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Everything posted by ~Sophia~

  1. This is not fully accurate. It is true that on the page 56 of Atlas Shrugged part I (based on the 50th Anniversary Edition), Francisco is introduced to us as "the richest man and the most spectacularly worthless playboy on earth". However, as fast as only 30 pages later in the Chapter V of Part I: The Climax of the D'Anconias Rand is already showing us that there is more to Francisco than meets the eye. Rand takes us back to their childhood. Francisco is being characterized, from a very young age, as a man of ability; a man of competence - both mentally and physically. He is brilliant, unusually philosophically mature, displays immaculate work ethics, and acts with an amazing determination in everything he attempts. As bright as he is, he is also not afraid of hard physical work or effort. Two quotes (out of similar many) taken from Chapter V of Part I: quote 1: "The d'Anconia heirs had been men of unusual ability, but none of them could match what Francisco d'Anconia promissed to become. It was as if the centruries had sifted the family's qualities through a fine mesh, had discarded the irrelevant, the inconsequential, the weak, and had let nothing through except pure talent; as if chance, for once, had achieved an entity devoid of the accidental." quote 2: "I can do it," he said [Francisco], when he was building his elevator, clinging to the side of a cliff, driving metal wedges into rock, his arms moving with an expert's rhythm, drops of blood slipping, unnoticed, from under a bandage of his wrist." At the same time: quote 3: "there is no boasting in his manner and consciousness, no thought of comparison. His attitude was not " I can do it better than you," but simply: " I can do it." What he meant by doing was doing superlatively." (end quote). He is always positive and benevolent. If he uses mockery - it always supports his values. He directs it at the irrational but never at the good and never at strangers. So, in Part I of the novel the reader already knows, just like Dagny, that Francisco changed (and rather recently) from the amazing in every way possible to "the most spectacularly worthless playboy on earth". The reader, just like Dagny, does not yet know why. ------------------------- What defines the character of Francisco, what makes him so intriguing especially when he is loosing his fortune and acting like a playboy, is his benevolent universe premise. Francisco, in my opinion, is the first thing which makes the reader solidify the realization that there is something very special about this novel. He is a man of unbreached, true self esteem - the reader senses that from him even when he is acting like a worthless playboy. This is why things about him do not add up (if it was just the fact that he changed... there would be nothing special about it...people change... would have been tragic but not particularly special). On a surface he is approaching worthless (spiritually and financially) and yet.. he is (gasp) happy and not in the crazy person, irrational, "he is loosing it" way. Amazingly, the reader senses authenticity in him: he is grounded, he is certain. This is why the reader is drawn to this character ( it is not because he is a freak of nature in terms of perfection!!!). The movie AS Part I failed to project any of that about Francisco. It is a major failure (and sadly one of many). This is a major failure because it has to do with the morality side of Atlas Shrugged which is the most essential aspect of it. At the very core, Atlas is not a political novel; it is not a love story; it is a morality tale. I did not see that in the movie.
  2. Girls do naturally have a strong nurturing side and they do enjoy playing with dolls more than boys would but that does imply that they don't or won't enjoy more mentally stimulating activities as well.
  3. Some of it is social norms. There is a drastic difference in the kind of toys produced for boys and girls. In general, "boy" toys are a lot more mentally stimulating: puzzles, Lego, transformers, video games ect. Regardless of which category of toys he chooses chances are the activity will present him with a fair amount of mental challenge. Then, upon successfully solving that puzzle or transforming that level 5 transformer, after failing few times and trying again - a boy gets to experience that feeling of achievement, self satisfaction, competence. He likes the feeling (who doesn't?).. he wants to do more of those kind of often highly technical activities. With practice he gets better which builds his confidence and makes him reach for increasingly more challenging tasks. It is not difficult, later in life, for him to see himself doing something similar successfully for a living. He can imagine that the satisfaction will feel similar. In the meantime, girls of the same age have the option of playing with dolls which consists of dressing them in outfits and role playing family/house. Other toy options for young girls are: jewellery making, creating flowers or baking goods out of playdough, or spa essentials for divas. Even video games for girls are mostly about going to the mall and matching outfits!!! Yes, some of it is driven by what the market demands - they produce what sells for each gender due to different interests. At the same time I think that to some degree kids build interests from what they are exposed to. The bottom line is that there are very few options even if you are looking for them. It is hard to find "smart" girl friendly toys. For example, over the years, I managed to find few Lego sets for my niece but I have noticed that even those are not very challenging. Compared to the level of difficulty of Lego sets made for boys, they are significantly "dumbed" down. The answer is probably more complex but I think this is how this starts.
  4. Yes, economically America is repeating some of the mistakes but this is where the ground for parallels ends. America (despite everything) is nothing like the Soviet Union philosophically and culturally so drawing strong similarities between the two countries is absurd and Orloy's wishful thinking. US is very unlikely to experience Russia-style collapse. Orloy attributes economic problems caused by the crash in oil revenues for the Soviet collapse as if it was incidental. This may have been what triggered it but it was not the cause. The collapse of the system was eminent and oil profits only delayed the correction.
  5. I have always considered Kira's admiration for Leo a bit misguided. When I read the book, I thought that possibly Kira projected onto Leo characteristics which were not there. He was handsome enough to be a model but ultimately weak in character and turned out to be unworthy of what Kira did for him. He allowed his environment to destroy him and although I am somewhat sympathetic (considering his circumstances) there is not enough there to evoke respect in me. Kira, in my opinion, had to face much harder challenges in life, much more difficult decisions than Leo did and yet her spirit, her values, her morals and her ideas remained intact. She was a survivor! She remained a fighter for her values, for the kind of life she deserved, for the person she loved, until her last breath. For that reason she has always been a source of admiration and inspiration for me. Kira is my favorite Rand's female character.
  6. Beauty is what elevates the human spirit. Ugliness is what degrades it. Both can be well executed.
  7. Thank you for posting this presentation. I greatly enjoyed it.
  8. Yes. My judgment of Saville is that she is a very good painter. I don't like the message but it is not unclear. Thanks for linking to that interview. Here is one of her answers: Not surprising at all. From "Why Art Became Ugly" :
  9. I am saying that what humans find physically attractive is linked to indicators of health. This is how we developed those preferences or at least a significant component of them - it was beneficial for our species. In terms of evaluating the standard itself on an individual level. What is healthy for a human being (and this would exclude things like looking anorexic or drastically obese) is a reasonable standard of judging human physicality, in my opinion. Health is a rational value. In terms of being creatures of reason.. sure... but we do have a certain nature as well dictated by the reality of our existence.
  10. You can have good art that is ugly. You can have good art with a terrible message. Good in visual art is a measure of how effectively the message was translated into visual form, regardless of what that message is. Good art and beautiful art are not the same thing.
  11. Visual art, unlike music, deals with concretes. As long as an object is representational - as long as it presents an intelligible subject- it can be evaluated objectively. The process has 4 steps: 1. perception of the object 2. conceptual grasp of its meaning 3. an appraisal in terms of one's basic values 4. emotion Even if this process is very fast and it feels to us more like: perception ---> emotion (like in the case of beauty) because the object IS intelligible - it is possible for us to deduce its meaning via reason and thus gain understanding behind our reaction to it. It represents this .... I value ... so I had a positive/negative reaction to it. When the object is not representational the evaluation is subjective. Beauty of representational objects can be objectively evaluated. --------------------------------------------------------- There are observed commonalities in what people find attractive. In terms of human face, it has been observed that even newborns have positive reactions to more symmetrical/harmonious faces. Infants 2 months of age and older will spend more time looking at attractive faces when these are shown paired with faces judged by adults to be unattractive. Some studies reveal that symmetrical faces are an indication of a person who has evolved from a large gene pool (a good thing). The preference for a more symmetrical features also arose from the fact that throughout history, humans have chosen to breed with people they perceived to be healthy. Healthy genes mean a symmetrical face. During developmental stages, if genes are 100% healthy, your left side and right side will be perfectly symmetrical, complete mirror images of each other. This conveys to the world you’ve had healthy genes passed on to you. However, if outside factors skew symmetry, such as a small infection or malnourishment this causes small imperfections during development, creating asymmetry. As many already noted changes in preferences (thinner or more plump), for example, over time do not make them subjective. Subjective would mean that there is no objective reason for an individual to have a preference for one over the other. But there were good reasons for those preferences then and there are good reasons for the preferences of today. There is a good reason for an individual to be attracted to a more fit body; there is a rational reason behind having a preference for a healthy skin. Seems like some do not like that those preferences exist. To me they put themselves in conflict with reality really. To me it is no different than fighting the fact that humans are selfish.
  12. To most people. Objective criteria of beauty in relation to human form has already been identified. This was not an invention of such criteria but an identification - an explanation of human preference. The fact that judgment about human beauty involves classification of harmonious vs. distorted is not controversial for most people. Now days, there are studies on this topic. Those working in industries related to human visual form, for instance, makeup/movie characterization have been relaying on this identification to obtain the desired effect. If they want the audience to see a character as not attractive - they distort the face, make the skin appear not healthy. This is what they teach in characterization classes. The author wanted Cyrano De Bergerac to be perceived as physically ugly so he gave him, an unusually for a human, large nose. Women have been taking advantage of this for centuries by using makeup as a corrective measure, for example, to even out facial complexion and to make the face appear more symmetrical and thus harmonious.
  13. Pressing face against a glass creates visual distortions which are very unflattering. In this way it is not hard to make even an otherwise beautiful face appear unattractive. Jenny Saville purposefully had chosen this technique for many of her creations. One example below.
  14. Many of the poses/stylizations chosen by her would make even a fit body look very unflattering. Her paintings do not show us the beauty of a larger body. She does not portray these women as beautiful.
  15. Reasonably your partner can fully innocently miss some things sometimes (and when he does you should be understanding) but overall the trend should be that he is able to pick up on what is important to you without you asking. This is not mind reading because what is important to you is reflected in your behavior and in the choices you are making (if you have been keeping to yourself about some great value of yours then it would be understandable for him to miss it ). However, considering just how much effort and dedication it requires, and the level of physical achievement it represents, unless you run marathons very often, It is not reasonable to conclude that this was not an important event for you. Your friends picked up on it and you did ask. When a family member (let's say a teenager) gets a part in a play and asks another family member: "Are you going to come to the play?" it is commonly understood that he is asking for this family member to come and watch his performance, otherwise he would not have mention it at all. This is not mind reading - this is what reasonably follows considering the circumstances. Don't ignore your feeling of invisibility. Ask yourself what the tend in your relationship has been and that will help you to decide what to do about it.
  16. I would like to see Conservative majority so we can have a break from this circus for few years.
  17. It is the law which needs to be changed. The role of a judge is to follow the law so this is not surprising. On the upside of things - Ezra Levant got his own TV show on Sun TV network (new network launched this month - sort of "Fox of the north" - right wing, all news channel) in which he is bringing public awareness to these issues. His show has a very explicit thematic focus on freedom and proper individual-state relationship. Very exciting. Until now the radical Left had monopoly on news in Canada.
  18. It is likely, given negative reviews, that people's inspiration to pick up the book does not come from being particularly taken by the movie. However, given the rise in book sales, there must have been enough there in terms of ideas, even if presented badly, even if only on the sense of life level. This happened to me in the past when my first introduction to something was not ideal or even the most accurate but I felt that "fit"... it resonated with me, and that was enough to grab me. I pursued it further. I am sure many of you will understand what I mean. It seems that to some degree that is happening. In that context, I am glad this movie was made.
  19. And that is why new security proposals must be proven to be genuinely effective, rather than creating a false sense of security while being incredibly intrusive. No airport in the world faces terrorist threats more serious than does Ben Gurion Airport in Tel Aviv and yet it is the most secure airport in the world. Ben Gurion has experienced no serious terrorist incidents for more than 30 years. At the same time we don't hear stories like the one above at that airport. What infuriates people about TSA and what makes it different from Ben Gurion Aiport's approach, is the repeatedly displayed lack of common sense. A person does not need to have a degree in security screening to see that this family clearly did not pose any security risks. Ben Gurion Aiport has a very comprehensive security planning but this thread is about the pat downs so I will focus on that. Are there occasional pat downs at the Ben Gurion Aiport? Yes - there is a chance of that. However, those are implemented in conjunction with behavior pattern recognition. This policy not only satisfies civil liberties questions (I think it would for any reasonable person) but for over 30 years has been meeting their security goals. Racial profiling is not as effective because an enemy of a different ethnic background (but similar beliefs..) could be missed and potentially able to successfully carry out an attack. I can guarantee you that if TSA airport security staff was well trained in behavior pattern recognition and "given reasonable suspicion...." was in TSA's vocabulary in relation to these pat downs - people like me would have a much easier time accepting this policy. This is just one example of the kind of improvements which could be made. Again, it is the lack of common sense, it is the blatant missing of the mark in terms of security like in the above example, which is infuriating. It is for this reason that TSA gets absolutely no sympathy from me even though, similarly to you, I do recognize the need for security.
  20. There is no better introduction to Objectivism than Ayn Rand's own writing. I have not encountered more effective or as effective source than Rand.
  21. Atlas Shrugged Movie Boosts Book to #4 on Amazon Bestseller List
  22. I agree. It is precisely in the time of human conflict that moral principles are the most crucial. Harshness of war is no excuse for acting like a barbarian yourself. If and only if the action was required for proper self defense. War is NOT a moral blank card.
  23. Yes that must be it. It could not have been the deeply established cultural Jewish traditions of valuing education and hard work plus high degree of rationality among this ethnic group.
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