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I am reading We the Living for the first time and am enjoying it greatly; much more than I liked reading The Fountainhead which I found to be sluggish in pace. While AS is still my all time favorite, I can already tell WtL is going to rank up there for me in novels that I love. Not to sound Naturalistic but I love the way Miss Rand made these characters so realistic, like people you may encounter in daily life, albeit the best of those people, while showing what a man must do to survive living in a slave state.

I haven't ever noticed WtL discussed much here, so I am interested in hearing others comments on the book.

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I really loved We the Living (as I do all of Ayn Rand's books). I think the reason it gets so little attention is because of the comparitively low amount of explicit philosophy in the book.

It's a great intro-to-Rand book, which I will generally recommend to people who don't enjoy didactic reading. I've found that those who tend to look more for an entertaining story than a deep philosophical message also tend to like We the Living more than Atlas Shrugged or The Fountainhead.

I've always especially admired Andrei and the courage it took for him to recognize his error toward the end of the book.

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It's a good one! Kira, especially has always been one of my favorite characters in Ayn Rand's novels. What a picture of dedication to the pursuit of values, of feminine strength, of a love of life! (And what a contrast she is to people I hear whining about today's culture and politics in the United States.)

And be sure not to miss the collection Essays on Ayn Rand's We the Living, edited by Robert Mayhew and published in 2004. It's a set of essays (most if not all of the authors are Objectivists) about the novel, covering topics such as: Rand's early drafts, contemporary conditions in Russia, Rand's family members as possible models for some of the characters, and many others. After you've finished WtL, this book of well-written essays will give you lots more to think about.

And then there's the We the Living movie, made in Italy during WWII. Have you seen it? It's remarkably true to the book. And the actress who played Kira, Alida Valli, did such a good job that the director remarked to her: "I won't tell you how to interpret Kira because you are Kira. What you'll do will be fine." [From the above-mentioned book of essays.]

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And then there's the We the Living movie, made in Italy during WWII. Have you seen it?

I didn't know that there was a WtL movie, but now I will definitely check it out. By the way, I love The Fountainhead movie, I think it is much better paced and explicit compared to the book.

And I just finished reading the novel and my earlier prediction of WtL ranking as one of my all time fav's was definitely not misplaced. The characters are excellent and the story moves quick. I think I fell in love a little with Kira, too. :wub:

I've found that those who tend to look more for an entertaining story than a deep philosophical message also tend to like We the Living more than Atlas Shrugged or The Fountainhead.

Or those who started with the deep philosophical message's first and are now going back and reading an excellent author for the pure love of her entertaining stories.

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Anthem's it was the first book I read from Ayn Rand,

I think that this book should be the premise Eq72521 of all of Ayn Rand's work.

It reads like a looking Glass of things to come, and also reminder of things in the past.

The freedom of man's spirit being crushed by the collectivist, state. The book calls out

to me to never surrendered to collectivism, kind of like the Borg in Star Trek trying to asimulate

those of free minds to the collective. Its been three years since I've read the book which started a chain reaction causing me to read all most every book that Ayn Rand wrote.

This is a list of the books I read or heard on tape in the approximate order over last three years

Anthem's ,We the Living,Opar, philosophy who needs it, Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal, Fountainhead, Atlas shrugged,I have not read a sense of life yet. The Virtue of Selfishness,

and cap it all off with The Anti-Industrial Revolution" in Return of the Primitive:The Anti-Industrial Revolution.

It was very hard to accept where the world has been, and where is going. But the truth had to be known

it is good to know that there is others out there working around the globe to spread the ideas of Ayn Rand

that started over 50 years ago, we are in a world being dominated by irrational collective ideas over reason everywhere I go in all actions in my life I share the ideas, and principles. With others I believe I will continue to do this into the day I die, or become assimilated into the Borg collective statism through force.

I believe a person has the right to their work their skills and should not be forced to have to contribute to a collectivist state.

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I am reading We the Living for the first time and am enjoying it greatly; much more than I liked reading The Fountainhead which I found to be sluggish in pace. While AS is still my all time favorite, I can already tell WtL is going to rank up there for me in novels that I love. Not to sound Naturalistic but I love the way Miss Rand made these characters so realistic, like people you may encounter in daily life, albeit the best of those people, while showing what a man must do to survive living in a slave state.

I haven't ever noticed WtL discussed much here, so I am interested in hearing others comments on the book.

Right after you finish WTL I suggest you read AR short story called Red Pawn. It is perhaps my all time favorite thing she's ever written (besides Atlas Shrugged). Just in terms of literary construction it is amazing.

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I don't remember where I read this information, but some publication said that the Italian We The Living movie was made without Ayn Rand's consent at the behest of Mussollini's regime. It was seen by the fascists simply as an anti-communist movie. Then it was banned when they realized that it was anti-statist.

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"Do you believe in God, Andrei? No. Neither do I. But that's a

favorite question of mine. An upside-down question, you know. What do

you mean? Well, if I asked people whether they believed in life,

they'd never understand what I meant. It's a bad question. It can mean

so much that it really means nothing. So I ask them if they believe in

God. And if they say they do -- then, I know they don't believe in

life. Why? Because, you see, God -- whatever anyone chooses to call

God -- is one's highest conception of the highest possible. And

whoever places his highest conception above his own possibility thinks

very little of himself and his life. It's a rare gift, you know, to

feel reverence for your own life and to want the best, the greatest,

the highest possible, here, now, for your very own." (Kira, We The Living)

I have to say that this is one of my favorite books. I fell in love with Leo and Andrei, and the way that Leo and Kira met is something that I hope to experience one day.

This is probably the saddest of all of Rand's novels, however, as there is no great victory over the evils of the world in the end. This also brings our war in Iraq to a new light - if THIS is what it means to be oppressed, if THIS is the result and sum of a corrupt goverment, if there is ONE Kira for the hundred thousand other brainwashed looters there- isn't she worth saving? Wouldn't you do anything in your power to keep her from that end?

Edited by Ravane
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  • 2 weeks later...
I don't remember where I read this information, but some publication said that the Italian We The Living movie was made without Ayn Rand's consent at the behest of Mussollini's regime. It was seen by the fascists simply as an anti-communist movie. Then it was banned when they realized that it was anti-statist.

That's right. It was made in 1942, when Italy and the United States were at war, and the Italians didn't bother to get permission from Ayn Rand to make the movie. The book of essays on WtL that I recommended a few posts back in this thread has a chapter which tells the story of the making of the movie. Evidently, it was very popular in Italy.

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I am reading We the Living for the first time and am enjoying it greatly; much more than I liked reading The Fountainhead which I found to be sluggish in pace. While AS is still my all time favorite, I can already tell WtL is going to rank up there for me in novels that I love. Not to sound Naturalistic but I love the way Miss Rand made these characters so realistic, like people you may encounter in daily life, albeit the best of those people, while showing what a man must do to survive living in a slave state.

I haven't ever noticed WtL discussed much here, so I am interested in hearing others comments on the book.

I read this book not long after reading Atlas Shrugged and Anthem. I enjoyed We the Living the most after AS and Fountainhead, as they were more sweeping statements of her philosophy. However, WTL was also a rather good statement of it too, giving a clear example of the evil brought about by the failure to act on rational philosophy taken to its eventual course, including some brillant speeches, like Kiras to Andrei.

Dondigitalia is right, it is a good book for those whom wish to learn more about the philosophy while not reading some of the more 'heavy' works such as AS. I have reccommended it to a friend, and I hope that he will read it and then some other of Ayn Rands books at some stage...

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I have to say that this is one of my favorite books. I fell in love with Leo and Andrei, and the way that Leo and Kira met is something that I hope to experience one day.

This is probably the saddest of all of Rand's novels, however, as there is no great victory over the evils of the world in the end. This also brings our war in Iraq to a new light - if THIS is what it means to be oppressed, if THIS is the result and sum of a corrupt goverment, if there is ONE Kira for the hundred thousand other brainwashed looters there- isn't she worth saving? Wouldn't you do anything in your power to keep her from that end?

Most definitely an interesting quote, but for me personally I was most interested in the psychological problems and internal struggles that Communism forced rather than looking for precursors to her later books. The book was incredibly sad and emotional. My own escape from Communism (and the emotions that comes with those risks) was my reference point and probably why I was so moved by the book. However, this book is not perfect by any stretch of the imagination. It has plot flaws (early on at least) that aren't plastered over by memorable quotes and theory, like some of Rand's later books. I often felt frustrated with Leo's character and as much as I despised Andrei and his position, his personality (which really showed in the second half of the book) and attitude towards the woman he loves was far more similar to me than anything Leo showed. If you remember Leo and Kira met in a street, while he was looking for a tramp. He ends the book calling her just that and rarely realizes the sacrifices she has made for him. Too often Leo is willing to accept himself as a victim.

Another instance that really annoyed me was the purchase of the royal porcelain. Interesting metaphor, but in general his lack of care for money made me hate him more than any other character in the book outside of Victor. As the traitor, Victor is the psychological extreme, he has accepted rule by hunger and will do anything to succeed in the life he is given. He is perfectly malleable while the individualists are far more stiff (and to further the metaphor) with Leo being brittle. As a side note, Victor is not unique. One of the greatest psychological pressures people faced under Communism was paranoia about what is thought of you and who is looking over your shoulder. This manifests in hate for neighbors relatives and distances people from their community. I would love if there was someone that lived in Poland pre 1990 could touch on this subject.

This mental metallurgical spectrum of mine, really leads the question to Rand’s own mind. She says that the book is essentially an autobiography of her inner emotions and personality in the form of Kira. From this I see Dagny as the epitome of Rand’s beliefs but as the final evolution of Rand from a flawed Kira in 1936.

These are of course my reactions to the characters. I should mention that their imperfections are what I really enjoyed about the novel. Without their unique personalities the reader would miss the chance to glimpse into the mind of individualists in a Soviet state and see how their minds are affected by the state.

Of all her books I've read, this one I think would make the best movie.

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There is a movie, with English subtitles. It is well-made.

This movie is brilliant. I'm surprised it's not mentioned very often by Objectivists. As with the movie the Fountainhead, what shines about this movie is the dialog, and we can all guess why that's the case.

The reason that the dialog is so good is that the producers remained true to Ayn Rand's novel, and the reason for that was that they had limited production time, so instead of rewriting the script, they culled whole passages from the book for the characters to read. Or, so, I remember reading that.

In addition to the dialog, unlike the Fountainhead, the acting is also well done.

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I haven't ever noticed WtL discussed much here, so I am interested in hearing others comments on the book.

The last two chapters in We The Living are the saddest chapters I have read thus far. It makes me get a lump in my throat, tears in my eyes, each time I go back and read them, very emotional scenes indeed for me. Kira, just saying or typing that name, what that name means to me…ahhh…I've fallen for her character so hard. I often think of what I would have done in her place, or if I was Leo in the novel. This paragraph is one of the most important paragraphs in the entirety of the novel:

She repeated, louder and louder, without despair, as if the sound, that one sound in the world, were giving her life: "Leo! ... Leo! ... Leo!..."

She was calling him, the Leo that could have been, that would have been had he lived there, where she was going, across the border. He was awaiting her there, and she had to go on. She had to walk. There, in that world, across the border, a life was awaiting her to which she had been faithful her every living hour, her only banner that had never been lowered, that she had held high and straight, a life she could not betray, she would not betray now by stopping while she was still living, a life she could still serve, by walking, by walking forward a little longer, just a little longer.

Kira is my favorite female Rand character right now. I enjoy rereading specific scenes from the novel, like her conversation with Andrei, when she tells him of how she was proud of using him to pay for Leo's betterment. I have a very strong attachment to Kira. Her actions in the novel, like her consistency for one, I admire greatly.

(Added quote block - sNerd)

Edited by softwareNerd
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This mental metallurgical spectrum of mine, really leads the question to Rand’s own mind. She says that the book is essentially an autobiography of her inner emotions and personality in the form of Kira. From this I see Dagny as the epitome of Rand’s beliefs but as the final evolution of Rand from a flawed Kira in 1936.

Granted if we are discussing strictly main female Rand characters here, and not all, I would disagree with you that Dagny is the epitome of Rand's beliefs, or the final evolution of Rand. Hypothetically speaking, from what I gather from WTL, Kira would have gone on strike faster than Dagny did in AS, and she would never have acted as Dominique did in The Fountainhead. Dominique, out of the main female characters of Rand's, I liked the very least. Dominique has the consistency on the wrong side, like an Andrei, but also is in alignment with the "give up and join them" attitude of a Leo. Dagny had flaws as well, best said by Rand herself in the introduction to AS by Peikoff. But before I take it any further, I should have just asked this first:

What I would like to know, Kantardjiev, is what do you hold as a flaw(s) in the character of Kira?

Edited by intellectualammo
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First off:

A song that perfectly describes a lot of stuff in We The Living: "Three Evils Embodied in Love and Shadow" by Coheed and Cambria.

Check it out here:

The sound quality is nowhere near the actual CD. Claudio's vocals sound WAY better on the actual CD and on my iPod. You will get the idea though. You might actually have to click on the song in the Myspace player as it might not be the first song that is qued.

Click Here for Lyrics if you need 'em

EC:

"Not to sound Naturalistic but I love the way Miss Rand made these characters so realistic, like people you may encounter in daily life, albeit the best of those people, while showing what a man must do to survive living in a slave state."

Lol. You don't sound Naturalistic at all. Yes, Ayn Rand DID show a very detailed picture that illustrated what life in the Soviet state was like. The key thing separating a good author who uses detail and a Naturalistic author that is using a great deal of detail is the motivation and the purpose of the details.

Ayn Rand comments in The Romantic Manifesto that a good author only writes what is metaphysically significant and NOTHING should be accidental. The crummy details of Communist life were such that giving us the gruesome "full picture" really IS metaphysically significant and done for a philosophical (aesthetic) purpose. Naturalists on the other hand don't have any philosophical purpose. They just write "slice of life" pieces just so they can say, "This is what X time period looked like." With a good author, you generally don't have to really dig to figure out *why* the author used a high level of detail in certain areas. If it isn't clear at the time, it should easily be clear in retrospect (with the full context of the novel).

Given those facts, I would seriously hope that no Objectivist (including yourself) would ever equate enjoying Miss Rand's great literary talents (even in the realm of descriptive writing full of details) with Naturalism.

Ravayne:

"I fell in love with Leo and Andrei, and the way that Leo and Kira met is something that I hope to experience one day."

Funny. That is not the first time I have heard an Objectivist woman say that...lol.

"This also brings our war in Iraq to a new light - if THIS is what it means to be oppressed, if THIS is the result and sum of a corrupt government, if there is ONE Kira for the hundred thousand other brainwashed looters there- isn't she worth saving? Wouldn't you do anything in your power to keep her from that end?"

Eh. I think the escaping Cuban refugees that we keep turning away is more akin to WTL's real life implications than Iraq.

Yes, I would definitely do everything in my position to save a Kira. The only problem is, how do you distinguish Kira from the looters in Iraq (or any other enslaved country)? If you haven't noticed...there are a LOT of philosophically f-ed up (read = hardcore Muslims) in Iraq just like there were *sincere* Communists (like Victor's wench in WTL) in the USSR. Is the answer simply liberating all oppressed countries? That is a hydra that I think would exhaust our resources and moreover, detract us (the United States) from productive purposes in the long run. If you just start liberating countries, you often make them "free" enough to start killing each other. We did that in Guatemala with Operation PBSUCCESS (we overthrew the government) and sparked a civil war that killed 100-200 thousand indigenous Mayans.

People like Kira are most likely in the overwhelming minority in countries outside of the U.S. The United States in a lot of ways is unique due to the unique philosophical influence of the Enlightenment. A lot of places never had a Renaissance or Enlightenment. For people like Kira that are an extreme minority among millions of philosophically brainwashed or mix-principled people....it is probably a safer bet to try to escape the country than try to escape the fascists AND American bombs, the ensuing chaos from such a liberation, etc.

Moreover, what obligation (if any) do we have to nation build and fix global problems? If it is in our best interests, sure. However, if the U.S spreads it too thin (like Rome did) on too many fronts with global policing, we start neglecting our *own* security. We start living for the rest of the world and NOT ourself. That is something I philosophically dispute. I don't disagree with your sentiments, Ravyane. Nobody likes the idea of a real life Kira living in Iraq pre-invasion. However, the potential that such a person exists cannot be a justification for a whole lot of death of American troops with no assurances that the people worth saving even have a remote chance of surviving (if nothing else because they are in such a small minority that they probably aren't identified - after all...Bagdhad DOES have 5 million people....how is that for a needle in a haystack proposition?).

If we were talking a society of philosophically ideal people (like Galt's Gulch) under attack from an oppressor (like Hitler) I can see coming to their defense as being in our best interest. I don't think we have an unconditional obligation to fix the problems that arise from petty and impotent dictators (on the global level) based on an a hypothetical possibility that there might be a very small minority of people worth saving. If such a group exists, we should attempt to extricate them from the country or offer them asylum when they seek it (like the Cuban refugees or the Jews that fled Hitler's regime that we turned away).

Kantardjiev:

"It has plot flaws (early on at least) that aren't plastered over by memorable quotes and theory, like some of Rand's later books. I often felt frustrated with Leo's character and as much as I despised Andrei and his position, his personality (which really showed in the second half of the book) and attitude towards the woman he loves was far more similar to me than anything Leo showed. If you remember Leo and Kira met in a street, while he was looking for a tramp. He ends the book calling her just that and rarely realizes the sacrifices she has made for him. Too often Leo is willing to accept himself as a victim.

Another instance that really annoyed me was the purchase of the royal porcelain. Interesting metaphor, but in general his lack of care for money made me hate him more than any other character in the book outside of Victor. As the traitor, Victor is the psychological extreme, he has accepted rule by hunger and will do anything to succeed in the life he is given. He is perfectly malleable while the individualists are far more stiff (and to further the metaphor) with Leo being brittle."

au contraire, mon ami. I think that is the point Rand was aiming for. Leo is NOT a Rand hero in the idealized sense of John Galt of Howard Roark. Leo is symbolic of WASTED potential that is wasted due to being crushed by the burden of living in a Communist dictatorship. It is also wasted by Leo's choices that set him apart from a REAL Rand hero (the only one in We The Living) : Kira. Leo gives up. He IS hugely flawed. That is the point. You are SUPPOSED to feel frustrated with Leo and grow to hate what he becomes. You are supposed to hate the USSR more because you know that Leo would have probably ended up more like John Galt than Victor had he lived in a free country like America. That isn't a plot flaw or a flaw in Miss Rand's writing. In fact, it is EXACTLY what she intended and it is conveyed perfectly...because you felt exactly what you were supposed to feel at Leo's bad choices and philosophical demise.

intellectualammo =

First off, I agree with your assessment of Kira as the ideal Rand hero.

Second....

"Kira is my favorite female Rand character right now. I enjoy rereading specific scenes from the novel, like her conversation with Andrei, when she tells him of how she was proud of using him to pay for Leo's betterment."

Ah. I HATE reading that part because to me it is emotionally painful. I see Kira as the ideal woman...a lot like my girlfriend. I imagine us living in a statist country and me needing medical care. It seriously makes me queasy to my stomach to imagine her in the arms of another man so she could pay for my health. Honestly, it would take so much away from our relationship and from my emotional health that ANY physical health benefits incurred from the prostitution would be immediately mitigated. I value romantic love so much that the corruption of romantic relationships in WTL is one of the hardest parts for me too take when reading that novel. It doesn't make me *sad* in the sense that Kira's death makes me sad. It makes me nauseous.

-Evan

[edited to add the song stuff at the beginning of the post]

Edited by Evan
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Thanks for the reply, Evan. I'm glad to see someone else here who views Kira as an ideal woman, or the ideal woman of Ayn Rand's characters main female characters.

Honestly, it would take so much away from our relationship and from my emotional health that ANY physical health benefits incurred from the prostitution would be immediately mitigated.

Okay, so if you were to substitute Leo and Kira in the novel, and put you and your girlfriend in their place, and the context of the novel remaining the same, I definately differ from your statement quoted above here. It wouldn't bother me a bit what she did and I would glady enjoy whatever health benefits there are to gain from the purchasing power of her....actions. It actually would just demonstrate and reaffirm, existentially, just how much she really does love the man she's doing that for. Also can you even call what Kira did with Andrei, "prostitution" as you said? I'm not exactly sure if you can. I think he was more led on, and manipulated. I should probably look over their relationship more, before I can decide. Anyways, this quote below is taken from We The Living, when Kira is telling Andrei about the full reality of their relationship:

"So you think I loved you? I thought of Leo when you held me in your arms! When I spoke of love—I was speaking to him. Every kiss you got, every word, every hour was given to him, for him. I've never loved him as I loved him in your bed!" (p.386)

Now, how could that statement, "take away so much from our relationship"? I just don't see how it could, especially after reading the very last line of that.

I value romantic love so much that the corruption of romantic relationships in WTL is one of the hardest parts for me too take when reading that novel. It doesn't make me *sad* in the sense that Kira's death makes me sad. It makes me nauseous.

What's the "corruption" you speak of in WTL? I don't view what Kira did with Andrei as corrupting a romantic relationship at all, if that is what you are speaking of here. If it is, then how could you also think of her as an ideal woman, if she "corrupted" the romantic relationship she had with Leo?

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It wouldn't bother me a bit what she did and I would glady enjoy whatever health benefits there are to gain from the purchasing power of her....actions. It actually would just demonstrate and reaffirm, existentially, just how much she really does love the man she's doing that for.
Sure. I'm not debating whether or not Kira valued Leo or not. I'm not debating whether or not she *loved* Leo or not. I'm not even debating whether or not her actions were in accordance with that.

I guess I'm saying that it is a less than ideal action that would hurt emotionally due to the fact that I take GREAT personal pride in having conquered a beautiful Objectivist woman. I'm proud of the fact that she is my girl and I'm her man by mutual choice. I'm also proud of the exclusivity of our relationship.

Honestly? I would be horribly jealous. I wouldn't be jealous of a relationship or perceived relationship as Kira didn't *love* Andrei.I would be jealous of the fact that the unearned would go into the hands of the undeserving.

I understand that the value wouldn't be mutual on an emotional level. I wouldn't want my girlfriend to be getting physical pleasure from another dude or GIVING physical pleasure to another dude, though. I don't think that really makes me so strange, does it?

I understand she did a business transaction for the purpose of love. However, some things shouldn't be sold...and if they are, they should at least be discussed among the partners. I think part of what bothered me was the fact that Kira did what she did without talking to Leo at all.

I mean...doesn't he have the right (considering he was pretty much her common law husband) to say, "You know...I don't WANT you to whore yourself out in MY name?" I see each individual in relationships as being sovereign and operating under the trader principle. It is in the best interest of both to be honest and communicate openly. Each person sets their own terms and if they aren't acceptable, either party is free to leave and seek value elsewhere. I think Leo had a right to know where the money came from that was saving his life. Kira might have been fine with her decision and it WAS her decision (I'm not saying it wasn't)...however Leo had a right to at least understand the full context of what was going on.

I think the choice to have another sexual partner (for WHATEVER the reason) is something that MUST be discussed by both parties because it has to do with trust. Kira and Leo (at least to my knowledge) were operating within the bounds of an exclusive relationship.

To make an analogy...if my girlfriend needs medical attention and (because I'm living in a crappy place like the USSR) the only way I can make money to pay for her treatments is by selling cocaine, doesn't she have a right to know where the money came from and reject it if she so chooses?

Cocaine is illigal. Selling it compromises the principle of "following the law." Assuming prostitution is legal...secretly whoring yourself out to a wealthy Communist to pay for your real lover's medical treatment compromises exclusivity, trust, etc.

I think I would have a lot less of a problem (though I would still have a problem) with the Kira/Leo situation if it was talked over and open/honest.

There is this excellent Objectivist (LeAnne Bell) that writes columns on relationships, romance, etc. I highly recommend reading this article so you understand where I'm coming from:

http://www.andtheylivedhappilyeverafter.com/75.htm

Also can you even call what Kira did with Andrei, "prostitution" as you said? I'm not exactly sure if you can. I think he was more led on, and manipulated.

On Kira's end it was totally prostitution. She wasn't in philosophical agreement with Andrei nor did she love him. She knew that by selling her body and mind she could get cold hard cash. Think of it this way, prostitution is a *trade* based system. Kira definitely operates on the Objectivist trader principle. It is why she was with Leo (romantically and sexually) in the fullest sense. She wasn't stupid or naive. She knew exactly what she was doing. She went out of her way to see Andrei sexually and lead him on relationship wise for the purpose of making money so she could guard and nurture her *real* value (Leo).

Look at your own quote :lol:. It isn't like she was into Andrei's philosophy. She despised the Communists and what they stood for. She did NOT respect Andrei's blindness. He didn't practice the philosophy of Communism and lived more like an Objectivist (whereas Leo betrayed Objectivist principles)...however he was too blind to see that the crap of Soviet Russia was a byproduct of the philsophy that he supported. Thus, you can't say that she was screwing Andrei because she loved him (if so...she would have had an obligation to break up with Leo or at least inform him). She screwed for money. If that isn't prostitution, then I don't know what is.

Now, how could that statement, "take away so much from our relationship"? I just don't see how it could, especially after reading the very last line of that.
Read the article I linked and see above :P.

What's the "corruption" you speak of in WTL? I don't view what Kira did with Andrei as corrupting a romantic relationship at all, if that is what you are speaking of here. If it is, then how could you also think of her as an ideal woman, if she "corrupted" the romantic relationship she had with Leo?

You ask really insightful questions.

1) The corruptoin of romantic relationships that I speak of is the fact that NONE of the relationships in WTL are ideal. They all have the elment of darkness embedded in them.

-Victor and his bitch are a total perversion of things as they "should be" (like James Taggert and Lilian).

-Kira prostitutes herself out to save Leo which ends up to be in vain because he ends up a drunken lout. Moreover, Kira isn't exactly honest with Leo about what she does with Andrei...nor is she honest with Andrei.

-Andrei genuinely is head over heels for Kira and honestly believes that she reciprocates his feelings. He is absolutely crushed when he finds out about Leo and the fact that Kira was using him for his money.

2) I see Kira as the ideal woman in the sense that she fought for objective values with all she had. She tried shrugging as soon as it was possible (when she and Leo tried to escape the country) and she always lived for herself. She doesn't share the dysfunctionalism of Dominque or the errors of knowledge that Dagny have. I respect the fact that Kira was willing to go all out when it came to fighting for her values. I respect the fact that she was willing to prostitute herself out to save the man she loved. That is a very very very powerful love indeed. It is also a very powerful woman...a woman of steel and fire.

I see Kira as being an ideal woman in unideal circumstances. I see those circumstances as coloring the actions I don't like (her not being honest with Leo or Andrei). I can't imagine Kira doing what she did in the United States. Not only would it not be necessary, but she would have had the opportunity to accept inner peace/freedom as the norm and not the exception. Does that make sense?

If I continue the analogy with my girlfriend as an example, I have no doubt that my girlfriend would do the same as Kira if we were in the same situation. However, I would expect my girlfriend to communicate with me 100% and she expects the same of me. What I respect is the passionate living, philosophy, and spirit of Kira. The actions are colored to the degree that she lived in a hell hole like Soviet Russia.

Make sense?

Edited by Evan
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I take GREAT personal pride in having conquered a beautiful Objectivist woman.

"Conquered"?

However, some things shouldn't be sold...and if they are, they should at least be discussed among the partners.

She wasn't selling what you say shouldn't be sold. When I look back on a scene, she actually isn't even having sex for money. But for a different reason. I'll mention all that later in this reply.

I think part of what bothered me was the fact that Kira did what she did without talking to Leo at all.

It actually confuses me as to why she lies to him. I am still looking back at the novel for answers to that. I'm having trouble finding specifics.

Thank you for the links to the articles, I will look at them, but I'm pressed for time.

Thus, you can't say that she was screwing Andrei because she loved him (if so...she would have had an obligation to break up with Leo or at least inform him). She screwed for money. If that isn't prostitution, then I don't know what is.

I never said that at all. She didn't "screw" for money either. She lied to get money off of him. She also lied and said that she loves him and "screwed" him ONLY to keep him around, to prevent him from avoiding her.

Here is what I have alluded to earlier in this reply.

In a restaurant, Andrei sees how Kira eats, and it is obvious she is very very hungry, after he asks her about it, she says she hasn’t found work, and so forth. Then:

“He opened his wallet and, emptying it, pressed a roll of bills into her hand. "Oh, Andrei! I can't!"

"Well, maybe you can't—for yourself. But you can—for someone else. Isn't there someone at home who needs it—your family?"

She thought of someone at home who needed it. She took the money.” (P.180)

This is the first time she received money from him. Here’s another quote in regards to Leo not being to concerned about how Kira and Andrei would often see each other:

“Kira saw Andrei frequently. She had asked Leo if he minded it. "Not at all," he had answered, "if he's your friend. Only—would you mind?—don't bring him here. I'm not sure I can be polite to... to one of them." <wtl_206>“

As the novel progresses, Leo goes to the doctor, finally, and they find out that he has tuberculosis. She tries many different ways of getting the money she needs for Leo. Then she goes and seeks out Andrei, her very last chance, who was avoiding her at the time, because, we find out later, he was in love with her. Now they never slept with each other until that night. He also gives her money then ONLY because she had “mentioned her starving family”. He did not pay for sex. In that very scene, the only way for Kira to be able to see Andrei, to have that very last chance of somehow getting money of off him for Leo‘s betterment, she had to give him what he wanted, so all of a sudden she says she loves him as well, and is able to give him the “something” he didn’t think she would ever be able to give him. He loved her and wanted her body. He knew that he wouldn’t get her body(only through the use of force), because she didn’t love him, so he stayed away. Here is the most significant part of that scene:

“My life is twenty-eight years of that for which you feel contempt. And you—you're everything I've always expected to hate. But I want you. I'd give everything I have—everything I could ever have—Kira—for something you can't give me!"

He saw her eyes open wide at a thought he could not guess. She breathed: "What did you say, Andrei?"

"I said, everything I have for something you can't . . ." It was terror in her eyes, a terror of the thought she had seen for a second so very clearly. She whispered, trembling: "Andrei ... I'd better go .... I'd better go now."

But he was looking at her fixedly, approaching her, asking in a voice suddenly very soft and low: "Or is it something you ... can ... Kira?"

She was not thinking of him; she was not thinking of Leo; she was thinking of Maria Petrovna and of the red bubble on dying lips. She was pressed to the wall, cornered, her ten fingers spread apart on the white plaster. His voice, his hope were driving her on. Her body rose slowly against the wall, to her full height, higher, on tiptoe, her head thrown back, so that her throat was level with his mouth when she threw at him: "I can! I love you."

She wondered how strange it was to feel a man's lips that were not Leo's.

She was saying: "Yes... for a long time... but I didn't know that you, too..." and she felt his hands and his mouth, and she wondered whether this was joy or torture to him and how strong his arms were. She hoped it would be quick.”(p.222)

So Kira deceives Andrei, by telling him she loves him, has sex with him, but he is not paying her for sex. No way. He gives her money for other reasons. She is now able to send Leo away.

Edited by intellectualammo
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"Conquered"?
I don't mean in the Genghis Khan way...lol. I'm not saying I conquered my woman through force or anything silly. The term"conquer" in this context is used more to indicate the sort of tension and clash during courtship. Think of John Galt. He fought for and won Dagny's heart by his actions. He did it for himself and wouldn't have fought for her had she been less. The image of her and what she meant to him was part of what kept him going in the hard times. When I say, "conquered" I essentially mean "won." When I say, "Won" I don't mean that I got my girlfriend through trickery or a game of poker eitherl(though that would be a pretty damn good haul if I do say so myself). Do you kinda see what I mean here?

When I say "conquered" I mean "beat out other competitors (or potential competitors) by demonstrating objective value." I don't mean that my armies went forth and pillaged, plundered, and salted the earth of my girl's village in order to destroy her will so she would capitulate...lol.

:)

As for your novel examples:

As the novel progresses, Leo goes to the doctor, finally, and they find out that he has tuberculosis. She tries many different ways of getting the money she needs for Leo. Then she goes and seeks out Andrei, her very last chance, who was avoiding her at the time, because, we find out later, he was in love with her. Now they never slept with each other until that night. He also gives her money then ONLY because she had “mentioned her starving family”. He did not pay for sex. In that very scene, the only way for Kira to be able to see Andrei, to have that very last chance of somehow getting money of off him for Leo‘s betterment, she had to give him what he wanted, so all of a sudden she says she loves him as well, and is able to give him the “something” he didn’t think she would ever be able to give him. He loved her and wanted her body. He knew that he wouldn’t get her body(only through the use of force), because she didn’t love him, so he stayed away. So Kira deceives Andrei, by telling him she loves him, has sex with him, but he is not paying her for sex. No way. He gives her money for other reasons. She is now able to send Leo away.

1) Let me make this more clear. I'm not suggesting that Andrei gives her money because *he* sees it as paying for her sex. Ever value that is traded (romantic or not) is paid for by someone (economically speaking). In romantic realationships, the currency is love. In prostitution, the currency is dollars and cents. Andrei thinks he paid for the sex with love and got the sex because of reciprocated love.

He doesn't see the transaction as payment for sex because he has been manipulated by Kira (as you have already said). All relationships operate by the trader principle : mutual values are exchanged and sustained for the purpose of a person's emotional self interest. I'm not with my girlfriend out of "charity" but because I seek and receive value interactions. Likewise, she isn't with me because she feels sorry for me (what an insult that would be!) but instead because she *values* me. Andrei and Kira operate with the same principles...and in fact...prostitution is just a business form of what goes on in relationships *already.* The big difference in terms of prostitution are the values exchanged. With prostitution, physical stimulation and temporary companionship with an anonymous woman are seen as values by the male and fast/easy monetary gains are seen as valuable by the prostitute...whereas in * sustained relationships* the values exhanged aren't just physical stimulation and cash money. Does that sort of make sense?

I'm not saying that Andrei went to Kira and was like, "Can I have sex with you? I will pay you 500 rubles."

Andrei thought they were exchanging values for values emotionally. He *correctly* identified the fact that romantic love has to be based on reactions to personality and values (which are in turn shaped by the explicit philosophy that one endorses). He didn't expect Kira to love him because of the philosophy he endorsed and as a corollary...he didn't expect her to want him BECAUSE of that fact (as you correctly identified). She deceives him on these points, in essence faking reality and leaving Andrei with the perception that he was valued romantically. He was in essence, duped.

So yes...I AGREE with the fact that Andrei gives Kira money for "other reasons" and not as an exchange for sex. However, my argument is that this fact is UTTERLY irrelevant to the question of whether or not Kira prostitutes herself or not and I will explain why later in this post. Andrei thought Kira was cool with giving him sex because she reciprocated romantic feelings for him that were (in his eyes) the basis for sexual attraction. He was honest in his feelings and Kira knew this. She also used it to her own advantage in terms of manipulating things. She knew the logical connections he would make in his mind. She also knew that because he loved her and identified what he saw as a burgeoning relationship that there was no way in hell he was going to let her or her family members starve if he could help it.

After all...if I was well off and my girlfriend was dirt poor and she told me that she needed a small amount of money (small in my eyes) to keep her starving family alive, I wouldn't think twice about helping her out. I would trust her judgment due to my own ego. I would say to myself, "Evan...she found value in you, so if she is asking for money to keep her family alive, odds are they aren't like Hank Rearden's family of bums." If they turned out to be bums, I would start questioning my girlfriend's ability to judge objective values rationally and act accordingly :).

Keeping that in mind, I would also know that she would have the same information as I do and she would probably find it weird if I wasn't the least bit concerned or receptive to addressing her wants/concerns/needs.If she approached me about her starving family and I didn't care, wouldn't that be sort of weird? If she values her vamily and their starvation/loss would damage her emotional health/well being then don't most boyfriends naturally have a concern in promoting their lover's well being (so long as it isn't in conflict with their own)?Sure they do. If it was a small amount of money that wouldn't place me in financial jeopardy or debt, then what reason would I have for not helping her out?

Given this basic psychology, Kira pretty much expected Andrei to be receptive. Would she have had casual sex with him if she didn't think there were REALLY great odds of him coughing up money due to his peception of a romantic relationship? Hell no she wouldn't have. Kira wasn't into casual sex with strangers as a mindless physical indulgence like eating dessert. She had sex with him because she knew she could manipulate him into coughing up dough based on misperceptions that Andrei had due to her misrepresenting her intentions. Begging would have been more honest. *Kira* knows exactly what she is doing and she makes the choice to sell her sexual services for the purpose of getting money to prevent Leo from dying. It is why she "hopes it would be quick" and thinks of Maria Petronova.

2) I'm not suggesting that Kira tried prostitution first as an easy way out. I know she tried pretty much every method outside of Andrei. However,she had sex with a guy for the indirect purpose of achieving a monetary end.

The real issue we are dancing around here is whether or not you can be a prostitute if your client is unaware about the transaction taking place. I'm arguing that for ethical and practical purposes, you CAN be such a prostitute.

Let me give you a hypothetical scenario (complete with cheesy and unrealistic dialogue) to illustrate this:

Girl A and Guy B are at a bar and they have known each other for a while. Girl A hates the anarchist philosophy and Guy B is an anarchist....yet they are friends.

Girl A to Guy B = "Hey there handsome. How about going back to my place for a little fun?

Guy B = "Wait a minute. I thought you hated anarchist philosophy? How can you want to have sex with me? How can you be into someone that you are philosophically opposed to? I thought you were unable and unwilling to have sex with me for that reason??? I really have feelings for you, Girl A and have been trying to prevent myself from attempting to get something out of my reach.

Girl A = Nope. I AM willing to have sex with you.

Guy B = Score! Let's make this happen!

*sex happens*

Girl A = Uh....*shifty eyes*. I'm a huge supporter of the World Wildlife Fund (those pandas are so damn cute!). Got any cash?

Guy B = Erhm....sure. *hands the girl cash as she hops off the bed, puts on clothes, and heads out the door*

*next scene*

Girl A repeats the same basic scene with Guy C.

Can that girl be prostituting herself for the world life fund regardless of whether or not the guys understand what her motives are? Sure she can. The guys might THINK the girl is having sex with them because of their dashing good looks, moral philosophy, penis size, or bank account. The guy's perceptions are sort of irrelevant though. A is A, right? "A"in this case is the fact that Kira is having sex with Andrei because she knows that by staying around him, he will give her money . and the only way to stay around him is to give him sex. Thus, she has sex for the purpose of staying around him and NOT because she wants to stay around him for his dashing good looks or because she is deeply in love with him.I guess what I'm going for here is that the cause of WHY someone is that the motives (cause), duration, and male perception are irrelevant to labeling someone a prostitute.We can definitely say that the girl in my little 1 act play is having sex for money so she can save the pandas (her value). Regardless of if she has sex for money with one guy or 12 guys, she is selling her body for pandas.It doesn't MATTER that the dude was duped. That doesn't change the full context and reality of the situation. The WOMAN knows what she is doing...and for all intents and purposes, is the only one that matters in this situation. After all, it doesn't matter if Guy B goes up on Jerry Springer and explictly says, "You're a dirty tramp You only had sex with me for money so you could save the pandas!" A rose by any other name smells as sweet and is still a rose, right? Whether or not both parties identify the prostitution for what it really is is irrelevant.What distinguishes prostitution from an act of love are the REAL-not professed-motives of both parties and the fact that what is traded in an act of love isn't only about dollars and cents.The woman has the full context and knows what her own motives are (at least in this case). Andrei was lied to, but Kira wasn't. Kira knew exactly what was going on. In her own mind (the only one that matters) how could she be anything but a prostitute? (regardless of what Andrei knew or didn't know).

3)As far as Leo, yes he knew of Andrei's existence as a *friend* of Kira's, but nothing more. He wasn't prohibitive like, "You can't see that guy." Honestly,he was either careless or else he just thought that Kira was morally above having sex with another man in the confines of a relationship. Neither Andrei nor Leo know about each other until near the end of the novel. Since *he* was unaware of the full context, it cannot be said that he condoned what was going on.

4) Andrei intially gave money to Kira because he noticed she was starving. He labeled Kira and her well being as a value...and acted accordingly (which is partially why Kira was smart enough to go to Andrei in the first place). The fact that Andrei didn't perceive that his money was all Kira really cared about is pretty much irrelevant here. It is also irrelevant that initially Kira didn't sleep with Andrei for money or sleep with him at all. I'm not referring to their early friendship when I accuse her of prostitution.

-Evan

Edited by Evan
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I'm not saying that Andrei went to Kira and was like, "Can I have sex with you? I will pay you 500 rubles."

Now, that's definately more along the lines of prostitution(the initial proposition), if the response is inviting, it definately is.

So yes...I AGREE with the fact that Andrei gives Kira money for "other reasons" and not as an exchange for sex.

YES!!!! Great!!!

The real issue we are dancing around here is whether or not you can be a prostitute if your client is unaware about the transaction taking place. I'm arguing that for ethical and practical purposes, you CAN be such a prostitute.

I disagree. No prostitution takes place on either side. I am absolutely pressed for time, have to go to work at the hospital, but anytime Leo or Andrei or even herself refer, or put a name to what she has done, that name wasn't "prostitute" or "prostitution". What was it...."whore". That was the word all three used. The only time prostitute was used was in reference to the ones on the street the night Leo and Kira met. In the novel there is a clear difference between a prostitute and a whore. No?

Edited by intellectualammo
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