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RicardoSmith23

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  1. I have never been able to understand how anyone can enjoy Bach. The Rach 3 is incredible. It's more impressive with regards to piano talent also. But I don't think it beats the 2nd. It's not as purpose driven, not as focused. That's my impression, anyways.
  2. I read that wikipedia section too and I'm intrigued. Is <I>Noble House</I> his best work? Or should I start with something else?
  3. Recommend some reading on that? You can't really compare different industrialists from different times and rank them objectively. But based on what they did, their own stories and such, I'd say my own personal favorite is the Commodore. Everything I read about him is like an adventure novel, or an O'Henry story. He is so interesting, and actually, ballsy. If you've read Bernsteins <I>Capitalist Manifesto</I>, the first page in the history section, you've caught a small glimpse of how awesome the guy was.
  4. To interject, I thought 1776 was a joy to read. He selects some of the greatest Washington stories and dialogues that he could've possibly selected. He romanticizes Washington to a great extent, which probably hurts his posture with regard to mainstream academia but is absolutely perfect for my taste. I'd recommend it, it's a very vivid discription of a very tumultuous time. My favorite part was when, towards the start of the war, General Howe meets with Washington in person and says, in effect, "Let's not let this go on. Just apologize and we can cut some kind of deal." Washington says, "Innocent men have nothing to apologize for" and flatly refuses to comprimise, even though they were outnumbered and outcommanded to a ridiculous extent. McCullough makes it clear that this surprising underdog victory was made possible by an ideological commitment to freedom, as well as the brilliance of certain commanders. I'd recommend it. Ellis, on the other hand (Founding Brothers, American Creation, American Sphynx, etc) is a disgrace. He's overly verbose, he jumps around, and he loves to talk about how stupid and ridiculous the founders were. He also mentions, as a matter of fact, how absurd, impractically idealistic and Platonically phony the ideals of the declaration were. He seems to talk down to the founders, treating them as loveable little children who were basically complete boneheads with regards to everything. It's insulting. He also takes massive speculations with regard to Jefferson, his favorite target. He slips little insults in here and there, almost as if he were trying to brainwash the reader into thinking, "Man, this Jefferson is a nut job" without providing any real evidence for it. Ellis's intentions are plainly clear when you read his books---he has a blatantly anti-Jefferson, pro-Madison agenda. But the most annoying aspect is his pragmatism, which seeks to insult Adams, Jefferson and various others for having convictions, while putting Madison on a golden pedistal for having none and just trying to "solve" things. He essentially laughs at the cute, childish, little idea of having rigid principles and paints Madison as the matured adult who intervened to take care of things in an adult, pragmatic fashion.
  5. Not only is it value-oriented, it's value-fueled, value driven, value-dominated. Every major character, heroes and villains, are placed in morality situations, and they have to make choices. They have volition, and they aren't ruled by their environments. Some make right choices, some make wrong choices---and Jack Bauer always makes the right choice. In addition to that, the primary focus of the show is Jack Bauer's mental and physical competence, which allows him to do what's right every time. This is why it was created, and this is why people watch it. I can't think of anything more romantic than that. It's a celebration of the human capacity for triumph, even in the most precarious situations. It does have tragic elements, but that's due to sense-of-life. The tragedy is always brilliantly accomplished and always creates future drama for future seasons, future battles for Jack to tackle. This show is the EPITOME of romanticism.
  6. I rented the first season of 24. It was so good that I rented the rest and watched them all within a few weeks. This is the most exciting, brilliant show I have ever seen. It's often praised as being "addicting" and "suspenseful"--which it is. But the real value in this show lies in 1) The unbending competence, confidence and overall character of Jack Bauer and 2) The incredibly dramatic, moral-dilemma situations he is (and other characters are) placed in. And every season is always brought to an unbearably exciting, unpredictable, action-packed climax. Kiefer Sutherland does an amazing acting job, as do most of the other characters. The plots are usually very solid, though there is ineptness in a few of them. But regardless of a few errors here and there, it's always full of unique and exhilerating situations. Season 2 is a prime example: it has some very, very, very bad elements in the plot that are borderline embarassing, but in spite of this it is still full of larger-than-life heroism and brilliant situations. Some seasons, however, have very tight, focused, dramatic and emotionally charged stories, the best being Season 4, in my opinion. In essence, this show is a glorification of Jack Bauer--the perfect man you could envision to guard your country, and your own life. This show is radically romantic because Bauer never makes a mistake, and the joy is in watching him outsmart the most dangerous villains (and sometimes his own government) in the world and succeed in seemingly impossible situations. Thematically, and throughout all of the seasons, it's an analyses of what perfection does to a person in society--it alienates him. I wouldn't be able to elaborate without spoiling, but I would definitely recommend this show to objectivists as an unusually ingenius example of romantic art. Philosophically, it's on-and-off. But it does blatantly glorify cold-blooded rationality as the most important requirement for survival, as well as absolute, life-or-death, Ninety-Three-esque devotion to one's values. The values that the heroes fight for (and often die for) are usually very personal, selfish values. In Season 1, Bauer doesn't hesitate to forget his patriotic "duty" when he has to choose between that and the lives of his wife and daughter. Other, side-protagonists are put in similar situations. Though these characters work for CTU (Counter Terrorist Unit), devotion to one's country is never more important to the heroes than their loved ones. The villains, however, are driven by a desperate anti-Western ideology, and often value their own nation or race more than their wives or children. Honesty in political life is shown to be not Platonically wrong, but ultimately self-destructive. The only philosophically bad is Season 2, in which an oil executive is the arch-villain, organizing an international series of international conflicts so that he can somehow profit from international war. In spite of its comparatively insignificant errors, 24 is, I think, a must for romanticists.
  7. This non-force principle can be found in The Fountainhead, Atlas Shrugged, Anthem and Objectivism: The Philosophy of Ayn Rand by Leonard Peikoff. To summarize: man's nature involves volition. He chooses between alternatives, makes decisions freely by his own rational mind. This is how he lives, and this is the concern of a rational man. Force acts to wipe this out, to rob man of his ability to reason. It leaves him with no choice. His mind becomes useless under that context. As for the forcer, he is just as much a victim. Remember Schiller's words, speaking for Queen Elizabeth: "He is not a king who still must please the world. No, only he who need not ask." The enslaver becomes dependent on the enslaved. If anyone chooses a life of force, his thoughts will be filled with dominating people, not nature. Controlling, not creating. This also destroys his own reasoning mind, and wipes out any purpose of his life. He will live in constant fear that some stronger gang will be lurking around the corner, waiting to overpower him. When force becomes the principle, then force can be used "freely," and even the most physically strong will always be at the constant mercy of anyone else who might be sneakier or have more men on their side. He is at the mercy of an unpredictable volcano which can burn him alive at any minute, and he can't sleep for a moment, lest he lose his position as "master." All the while, these men have been only thinking of ways to control, and the more of them there are, the less of the creators there will be, and the less the controllers will have to loot. When men deal with each other by force, there is no possible way to insure long-range security or even honest dealings. Fear becomes the only possible emotion. You are dependent on those who have produced your livelihood, and you are dependent on their sanction of it. What if they withdraw it? What if you aren't capable enough to hold on to them? What if someone else has a bigger gun and takes what you've stolen? No one can survive this way beyond a certain span of time, so it is immoral by Objectivist standards. As for someone who only holds up a guy in the street once in his life, the same principle applies: he is dependent on his victim, his victim's silence, his hope that he isn't tracked down and put in jail (or, if no jails exist, robbed by the bigger gang), ad infinitum. There are too many things for a human mind to consider in order to get away with force; it is impossible to remain safe and sane and get away with it. And even if you do, you are still dependent on the stupidity of others, reality becomes your biggest fear, and fear is the most dominant emotion in your life. You have to live a life of hiding from reality, lying, evading, escaping. . . does this sound selfish? Is there any allowance for real pride here? Would any human consciousness be able to maintain clarity and purpose under such desperate, unpredictable conditions? Would life be worth living in such circumstances? An independent man does not wish to experience this, and does not have to. A dependent man does. Force rejects and destroys man's primary means of survival--his ability to think. It contradicts his basic nature by wiping out his independent, rational mind, focusing it on manipulation, dishonesty, spur-of-the-moment activity that contains no essential purpose in life, no production and no pride. Reality is his biggest enemy, and he spends his life hiding from it in every possible way, until it finally explodes in his face. This is not the life of a human, it's the life of a sub-human creature.
  8. I think "John Galt" just sounds really good. It's incredibly simple, very American and very strange at the same time. When I hear the sound "Galt," separated from the character, I sort of think of "god," "altar," "gold," even "art," though I obviously have no idea what AR was thinking about when she decided on it. And actually, I picture a flying eagle, and I don't know why, haha. I'm sure there is some word that has a similar sound which is somehow associated with eagles. Also, John is just the ideal Anglo/American first name, a name that is so common and so associated with Western Culture that it is appropriate for the man who is, basically, everything to everyone. I do know that Ragnar Danneskjold is taken from Hugo's early, early novel Hans of Iceland. Oh, and Greenspan is a fictional character. He is as fictitious as the money he created.
  9. Hey man, I play too. Wanna be friends? I just posted some links to some of my favorite pieces, played by Li Jie and Virginia Luque. You should check 'em out.
  10. Francisco Tarrega: Agustin Mangore Barrios: http://youtube.com/watch?v=LHbz5DqavOE&feature=related Andrew York: and some Chopin:
  11. The dilemma is whether omniscience means an "infinite" amount of knowledge, which is what I assumed what it meant, or "all-knowing" in the sense of the ability to know every finite (aka, true) fact. The first is, by definition, impossible. The second is...not really an important topic of conversation at all.
  12. Believe me, some people just don't have the ability to think anymore. I think they usually give it up in church at an early age, in a prayer.
  13. You guys probably don't know how much I appreciate this review. GIVE ME MORE! Have any of you read The Myth of the Robber Barons? Does this cover Vanderbilt very well? Is it a good book? But I want more information, and more books if you have any.
  14. Omniscience is just like infinity. In fact it uses the concept of infinity, "an infinite amount of knowledge". There cannot be an infinte amount of knowledge, because there is not an infinite amount of facts. I can see this being package-delt with "all-knowing," that is, knowing every fact IN existence (not future events). Even this is impossible for mortal humans, but if you scientifically add 1000 more years to your life, it may be achieveable, I don't know. But omniscient generally assumes the concept of infinity, which is an impossible concept.
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