“Anyone Who Fights for the Future Lives in It, Today” --Introduction to The Romantic Manifesto
At times, Ayn Rand permitted herself to write of Romanticism with a terrible yearning redeemed only by her fighting spirit. In the introduction to The Romantic Manifesto (1969) she wrote:
As a child, I saw a glimpse of the pre-World War I world, the last afterglow of the most radiant cultural atmosphere in human history…If one has glimpsed that kind of art—and wider: the possibility of that kind of culture—one is able to be satisfied with nothing less…. It is that knowledge I want to hold up to the sight of men…before the barbarian curtain descends (if it does) and the last memory of man’s greatness vanishes in another Dark Ages.
But this was Ayn Rand, so, of course, the rest of the Romantic Manifesto is dedicated to a brilliant, inspiring presentation of the nature, philosophical roots, craft, and life-giving importance of Romanticism. As she wrote, “There is no Romantic movement today. If there is to be one in the art of the future, this book will have helped it come into being.”
An “End in Itself”
The Romantic school of literature--its heroes and projection of a sunlit world, whatever the struggle required to reach it--was Ayn Rand’s earliest exposure, as a girl in Russia, to a new universe of philosophy. She chose to be a novelist while still in a world where long-term ambition seemed a bitter taunt. Against all odds, she devoted her life to the creation in...
Read Article : Sense of Life -- Who Are the New Romantic Novelists?
Porn and art generate two classic human responses: "Art is in the eye of the beholder" and "I know porn when I see it."
Sometimes these responses overlap such as in reaction to erotic Egyptian drawings, Ancient Greek wine vases, 19th century etchings and literature, and in 20th century erotic photos, movies, and adult cartoons. In these cases, we observe art with erotic touches or eroticism with artistic touches. What is the difference between them? And can we find the spot that divides them?
Erotic and Satirical Papyrus. Papyrus, Der el-Medina, New Kingdom,Dynasty XX (1186 – 1070 BCE). Turin Museum
Erotic scene on the rim of an Attic red-figure kylix, c. 510 BC.
Novelist and philosopher Ayn Rand is passionately adamant about where her boundaries are: "I want to state, for the record, my own view of what is called "’hard-core’" pornography. I regard it as unspeakably disgusting. I have not read any of the books or seen any of the current movies belonging to that category, and I do not intend ever to read or see them."
John Stagliano, a porn producer and an Objectivist, said,: "My argument that pornography is art hinges on the value I put on sexual arousal. I submit that is as valid an emotional response as fear, hate, joy, or any other emotion. Those that don't think pornography is art perhaps don't value the sexual response and therefore dismiss porn as art. Still, if their response to it was immediate revulsion than that in itself proves that it is...
Read Article : Drawing a Line between Pornography and Art
“Productive work is the road of woman’s unlimited achievement and calls upon the highest attributes of her character: her creative ability, her ambitiousness, her self-assertiveness...her dedication to the goal of reshaping the earth in the image of her values.”
Recognize the quote above? The gender pronouns may have been changed, but the wisdom of the author is eternal, and never more relevant than today, on this so called “Day Without Woman.”
Ayn Rand was not just a philosopher who celebrated productive work as the purpose of a human being’s life, she herself was an enormously hard working novelist, philosopher and advocate of human rights (inclusive of women’s rights, ladies). True, she used the device of a “strike” to demonstrate how when one removes the pillars (the most creative, productive elements) of an economy, the economy -- and society -- will collapse.
But today, the women's strike supporters call on us to stand for something by doing nothing. Other women -- like me -- will celebrate working women by living our values: work, creativity, and production.
Our motto: “I am woman, watch me work.”
Somehow this is a controversial viewpoint for an American woman to have on March 8, 2017. Or at least that’s my interpretation from the sentiments I’ve seen on social media and in the press surrounding the movement, “A Day Without a Woman.”It appears that the movement and its proposal for women to take the day off from paid and unpaid labor is pushing women into a forced...
Read Article : I am Woman, Watch Me Work
Just a few days ago, Trump advisor Anthony Scaramucci seemed to be in hot water. In reaction to bomb threats to Jewish Community Centers across the country, he tweeted "It's not yet clear who the #JCC offenders are. Don't forget @TheDemocrats effort to incite violence at Trump rallies."
Now, the FBI has arrested Juan Thompson, an anti-Trump, pro-Communist African American. I am not surprised. Over the years, the vast majority of anti-Semitic asides I have heard have come not from conservatives, of the “right,” as conventional wisdom would have you believe, but from my crunchy, leftist friends.
I am a semi-Semite, so to speak, with a father who is Reform Jew, and a mother is a lapsed Catholic. I don’t walk around wearing a chai (the Hebrew symbol for life), still...with a name like “Grossman,” you’d think that people might hesitate to drop ethnic slurs and stereotypes into our conversation.
Unfortunately, not. One woman I know remarked that her landlord was “a typical Jew” for raising her rent. Another raised an eyebrow when a local restaurant burned down: “Jewish insurance, you know.” Apart from their anti-Semitic expressions, what do these two women have in common? They are “progressives”--tax-the-rich, Israel-is-bad, anti-gun fanatics who are sure that international corporations rule the world--and all that. Two anecdotes, but of dozens of...
Read Article : Scaramucci Was Right: The Left & Anti-Semitism
If you’re like me, you cheered the announcement by SpaceX head Elon Musk that his company plans to send two people on a slingshot swing around the Moon in 2018. But if you want a future filled with such exciting achievements, take a minute to ask what a society must have as prerequisites.
Private rockets from innovators
Musk, of course, is the entrepreneur who co-founded Paypal with Peter Thiel. He went on to found Tesla Motors, which produces cutting-edge cars and, soon, batteries that could power your house.
With SpaceX, Musk’s company has built rockets that now carry cargoes to the International Space Station on contact with NASA. And the Falcon Heavy rocket, which Musk hopes to test soon, will be capable of interplanetary voyages. It’s with this system he wants to send a ship with two private, paying passengers on a swing around the Moon, with lunar gravity hurling it back to Earth for a safe touchdown.
Musk is just one of a new breed of private entrepreneur doing what many thought only governments could do. Amazon’s Jeff Bezos, through his company Blue Origins, is building his own innovative rockets, and Richard Branson, through Virgin Galactic, soon hopes to offer private, suborbital flights.
But consider what it takes—in our culture, values, and virtues—to produce such achievements or any of those that are on the horizon in exponential technologies like bioengineering, nanotech,...
Read Article : Musk, the Moon, and Musts for Achievement