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Concerto of Atlantis

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  1. Quite simple. The moral is that which is in your rational self-interest. Torturing an animal for the sake of torture can never be in one's rational self-interest. In fact, it's usually a sign of psychological illness. I don't have any solid figures on hand, but many psychopaths, murderers, rapists, etc have had histories of animal cruelty.
  2. A person that I went to high school and university with is pure Peter Keating. And he will openly admit that he studied what he studied (Finance and Engineering) because others (namely, his family) wanted him to study it. He was never particularly passionate about any of his work, but got good marks to not disappoint his family and others. To top it all off, he KNOWS that living like this is wrong, because he told me that he knew. But according to him, it's too difficult to live any other way so he keeps doing it. A couple of examples of his behaviour: - He went out on a few dates with this very pretty girl, whom he began to like. But his mother did not approve of her because of race-related reasons and he promptly dumped her. She manipulated him to feel guilty by using his father's serious illness at the time, saying that this could lead to him having a heart attack, etc. - At the moment, he is looking for a job as he is just about to finish his two degrees. Recently, he was applying for a graduate position at Ford, and one of the questions on the online application was "Describe a time when you had to sacrifice (yes, this for-profit corporation actually used THAT word) yourself for a greater good". Anyway, he calls me to ask me for my advice on how to answer this question. So I tell him that he should actually question the question - say that helping someone is not necessarily a sacrifice, and that a true sacrifice is never admirable, that helping people could be a result of a person's benevolent nature. He listens patiently, and then simply goes: "That all sounds great, but I want to get this job, not stick my neck out."I point out that illustrating that you are an independent thinker capable of questioning would be more beneficial for an employer than someone's ability to sacrifice. He agrees, but says that he doesn't want to sound "too arrogant". It's quite sad really. He does have a mind capable of great things, but I don't think he'll ever reach that potential.
  3. It has made me immeasureably happier. Before I discovered Ayn Rand, I lived by many of the principles of Objectivism, but held many contradictory premises as well. The result was a person who was suffering from a lot of internal confusion. Objectivism gave me the tools to understand what was happening inside of me, and therefore start on a path to a much more rational and yes, happier life.
  4. I had a friend once who was a Kirby salesman. Great product - you should be very proud.
  5. One image in particular that I really like is when in Atlas Shrugged, at a party, The Halley Concerto is played, but it is modified with 'modern' elements. Ayn Rand makes the comment that despite it being horrendously disfigured, the essentials of Halley's melody 'carried' the musical piece. It is a great symbol of what was happening in the world at the time, when despite all the mouchers were doing to corrupt the good in the world, somehow the Prime Movers carried the world forward.
  6. Oh, I understand that real evidence like this could not exist, hence why I wrote evidence in inverted commas. I was just interested in finding some info on this case, to see exactly how he reached this conclusion.
  7. In the days when I used to get dragged off to church by my parents for Easter mass, the priest always told us this story about a scientist who set out to prove that the resurrection of Christ did not occur. Apparently, the 'evidence' proved to be quite contrary to this idea, and as a result he ended up converting to Christianity. Does anybody know any info on this case? I'd be interested in reading about it.
  8. Anything that is built or created or designed has a set of objective criteria that has to be fulfilled. For instance, a performance car should have good acceleration, good brakes and handle well, because that is by objective definition what a performance car ought to be. So in a great performance car - let's say an F1 car - everything is there to make the car go faster, brake better and handle better. Similarly, a low-cost housing project has its criteria also. And when Howard Roark designed Cortlandt, his primary motivation was to make a great building that served the purpose it ought to serve. In other words, a building that existed according to the facts of reality. He wanted to build the best building that he could possibly build. As Bryan pointed out, he would have been aware that the building's inhabitants would have gained satisfaction from living in his building, but that was a secondary consequence of him building the best low-cost building he could build.
  9. There is a scene in the book when Keating and Roark talk about this issue. Roark basically says that Keating can have everything that other men can give him as far as Cortlandt is concerned - i.e. money, fame, admiration, etc (things that Roark does NOT hold as values), and he will get the one thing that only he can give himself - the knowledge that HE built Cortlandt (according to the criteria that such a building ought to have). And that is how Roark derives value from his profession.
  10. Can't believe that no-one's mentioned The Amazing Race yet.
  11. Hi Amber - I also loved a lot of the content on your website. Especially the article "Nurturing positive, value based relationships". However, I was also reading "Gender Healing, seeing bees, not the swarm", and something confused me: "This is where Christianity would help to combat communism. Communism commands hatred; Christianity commands love. Christians are commanded to love their neighbor, and therefore to love women or love men. Misogyny and misandry are considered innately wrong and to be fixed. Gender warfare does not exist in a Christian world. This is why feminists hate Christianity. Christianity also does another thing. It allows people to get over their baggage. Despite a woman being hurt by man after man, or a man being hurt by woman after woman, Christianity allows a person to find healing and forgiveness. Thus, they can go on to pursue an ideal life, not being sucked back into misery and anger." Are you actually a Christian?
  12. Is the Brook vs. O'Reilly interview available on the net at all?
  13. I am originally from Sri Lanka - which is very mystic, like the Philippines. I'm always happy when I hear stories about people who have managed to maintain rationality whilst being surrounded by irrationality. Flowers growing out of rocks, if you like. Welcome to the forum.
  14. I was born in Sri Lanka, and although it is a very mystic culture, the word for "ghost" literally translates to "Shaky/unstable mind". As in, people who 'see' ghosts have shaky/unstable minds. I think it's possibly the best word for any supernatural 'idea'.
  15. Thanks guys. I think this is going to be a thread that I'm going to keep coming back to from time to time this year, every time I need a new book to read. Quick update: I ordered a used copy of "Autobiography of an Idea" through Amazon last night. I also finished reading The Art of the Deal. This is how the book finishes off: "I've never been terribly interested in why people give, because their motivation is rarely what it seems to be, and it's almost pure altruism (here we go - another businessman who regards altruism to be the ideal). To me, what matters is the doing, and giving time is far more valuable than just giving money. In my life, there are two things I've found I'm very good at: overcoming obstacles and motivating good people to do their best work. One of the challenges ahead is how to use those skills as successfully in the service of others as I've done, up to now, on my own behalf. Don't get me wrong. I also plan to keep making deals, big deals, and right around the clock." Blech.
  16. Wow, thanks guys - some of those people / books sound very yummy indeed. Burgess, I'm pretty familiar with Intel's business strategy and how they became such a major player, and found it very impressive, but I haven't yet read too much about the people behind the company. I'll definitely try and read about Grove. Also, I am aware of the problems of reading about people of mixed premises in biography / autobiography form. For example (someone correct me if I'm wrong here), I think Jack Welch, despite his extreme competence is fairly religious. But I hope to enjoy reading about people like this much in the same way as I would watch a movie with some mixed premises. For example, let's take a movie such as Gladiator - most of the fundamental premises of the movie are spot on, but some aspects (such as the belief of an afterlife) are dissapointing. Yet, it's possible to be inspired by it because it's built mostly on sound principles and the good outweighs the bad. Donald Trump's actions are built on very bad foundations, and this is why I couldn't quite get over them. I think my next book will probably be 'The Autobiography of an Idea" (sounds fascinating, Stephen) and then probably "American Steel" or I might try to find a book on Grove. Thanks again!
  17. My 'friend' is my girlfriend, but thanks for the compliment. A bit of background to my life: I studied Commerce at uni (specialising in marketing and business law) and finished at the end of last year. I also did a year of Creative Arts, specialising in creative writing, but with the prevailing standards of art at my university, it was largely a waste of time. I am starting a job as an assistant marketing analyst with multinational ASSA ABLOY next week. I don't envision myself starting a business on my own in the short to medium term, simply because I don't think I have the necessary practical skills to do it yet. However, going into a partnership with a friend who is starting a computer maintenance business where I'd be contributing capital and gaining a share of the profit, without actually running the business (at least, not in the short term) is an option sometime later this year. So basically, I am planning on becoming a very proud, productive businessman. What I want primarily out of an autobiography or biography is inspiration. Something to give me a vision of what is possible for an individual in the world of business. Essentially, what I hope to gain is similar to what I would gain out of a piece of great art. Now, if a book can give me technical help as well, that would be a bonus, but it's not as neccessary. I believe that I have the virtues necessary to become a very good businessman, and I think the best way to pick up technical skills is by getting practical experience, which I will start to get soon. BTW, I am familiar with the story of Brunelleschi's Dome from studying Renaissance History, and yes, I do like the story very much.
  18. I picked up 'The Art of the Deal' by Donald Trump yesterday on special and I've nearly finished it. Very very disappointing. While Trump seems to have genuine business ability (e.g. getting jobs done on time and on budget, attention to detail, etc), he seems to be quite the pragmatist. The low point was when he was talking about how he used antitrust legislation to challenge the NFL's 'monopoly'. While I enjoyed a few parts of his story, it just hasn't been able to inspire me. So I need recommendations. Preferably, I'd like to read about modern day businessmen who are still active in the business world. Jack Welch sounds promising, so I might pick up his book next. But I'm open to other suggestions.
  19. Yes, I think Iron and Wine did a cover for the movie Garden State. I don't mind Iron and Wine, but I don't like their cover of the song as much as the original. The pure, childlike optimism is gone replaced by something more melancholy.
  20. let's keep the funny quotes coming. I read this somewhere last week (I've forgotten where): "Just because you're misunderstood and depressed, doesn't make you an artist".
  21. Naomi Klein is one of those writers who thinks that if they oppose something extensively using a rational-sounding tone, that *somehow* someone will think that she actually stands for something. She doesn't. Read it if you want to get an insight into the populist view of anti-globalisation, but otherwise, it is a waste of time and money.
  22. Yes, yes, I am familiar with Prodos. Nice to meet you too.
  23. Greetings, fellow Australian. Where do you study Biotechnology? It's also my girlfriend's major - at the University of Melbourne.
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