, your guiding philosophy is formed, and it's usualy implicit until you identify it in conscious, philosophical terms, and correct it if necessary. Emotions are not causeless - they spring from conscious (or automatized, subconscious) evaluations of things. A man with a ghastly worldview might, as a consequence of his basic premises, negatively evaluate a lot of the things that confront him on the street, on the television, at his workplace and so on. A person with a benevolent view might generaly evaluate the exact same things in a completely different manner, a more positive one, and the negatives might not strike him as worth focusing on. The pessimist might get most of his pleasure from safety; the optimist, from seizing life by the horns. Based on everyting the world makes him feel on a daily basis, man forms an all-encompassing emotional generalization about the world. This emotion, called a 'sense of life' by Ayn Rand, is felt as a sort of vibe emanating from the world, one that is involved in everything you do, think and feel. For example, a pessimist walking on the street might pick up tense vibrations from the air; the people walking past him seem to be out to get him, and even the lampposts seem to be looking maliciously at him. He feels as if the world is one giant concentration camp. But the man with a more positive philosophy might get an entirely different vibe from that same exact street and moment. He might feel inspired by the sights of skyscrapers and blooming businesses. Deep down, he feels that life is auspicious to his goals and full of potential joys. Of particular importance is the fact that your sense-of-life can strenghten or blunt your joys and sorrows. A pessimistic man might see ice-cream and sex as pointless distractions in a sea of tears. It's tricky to enjoy anything if you fear for your life, either because the world is hell (malevolent universe premise) or because you think that you're unfit to deal with it (low self-esteem). After all, it probably won't last; so why enjoy it? But an optimistic man might see life's inconveniences as irrelevant in comparision to life's joys; since the world strikes him as an amazing place to be in, he feels a pure, unrestrained pleasure when he enjoys his values, a type of pleasure that the pessimistic man cannot even fathom. In art, your sense-of-life directs not only artistic creation, but also artistic response. Depressed artists don't paint sunny landscapes and happy artists don't particularly enjoy Wagner's Tristan and Isolde. Of course, for most people a sense of life isn't as black-and-white as I described, but you should get the idea. This fundamental emotion conditions a lot of things in a man, including his body language and how passionately driven or apathetic he is. When he falls in love or forms deep friendships, it's on the basis of equivalence in the sense-of-life realm, which is usually first conveyed indirectly through somebody's personality and mannerisms, and later through their actions and professed convictions. Since your evaluations of people can be wrong, true love can only exist if the loved one's conscious convictions match the sense of life he or she appears to have.
  25. Last week
  26. You sir are calling Objectivism dishonest and malevolent. THAT is a malicious and gross falsehood. You are out of order and should reconsider your purposes here.
  27. This is one of the most dishonest, malevolent things I have ever read. You are a true representative of Objectivists these days.
  28. Epistemolgue stakes out a definite position on a controversy he admits he does not understand. It is waste of time to engage with him.
  29. It depends upon what you are claiming is "unknowable" and what you mean by "unknowable". The existence of a thing is "knowable", a knowledge of literally everything about a thing is generally not possible even for a single thing (limitations of physics and complex nature of simultaneously varying properties of constituents, fields, particles, etc.) unless the thing is particularly simple (even knowing everything about a particular electron, is not plainly given... recall the uncertainty principle). Of course the identity of a particle in a particular interaction is knowable. Some things are simply not simultaneously knowable... like a list of the names of everyone in Kansas... to a single mind... but that I gather is not the same kind of "unknowable" you are contemplating. Because each individual in the list is knowable, and there is nothing more than the individuals in the list, in principle, in one sense, the list is knowable. Patterns of existence or causation may be too subtle or too complex for human's to grasp directly, but with integration, conceptualization, and reduction they can be understood at some level of abstraction. To the degree necessitated by man's existence and pursuit of value, he may need to investigate and understand some levels of some things to a greater or lesser extent than on other levels. Similar to what I mention above, knowing every thing about something at "every" level is generally impossible and in any case likely just not practicable if it were possible (time and effort versus usefulness of the knowledge). Here is an interesting example, which I think ties a few concepts together. You can never know what it is like to be that which you are not. For example, you will never know what it is like to be a tree, or what it is like to be a Dog. Such are unknowable because of the nature of what you are, because of your identity. Now, in reality, there is something akin or parallel to knowledge (analogous) which a dog possesses, and by which it knows what it is like to be itself. At face value it looks like an example of yours, where by the nature of your identity you cannot know something about the universe. But a dog's nature and yours, and a dog's knowledge and yours are wholly incommensurable. In a sense you do not lack what is impossible for you to possess. So although at first it might seem that such "knowledge" is truly unknowable to you, in another sense, it does not constitute, even potentially, knowledge. It makes no more sense to say "the universe lacks what blue sounds like"... color and sound are incommensurate: the experience of being a dog, and knowing something as a human, are equally unrelated. Back to your question: to claim such a thing as "what it like to be a dog" simply does not exist would be false on its face... all dogs self-evidently due to their nature experience "what it is like to be a dog", it's just something you can't ever experience yourself. The key is that what is proposed as the knowledge you are missing (what it is like to be a dog) simply does not qualify as knowledge. So in summary I would say (and it may seem trite now but I think accurate): "Knowledge of a something" is impossible in cases where the something is in fact not a something, or if the proposed knowledge would not in fact constitute human knowledge.
  30. Your latest answer was exactly what I was looking for. Thank you again. Would you agree that to be unknowable, and not simply unkown but unknowable in principle, is to be nonexistent?
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