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La Bue

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My Name is Clarissa and I just graduated from high school two months ago. I usually don't do introductions on the few forums I have joined in the past but I wanted to ask some questions and explain somethings. I am still really new to Ayn Rand and Objectivism but from what I have read so far a lot of the basic philosophies and principles seem to match my own. At the beginning of my senior year I had been having various problems with my peers and my psychiatrist suggested that I read The Fountainhead. I kind of threw the book in my room and didn't pick it up until two months ago after I realized the people I thought were my friends weren't as nice as I once thought.

Throughout 10th, 11th, and the beginning of 12th grade I struggled with my social life. I am not very articulate and I can be pretty shy so people think I am stuck up or just weird. Well I finally made some friends who kept telling me I needed more of a social life. Whenever I hung out with them and their friends I never knew what to say. I didn't like the music they liked, I didn't have the same political views, and I had a passion which is still art. I loved to draw and when I discovered painting earlier this year I realized that it made me happy. People told me for years being more social would make me happy but it just made me miserable and I was usually ignored or insulted. There was one other artist at my school who was as good as I and for some reason people loved him, especially my teacher while she detested me. I couldn't figure out what she loved about him when he was everything she wasn't. I drew pin up and my busty ladies made her uncomfortable but I know I was as good if not better. I tried to compromise last year with nothing but a terrible portfolio to show for it. No matter how hard I worked she still found passive aggressive ways to upset and humiliate me. There was a final end of the year award I knew I earned and she gave it to the guy when he didn't work half as hard. She could have given us both the award but didn't want "to diminish the importance of the award" by giving it to two people. She thought that she could make it up by announcing to a half empty class that the decision was tough and gave me a 2 inch by 2 inch canvas (worthless), an isle to hold the unusable canvas, a bag, and a set of 5 oil paints that could be used with water valued at 10 dollars. She also insulted my mother by saying she did us a favor because my mother couldn't afford better. I had another teacher give me detention for drawing a girl in a bikini on a PSAT book, she said I didn't take the test seriously which is untrue. I missed a field trip to see a court case, I had looked forward to it for months but was forced to take the PSAT exam yet again to "raise the schools PSAT average". The star student wrote his PSAT essay in Spanish on a different subject and the woman laughed gaily saying how cute that was but gave me detention. Because of the detention I missed an important extra credit opportunity in my Trig class, the only class I desperately needed to stay after for. During the detention the teacher showed a substitute from Africa my sketch of the girl in the tight bikini and he shook his head while clicking his tongue. He proceeded to tell me I needed God in my life and the PSAT teacher shook her head in vengeance. Another teacher saw references of a (fully clothed) burlesque model and said out loud in class "what are you looking at! This doesn't look very appropriate. You need to put all this away!". Students have said similar things, one girl said in a tone that the deaf could here "You GAY girl?" Even my friends treated me like crap telling me that I was wasting my time and would miss out on life by not partying, taking drugs, and "having fun".

I had many call me close minded for not smoking pot. It just got awful and I realized I hated those people and they probably felt the same way so I stopped sugar coating, back tracking, and appeasing others. I started to say exactly what I thought and what was on my mind and managed to alienate myself in less than two weeks. Now I have one really close friend who was much the same way and treated similar with other art class horror stories to match mine and she is the only one I know from her graduating class who is successful. I finished the Fountainhead almost a month ago and it helped me feel confident and confirmed on my initial thoughts about my peers and how to go about pursuing what makes me happy as well as okay with my decision to not feel with people I hate because some people say one thing or another is good and right. Anyways I start college in September and I just turned 19. This seems like a good forum with a lot of like minded people who are mature. I rarely see that in person and it made high school a very unpleasant but important stage that I am happy to be done with.

Has anyone else had any similar experiences as far as high school?

Edited by La Bue

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Welcome.

But I have to be honest, due to the lack of formatting in your post (a so-called "wall of text"), I didn't even read it. It may seem trivial, but formatting (just like punctuation) makes things much more readable.

Edit: Thank you for adding some breaks. I appreciate it.

Edited by Chops

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Clarissa, your story sounds tragic, but the direct, confident way in which you articulate your thoughts makes me think you will overcome your adversity with flying colors. This forum is indeed a good place to explore the questions you have about living. Kudos to your psychiatrist for recommending "The Fountainhead". Hopefully it will encourage you to read more of Miss Rand's work. Best of luck to you in your college work!

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Your high school experience does sound a pretty abysmal. But don't sweat it - school is just practice for the real world. It sounds to me like you've made the right decisions - pushing away people whom you despise.

There's a Paul Graham article called Why Nerds are Unpopular that does a rather good job of identifying many of the problems facing us Nerds (people who focus on improving ourselves, rather than those who focus on social acceptance) while in high school. Perhaps you'll enjoy it.

That said, socializing abilities are a skill like any other (one over which I am no master, but I've vastly improved over the years). If that is a skill you wish to develop, it's merely a matter of practicing by doing.

Edited by Chops

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Welcome to the forum. I think there are probably many of us who have had similarly appalling experiences in high school. In my case, I was a student of Objectivism with a passion for classical music in a rural school district filled with Baptists and Lutherans. College will probably hold much more promising things for you, but even there you will face different versions of the same kinds of people that you despised in high school.

Really, it isn't even about them. It's all about you. The wonderful yet intimidating aspect of learning about the Objectivist philosophy is how much of your old ideas you will question as you learn to apply better ideas to your own life. It's a hell of a lot of hard work to understand it and integrate it into your life, but it is worth it. There's always help on this forum if you get stuck on a concept or an idea. If you haven't already started, you should read Atlas Shrugged as it deals with theme that are wider in scope than The Fountainhead.

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I cannot top the wonderful responses thus far posted. Given the natural human craving for meaningful social bonds, however, (in contrast to the destructive superficial ones that gave you such grief), I can suggest these articles that might shed light on human relations from an Objectivist viewpoint, especially the last one that discusses high school issues:

Experiencing Objectivism through Quicken

Objectivism and the Five Loves

Objectivist Clubs and the Four Basic Human Needs

Advice for Those Considering NCSSM

I am really glad your psychiatrist had the sense to prescribe The Fountainhead rather than drugs!

Edited by LutherSetzer

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Welcome! Naturally, everyone here will tell you to read everything Rand wrote, but for me, I liked to alternate between the fiction and non fiction. Before you read Atlas Shrugged, I would suggest reading Virtue of Selfishness. But that's just how I like to do things.

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If you liked Fountainhead, Atlas Shrugged will knock your socks off. I think it's ten times the book Fountainhead was.

Of course you are actually an artist; you may therefore appreciate Fountainhead even more than I did.

As for other people with brain damage like your teacher and pot-smoking "friends", two words: F*** 'em.

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Wow, Chops, that article is AWESOME!! Thanks for the link!

I didn't find college to be much better than high school. Most of the classes were still pointless and I was still cooped up all day. I made friends, but it was a shallow sort of friendship that still left me feeling alone most of the time. The real world is infinitely better, so I'd suggest mixing in as many "real world" activities that are actually in your line as you can. Getting a miserable retail or restaurant job won't help you, it will just make you feel even more like you're spinning your wheels uselessly. Set aside time to work on your art because that IS your job training--and I mean WORK on it.

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Wow, Chops, that article is AWESOME!! Thanks for the link!

Glad you liked it! Almost anyone who focused on their career or their intellect in high school can appreciate that particular essay. That was the essay that made me an initial fan of Paul Graham, and his essays (and books) since then have made me a a full-on lifetime fan.

He's got another essay called What You'll Wish You've Known, which was supposed to be given as a high school graduation speech, but the administration vetoed his invitation. In a way, it seems almost as an extension of the "Nerds" essay (the "Nerds" essay is more "this is what is happening" while the "What You'll Wish You'd known" essay is more "what you can do").

Overall, I recommend reading much of what Paul Graham has written (his essays and his book Hackers and Painters).

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here! here!

I have a very poor social life and spend most of my time studying and researching things that interest me. But it isnt as if i havent tried, all last year I talked to people but for some reason they just stop talking to me. I try my best to carry on a decent conversation, but i soon find out i have nothing in common with them, but I still talk to them,casue i felt invisible. the friends i did have i found out werent really my friends at all, they talk about me behind my back, which one of them happily admitted, and they told me that no one knew who I was..but the thing is I dont care, I dont live my life for them. I use to cry because i didnt have friends, but after reading Atlas Shrugged(currently reading still) i have found out that, it doesnt matter.So i just decided to give up, and besides i dont have anything in common with people my age, they rather go out and do things which are a waste and act immature.

then in my spanish class, the teacher use to brag about the good grades i got, which i have no control over what comes out of somebody elses mouth, and they use to say to him that im not all that great. I use to shrug it off and not pay any attention to it. But in 10th grade, i refuse to tolerate it anymore, i will not have someone damn me because im smart and work my ass off.

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Your story reminds me of a self-quote which I regard to be of extreme importance, if not of the most personal importance: Love yourself before all else. True happiness does not come from other people, as your "friends" have tried to assert, but it comes from pursuing and achieving personal values, with one's self-love as a base. If there is no self-love, then the "happiness" one takes in socializing is fleeting and incredibly fragile, as one can be instantly reduced to depression if one's friends break relations or so much as become too busy. Self-love does not have this problem so long as one makes the choice to maintain it, which can be quite easy (increasing the degree of self-love and happiness, however, takes much more effort).

In conclusion, if one loves oneself, then even the nonexistence of a social life* will not be a problem.

here! here!

I have a very poor social life and spend most of my time studying and researching things that interest me. But it isnt as if i havent tried, all last year I talked to people but for some reason they just stop talking to me.

Knowledge is very illuminating, and one of the things it illuminates best is ignorance. Many ignorant people tend to want to keep that light away.

*By social life I mean the socializing that is indulged in outside of work-related activity, and with people who one shares a desire to be around.

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here! here!

I have a very poor social life and spend most of my time studying and researching things that interest me. But it isnt as if i havent tried, all last year I talked to people but for some reason they just stop talking to me. I try my best to carry on a decent conversation, but i soon find out i have nothing in common with them, but I still talk to them,casue i felt invisible. the friends i did have i found out werent really my friends at all, they talk about me behind my back, which one of them happily admitted, and they told me that no one knew who I was..but the thing is I dont care, I dont live my life for them. I use to cry because i didnt have friends, but after reading Atlas Shrugged(currently reading still) i have found out that, it doesnt matter.So i just decided to give up, and besides i dont have anything in common with people my age, they rather go out and do things which are a waste and act immature.

I had all of those experiences too, though my friends humiliated me in person as well as behind my back. I realized though at the end of my 12th grade year I didn't really care and reading the Fountainhead made me feel confident when I decided to finally break ties. People would talk to me for a while and than blow me off in a cycle that lasted a good two years. I cried all of the time because I thought I would miss out on not having a large group of friends. I only have one real close friend now but I am not upset anymore. I am happy and content to paint. The others always thought I was a prude, uptight, and dull but the only thing that bothered me was the fact that I didn't care and it worried me that I would have little feelings about something everyone else placed so much importance on. It's great that you realize all of that even earlier than I, and I was always ahead and just on a different level. I wasted three years of high school miserable because I was happy the way I was but apparently in the eyes of my peers and teachers it was unhealthy. It really worried me for years that my being happy to do what made me happy and fulfilled was considered a waste of time. I had a lot of anxieties that by not partying and hanging with people who I didn't care for, that I would be missing something out of life. I worried that something was wrong with me because working made me so fulfilled and socializing with people who were shallow and lazy was so unfulfilling, but to everyone else it was the answer, it was what fulfilled all of them. I realized that what makes me happy and fulfilled was always my answer. I know I will eventually meet a few people I have something in common with but that will probably happen naturally as I go to college and work on my chosen career path. When I did things to try to fit in it was never enough and I was always second guessing myself. Now my confidence continues to grow as I do what makes me happy and I rarely ever second guess as decision.

I am really happy that I am not the only one of my generation that feels the same way and has dealt with people who will try to bring you down. While I knew that I was not a total freak it was hard to remember that. I also appreciate everyone else's comments and welcomes. The articles were very helpful, especially the article "Advice for Those Considering NCSSM".

Benpercent

Your story reminds me of a self-quote which I regard to be of extreme importance, if not of the most personal importance: Love yourself before all else. True happiness does not come from other people, as your "friends" have tried to assert, but it comes from pursuing and achieving personal values, with one's self-love as a base. If there is no self-love, then the "happiness" one takes in socializing is fleeting and incredibly fragile, as one can be instantly reduced to depression if one's friends break relations or so much as become too busy. Self-love does not have this problem so long as one makes the choice to maintain it, which can be quite easy (increasing the degree of self-love and happiness, however, takes much more effort).

In conclusion, if one loves oneself, then even the nonexistence of a social life* will not be a problem.

That was the hardest thing to learn, I didn't have any confidence in myself for years, now that I have, I still feel lonely and the occasional need to talk to someone I can relate to it doesn't weigh me down.

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If you have a scanner or other means of converting your art to an electronic format, I'm sure that you'd receive a lot of honest feedback in the appropriate sub-forum, much better than you got in that art class of yours, by the sounds of it.

EDIT: Didn't see the original post, but man, paragraphs, I love 'em. Just thought I'd point that out.

Edited by Dr. Radiaki

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My Name is Clarissa and I just graduated from high school two months ago. I usually don't do introductions on the few forums I have joined in the past but I wanted to ask some questions and explain somethings. I am still really new to Ayn Rand and Objectivism but from what I have read so far a lot of the basic philosophies and principles seem to match my own. At the beginning of my senior year I had been having various problems with my peers and my psychiatrist suggested that I read The Fountainhead. I kind of threw the book in my room and didn't pick it up until two months ago after I realized the people I thought were my friends weren't as nice as I once thought.

Throughout 10th, 11th, and the beginning of 12th grade I struggled with my social life. I am not very articulate and I can be pretty shy so people think I am stuck up or just weird. Well I finally made some friends who kept telling me I needed more of a social life. Whenever I hung out with them and their friends I never knew what to say. I didn't like the music they liked, I didn't have the same political views, and I had a passion which is still art. I loved to draw and when I discovered painting earlier this year I realized that it made me happy. People told me for years being more social would make me happy but it just made me miserable and I was usually ignored or insulted. There was one other artist at my school who was as good as I and for some reason people loved him, especially my teacher while she detested me. I couldn't figure out what she loved about him when he was everything she wasn't. I drew pin up and my busty ladies made her uncomfortable but I know I was as good if not better. I tried to compromise last year with nothing but a terrible portfolio to show for it. No matter how hard I worked she still found passive aggressive ways to upset and humiliate me. There was a final end of the year award I knew I earned and she gave it to the guy when he didn't work half as hard. She could have given us both the award but didn't want "to diminish the importance of the award" by giving it to two people. She thought that she could make it up by announcing to a half empty class that the decision was tough and gave me a 2 inch by 2 inch canvas (worthless), an isle to hold the unusable canvas, a bag, and a set of 5 oil paints that could be used with water valued at 10 dollars. She also insulted my mother by saying she did us a favor because my mother couldn't afford better. I had another teacher give me detention for drawing a girl in a bikini on a PSAT book, she said I didn't take the test seriously which is untrue. I missed a field trip to see a court case, I had looked forward to it for months but was forced to take the PSAT exam yet again to "raise the schools PSAT average". The star student wrote his PSAT essay in Spanish on a different subject and the woman laughed gaily saying how cute that was but gave me detention. Because of the detention I missed an important extra credit opportunity in my Trig class, the only class I desperately needed to stay after for. During the detention the teacher showed a substitute from Africa my sketch of the girl in the tight bikini and he shook his head while clicking his tongue. He proceeded to tell me I needed God in my life and the PSAT teacher shook her head in vengeance. Another teacher saw references of a (fully clothed) burlesque model and said out loud in class "what are you looking at! This doesn't look very appropriate. You need to put all this away!". Students have said similar things, one girl said in a tone that the deaf could here "You GAY girl?" Even my friends treated me like crap telling me that I was wasting my time and would miss out on life by not partying, taking drugs, and "having fun".

I had many call me close minded for not smoking pot. It just got awful and I realized I hated those people and they probably felt the same way so I stopped sugar coating, back tracking, and appeasing others. I started to say exactly what I thought and what was on my mind and managed to alienate myself in less than two weeks. Now I have one really close friend who was much the same way and treated similar with other art class horror stories to match mine and she is the only one I know from her graduating class who is successful. I finished the Fountainhead almost a month ago and it helped me feel confident and confirmed on my initial thoughts about my peers and how to go about pursuing what makes me happy as well as okay with my decision to not feel with people I hate because some people say one thing or another is good and right. Anyways I start college in September and I just turned 19. This seems like a good forum with a lot of like minded people who are mature. I rarely see that in person and it made high school a very unpleasant but important stage that I am happy to be done with.

Has anyone else had any similar experiences as far as high school?

I've always been considered different than my peers. At first I hated it, after awhile I got used to it and eventually I learned to love it. I think, in order to do the same, you have to gravitate toward a profession and people who share your view of life then pleasantly say the hell with everyone else. I also believe that you should put yourself and your goals above everyone and everything else. Oddly enough, by doing so you actually become a better team player. When you're taking care of your own business and not someone else's you actually become more competent. It will help your conscience, however, if you're goals are a pinch altruistic. But if they're not, screw it, go for them anyway.

Teachers can be a problem. Most of them are either mediocre or idiots. If they weren't then why aren't they out in the world changing things? Some have actually done things and are "giving back" by teaching what they know. These doers can be useful with their practical knowledge. Use them. As far as the others are concerned, butter them up to get better grades even if you don't deserve them. Do things to make them like you even if you hate their guts. I'm afraid practicality can be cold, but it is necessary. Otherwise you'll end up a Prozac mess.

I'll close by saying that college is a lot different than high school. I think it may appeal to your natural tendency to be different. But don't let it lull you in and make you lazy or go off on some . In today's world students have to be ruthless because of the price they're paying for their devalued education. I think that soon the price of a college degree will outweigh the cost of not having one. In fact, I'm becoming less and less enamored with the traditional route of doing well in school then going to some company, hat in hand, begging for a job. With America's loss of economic stature everyone is going to have to be more creative and entrepreneurial. For someone with an artistic bent I would learn all I could about computer graphics and kick start your own creative enterprise, maybe even before you graduate; Bill Gates never got a degree you know. For me, that would mean something involving cartoons and animation. At any rate, good luck with the rest of your life and I hope that I've given you some good ideas.

Edited by softwareNerd
Fixed quote block

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Clarissa, don't worry, there's life after high school. I remember when I went to get my senior picture taken, the woman at the photography studio wistfully said, "Ah, high school! Those were the best years of my life!" I thought, God I sure hope not, or I might as well kill myself right here and now!

But college was much, much better, and work even better still.

The Fountainhead was a big help to me in letting go of the worries about fitting in socially. And, once you can completely let go of the worries and just be who you are, it actually becomes easier to fit in.

Don't let the turkeys get you down... and welcome to the site!

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Hi, Clarissa. I wondered if you have any of your art posted online, and if you might like to show it? Also, what kind of music *do* you like, if you like any?

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I've always been considered different than my peers. At first I hated it, after awhile I got used to it and eventually I learned to love it. I think, in order to do the same, you have to gravitate toward a profession and people who share your view of life then pleasantly say the hell with everyone else. I also believe that you should put yourself and your goals above everyone and everything else. Oddly enough, by doing so you actually become a better team player. When you're taking care of your own business and not someone else's you actually become more competent. It will help your conscience, however, if you're goals are a pinch altruistic. But if they're not, screw it, go for them anyway.

Teachers can be a problem. Most of them are either mediocre or idiots. If they weren't then why aren't they out in the world changing things? Some have actually done things and are "giving back" by teaching what they know. These doers can be useful with their practical knowledge. Use them. As far as the others are concerned, butter them up to get better grades even if you don't deserve them. Do things to make them like you even if you hate their guts. I'm afraid practicality can be cold, but it is necessary. Otherwise you'll end up a Prozac mess.

I'll close by saying that college is a lot different than high school. I think it may appeal to your natural tendency to be different. But don't let it lull you in and make you lazy or go off on some . In today's world students have to be ruthless because of the price they're paying for their devalued education. I think that soon the price of a college degree will outweigh the cost of not having one. In fact, I'm becoming less and less enamored with the traditional route of doing well in school then going to some company, hat in hand, begging for a job. With America's loss of economic stature everyone is going to have to be more creative and entrepreneurial. For someone with an artistic bent I would learn all I could about computer graphics and kick start your own creative enterprise, maybe even before you graduate; Bill Gates never got a degree you know. For me, that would mean something involving cartoons and animation. At any rate, good luck with the rest of your life and I hope that I've given you some good ideas.

Thanks. I know a degree is not needed to be successful but the degree I am going for will teach me what I need to learn to better my art. I took an animation course at a n art school when I was in 7th grade. It was different and interesting but very hard and not something that's a lot of fun. I thought about cartoons and comics for the longest time, and even bought a tablet to get into computer graphics but none of that felt as fulfilling as fine arts, which was the last thing I thought I would enjoy.

Clarissa, don't worry, there's life after high school. I remember when I went to get my senior picture taken, the woman at the photography studio wistfully said, "Ah, high school! Those were the best years of my life!" I thought, God I sure hope not, or I might as well kill myself right here and now!

But college was much, much better, and work even better still.

The Fountainhead was a big help to me in letting go of the worries about fitting in socially. And, once you can completely let go of the worries and just be who you are, it actually becomes easier to fit in.

Don't let the turkeys get you down... and welcome to the site!

I had a teacher say they same thing and I remember just feeling horrified because high school felt the opposite, but I am really excited about college. A lot of the people I went to school with are miserable about starting college and having to work, but I am really excited about all of it. I don't worry at all anymore and I have met a lot of people in the past year, who are nothing more than friends of a friend, but were much easier to get along with and talk with now that I am not worried about how others perceive me and how to fit in. Thanks!

Hi, Clarissa. I wondered if you have any of your art posted online, and if you might like to show it? Also, what kind of music *do* you like, if you like any?

Hi.

http://philadelphia-89.deviantart.com/ though I am terrible about posting art regularly, I do get better at it. TOOL, Interpol, Amy Whinehouse, Marilyn Manson (before his last album), Slipknot, Frank Sinatra, Sammy Davis Jr., Billie Holiday, A Perfect Circle, Olivia Lufkin, Prodigy, Rammstein,...A lot of rock from the 90's and early 2000's. I find myself going back to older music.

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Hi.

http://philadelphia-89.deviantart.com/ though I am terrible about posting art regularly, I do get better at it. TOOL, Interpol, Amy Whinehouse, Marilyn Manson (before his last album), Slipknot, Frank Sinatra, Sammy Davis Jr., Billie Holiday, A Perfect Circle, Olivia Lufkin, Prodigy, Rammstein,...A lot of rock from the 90's and early 2000's. I find myself going back to older music.

Hi, I like your stuff! My favorite is "foreshortening." Maybe you'd like my music-- www.myspace.com/epistemelody ::end plug:: hehe

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