Page 3 of 3 FirstFirst 123
Results 21 to 23 of 23
  1. #21  
    Power CUer
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Posts
    10,208
    Yes, it's probably very easy to fall for the temptation of seeking government grants -- I still maintain that its immoral to have such a system in place at all however. If you have a passion for your art, you're able to work on it throughout most of the 8-10 hours of the day that you aren't working to support yourself, or sleeping. If you fail to find the energy for your so-called passion, you're probably not so passionate about it after all. Success isn't handed to you on a silver platter -- it takes hard work, sacrifice and an iron will.
    Have you ever worked a manual job 8-10 hours every day and then come home to do your passion? I have friends who have and I, myself, have worked FT at something I did well so that I could support myself doing something I loved. Let me tell you that it tires you out, iron will or not. Work always takes something out of you and leaves less for your passion--and for sleep--which contrary to popular opinion is essential for both health and creativity. In the end, you end up burning the candle at both ends, especially if you spend years this way. If you end up without energy, it's not because you're not passionate about your work, but because your body is spent. You also have very little time for friends and family. Rand's characters really have neither; relationships are not really close and children are not part of her heroes lives.


    I agree that the present day situation of big government and a mixed economy makes it near impossible to succeed as an Objectivist puritan such as Howard Roark. As I pointed out above though, he's more like an abstract personification of the highest ideals of Objectivism. Objectivist characters in Atlas Shrugged, for example, did manage to work "in the system" until it got too absurd. Just as you don't need to be Jesus in order to be a Christian, you don't need to be Howard Roark in order to be an Objectivist -- they serve as moral ideals.
    So compromise is a necessity then. Can an objectivist use public funds (in a grant) and still be an objectivist?

    And yes, I'm still waiting for someone to rival Tchaikovsky's 1812 Overture. :)
    It probably won't happen. Google IRCAM someday and listen to some of the stuff they are putting out.

    :)
    Last edited by Elspeth; 08-03-2008 at 09:02 PM.
    Reply With Quote  
     

  2. #22  
    Senior Member IanMartins's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Posts
    170
    Quote Originally Posted by Elspeth View Post
    You're actually making my argument for me here: Roark's pure, unadulterated work was, in fact, NOT selling. It was because of the compromises added by Peter Keating that the work could sell at all. This might be described as "pandering" and goes to the heart of my argument: How pure can integrity be (or should it be), and how does the person who wants to maintain inner integrity make a living in a capitalist economy without some compromises or persuasive skills?
    If you're a right-wing conservative, consider this analogy of what you're saying:
    Fred Thompson's pure, unadulterated conservative views were, in fact, NOT selling. It was because of the compromises added by John McCain that the politics could sell at all.
    As you might guess, my opinion is this: no compromise. Not in politics, nor in business. If you do compromise on your principles -- if you do sacrifice the good for the evil -- you end up with moderate, pragmatic, conformative collectivist people who don't really stand for anything but the vague "greater good". You end up with McCains and Obamas.

    People like Peter Keating would, much like the welfare state, be destroyed by their own impotense if not for the men of integrity -- such as Howard Roark.

    Quote Originally Posted by Elspeth View Post
    In your opinion, Roark was talented, but in the opinions of the public he was just plain scary, untried, and, to many, untalented. What is to prevent someone from saying to him, "Get out of the business, you just don't have it" ?
    This makes me question whether you've really read the book. If there is one thing that's repeated throughout the entire storyline, its public figures writing bad reviews about Roark saying "get out of the business, you just don't have it!", and numerous demonstrations on how Roark does not concern himself about the public opinion.

    Quote Originally Posted by Elspeth View Post
    Exactly. But as the ideal, he stands for Rand's major principles: one is not to sacrifice one's inner integrity and the other is not to allow "second handers" to profit in society. Roark is completely unwilling to sacrifice his inner integrity but, in a desire to fix Keating's bad designs and see his own ideas in concrete, Roark does allow the second hander to profit. In the process, he destroys Keating (along with Toohey). Wouldn't it have been far better for Roark to learn to sell his ideas, to compromise a little and put his own name on it? I don't know the answer to that one, but I am assuming that for Rand, this kind of compromise is untenable. And, once again, this leaves Roark, and those who follow his way, completely helpless in the hands of society.
    First of all, it was demonstrated how Roark was anything but helpless in the hands of society. Second, if he "learned to compromise" by not making the kind of buildings that he wanted to make, he'd had to lower his own intelligence and ruin both pride and self-esteem -- these are the consequences of failing to live up to the principles that you know to be right. Again, the Fountainhead demonstrated exactly why one should not compriomise -- this was the main message of the book, and if you've actually read it, I cannot possibly provide you with a better explanation.

    Quote Originally Posted by Elspeth View Post
    This is a statement of faith, not a statement of fact.

    For many, the right opportunity never comes. If no one like Heller had ever come along, then Roark would never have built a thing under his own name. (He'd have always been designing for free for Peter Keating.)
    I stand by what I said: opportunities always present themselves -- assuming you work to make them happen. A bum laying on the street will never amount to anything. An industrious, ambitious man of principle however? Certainly. If the first person who came to see Roark (Heller) had not come, another would have. Making the kind of argument you're making, is like saying to an entrepreneur: "if the first person you presented your idea to hadn't decided to invest in you, you never would have owned a penny to your name!" When you have great talent and willpower, you'll always have business.


    Quote Originally Posted by Elspeth View Post
    A great part of success depends on how you handle the not-right opportunity or how you create your own opportunities. The "not-right" opportunity may give you some of what you want, like the committee that just wanted a little cosmetic change from Roark, but were willing to give him everything else he wanted. The opportunity is not perfect, it's not the right opportunity according to Rand's standards (as is evidenced by Roark throwing it away) but is AN opportunity. The world very rarely gives you exactly what you want right away. Very often, you have to compromise at first. This is what Rand's characters (and her philosophy) are unwilling to do.
    Roark's prime motive wasn't to make money -- his motive was to build a certain kind of buildings -- his buildings, with his designs. To betray this would be to betray himself. He had the intellect, the pride and the self-esteem to know that he would not need to compromise in order to build his own buildings, and that any compromise would remove all personal value and satisfaction from the work.

    Quote Originally Posted by Elspeth View Post
    There is a good reason for Rand to distrust compromise. The problem with compromise (especially as an artist) is that you can get caught in it. An actor, for example, can get type cast. Take the case of Ed O'Neill from "Married With Children". He played Al Bundy for so long that when he tried to do serious acting in a pair of late 90's movies, it was hard for audiences to take him seriously, and the movies are not remembered. This kind of "Type casting" can happen to artists and architects as well, and compromise can make it difficult for the public to accept the artist's real style when it emerges. Ed O'Neill started in serious work; should he have not taken "Married with Children" even though he didn't particularly like the brand of humor and didn't think it would last through seven episodes?
    I don't know much about Ed O'Neill (though I remember that seeing him in "Se7en" was pretty weird thanks to his role on Married With Children). Based on what you've told me I'll say this: remaining in the role of Al Bundy for so many years was a conscious decision on his part, and he has earned the consequences of that, for better of for worse. If he compromised for momentary gain by doing the kind of work that he didn't really like, he has only himself and his lack of principles to blame for his failed career.

    Quote Originally Posted by Elspeth View Post
    Here again, I don't know the answer, but if Ed O'Neill had waited for his Austin Heller in the industry, his opportunity might have never come. Most actors I have met will take whatever roll they can get, even if they are opposed to it, because it is an opportunity. Idealists, Like Ali Sheedy, (from The Breakfast Club) will never find the kinds of roles they are looking for and end up unable to work at all.
    So your message is this: "if you take a risk you may never succeed, so you'd better play it safe and don't try too much"? So much for the brilliant achievers of the world. So much for the heroes.

    Quote Originally Posted by Elspeth View Post
    The other thing one needs to learn is how to "create" opportunities. This might mean a little self advertisement, use of rhetorical persuasion, exactly the kind of networking that Guy Francon did and taught Peter Keating to do. In fact, Francon explained to Peter that the real work of the firm was, in fact, all the parties and not the actual designing (which he left to Stengel and, later, to Keating himself.) Francon had a point: it is the parties and the networking where the personal contacts are made. If someone knows you (or knows that you are vouched for) and likes you, you are much more likely to get their business.
    That may be how second-handers are vouched for -- by the "words of mouth" from people who don't really know your work but do it as personal favor (to the detriment of everyone), by bribes, by lobbying, etc. First-handers are vouched for by value of the stocks in their companies, by their achievements, and by their innovative products and services. Actions speak louder than words, as the catchphrase goes. Opportunities are created by your own personal excellence, which is reflected in your work. Massive advertisement of your work is an important factor -- the more billboards, the better. Roark could not afford this in the Fountainhead, which took place while he was trying to "make it". Hank Rearden, Dagny Taggart, Ellis Wyatt and other Objectivist characters from Atlas Shrugged certainly could, and did.
    Last edited by IanMartins; 08-06-2008 at 03:57 PM.
    Reply With Quote  
     

  3. #23  
    Senior Member IanMartins's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Posts
    170
    Quote Originally Posted by Elspeth View Post
    Just think of what would happened to John Galt if, instead of going on strike, he had gotten himself out there and talking to some venture captialists? If he hadn't known them, perhaps he could have used friends and personal contacts. And, if no financers were willing to take him on, perhaps he could have gone to work at a univerisity and, yes, applied for a government grant? These are all opportunities that he could have created for himself.
    You haven't read Atlas Shrugged -- if you do, you'll realize the absurdity of that argument. :)

    Quote Originally Posted by Elspeth View Post
    Standard procedure varies from entrepreneur to entrepreneur. If the entrepreneur has money and contacts like Bill Gates, who had the funds to buy DOS from Xerox (a operating system that was created with taxpayer money!), and whose mom was on the board of IBM, there is no need to "work in quarry" or the equivalent.

    For entrepreneurs without these kinds of advantages, opportunities have to be created either by the entrepreneurs themselves or by close friends and contacts. These contacts have to come from somewhere, which means that entrepreneurs have to find access to people and that requires politicking and persuasion--by someone.
    Objectivist entrepreneurs create opportunities for themselves. Marketing one's work is one way to do it, and usually the most effective. Roark's work was all the marketing he needed -- it made customers seek him out.

    Quote Originally Posted by Elspeth View Post
    Actually, Rand does not believe this. Most of Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged are railing against society for not being able to recognize a Roark or Galt in their midst. It is very much like the story of Jesus (which you mention) where a stupid, immoral, misguided world cannot see the very hand of God in front of them and, for complex reasons, have to destroy that hand of God that shines light on their shortcomings. Roark is described in these terms. Dominique writes an article in which she blames Roark for building a structure on which the unworthy will hang their laundry and live their little, unworthy lives. For a non-socialist, Rand spends a lot of time blaming society.
    1. Atlas Shrugged is not about public opinion, though collectivism is certainly a vital part of it. The true theme of the book is the role of the mind in man's existence and the morality of rational self-interest -- the right of the individual to exist for his own sake.

    2. Ayn Rand "believed in" (i.e. recognized) self-reliance. I don't see any arguments to contest this in your post, and I sincerely doubt they exist.

    3. Individualists blame the collectivists of faith and force who vote away their individual freedom, yes. They are the ones responsible for the injustice. You are not a socialist for recognizing this.

    Quote Originally Posted by Elspeth View Post
    The real problem is a little more complex: humans are political creatures, often stupid and misguided, and they need to be persuaded. Ken Howard is probably the most pragmatic character in The Fountainhead when it comes to getting ideas moving. He works committees, twisting arms and gaining support until he reaches his objective. All this takes persuasion. And this is ALL politics.
    Some people are political creatures, others are creative creatures. "The creator's concern is the conquest of nature. The parasite's concern is the conquest of men", as Roark points out.

    In a socialist/fascist community, people need to be "persuaded". In a capitalist society, people are free to learn from their own mistakes -- i.e. they are taught self-reliance through their own individual experiences.

    Quote Originally Posted by Elspeth View Post
    Persuasion is the key to every kind of achievement.
    There are many forms of persuasion. Objectivists are not adverse to using most of them. "The Society of Pull", which you learn the meaning of if you read Atlas Shrugged, demonstrates the form of persuasion that is not acceptable for a moral person.

    Quote Originally Posted by Elspeth View Post
    One cannot count on society to be the way one likes it. One can only deal with "what is" and decide how far one is willing to go to persuade or compromise. It is the "how far" that needs to be guided by morals and ethics, and the Objectivist ethic leaves no room for persuasion or compromise.
    Man survives, not by adjusting himself to his physical environment in the manner of an animal, but by transforming his environment through productive work. He is dedicated to reshaping the earth in the image of his own values. Objectivism leaves little room for the sort of persuasion that you have in mind ("social pull"), and certainly has no room for compromise, which means to sacrifice ones own principles. They understand the long-term repercussions of doing this.

    Quote Originally Posted by Elspeth View Post
    This is circular argument ultimately. An artist who isn't selling needs to improve his style so he can sell. If his style then sells, you can consider the style "improved." But how do we know it isn't a compromise? There isn't a way for the market to decide what changes are improvements and what changes are actually compromises, since both may sell equally well. You are asking the market to be the arbiter of style "improvement" when the market only reflects the public's buying habits, which can be based on either "improvement" or "compromise" (pandering.) For "improvement" you need an arbiter other than the market.
    If you learn that 4 + 4 = 8, you don't compromise on your skills when you also learn that 4 * 4 = 16. This is what I was talking about. Improving your skills in order to sell better is entirely different from changing your skills in other to sell better. You know that something is a compromise when it goes against your own principles -- what others think is of no concern to you. The only "arbiter" is your own judgement and objective law.

    Quote Originally Posted by Elspeth View Post
    Have you ever worked a manual job 8-10 hours every day and then come home to do your passion? I have friends who have and I, myself, have worked FT at something I did well so that I could support myself doing something I loved. Let me tell you that it tires you out, iron will or not. Work always takes something out of you and leaves less for your passion--and for sleep--which contrary to popular opinion is essential for both health and creativity. In the end, you end up burning the candle at both ends, especially if you spend years this way. If you end up without energy, it's not because you're not passionate about your work, but because your body is spent. You also have very little time for friends and family. Rand's characters really have neither; relationships are not really close and children are not part of her heroes lives.
    I don't know your artist friends, and can only speak from personal experience. Yes -- you'll have very little time for your family if your work is your passion, and you devote yourself entirely to it. That's the price of great achievement. You can't have your cake and eat it too. For such individuals, the people they do business with often end up as their closest friends, as they share many personal values (non-material ones).

    Quote Originally Posted by Elspeth View Post
    So compromise is a necessity then. Can an objectivist use public funds (in a grant) and still be an objectivist?
    Objectivists live in the world as it could be, and should be, as far as they are able to in the current system. Doubtlessly, many do things that may be considered "civil disobedience" in order to live up to their moral principles. Many of the Objectivists at the Ayn Rand Institute are entrepreneurs/businessmen -- in order to be this today you are forced by the government to make certain compromises. The difference is that they spend all their energy trying to change the system in order to to make a better world for themselves.

    By "Objectivist" I primarily think of the first-hander characters in Ayn Rand's novels, of the staff at the Institute, and of the students who have completed the four-year-long graduate program. I consider myself a "student of Objectivism", and the same would doubtlessly go for the person in your example.

    P.S. I won't respond in such great length any longer -- it takes too much time, and I doubt there's much more to say about these particular issues on my part. If you respond, please do so briefly with very concrete issues. Thanks. :)
    Last edited by IanMartins; 08-06-2008 at 03:46 PM.
    Reply With Quote  
     

Tags for this Thread

View Tag Cloud

Bookmarks
Bookmarks
Posting Permissions
  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •