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I have a question for you.

Does objectivism accepts the existence of fantasy movies and literature?

I have to say I am a fan of movies such as Avatar (which I don't believe contains any "anti-man" message) The Lord of the Rings, and Star Wars, and other science fiction and fantasy stories, videogames included.

Many of you might tell me I'm not an objectivist for liking this things, and if that's the case, I don't care.

I've also studied J.R.R. Tolkien words and essays, and how he believes that fantasy stories (or "Tales of Fairies" as he calls them) are necesary for the development of a person's own evolution. This post is related to the one about the existence of God, which contains post about how wrong will it be to make a kid belive in Santa Claus. According to Tolkien, a kid needs to believe in the fantastic and the inmmaterial as methapors of right and wrong. Explaining a kid about moral issues in the same language that we talk to an adult, would simply confuse them. Not because children are stupid, which they aren't, but because they lack the life experience to assimilate very abstract concepts.

So, I want to read your opinions with one condition:

Last time I talked to an objectivist about this, his answer was: "If you like such things, then you are as weak and sinlge minded as they are (whoever "they" are). Therefore, you are accepting their beliefs and becoming one of those losers"

If anyone insults me, my preferences, or gives another coment that's not related to give their objective opinion on my question, I'll simply ignore them, so don't waste your time.

Edited by Shinji Shiranui
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I have a question for you.

Does objectivism accepts the existence of fantasy movies and literature?

I have to say I am a fan of movies such as Avatar (which I don't believe contains any "anti-man" message) The Lord of the Rings, and Star Wars, and other science fiction and fantasy stories, videogames included.

Many of you might tell me I'm not an objectivist for liking this things, and if that's the case, I don't care.

I've also studied J.R.R. Tolkien words and essays, and how he believes that fantasy stories (or "Tales of Fairies" as he calls them) are necesary for the development of a person's own evolution. This post is related to the one about the existence of God, which contains post about how wrong will it be to make a kid belive in Santa Claus. According to Tolkien, a kid needs to believe in the fantastic and the inmmaterial as methapors of right and wrong. Explaining a kid about moral issues in the same language that we talk to an adult, would simply confuse them. Not because children are stupid, which they aren't, but because they lack the life experience to assimilate very abstract concepts.

So, I want to read your opinions with one condition:

Last time I talked to an objectivist about this, his answer was: "If you like such things, then you are as weak and sinlge minded as they are (whoever "they" are). Therefore, you are accepting their beliefs and becoming one of those losers"

If anyone insults me, my preferences, or gives another coment that's not related to give their objective opinion on my question, I'll simply ignore them, so don't waste your time.

All I can see from this is that you really have to read and try to understand Objectivism for yourself. Try and answer this question yourself, and not by asking someone who claims to be an Objectivist... (If you have no way of assessing if the person you ask is an O'ist or not why would you ask such a person for an Objectivist based opinion?)

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Hi

Just a few comments.

I don't know how much in Oism addresses the issue of a child's cognitive development, Oism mainly deals with adult, rational individuals which a child for clear neurological reasons is not. There are a lot of things in fantasy literature that appeal to children, magic, time travel, talking animals and magic flutes are all thoroughly realistic to them while long division and relativity are not; in most cases. A story about the collapse of the energy economy leading to break down in the acceptance of capitalist ideology in favour of a Hegelian or Marxist system would go clear over a child's head but the story of a Dark Lord who created rings for man, elves, and dwarves in his pursuit of absolute power would resonate with the child.

As for using them as morality plays to children I think an Oist would say it depends entirely on what the morality play is about. Stories have a powerful ability to function as metaphor, reshaping the world and our role in it. Keep in mind Ayn Rand was was a fiction writer who used an imaginary world to teach something about life. If the stories teach individualism and self worth then go for it, if its about a darker message, like Goebbel's "Michael" or the Bible then you would run into problems.

Two second Zip's comment there are a lot of idiots who use Oism to act like a smart ass, I would read Rand's Romantic Manifesto for more info about what Rand thought about these matters.

Edited by Greyhawk
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I have a question for you.

Does objectivism accepts the existence of fantasy movies and literature?

Shinji, the answer you're looking for is found in Rand's ROMANTIC MANIFESTO and ART OF FICTION books. Her overall attitude was that they are "rational when they serve some abstract purpose applicable to reality."

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Hi

Just a few comments.

I don't know how much in Oism addresses the issue of a child's cognitive development, Oism mainly deals with adult, rational individuals which a child for clear neurological reasons is not. There are a lot of things in fantasy literature that appeal to children, magic, time travel, talking animals and magic flutes are all thoroughly realistic to them while long division and relativity are not; in most cases. A story about the collapse of the energy economy leading to break down in the acceptance of capitalist ideology in favour of a Hegelian or Marxist system would go clear over a child's head but the story of a Dark Lord who created rings for man, elves, and dwarves in his pursuit of absolute power would resonate with the child.

As for using them as morality plays to children I think an Oist would say it depends entirely on what the morality play is about. Stories have a powerful ability to function as metaphor, reshaping the world and our role in it. Keep in mind Ayn Rand was was a fiction writer who used an imaginary world to teach something about life. If the stories teach individualism and self worth then go for it, if its about a darker message, like Goebbel's "Michael" or the Bible then you would run into problems.

Two second Zip's comment there are a lot of idiots who use Oism to act like a smart ass, I would read Rand's Romantic Manifesto for more info about what Rand thought about these matters.

Shinji, the answer you're looking for is found in Rand's ROMANTIC MANIFESTO and ART OF FICTION books. Her overall attitude was that they are "rational when they serve some abstract purpose applicable to reality."

Thanks a lot guys. To be honest, I was beginning to fear that the majority of objectivists would be like the ones I know, and who only use the philosophy to "act like a smart ass", and now I'm begginign to see they don't even know waht theye're talking about. Thankfully my fears were not founded.

I should begin to look for those books to understand my doubts and find my answers.

I'm certainly relieved, adn I'm sorry if I still don't get some principles of objectivism at its fullest.

Surely I will be learning a lot here.

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I have to say I am a fan of movies such as Avatar (which I don't believe contains any "anti-man" message) The Lord of the Rings, and Star Wars, and other science fiction and fantasy stories, videogames included.

I'm a big fan of fantasy and science fiction. I spent the bulk of today playing Mass Effect 2, for example, and reading C. J. Cherryh's recent SF novel Regenesis. I've read Tolkein's Silmarillion cover to cover -- twice.

Don't think of specific artworks as things you 'should' or 'should not' like. Rather, ask yourself why you do (or don't) like them. What values do you gain from them? How do they enhance your life? If you like a fantasy story because you find its portrayal of a battle against overwhelming evil inspiring, that's one thing. If you like it because it's an escape from problems in your life that you want to avoid dealing with, that's another. But the problem there isn't with the fantasy, it's with the substitution of art for life -- something that can be done just as easily with historical fiction, or detective stories.

Last time I talked to an objectivist about this, his answer was: "If you like such things, then you are as weak and sinlge minded as they are (whoever "they" are). Therefore, you are accepting their beliefs and becoming one of those losers"

Gack. I hate people like that. They misunderstand Objectivism, play into the worst stereotypes about it, and create huge messes for the rest of us to clean up. Feel free to tell that guy from me that he's (a) being non-objective, and (;) a jackass.

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  • 1 month later...
Its easy to convince a child, and particularly and adolescent, that his desire to emulate Buck Rogers is ridiculous: he knows that it isn't exactly Buck Rogers he has in mind and yet, simultaneously, it is--he feels caught in an inner contradiction--and this confirms his desolately embarrassing feeling that he is being ridiculous.

Thus the adults--whose foremost moral obligation toward a child, at this stage of his development, is to help him understand that what he loves is an abstraction, to help him break through into the conceptual realm--accomplish the exact opposite....

It is best to refer you to the book 'The Romantic Manifesto' because I am tempted to quote you the entire ten page chapter 'Art and Moral Treason'.

If the fantasy means something, if it symbolizes a moral truth it is valuable. Atlas himself was a powerful myth that Ayn Rand used to bring the meaning of his punishment into focus. If the foundation of your beliefs are rational then I don't believe anything would be off limits for investigation. Ayn Rand even advocated critically reading Plato and Kant in order to get to know your enemies.

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Just to be a smart ass, it would be hard for an Objectivist to DENY the existence of fantasy movies and books since they can easily be found at Barnes and Nobel. ;)

You've gotten good answers - but you really should re-examine Avatar - I'm sorry to say that I found the anti-Man messages in Avatar extremely overt - from the stereotypical "Corporations are evil, Military is evil and stupid" presentation to the "They killed their mother" blatant assertion that in the future Man will destroy earth. I could go on, but those were the most egregious as I recall.

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Has anyone else noticed that an embarrassingly high number of fantasy books are extremely similar? There are details that occur with far too much similarity to be accidental. The whole genre seems extremely derivative.

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Has anyone else noticed that an embarrassingly high number of fantasy books are extremely similar? There are details that occur with far too much similarity to be accidental. The whole genre seems extremely derivative.

Well, you know, there's only a limited amount of belief in the universe - so when it comes to fantasy, people can only believe so many things - so there's a limited supply of fantastic themes people will buy. (Concept stolen from "HogFather" by Terry Pratchett)

Speaking of Fantasy Authors who are more unique. I rather enjoy Terry Pratchett. While he uses common fantasy themes - he does so in a highly satirical way. He's very much the Douglas Adams of Fantasy.

His earlier works in the Discworld series (once you slog past The Color of Magic, The Light Fantastic, and Sourcery) deal with some wonderful concepts, as well. He has Gods, for example, but they are based on people believing in them. "Small Gods" is a wonderful story exploring that idea. And in "Pyramids" he has great fun with a turtle, an arrow, and a paradox. (And the Gods again too...)

He's also reasonably well grounded in reality. He's done several works examining Earth from the perspective of Discworld characters (sadly, the annoying ones) that cast very interesting looks at the history of our little Universe from a very rational perspective for a fantasy author. Most fantasy authors I've read are ultra-altruistic.

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Has anyone else noticed that an embarrassingly high number of fantasy books are extremely similar? There are details that occur with far too much similarity to be accidental. The whole genre seems extremely derivative.

First read Harry Potter, then Eragon, then Glory Road (Heinlein) then The Anubis Gates (Powers) then The Guns of Avalon by Roger Zelazny, then anything by A. Lee Martinez and/or Laurell K. Hamilton. And then you'll understand why people who read fantasy can spend hours browsing just three racks of books--because most of it is so radically different that it can be really tough to predict whether you're going to like something or not.

Oh, there are some fantasy staples that get revisited a lot, but it's certainly a lot wider than, say, WESTERNS.

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I have a question for you.

Does objectivism accepts the existence of fantasy movies and literature?

"O"bjectivism. I was dismissive of the HP series, until a member here started a thread on it, that eventually had gotten me interested enough in the series, to read it all in like a month and a half, save for the last book in the series. I think there might be other topics that go into this on this forum, but I just want to point out what Dr. Yaron Brook has to say about HP in THIS article (do a search on various ARI intellectuals you will find similar judgements on HP and fantasy type works, like Durante, et al.) I'll do some of the work right now:

"It is true that Harry lives in a magical, fantastical world, but what's important is that he is a hero who wins through intelligence, effort and courage," said Dr. Yaron Brook. "Throughout the series, Harry has developed his talents through hard work and has learned to think for himself, to be honest and to be self-confident. He has friends who share his values and he earns the respect of his teachers. Aren't these the character traits all parents want their children to possess? I know they're qualities I actively try to instill in my two boys."

Dr. Brook said that the critics' focus on the supernatural aspects of the Harry Potter stories is completely non-essential. What is fundamental is the abstract meaning being conveyed during the course of Harry's magical adventures.

"The books are, in short, fuel for a child's maturing mind. As vitamins and minerals are essential to a child's healthy physical development, so literature with this view of the world is essential to a child's healthy mental development."

Here is the area of this forum where you can see the HP series discussed, I also have quotes from others in it, on HP and so forth somewheres, don't feel like going any further into the matter again, but it's in here somwhere :D

http://forum.ObjectivismOnline.com/index.php?showforum=53

Edited by intellectualammo
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