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Everything posted by adrock3215

  1. I tend to favor Late Romantic era classical music such as Tchaikovsky, Rach, etc. I personally don't like much of the modernist stuff because it tends to reject the more harmonic and melodic elements of the Romantic era that I love. I like to hear lyrical melodies and experience moments where the power of harmony moves me emotionally, and I don't get that from many modernist compositions. Perhaps Rachmaninoff himself says it best: "The new kind of music seems to create not from the heart but from the head. Its composers think rather than feel. They have not the capacity to make their works exalt—they meditate, protest, analyze, reason, calculate and brood, but they do not exalt." Rach's Piano Concerto No. 2 is one of my favorite musical compositions as well, but there are many interpretations where it is played too slow and overdone. When played right, the lyrical melodies and rich, texturized harmonic moments are astounding (especially when seen live). The first movement is brilliant to me because of the way Rach structures it so as to reach its emotional climax slowly. Whoever wrote the entry on Wikipedia characterized the development of the first movement as "agitated and unstable", which I think is quite accurate. The second movement is my favorite, and I think it is the emotional centerpiece of the work. The piano trades the melody with the flute at the beginning, which is just beautiful to me. I tend to characertize this movement as melancholy at first, but if you listen carefully, there seems to be something underneath the initial melancholy mood that comes out. To me, it builds throughout the movement, with the few emotional moments brilliantly transititioned into with the piano and the horns. I'm no expert on music, but from an active listener's perspective, I label these moments as that "something" emerging from the initial melancholy mood, fiercer and fiercer. My favorite part of the second movement is the ending when the pianist is striking the huge dramatic chords and the orchestra playing behind, which I like to label as the triumph of whatever that "something" is. The third movement is my least favorite, but I love listening to the coda, because it is technically amazing the way Rach put it together. Other good classical music that I have discovered (from my limited exploration of it): Vivaldi's Le quattro stagioni Rach's Piano Concerto No. 3 Rach's Symphony No. 2 Rach's Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini Tchaikovsky's Piano Concerto No. 1 Tchaikovsky's Violin Concerto Tchaikovsky's Nutcracker Suite Bach's Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring Mendelssohn's On Wings of Song Liszt's Liebesträume (absolutely beautiful) Grieg's Piano Concerto No. 1 Chopin's Etude for piano No. 3 in E major Chopin's Nocturne for piano No. 2 in E flat major Tchaikovsky's Symphony #6 (Pathetique) Berlioz's Symphonie Fantastique Elgar's Serenade for Strings in E minor There's many more, but I can't think of anymore off the top of my head.
  2. Wait, what's so bad about these numbers? So what, GDP shrank a few percentage points. It needs to shrink a lot more. You've been listening to too many economist's on TV talk shows. Real economic growth is not driven by consumption. We shouldn't be trying to get back to a pre-August 2007 level, where everyone is consuming recklessly. This recession is exactly what America needs to get back into shape. Millions of jobs should be lost, credit should be cut off, and housing values should plummet. Moreover, your statement "the economy shrug by the largest amount in 27 years, so the government needs to stop messing with the economy" is a non sequitur that requires much more thought between the statement of fact and the conclusion. "Cut projects and cut spending while lowering taxes" is equally ridiculous. American government owes the world large amounts of debt. If it doesn't increase taxes and honestly pay for that debt, it will increase inflation and dishonestly pay it. Since inflation eats away at current savings, and since savings is the engine of real economic growth, more inflation is the wrong prescription. Your assertion amounts to nothing more than recommending an increase in inflation.
  3. This is a ridiculous post, and the attitude displayed is at least partially the reason why Objectivism is not taken seriously. Doomsday predictions, which are more common in Libertarian circles, are absurd hyperbole. Whatever is happening in the political realm is nothing compared to what is occuring in the intellectual realm, notably, in universities. Politics is absolutely the wrong focal point for any rational individual.
  4. The last thing we need at this point in time is tax cuts. We should have tax hikes, until government pays off the entire debt, at which point they can cut taxes and get the hell out of the way.
  5. Since you are dropping lists, I may as well post mine. I began this list in July of last year, after OCON. Here is what I read since then: Fiction -------- Quo Vadis by Sienkiewicz The Toilers of the Sea by Hugo The Scarlet Letter by Hawthorne The Sun Also Rises by Hemingway The Road by McCarthy Pride & Prejudice by Austen Northanger Abbey by Austen Notre-Dame de Paris by Hugo The Miser by Moliere The Would-be Gentleman by Moliere Don Juan by Moliere That Scoundrel Scapin by Moliere Notes from Underground by Dostoevsky Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit by Winterson Sparrowhawk Book One: Jack Frake by Cline Hard Times by Dickens Mrs. Dalloway by Woolf Remains of the Day by Ishiguro Bartleby the Scrivener: A Story of Wall Street by Melville Candide by Voltaire The Sea Gull by Chekov Non-Fiction -------- Infidel by Ayaan Hirsi Ali Poetics by Aristotle The Truth About Muhammad by Spencer The Virtuosi: Classical Music's Great Performers by Schonberg The Last Days of Socrates: Euthyphro; The Apology; Crito; and Phaedo by Plato The Worldly Philosophers: The Great Economic Thinkers by Heilbroner Becoming Mona Lisa by Sassoon Existentialism: From Dostoevsky to Sarte by Kaufmann Existentialism is a Humanism by Sartre The Romantic Manifesto by Rand The Age of Turbulence by Greenspan For the New Intellectual by Rand The Art of Non-Fiction by Rand The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire by Gibbon Moneyball by Lewis Fatherhood by Cosby Michelangelo's David: A Search for Identity by Seymour, Jr. The Montessori Method by Montessori Studies in Iconology: Humanistic Themes in the Art of the Renaissance by Panofsky How to Read and Why by Bloom Poetry -------- The Love Poems of Lord Byron by Byron Selected Poems by Whitman + several unimportant singular passages from compiled volumes.
  6. I searched around a bit and found this site: http://www.makeliterature.com/blog/barack-...as-reading-list Mr. Obama has several decent books on his list. I also found this laughable photo, where he's carrying Zakaria’s “The Post-American World" and looks more rockstar than politician.
  7. Preferably two to three hours a day, but at times it can be more or less. I never go a day without reading for at least 30 minutes.
  8. That may be one of the first things I've ever agreed with Stiglitz on. We here in the States take for granted the institutional infrastructure behind our markets. Imagine if nobody had faith in the judicial system. Fraud would be a regular occurance. Capitalism demands that the rule of law be established and held supreme. The other thing to take into account is that many older Russians were socialized through the Soviet communist system. This means that these elders did not have the fundamental values that capitalism needs to survive, i.e. hard work, honesty, productiveness. I know several Russian immigrants here in the States who recognize the superiority of capitalism. One of them told me, however, that his parents remain in Russia, and claim that communism is a political ideal. He said that, in the former Soviet Union, there is a disconnect between the values and thoughts of the younger generations, as opposed to the older generations. Someone correct me if I am wrong, but I think a similiar story happened in Rand's family: her sister liked the Soviet Union and refused to immigrate to America later in Rand's life.
  9. What is your time horizon, and what is your age? Consider adding to your list shorting the US Treasury market as well. As inflation creeps up, bond yields will have to rise dramatically, i.e. bond prices will fall.
  10. To anyone who has been around young children, this question is essentially irrelevant. Young children only understand selfishness--what they don't understand is selflessness. It's up to the parents to foster the child's natural inclination to act in his own self-interest; most parents fail horribly at this task, and destroy their own kids by preaching altruism and self-sacrifice as moral ideals. As a child grows, he will undoubtedely face opposition from all sides, but with the help and guidance of a parent will develop a more systemic and conceptual justification for egoism, as opposed to altruism.
  11. In an editorial in the Post the day after inauguration, George Will flipped the childish comment around back towards the American people. It was a great read. You can see it here.
  12. That's an interesting question, and one with which I have struggled with recently. My thoughts are not totally sorted out on it, but I can hopefully offer a rough outline of what I have been thinking. Firstly, I think that when evaluating art it is important to throw out most of the 20th century criticism movements that attempt to judge art from some particular perspective (usually politicized), i.e. New Historicism, Structuralism, Post-Structuralism, Multiculturalism, Marxism, Feminism, etc. As Harold Bloom modifies a famous quote by Dr. Samuel Johnson in How to Read and Why: "clear your mind of academic cant. A university culture where the appreciation of Victorian women's underwear replaces the appreciation of Charles Dickens and Robert Browning sounds like the outrageousness of a new Nathanael West..." That said, the etymology of the word aesthetic is Greek and relates to perception, or things perceptible through the senses. I tend to believe that a work of art can be judged on a purely aesthetic merit in addition to its message. That is to say, one can disagree with an artwork's message yet still find value in its more sensual elements. For instance, there are many writers that disgust me philosophically yet write astounding prose or poetry. The metaphorical skill of Proust deserves some credit, whatever Proust's philosophical shortcomings were. George Crumb's composition "A Haunted Landscape" amounts to a near total rejection of the more harmonic and melodic elements of Baroque and Romantic era music, yet it has some artistic merit in its ability to recreate the eerie feeling of a haunted landscape through a pointed stimulation of the senses. As for the history question, I also disagree with the various and sundry movements that attempt to evaluate art through the lens of history. A critic from such a point of view may say, for example, that Rand was a reaction to 20th century collectivism and communism and Voltaire was a reaction to the injustices of France in the 18th century. I wouldn't say that an investigation of an artist's contemporary period is unimportant, but I would say that there is more to understanding or judging a work of art than contextualizing it within its historic period. Such a view makes little sense anyhow, since great art tends to be perpetually relevant to man's condition on earth. Bloom also writes in How to Read and Why that "you are more than an ideology, whatever your convictions", which seems to echo Shakespeare's Hamlet: "There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, Than are dreamt of in your philosophy." These may or may not be disagreeable quotes within the Objectivist community, but there is a point to be made: philosophy is abstract, and humans must act in the world according to their philosophical abstractions, whatever they may be. Rand writes in The Fountainhead that "we live in our minds, and existence is the attempt to bring that life into physical reality, to state it in gesture and form." Perhaps she was talking about her own book, since the quote seems to be a pertinent description of art. Regardless, there is a certain pleasure to be found in the discovery of how an artist translates his abstractions into existence, irrespective of philosophical content. I have found through experience that approaching an artwork from a particular formulaic mindset will prevent one from enjoying it on an aesthetic basis, assuming its message is disagreeable.
  13. Even assuming that she did somewhat decent work, why would a company want to keep around an individual that it knows has a history of deception?
  14. Hah! That would be great if you could find a clip of it. I'd like to see the context of the conversation.
  15. Actually that is totally wrong. A person with money would prefer a deflationary environment to an inflationary one, since, in the former, the purchasing power of each unit of money would increase, making his or her dollars more valuable. The opposite phenomenon would occur in an inflationary environment for a person with money.
  16. As for Friedman: Yes, he did come after Keynes, although he is not so much better. The most acute summary of the current crisis is that the Fed is conducting monetary policy mainly according to Friedman's thought, while the government is pursuing the quintessential Keynes remedy. Of course, the Austrians figured many things out before Keynes came along. But the Austrians didn't help us solve the largest problem in economics, the problem underlying most disagreements. The problem in economics today is methodology. Austrian Kantianism is not the answer, and mainstream positivism is equally disheartening.
  17. I agree that this so-called 'book bomb' is non-sensical. Additionally, I'm surprised no one's mentioned the fact that--as an introduction to Objectivist thought--The Fountainhead is far superior to Atlas Shrugged.
  18. I just stumbled upon this Charlie Rose interview of Harold Bloom, probably done sometime around the mid 90's. Bloom is one of my favorite Humanities professors. He is the preeminent literary critic of the 20th century (well, him and Northrop Frye I suppose), and an English professor at Yale and NYU. The interview is about the release of Bloom's book, The Western Canon: The Books and School of the Ages, which includes a list of some 800 authors and 3,000 works that should be read on the basis of aesthetic value. Of course, when the book came out, many on the left attacked it for including "too many white men." In this interview, he strongly comes out against today's university environment (he calls it the 'School of Resentment'), with its various politicized studies of literature, as well as the literary criticism of today, which its emphasis on criticism from various ideological perspective, i.e. 'feminist criticism', 'Marxist criticism', etc. On one hand, he disagrees with the conversative inclination to solely search for moral value in literature; on the other hand, he disagrees with the liberal multiculturalist inclination that, as he says "is not asking us to read Cervantes over Shakespeare, but rather extremely inadequate chicano writers" over Cervantes. He offers his view of reading, which is more centered around the self, specifically the improvement of individual cognitive power. He quotes Aristotle in the interview, who said that the ability to create metaphor is "the special mark of genius in every one of us." http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cBqO3Q0eE3I
  19. This isn't a bad segment. It is a pretty accurate portrayal of Keynes' eccentricities, and a quick summation of his lasting economic legacy. In addition, the man interviewed stated that there is still disagreement going on in the economics profession over the extent of the practicality of Keynes' ideas, which is true. He also has a point that economics has not progressed much since Keynes' time. There are no new ideas in economics today, the profession is severly lacking.
  20. Nope, not a socialist. It's hard to categorize him accurately. The best label I can think of is, as has been said above, pragmatist.
  21. Inflation helps debtors at the expense of creditors, while deflation helps creditors at the expense of debtors. In a deflationary environment, debtors face increasing real payments on loans. From the government's perspective, deflation would be a travesty (the US is the world's largest debtor). In the early history of the United States, because farmers were large borrowers, farmers fought deflation by lobbying government to establish the First and Second Central Banks. Naturally, those who hold some consumption-centered macroeconomic view (most economists today) will argue that deflation is detrimental to economic growth, since it lowers consumption in the current period. Consumers know prices will decline in the future, therefore they increase saving and decrease current consumption. Businesses will also choose to delay purchases of capital goods in anticipation of future price declines, therefore capital good consumption will additionally decrease. Businesses also face other problems in a deflationary environment. They will act to lower wages, which is never easy. Wages, in general, cannot be reduced as quickly as prices ('sticky wage' problem). The result is that business profits may be squeezed and many firms may face bankruptcy. Deflation is necessary to get us out of the current crisis. Americans have recklessly borrowed and consumed for the last decade, while savings rates have plummeted. This is due to encouragement from government. As Bush said after 9/11 (paraphrasing), go to the mall and start shopping, it's the patriotic thing to do. Meanwhile Greenspan dropped interest rates to spur consumption and did, by creating the bubble in the mortgage market. Deflation, in the current crisis, would potentially wipe out debtors who should not have borrowed. It would also act to encourage saving, which is a crucial component of economic growth.
  22. adrock3215

    Animal rights

    What is the evidence you have that would warrant such a testing? Generally speaking, if a test is going to be done, there is some documentable evidence that makes the issue unclear. You agree that reason is a necessary condition for free will, and there is no evidence in existence that points to animals which use reason to judge their own judgement (except humans). Certainly if you and I were in the same room, we wouldn't have to do a scientific test to know that it is night outside in the DC area right now--we could both just look out the window to confirm it. Likewise, we can discuss our observations of animals. Do we need a scientific test to prove every piece of knowledge? Isn't that essentially positivism?
  23. adrock3215

    Animal rights

    Fair enough. I recognize that error and see how 'self generated' could refer to beings without free will. The rest of that short post stands, but the last sentence about Rand is incorrect. There is no such hypothetical volitional animal. There is no free will without reason, as Aquinas demonstrates. Anything without a rational faculty does not have free will. Animals do not use reason, hence animals do not have free will. Without free will, there can be no discussion of rights, since rights to begin with pertain to freedom of action. Going back to your first post, you wrote that "'Free will', again, isn't the reason why humans have rights." I agree that free will is not per say the source of rights, but my point is that free will is a necessary condition for the existence of rights. In other words, it has to be established that the being has free will, in order for the topic of rights to be discussed. *EDIT: Actually, the more I think about it, I feel as if I must change the conclusion: Free will is simultaneously a necessary and sufficient condition for the existence of rights. One cannot exist without the other.
  24. adrock3215

    Animal rights

    Animals have no rights, because they have no free will. If animals had free will, they would have rights. Your quote from Rand confirms this: "self-generated action" means free will.
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