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About stasis

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  1. Glorior Belli / Brainbombs / Atrax Morgue / No Trend o7
  2. Maybe anarchist thinkers are long past this, but thinking about the capitalist variety, I don't have any confidence in 'spontaneous order' being resistant to entrenchment or less oppressive than political order in general. You can also raise the specter of normlessness, wherein social codes or expected practices are extremely situational, or change so rapidly that risk-mitigating planning cannot be done, resulting in a loss of agency and again entrenchment. In other words, how is a condition of anarchy maintained?
  3. I haven't read his books either, but I wasn't concerned with the feasibility of defending the work (or the author, through the work). I'm thinking of another aspect of this criticism. There seems to be an ability to read various authors who have these 'difficult' social views, but a particular struggle with Randian difficulties. This selfish old novelist, this is where the horse balks. Trots right through a suburb of the gallows. Then throws a shoe. The different ways in which readers calibrate revulsion to these books. Does Rand exceed HP Lovecraft in callousness? In the writing, some of it misanthropic, or in a personal sense? It doesn't strike me that fellow-traveling on her part would be more difficult to grapple with than Heidegger or Evola.
  4. Oblomov, Ivan Goncharov. Compliments to thod.
  5. I think this is a discredited argument. The notion that participating in party actions and maintaining nazi affiliation was a matter of self-preservation for ordinary germans regardless of their sympathies. For example, Goldhagen documents the licence with which even SS officers and police detachments could refuse genocidal orders (Willing Executioners, 1996). It is more likely that Heidegger's nazism follows from his position as a conservative revolutionary and garden variety antisemite of the era.
  6. It's a longstanding criticism of the plot: what happens when everyone's in the Gulch. Does the future contain an idyllic guarded beach, marijuana everywhere, or is it more like one-fifth of the family dies in the winter. Either way, the city skyline that Atlas romanticizes clearly relies on a scaling of production; something that occurred through the skilled labor of large numbers of workers being assisted by automation. So it's unlikely that small pockets of Galtians would themselves achieve these technological ideals, having dismantled them, shifting the outcome of the book into a kind of early-agrarian apocalypse. The stuff of grim stares and woolen overcoats rather than optimism. Although, you can salvage even that scenario by citing the future. Successive generations of Galtians, the growing settlement, advantaged by rationality if you like. A kind of colonial narrative. So probably redundant.
  7. Heidegger, a card-carrying member of the Nazi party throughout World War II. What is your definition of 'odious persona', I wonder.
  8. In this part of the world, when you reach for that first cup of coffee, you are interacting with an international supply chain.
  9. Didn't you once mention that you liked Shostakovich? I don't know what russian sensibilities are, but I can appreciate Solzhenitsyn, Ustvolskaya, Bakunin, Rand. There's something about the work which recalls the unflinching incision that french decadents had. Huysmans, Mirbeau etc, and their aesthetic heirs; including Oscar Wilde and perhaps de Beauvoir, if her review of de Sade is an indication. Anyway, this is not something I would ascribe to a particular country, and beyond this point further namedropping would become grotesque.
  10. Rand was certainly no more odious in her manner than Nietzsche himself. Women are incessantly tone-policed for no good reason, I find. But consider reading Simone de Beauvoir sometime. I think she's a better writer.
  11. If this is your litmus, you might be interested to know that Rand is strongly consonant with the existentialist and instructor of western philosophy Simone de Beauvoir, and specifically her work The Ethics of Ambiguity; from the concept of individualism as a vehicle for liberation through the trenchant delivery of the arguments. "For it is quite clear that if the individual is a pure zero, the sum of those zeros which make up the collectivity is also a zero; no undertaking has any importance, no defeat as well as no victory. In order to appeal to the devotion of his troops, the chief or the authoritarian party will utilize a truth which is the opposite of the one which sanctions their brutal oppression: namely, that the value of the individual is asserted only in his surpassing." (de Beauvoir, Ethics, 1947) "A world of obedience and unity. A world where the thought of each man will not be his own, but an attempt to guess the thought in the brain of his neighbor who'll have no thought of his own but an attempt to guess the thought of the next neighbor who'll have no thought of his own [...] Not judgement, but public polls. An average drawn upon zeroes - since no individuality will be permitted." (Rand, Fountainhead, 1943) "And it is a point at which fascist ideology and Marxist ideology converge. A doctrine which aims at the liberation of man evidently can not rest on a contempt for the individual; but it can propose to him no other salvation than his subordination to the collectivity." (de Beauvoir, Ethics, 1947) "One country is dedicated to the proposition that man has no rights, that the collective is all. The individual held as evil, the mass - as god. No motive and no virtue permitted - except that of service to the proletariat. That's one version. Here's another. A country dedicated to the proposition that man has no rights, that the state is all. The individual held as evil, the race - as god. No motive and no virtue permitted - except that of service to the race. [...] Heads - collectivism, and tails - collectivism." (Rand, Fountainhead, 1943) For an introduction to de Beauvoir's 1955 critical essay Right-Wing Thought Today, the contemporary political philosopher Sonia Kruks observes that within the politics of the 1940s, Sartre and de Beauvoir are initially concerned with what they call a "third way" between capitalism and communism. Essentially this is some form of social democracy, and as I understand it, the context in which the latter's Ethics forms a response to Sartre's Being and Nothingness. But where Sartre incrementally moved toward communism and "wore away [de Beauvoir's] resistance" such that she "liquidated [her] ethical idealism and ended up adopting Sartre's point of view" (Hard Times, 1965), Rand seems to orient herself to the Cold War by moving in the opposite direction politically. Rand engages not only in the use of these consonant ideals, but in a precise moral inversion of de Beauvoir's position on capitalism itself, and in the rejection of Sartre. Regardless of what one thinks of the value of objectivism, it is certainly something that can be oriented within the realm of political philosophy. There is still the criticism that Rand is too derivative. You can talk about Nietzsche, et cetera. But several of the arguments you make here, the charge of solipsism for instance, are also arguments from which de Beauvoir is able to defend existentialism in individualist terms. When you acknowledge these compatibilities, it's striking that Rand was able to ride the anti-communist culture wave so far into conservative politics. This literary ninjitsu, by which she managed to compel american caesaropapists and theocrats and their polity to interface with anti-conservative existentialism and atheism in the time of McCarthy.
  12. Disparities, Slavoj Žižek.
  13. Nietzsche would have had something like a proto-freudian model of depression, which is obsolete. Similar in this fashion to relying on perfumes to ward off infectious disease, or deploying knives and leeches to break a fever. In a more modern context it is at least conceivable that a self-actualizing philosophy could mitigate elements of some forms of depression. One might imagine a counteraction or retasking of perseveration, for example, in the subset of sufferers who have that tendency. But it does not seem like there would be hidden medical power in his writings.
  14. Up to the present my spirit has not been depressed by the unremitting suffering that my ailments have caused me; at times I even feel more cheerful and more benevolent than I ever felt in my life before; to what do I owe this invigorating and ameliorating effect? Certainly not to my fellow men; for, with but few exceptions, they have all during the last few years shown themselves "offended" by me; nor have they shrunk from letting me know it. Just read this last manuscript through, my dear friend, and ask yourself whether there are any traces of suffering or depression to be found in it. I don't believe there are, and this very belief is a sign that there must be powers concealed in these views, and not the proofs of impotence and lassitude after which my enemies will seek. Keeping in mind that Nietzsche was writing in the 1800s, and from behind an immense mustache, the author would likely prescribe a mixture of reading more Nietzsche, taking "whatever is cast into us down into our depths," and relocating to a climate that better agrees with one's own bodily temperament. He seemed convinced that cold was essential.