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Ninth Doctor

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  1. Novels to read before you die

    When you're done pick up Rand's Art of Fiction. She talks about Hunchback there. https://www.amazon.com/Art-Fiction-Guide-Writers-Readers/dp/0452281547/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1501850514&sr=8-1&keywords=rand+art+of+fiction
  2. Novels to read before you die

    I agree Mysterious Affair at Styles ought to be read first (it being the first in the series), but Ackroyd is special. And it shouldn't be spoiled for anyone who hasn't read it. Please don't look it up on Wikipedia first, you only get one chance to read it the first time. I've never been able to get into Finnegans Wake. Even with Joseph Campbell's book length analysis laid side-by-side.
  3. Objectivism and me

    AP Calculus in 10th grade? Sounds like the prequel to Good Will Hunting.
  4. Novels to read before you die

    Foucault's Pendulum - Umberto Eco The Name of the Rose - Umberto Eco Mason & Dixon - Thomas Pynchon Ulysses - James Joyce The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman - Laurence Sterne The Hunchback of Notre Dame - Victor Hugo Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency - Douglas Adams The Moon is a Harsh Mistress - Robert Heinlein The Murder of Roger Ackroyd - Agatha Christie All the Jeeves novels (plus the short stories) of P.G. Wodehouse
  5. Heirs to dictatorships

    Try looking into the history of the 18th century monarchs who were influenced by the Enlightenment. Joseph II of Austria is a prime example. With the stroke of a pen he freed the serfs and gave Jews equal rights. There was a backlash, and he ended up writing his own epitaph: Here lies Joseph II, who failed in all he undertook. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joseph_II,_Holy_Roman_Emperor
  6. Art and Sense of Life - Explained

    Thanks for the link, good job isolating that section. I don't this is the place (the thread) to get into a debate on whether Hugo was a socialist; we'd have to go into the political context in which he was writing etc. Let it suffice that the line: “democratise property, not by abolishing it, but by universalising it, in such a way that every citizen without exception may be a proprietor” marks Hugo as a 19th century liberal; very far from a modern day socialist. Recall that Valjean was a very successful businessman before unmasking himself as a former convict.
  7. Art and Sense of Life - Explained

    You mean Victor Hugo? Where do you find that in his novels?
  8. Joseph Campbell's Monomyth

    Let’s take the transition to parentage. What metaphor might inform and strengthen the natural impulse to regard a baby as the greatest miracle ever? The Christmas story. The savior of the world is delivered into your hands to nurture. That’s how the metaphor works. And you’re going to celebrate this every year, it’s part of the church calendar. Good thing too: fact is that baby is going to drive you nuts, between diapers and wailing in the night. The Lion King does well with this also, the whole story being bookended with the presentation of a newborn to universal acclaim (rather like the adoration of the Magi). It’s interesting, however, that the Christmas story wasn’t composed to serve this purpose; that evolved later, in the 4th century. It was originally shoe-horned in to liken Jesus to Moses, hence the flight into Egypt (and subsequent return). The early Christians weren’t having babies, at least not if they were taking St. Paul’s advice. "Such signs cannot be invented. They are found. Whereupon they function of themselves".
  9. Joseph Campbell's Monomyth

    I’d say Myth spawns Art. It’s a crucial element in how Myth is communicated. But Myth also spawns Ritual, and you couldn’t say that Art does that. They’re different concepts, with a lot of overlap in their referents. Let’s move on to enumerating Campell’s four functions of Myth. I’m pulling these from Occidental Mythology: “The first and most distinctive – vitalizing all – is that of eliciting and supporting a sense of awe before the mystery of being." “The second function of mythology is to render a cosmology, an image of the universe that will support and be supported by this sense of awe before the mystery of a presence and the presence of a mystery.” “A third function of mythology is to support the current social order, to integrate the individual organically with his group; and here again, in the long view, we see that a gradual amplification of the scope and content of the group has been the characteristic sign of man’s advance from the early tribal cluster to the modern post-Alexandrian concept of a single world-society.” “The fourth function of mythology is to initiate the individual into the order of realities of his own psyche, guiding him toward his own spiritual enrichment and realization.” There’s a whole lot here. I was thinking of using The Lion King to draw illustative examples from (particularly for functions 3 and 4), and now that I’m typing I find it a headache-inducing task. For a Sunday night. BTW The Lion King was crafted by a group of screenwriters who were given a “Monomyth How-To” guide drawn from Campbell’s ideas. Under functions 3 and 4 comes something vital: myths provide the metaphors to inform the great transitions we all go through in life. Often via Art, often via Ritual, or both. What are these transitions? We start out like any other mammal, utterly dependent on our mothers. Then we start to individuate, and after quite a few years (and stages) we’re ready to be fully independent. Then we find a mate, procreate, and have to focus much of our energies on caring for our own offspring. Then they go off to college. And hopefully don’t move back in afterwards for an extra decade of remedial nurturing, but if they do, we have to deal with it. Then we retire, our health fails, and we go back to being dependent. And finally die. Each of these stages calls for a transformation of consciousness. And there are Myths to inform each stage, and the richer the Mythology, the more stages are covered. Digression: IMO Rand’s stories are especially good at informing the later stages of the transition from dependence to independence. But don’t do much for any of the other stages. To be continued.
  10. Joseph Campbell's Monomyth

    I want to expand on this a bit, to counter an implication. I’m not saying religion is here to stay since a dispassionate examination of all cultures points to its presence and influence everywhere and at all times. There’s another institution that featured in (probably) all cultures until just over a hundred years ago: slavery. If four hundred years ago one had argued that slavery should be abolished, or even could be abolished, there was a real uphill climb facing anyone making the case. It was only four hundred years ago that the first Christian sect (Quakers) arose that consistently opposed slavery, this flying in the face of a few New Testament lines from St. Paul and Jesus. And now it’s gone. There were philosophical arguments in its favor, and they’re in history’s trash can. It took a couple hundred years or so. It may turn out the same for religion; not in my lifetime so I’ll never know. And myth is actually another matter, even though it subsumes religion. Why? Look to the functions of myth, ask whether they’re essential, and if so, how else they can be served.
  11. Joseph Campbell's Monomyth

    I have to take issue with you here, though I share the sentiment that one shouldn't waste time on things that don't resonate, or study subjects just because others say they're important. Think of the study of myth as an essential part of any dispassionate anthropological study. To pursue philosophy you have to study Man, even the elements you believe ought to be tossed in the trash. Myth is ubiquitous in history and in the present. What does that tell us about our species? If myths don't resonate with you, wouldn't that mean you're an outlier? It would probably be a good idea to understand why, and come to terms with the implications.
  12. Joseph Campbell's Monomyth

    I gather you are invoking Rand's view that philosophy drives history. Note that she regarded religion as a primitive form of philosophy. And religion is, of course, a subset of myth.
  13. Joseph Campbell's Monomyth

    I’m relating Sense of Life to Campbell’s first function of myth. This connection only goes so far, however. Objectivism has little to do with a “sense of awe before the great mystery of being.” Particularly the mystery part. But Campbell says that’s what myths elicit, and this gives them great power.
  14. Joseph Campbell's Monomyth

    Just the first function of myth.
  15. Joseph Campbell's Monomyth

    Absolutely not. This isn't about epistemology. What Campbell is driving at is related to Rand's Sense of Life: " A sense of life is a pre-conceptual equivalent of metaphysics, an emotional, subconsciously integrated appraisal of man and of existence. It sets the nature of a man’s emotional responses and the essence of his character." Myths inform one's Sense of Life. And can even form it, when introduced early.
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