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Bold Standard

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  1. I heard someone say this on Youtube so I'm naturally inclinded to disbelieve. Did she really support Nixon?

    In the run-up to the 1972 election, Ayn Rand wrote: "I am not an admirer of President Nixon, as my readers know. But I urge every able-minded voter, of any race, creed, color, age, sex, or political party, to vote for Nixon as a matter of national emergency. This is no longer an issue of choosing the lesser of two commensurate evils. The choice is between a flawed candidate representing Western civilization and the perfect candidate of its primordial enemies... If there were some campaign organization called 'Anti-Nixonites for Nixon,' it would name my position."

  2. This past Summer I read Atlas Shrugged, and I know it shounds like a cliche, but it really did change my life.

    Nah, the cliche is to say, "I didn't get it. It was too intellectual. There were too many speeches." It takes someone special to really take it to heart and integrate it with his daily principles so that it changes his life, I think.

  3. You gave me a lot of questions, so I'll rattle off some quick responses.

    The ear is the organ that senses sound. Auditory sensations result in sound perceptions (e.g. hearing a violin's F#) which are the building blocks of music. It's where the rubber meets the road.

    Is it The Ear where the pleasure of listening to music originates? Or is it in the mind, where the music is contemplated and interpreted?

    "Whose ear?" is a good question, because I think that the nature of a particular ear could potentially make a big difference as to how a sound is perceived. I’ve heard of people having highly sensitive ears, so much so that music has to be played extremely well to sound good to them. Helmholtz apparently noticed this. But, as a rule, I don't believe there is a big difference from human-to-human when it comes to the physiology of the ear.

    I think that the difference in sense of life and cognitive habits from individual to individual are much more significant determinants in what music is pleasing or offensive than the physiology of individuals' ears. But I think it is possible that physiology could make a difference. I don't know how much. I do think that the media on which music is broadcast and the room in which it is heard make a much bigger difference to how music is interpreted than is usually taken into casual consideration, though.

    Melody is a succession of sounds held together by a frequency pattern and a rhythm. It's the glue that holds a piece of music together. I think it is the essential ingredient to music and can stand alone. Everything else helps the melody and adds to the richness of a piece.

    Interesting point on percussion. I'll have to think about it, but I will note that a pure percussion piece has to change timber and frequency to be interesting. If it's just about timing, then I think it'd be like a Morse code signal, which I wouldn't consider to be music. Anyway, let me answer this question by asking you what you think. Is a pure percussion piece music?

    I think that a percussion piece can be music. And I think that drum cadences with little changes in timber and pitch can be interesting, such as old military march cadences played on a single snare drum.

    But rather than viewing melody or rhythm as entirely distinct ingredients of music that combine to make a piece of music, I regard them as different methods of considering musical pieces which are often indivisible. Music is the periodic vibrations generated by sonorous bodies intentionally directed for the purpose of invoking sense of life emotions in an audience.

    But there are many aspects of the tones generated by musical instruments which can be periodic on various scales. A single pitch can be said to be a very rapid periodic succession of sound waves.. A higher pitch being more rapid and a lower pitch being less rapid. A series of varying pitches is what I would define as a melody, and the mathematical relationships of the various pitches in a melody are something that the mind is often able to integrate and analyze subconsciously and automatically.

    But no natural sonorous body generates pure sinusoidal wave forms (at least, not exclusively). Any tone likely to be heard in music possesses overtones and harmonics. Various pitches being played simultaneously is harmony. Two tones originated from various sources can harmonize with each other, and (in my view) a single tone can harmonize with its own overtones and harmonics. So from the beginning harmony is present even within the simplest melody.

    Rhythm is also a way of analyzing periodic vibrations, but it's usually on a much, much slower scale than pitch. Pitch is the rapidity of vibrations on the scale of vibrations per second, whereas rhythm can be viewed as beats per minute (or slower, or faster). But there is considerable gray area between the two at times. And rhythm is not merely the frequency with which a tone is struck, plucked, or otherwise sounded. Distinct, natural rhythms can be heard within the relationship of tones sounded in a single chord (this is most obvious in instruments with lots of rich overtones, such as an organ or synthesizer).

    So utilizing various techniques, a musician can attempt to isolate various elements of music.. He can try to isolate rhythm by playing a cadence on a snare drum. Yet even the slightest variation in dynamics, or striking the drum head in various places will cause the pitch to fluctuate. The rattling of the snare against the drum and the resonating of the drum itself will cause overtones and harmonics. All elements of music will be present, but the most obvious will be the rhythmic elements.

    So I agree that melody is probably the "most interesting element" in music, because it sort of sits in the middle.. It's the most observable element in most music, I suppose. Even if one is analyzing the changes in harmony within a progression, he is observing melodic relationships simultaneously contrasting with and complementing one another (rhythmically, of course). It's just, I don't think you can ever have a pure melody entirely distinct from harmony and rhythm, or that "melody" makes sense outside of a harmonic and rhythmic and timbral context. (I didn't even touch on timbre in this post, because I think I've gotten complicated enough as it is! : P)

  4. My standard of aesthetically good in the realm of music:

    Music that is good on the ears (doesn't hurt them, literally) and has some rhythm and/or unity. Must for the same reasons as a poem with no rhyme or beat sounds like poo, and can be put in the category of modern art, or just plain faction/nonfiction.

    Well, that's a rather generous standard.. All music has *some* rhythm and/or unity, otherwise it wouldn't be music. Certainly pop music has rhythm and unity, and is usually more rhythmically based than classical music.

    I don't know what form of subjective you are using, but I am using this. In particular, I use this meaning: I don't believe I was doing this.

    No, I didn't mean subjective in that sense, and I don't think that's what you were doing, either. I meant it in the sense that Ayn Rand uses the term on pg 56 of the Romantic Manifesto (I guess I was taking it for granted that you've read that, but maybe you haven't).

    Here's the quote:

    "In listening to music, a man cannot tell clearly, neither to himself nor to others—and, therefore, cannot prove—which aspects of his experience are inherent in the music and which are contributed by his own consciousness. He experiences it as an indivisible whole, he feels as if the magnificent exaltation were there, in the music—and he is helplessly bewildered when he discovers that some men do experience it and some do not. In regard to the nature of music, mankind is still on the perceptual level of awareness.

    "Until a conceptual vocabulary is discovered and defined, no objectively valid criterion of esthetic judgment is possible in the field of music. (There are certain technical criteria, dealing mainly with the complexity of harmonic structures, but there are no criteria for identifying the content, i.e., the emotional meaning of a given piece of music and thus demonstrating the esthetic objectivity of a given response.)

    "At present, our understanding of music is confined to the gathering of material, i.e., to the level of descriptive observations. Until it is brought to the stage of conceptualization, we have to treat musical tastes or preferences as a subjective matter—not in the metaphysical, but in the epistemological sense; i.e., not in the sense that these preferences are, in fact, causeless and arbitrary, but in the sense that we do not know their cause. No one, therefore, can claim the objective superiority of his choices over the choices of others. Where no objective proof is available, it's every man for himself—and only for himself."

    As for your last part, one has to take in the full context as it was, not the one you are placing on it. It was a single chord, played with nothing else, and was slightly off the way he hit the keys.

    Well, if someone plays a single chord, I don't think it should necessarily be judged as though it were an entire finished piece of music in itself. In the situation as you described it, it was a demonstration of the chord, and therefore didn't really have a context. So if I were asked to consider a single chord outside of a song with no real context besides "does this sound good or bad," I wouldn't give a straight answer. I would answer it with questions: "What chords and melodies are intended to lead up to that chord? What is going to follow it? What will the accompanying instruments in the arrangement be doing, if there are any?" etc. A chord that sounds horrible outside of its context or without any context isn't inherently bad. Any chord could be made to sound good in the right context, in my view.

    I understand how this could be mistaken for when most people speak, they speak of other people's opinions blindly. However, I was not doing that. When I was writing about my professor's example, it was my own mind judging, not the class's "collective" mind.

    Sorry if it sounded like I was accusing you of that, I didn't intend to.

    Also, I think what you mean by subjective is "relative" which is different and can still be objective.

    Not exactly. (See AR quote above).

  5. When I took a jazz class in college, the teacher laid out an example where he hit a few keys on a piano. He said, this (hits a deep sound) gives this type of response. This (hits high pitched keys) gives this type of response. When we put them together, it comes to this (plays them together).

    Then he hit some random keys that didn't go together at all, and said basically, "this sounds like crap". It was true, it did.

    From this simple demonstration, I think it can be said that aesthetics can be objectively better or worse.

    That doesn't follow.. Who's to say that the teacher or any of the students were being objective when they evaluated those sounds? Based on what objective criteria?

    How does that demonstration show anything other than that sounds can be subjectively evaluated as better or worse?

    Furthermore, it seems likely to me that the chords he played which "sound(ed) like crap" were probably more complicated intervals (which sounded like crap most likely because of the way they were voiced and the lack of context, but which could potentially have sounded good, with perhaps surprisingly limited alterations), which could almost certainly be ironically described by some pretentious advocate of dischordal harmonies as "more sophisticated" than the other chords which were more "popular" with the class.

  6. If, however, you mean it cannot be objectively stated and demonstrated that classical music is more sophisticated than pop music, then you are wrong.

    That is what I meant, and I'm not wrong because there is not really an objective standard for determining how sophisticated a given piece of music is, as a whole.

    I can easily demonstrate how classical music is much more sophisticated than popular. For example, if I can sit down with someone and present a comparison of, say, a Bach fugue with their favorite pop song I can show how the Bach fugue displays much greater musical sophistication (formal, contrapuntal, harmonic, melodic, rhythmic) and required far more compositional technique. I can even use a much less complex piece than a fugue...let's say a Schubert art song (which actually is more direct comparison, i.e., art song vs. pop song)...same result.

    It is possible to isolate some specific element of a piece of music, and compare that one element to the same element in another piece of music, and say that one piece is more sophisticated than the other assuming sophistication is defined and limited to some one specific analysis of that one element in the music.

    For example, one could define sophistication according to how many notes are in a song and then conclude that Chopin's "minute waltz" is more sophisticated than "Row Row Row Your Boat" because there are more notes in the score.

    But there is more to the effects music has on listeners than how many notes are in the score--more than the notes that are heard by the ear--more than the notes that are not heard but are implied or assumed by the ear--more than the notes that the ear wants to hear and is frustrated in their absence--and importantly, more than scientists and aestheticians have even begun to understand.

    I think an objective definition of musical sophistication would need to take more into account than a "formal, contrapuntal, harmonic, melodic, rhythmic" analysis (as those are presently understood) could afford. Ultimately, I would expect it also to account for the context of what the artist was trying to evoke in the listener, the artistic merits of trying to evoke that in somebody, how effectively and intensely the effect is achieved, etc, the former of which could not be objectively deduced and the latter of which could not be objectively understood at the present time. I say at the present time, because I think eventually it will be understood, and objective criteria for judging music will be established, assuming rational philosophy one day comes to dominate the sciences.

    At that time I wouldn't be surprised if many classical pieces are determined to be more sophisticated than many popular pieces. Certainly I would be surprised if anyone concluded that Nirvana's repertoire is more sophisticated than Rachmaninoff's, and I would seriously want to check the premises that led to such a conclusion.

    But there is plenty of classical music that is pure, generic, formulaic, boring crap. And there are plenty of popular songwriters who wrote brilliantly moving scores, even by most of the traditional forms of evaluation--for example, Harold Arlen (Wizard of Oz), Rogers and Hammerstein (Sound of Music), Burt Bacharach (almost every descent pop song from the 60's), George Gershwin (Rhapsody in Blue), etc etc.

  7. The point is, if I listen closely and critically to rock or rap or metal or any other type of popular music, I hear virtually no musical sophistication, no subletly, no depth, no richness, nothing of any real musical beauty or greatness or profundity. To put it bluntly, speaking on a purely musical level, any type of popular music offers very, very little. At best, if I find the music attractive for some reason, I am entertained and I can enjoy it and accept it at that “entertainment” level. But that is about it.

    If the situation is as bad as that, I would conclude the issue must lie at least in part with you the listener rather than the music itself. Or perhaps your exposure to popular music is extremely limited. I would agree that *most* popular music offers little of profound value (to me), but that would apply equally to *most* classical music. The way this article is presented, assuming some kind of dichotomy of sophistication between classical and popular music, represents an archaic cliché among snobby classical composers. The fact of the matter is, we are still a long way from understanding why anybody reacts to music the way he does, so nobody can objectively say "this music is sophisticated, and that music is offensive."

    But as far as subtlety, greatness, and thought of composition go, what strikes me isn't the distinction between classical and popular music; but more so the distinction between music of past and music of present. It seems to me that in popular and symphonic music alike, there has been a continual decline in the beauty and emotional scope of musical compositions over the past hundred years, greatly accelerated since the 1960s. I believe there is a cultural and ultimately philosophical explanation for this. But then, it is hard to point to anything concrete, because of the impossibility of establishing any objective criteria for judging music as it is presently understood. One can only point to similar declines in other arts which are vulnerable to objective scrutiny.

    Why do smart people respond to terrible art in general? I would recommend reading Ayn Rand's essay "The Esthetic Vacuum of Our Age" in Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal as a potential lead to discovering some of the causes.

  8. I have been boycotting VD for the majority of my adult life, single or not. It does not bother me that others celebrate it same way I have no feelings either way toward Chinese New Year or Hanukkah but for me personally there is something very unappealing about celebrating something as selective as love on a usually meaningless day (in respect to couple's relationship history) and collectively at the same time with everybody else. Just not my thing. I am very much for celebrating events that are of particular significance to each individual couple.

    Nathaniel Branden's book The Psychology of Romantic Love starts out with an interesting argument that the modern ideal of romantic love is very much a product of capitalism and the industrial revolution just as was the commercialism we celebrate on Christmas. It's the *ideal* of romantic love that I celebrate on Valentines day.. I don't mind celebrating it "collectively," because it's something that should be a value to all people, just like commercialism on Christmas or freedom on independence day.

  9. And then wash them down with some tasty red wine, and even though you're drinking by yourself it won't be alcoholism because it's celebrating Valentine's Day, yay!

    Try some Kir Royale. (A little more Valentine's-y) Pour a little creme de cassis (a sweet, red, blackcurrant flavored liqueur) in a glass and top with champagne and (if you want) garnish with a raspberry.

  10. Sorry for the poor quality. To take a good photo of yourself in a mirror is not that easy.


    You look much younger than 33, Sophia.

    Oh yeah, here's a newer one with my current guitar. Fender Jaguar Baritone Custom. There's my profile and my De Bergerac nose. Don't know what I was looking at. : D Kind of blurry, that was a cell phone picture.

    Newer guitar pic:


  11. You can objectify and rationalize the subjective?

    I don't know what you mean by that.. [edit: and I certainly didn't *say* that.] Define your terms. Specifically, how do you define "subjective"? Are all judgments "subjective"?

    I come to like or dislike music purely by how it sounds to me. [...] A simple criterion: Do I feel like humming it? Another criterion: Do I feel like moving to it? Stuff like that.

    "Stuff like that" is not "purely how it sounds" to you. There is a distinction between hearing the music and the way hearing the music effects you. And do your feelings arise in a vacuum? Or are there underlying causes that relate to your nature and the nature of the music?

  12. One should come to like or dislike music by listening to the music, and not by reading someone's opinion of the music. The expert opinion of a musician or composer might reveal some structural aspect of the music to the non-musician, but aesthetic judgment still lies with the listener. Was Ayn Rand a musician or a composer? Why should her opinions concerning music have any more weight than yours or mine?

    Bob Kolker

    Nobody forms an opinion by simply listening to music. You must also analyze it and your experience of hearing it by some implicit or explicit criteria in order to form an opinion. Of course, every judgment lies with the person doing the judging, but that doesn't imply that there are no objective criteria for judging anything or that one person's judgment on any topic is as valid as another's or that judgments cannot be incorrect.

    Ayn Rand was not a musician or composer, but she was a philosopher. Aesthetics is a branch of philosophy, and is always derivative of an implicit or explicit metaphysics, epistemology, and ethics. Anyone who has studied The Romantic Manifesto knows it was Ayn Rand's position that definitive, objective criteria for judging music are impossible at the present time, because more scientific research must be done on the physiology and psychology of how musical sounds effect human beings. But she still wrote intelligently about the feelings that certain music, such as Rachmaninoff's 2nd Piano Concerto, evoked in her, that other people can compare to their own experience of hearing the music, and then possibly be enlightened to a new way of thinking about it.

    I am a musician, and I think that, if the relevant scientific data were available, a (rational, objective) philosopher's opinions would have *more* weight than a musician's or composer's, because the philosopher deals with the more fundamental, abstract concepts that underly the art, and the musician merely takes those ideas and applies them to his particular craft and talent.

  13. About two thirds of the Objectivists I know are techies, not esthetes. Before they read Ayn Rand's books, they probably couldn't name a single classical composer. They hear about Rachmaninoff from her, they get curious, find a CD, realize that they like it, and add it to their list of favorites. No one says that we cultishly worship our friends when we listen to their book, movie, and music recommendations. But we must be trying to become Ayn Rand look-alikes when we listen to *her* recommendations in the same field.

    Even if every Objectivist were an esthete, and they all hated Rachmaninoff before reading Ayn Rand, and were all convinced that Rachmaninoff was the best composer after reading Rand, that would not prove that they were monkeys or clones but only that they were open to rational persuasion.

  14. In her appreciation of music, Ayn Rand was undeniably very limited. She took mainly to Rachmaninoff. So what? Her imperfections are not the point.

    Yes, Rachmaninoff is my favorite composer too. I must be a "monkey." It's not even conceivable that there are objective reasons that certain people are attracted to particular music. One "giant" is the same as the next...

    Who has the patience to read that crap.

  15. Did you not read the thread? I addressed this. See if you can find it. (you ought to have read my arguments before attacking them)

    I couldn't find any where you adequately addressed it. But this is a long thread, maybe I missed it. Since you wrote them and know where they are, you could link to it easier than me wading through it all again.

    When a man brings his claim out of the realm of feelings and into the realm of physical facts - by actually changing his anatomy - then I am willing to play along and say that "he" is no longer a man.

    I also couldn't find any posts where you responded to Diana Hsieh's comment that transexuals are legally required to live for a year as a female before they can have their operation. If someone has committed to that, it is more than a mere "wish" to be a female.

  16. I would have thought this would have been obvious in a place like this, but...

    Boys have a penis and girls have a vagina.

    This is just not the way Objectivism deals with concepts. You seem to be entirely confusing the concept with its definition. There is much more to being a man or woman than having an innie or an outie! A concept entails all of its attributes. Yes, under normal circumstances men have penises and women have vaginas. Also, under normal circumstances, men have an X and a Y chromosome and women have two X's. What happens when someone has a vagina and an X and a Y chromosome? That happens, rarely, but it happens. Are they a man or a woman? If you make the epistemological mistake reducing a concept to its definition, then you'd never be able to solve this. [Edit, well you would maybe, but it would turn into an argument of which definition to accept.]

    Perhaps you would benefit from re-reading Dr. Peikoff's essay, "The Analytic Synthetic Dichotomy" in Introduction to Objectivist Epistemology.

  17. A perfectly valid question: if by individuals you mean the actual women. Why should their happiness and safety be sacrificed to people who are trying to force the rest of the world to defy the facts in service of their wishes.

    It's clear from the context that I mean the transsexuals, who are not men in trench coats intent on raping or spying on women in the restroom, but who are living as women and wearing women's clothing and probably not in the least bit sexually interested in women, and who only want to go to the bathroom.

    To assume that these individuals are not only potentially but actually intent on committing a crime is ludicrous. Preventative law is the hallmark of dictatorship. (In this case it would be an important step towards a dictatorship of Christian Conservatism, which is perhaps the most dangerous threat in America at this time).

  18. This may be a bad policy, but to label it as a result of a "homosexual agenda" suggests 1) a unity of opinion among homosexuals which does not exist, and 2) a negative value judgment of homosexuals by implication, which is not warranted.

    I think the truth of this post is a sufficient reason for a moderator to change the title of this thread. For a casual visitor to the site, the presence of a thread with this title suggests that "the homosexual agenda" is a valid topic of conversation for Objectivists to discuss. For someone like me who doesn't visit this site as often as I used to, seeing titles like this on the right side of the screen makes it seem like the religious right has taken over since last time I was here.

    "The homosexual agenda" is not a valid concept, and this thread's title is not becoming for a message board dedicated to discussing philosophy.

    (I might as well add that I agree with Diana Hsieh's posts on this topic. I work with a transexual, before and after her transition. I do recall some awkward restroom incidents in the beginning, but I can sympathize with people in this predicament enough to see that it's ridiculous to expect them to continue using the opposite sex's facilities until the operation.. I shudder to think how such a policy would be policed. The assumption that every pre-op transexual who enters a lady's room is a potential rapist or voyeur seems overly paranoid, and the view that 'men's rooms are for people with penises only and women's room are for non-penises because that is the definition of man and woman' seems narrow and unnecessary, and fails to properly address the issues under consideration. *Why* should individuals' safety and happiness be sacrificed to this IMO oversimplified definition?) <-[i put that in parentheses to emphasize that my main point is the thread's title should be changed.]

  19. The use of two or more concepts to explain the same existent from different angles is common practice in philosophy. Often, philosophers use the adverb "qua" to emphasize that this technique is being used. "Qua" means "in the capacity of." Thus a philosopher might discuss "existence qua existence" when referring to existence from the angle of existence, or "existence qua identity" to discuss existence from the angle of identity.

    To use a different example, consider the concept "man." The most essential definition of man is "the rational animal," so when discussing man in this respect, one might say "man qua rational animal," or, since it is the most essential definition, simply "man qua man." But man is also other things. Man is the only animal that talks, for example. So when discussing man in this regard, one might say, "man qua vocal animal," etc. There were some Greeks who observed that man is a featherless biped and considered this to be important, so they might discuss "man qua featherless biped."

    Each of those concepts could have its own word if it were considered important enough.

    Look through any thesaurus and you will find many slightly or sometimes significantly different concepts for the same type of entity (especially in sections for nouns).

    I've been re-reading OPAR, and was confused by the claim that existence is identity, but yet they remain as different concepts. Peikoff claims that it is common practice in Philosophy to use two concepts to explain the same existent, to provide for different angles. I can't find any examples of the use of this technique, and why it's a valid technique. Perhaps I'm thinking of it too much like a computer program, where if a=1 and b=2 and you set a=b, then b is 1? Essentially, my question comes down to: how can two concepts be identical and different at the same time?


  20. More and more I am realizing the implications of Rand's ideas on the psycho-epistemology of music.
    Are these really her implications, or your insinuations?
    "At present, our understanding of music is confined to the gathering of material, i.e., to the level of descriptive observations. Until it is brought to the stage of conceptualization, we have to treat musical tastes or preferences as a subjective matter--not in the metaphysical, but in the epistemological sense; i.e., not in the sense that these preferences are, in fact, causeless and arbitrary, but in the sense that we do not know their cause. No one, therefore, can claim the objective superiority of his choices over the choices of others. Where no objective proof is available, it's every man for himself--and only for himself."
    For these reasons,and in all seriousness, I've come to resent public music as a form of assault, not just a nuisance. If someone neglects to put salt on an ice patch outside a store, I may or may not slip on it. But I will not slip on it repeatedly all day! I can see this being an issue in an Objectivist society.
    I disagree. I think there might be a case against "noise pollution" on a certain extreme level, but the idea of charging some guy in the next apartment with assault because he was practicing his piano and you don't like chopsticks is quite frightening to me!
    Note that I've never pulled up to a red light and had J.S. Bach blasted in my ear.
    I have heard people playing classical music loud in their cars. But, one reason you're less likely to hear Back in the next car than someone playing rap or heavy metal music is that classical music tends to be recorded more in the midrange, as opposed to the other styles which have more bass frequencies, which carry much further. Most instruments used in classical music, with the exception of the big bass drums which might hit only a few times at climactic parts of a song are no match for much of the highly rhythmical, drum and bass oriented music that is popular today. Of course, classical music is much less popular than those other styles in our culture, but even if it were being listened to at high volumes it might not seem as loud to someone in the next car.
    Where can I find out about Rand's ideas on the psycho-epistemology of music?
    She wrote about it in The Romantic Manifesto, but was very careful to point out that her ideas were only hypotheses, and that more scientific research into how music effects people is needed before any objective conclusions about the artistic value of particular pieces can be reached.
  21. You have a point there, and I thought about myself, but it's a very daunting task to explain the main principles of Objectivism in a way as memorable and strong as Ayn Rand's.

    I absolutely agree with that. It's really a daunting task just to make worthwhile art in general. But, when faced with a daunting task, does one borrow *directly* from those who have mastered the task in the past, like Peter Keating cutting and pasting the architectural designs of others onto his buildings, all out of the original context, or does one attempt something on his own.. Letting himself fail, even, for as long as it takes to get it right--to make something new, and true, and something that's never been said in exactly that way before?

    Personally, that's why I would primarily take issue with the title. It's a very ambitious title. It's a title that I would not expect someone to give to a work unless he was ready for it, and could live up to it on his own effort, not second handed, but with an *entirely* original and flawlessly inspiring performance musically, lyrically, aesthetically, and philosophically. I would expect it to be an unprecedented integration of musical ideas with lyrical ideas that was constructed with as much passion and devotion as Ayn Rand put into her own works.

    I think anything less than that, with a title such as that, however innocent the intentions, could only ultimately serve to feed off of Ayn Rand's enormous popularity, not to promote it in a significant way.

    But, then, I am an American. I can sympathize with the plight of someone who lives in a country where her ideas are even more unheard of than they are here, and the desperate desire such a person might have to broadcast them for someone, anyone to hear, and hopefully to want to know more. But still, posting the songs on a public forum opens them to criticism from a world audience. So that's my perspective.

  22. The readings from Ayn Rand's novels and essays only amount to a very few lines from each, as if I were including quotations in a research paper. Besides, the project is absolutely non-profit; the whole album can be downloaded for free.

    But in a research paper, for one thing, a direct quote would never be included without a visible citation to the author within the same paragraph. But if someone is listening to your songs, without reading information you have on your website, they would only hear the quotes with no citation and might assume that you invented them yourself.

    It just seems to me that it would be more original and first-handed to write your own material rather than quoting for someone else without her permission. They're your songs, after all.

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