Time For A Reread

Posted by OzzieWest 2 months, 3 weeks ago to Books
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Yep. Starting Atlas Shrugged again this afternoon.


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  • Posted by Aurum79 2 months, 3 weeks ago
    Consider the MP3 CD version. It's word for word, jot and tittle the same as the big hard bound I got a couple of years ago. This way you can "read" it on your commute to work, or as you walk.
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    • Posted by Doug_Huffman 2 months, 1 week ago
      An audiobook for the first ‘read’ perhaps, but an honest in-depth critical re-reading demands rapid reference local and global. I have completed many re-reads of Atlas Shrugged, but at just a few pages per day taking months for all of the side trips.
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  • Posted by $ Suzanne43 2 months, 3 weeks ago
    Instead of "Who is John Galt," we should ask "Where is John Galt." We need him now more than ever. It's been a couple of years since I read AS, and I need to do it again soon. My sister and I both have the CDs, which she is listening to now. I prefer the printed page and have the novel in book form and on Kindle.
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    • Posted by $ jbrenner 2 months, 3 weeks ago
      Would John Galt have the nerve now to be one of the rioters?
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      • Posted by ewv 2 months, 3 weeks ago
        Why would he want to?
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        • Posted by $ jbrenner 2 months, 3 weeks ago
          "Withdrawing the motor of the world" is something I can support. Actively undermining producers, both now in 2020 and in Atlas Shrugged, is something I can't support.

          It is in John Galt's self-interest to see the current world implode on itself, so that he can pick up the pieces. Does that justify undermining Taggart Transcontinental? That is a tough question.
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          • Posted by ewv 2 months, 3 weeks ago
            "Undermining" is a broad term not specifying how. Galt didn't destroy private property, he withdrew support by persuading the best minds to stop helping their own destruction. Even Ragnar targeted only looters.

            The theme of the novel was the role of the mind in human life, illustrated by showing what happens when it is withdrawn. To show that in the accelerated, fictional plot, Galt deliberately set out to bring down the corrupt society through the best minds not helping it, getting the evil mindlessness out of the way by collapsing its coercive power, so that the rational could produce and live.

            That isn't practical or even possible in reality as a means, and Ayn Rand did not advocate it. As a tactic "strikers" would barely be noticed if at all, and to the extent it had an effect it would only make things worse -- much worse if the economy and political system were to actually collapse. It is not a way to a better world; without the required general acceptance of the proper philosophic principles employed for guiding actions nothing would change for the better in any kind of recovery.

            But in the novel and in reality people should, and do, as individuals refuse to work for their own punishment, which is a different motive, and Ayn Rand did support that, rejecting sacrifice by individuals.

            The question is always how much injustice to tolerate in any particular activity, and what else is possible in some other kind of job or career and in what location. Holing up in the wilderness as a way of life is not practical, and neither is an attempt at a secret utopian society.
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            • Posted by $ jbrenner 2 months, 3 weeks ago
              I agree with what you are saying except that in Atlas Shrugged, the strikers' effects were indeed noticeable, and that's what makes it difficult for me.
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              • Posted by ewv 2 months, 3 weeks ago
                Effects of a strike may be noticed without noticing the strikers or why they are striking. Productive individuals dropping out one at at time, and what could have been that is not, are rarely noticed in the economy. The kind of actual strikes that are noticed are large union operations employing coercion to focus on a single industry or business. If you decided to quit yourself, how many would notice?

                In the plot of Atlas Shrugged the decline due to producers dropping out was "noticed" because it was explicitly described as the focus of the artificially accelerated plot.
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          • Posted by 2 months, 3 weeks ago
            This is John's one act of altruism. Although, it is also a service from which he will likely profit.

            If something you are doing is not of actual service to anyone, how does that make you a profit? It don't. Making money is the surest sign that you are doing good. NB: Making Money. Not looting or mooching to acquire it.

            The balance between altruism for those he values and his attention to his own benefit runs throughout.
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            • Posted by ewv 2 months, 3 weeks ago
              John Galt did not commit any acts of altruism. Altruism means living for others as the standard of morality. There is no "balance" between altruism and "attention to one's own benefits" and that contradiction does not "run throughout" *Atlas Shrugged". Exchanging value for value in trade is for mutual benefit, not altruism.
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              • Posted by Lucky 2 months, 3 weeks ago
                The usual measure of success of working for yourself is money but it is not the only metric, Rand uses the word values for describing some state to be achieved, and allowable processes. Much the whole story of Galt was that he had values which did not match money, at least in a short term view. Galt was inner driven, he did not work for others unless the effort coincided with the values.
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      • Posted by $ allosaur 2 months, 3 weeks ago
        Would John Galt be a bullying Antifa thug? Or if born black, would he a Marxist leader of BLM?
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        • Posted by $ jbrenner 2 months, 3 weeks ago
          That's a great question. Was Galt being contradictory when he was actively hastening the end? Antifa is the most anti-thought organization I can think of. I could retire like Dan Conway, but I don't think I could actively hasten the end.
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          • Posted by $ allosaur 2 months, 3 weeks ago
            Me dino is a conserving conservative. I'm more into restoring than destroying.
            Nevertheless, I would strive to undermine and hasten the end of a successful Marxist takeover inflicted by the Antifa and BLM extensions of the Jackass wannabe commie Demonrat Party.
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          • Posted by Katrina41 2 months, 3 weeks ago
            He was hastening the end, but I doubt he'd lead an anti-thought, anti-freedom socialist movement to make it happen today. That bunch would be anathema to him, like backing Biden for President to meet his goals. The mere thought of someone like JG using those methods makes me sick. He wouldn't stop them because the chaos they create will move things along, but to actively work with them, no. Dan Conway gave up to have his last few years in bitter peace (there's a near oxymoron for you). I can't imagine you retiring that way, jb.
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            • Posted by $ jbrenner 2 months, 3 weeks ago
              I never want to retire. I have the personality of a Dagny, and I know I would not be content doing what Dagny did for a shrug job.
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              • Posted by ewv 2 months, 3 weeks ago
                Dagny couldn't stand her shrug job improving the rural family cabin isolated in the woods either, and later wouldn't give up the railroad for a shrug job in the Valley after she crashed it and was invited to stay. But by the end of the novel she understood the logic of it -- just after the necessity of the 'strike' had passed.
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                • Posted by $ jbrenner 2 months, 3 weeks ago
                  Yes, and I understand the logic of it at this point, too. Is the US that far gone? Perhaps so, if President Biden passes your prophesied edict.
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                  • Posted by ewv 2 months, 3 weeks ago
                    The US is not at the last stage depicted in Atlas Shrugged. High tech companies are still succeeding in spite of the politics (which they often endorse themselves, with the mentality of Dr. Stadler). But a lot of deadly damage is being done even without a literal "collapse".
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                    • Posted by $ jbrenner 2 months, 3 weeks ago
                      Checking exactly which stage we are in of Atlas Shrugged is what several recent threads have been about. I look for such checkpoints periodically because I am so looking forward to the total collapse of the rule of looters and moochers.
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                      • Posted by ewv 2 months, 3 weeks ago
                        "Collapse of the looters and moochers" is also the collapse of us. We are not on the outside looking in like reading the novel. It is not something to look forward to. They deserve it; we don't. Any problems, let alone disasters, are blamed on capitalism. They always scapegoat their failures and use them as an excuse for more power.
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                        • Posted by $ jbrenner 2 months, 3 weeks ago
                          I enjoy the luxury of "looking in from the outside" more than most. I don't need to earn another dime and could live comfortably even in an otherwise tragic world ... and just fade away.
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                          • Posted by ewv 2 months, 3 weeks ago
                            When you live inside you can't look in from the outside. There is more to living in a social system than your ability to live off current assets. All of our rights are at stake, not just having an income. That includes keeping the value of the dimes you already have and there being the items you need still available to buy with the dimes.
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                            • Posted by $ jbrenner 2 months, 3 weeks ago
                              Certainly hyperinflation is possible. That is why you have at least a portion of your assets in gold. Of course, you are correct in that you no longer can control what you can buy.
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                              • Posted by ewv 2 months, 3 weeks ago
                                Devaluation of the currency and other assets is only part of the potential. All of our rights are at stake, including the right to life itself versus the angry racist mobs currently running loose in some cities. The spread of racist political violence is an increasing threat, even to the suburbs. In a more extreme form, remember the roving bands of mindless gangs everywhere in the last stages of the novel. Sitting on assets make you a target, not safe.

                                Even with your life and assets intact, civilized life requires production and trade so that you can buy what you need and want with your assets. A normal life cannot be assumed available as long as we have 'retirement' assets. That is still possible now, even in Europe, but it isn't guaranteed under further disintegration should that rapidly occur in what you called an otherwise tragic world -- let alone in what you say your are "looking forward to [with] the total collapse of the rule of looters and moochers".

                                There is a certain appeal to the poetic justice in prospects for collapse for the "looters and moochers" caused by themselves, but the reality of a real collapse destroys everyone and is not something to look forward to even though the "looters and moochers" would deserve it.
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        • Posted by 2 months, 3 weeks ago
          Antifa, BLM, Marxists, National Socialists are all thugs, looters, and moochers. The standard of virtue today is to be a mindless widget, an Hysterical Shrieking Harpy. Part of a mob that will dogpile whoever their Dear Leader points at. Not a Galtian Standard.
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      • Posted by $ Suzanne43 2 months, 3 weeks ago
        Good question, but I would like to think that John Galt is more likely to push back by persuasion than by rioting. He was certainly persuasive in his very long address.to the American people. I always thought that he was a champion of the rule of law.
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        • Posted by ewv 2 months, 3 weeks ago
          John Galt was a champion of objective law, not the "rule of law". He rejected "rule" entirely, and supported laws only when serving the proper purpose of protecting the rights of the individual.
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  • Posted by coaldigger 2 months, 3 weeks ago
    I have read AS 6 times. I can't do audio because my mind takes off and I don't hear what they read. with the book, the sentence, paragraph, page is still there. I am ready to read it again but I have The Romantic Manifesto in front of me now. I wish I had read it before but I didn't understand how important this work was. I am not very smart because Rand was very insistent that it was.
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    • Posted by ewv 2 months, 3 weeks ago
      When you read it physically you directly control when to read and focus on the page, at what pace, and when to pause and think. You're not driven by someone else's voice.

      The Romantic Manifesto is very important. Among other essays in there pay special attention to "Philosophy and Sense of Life".

      A good supplement to The Romantic Manifesto is The Art of Fiction: A Guide for Writers and Readers, transcribed from informal lectures she gave to friends in her living room in 1958, a year after publishing Atlas Shrugged. It focuses on the 'mechanics' of writing, reading, the nature of the styles, etc rather than explicitly on philosophy.
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      • Posted by coaldigger 2 months, 3 weeks ago
        I am going to read The Art of fiction next. I am working on a silly little thing for my on amusement and maybe for family and I want to structure it correctly.
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        • Posted by ewv 2 months, 3 weeks ago
          There is another one entitled The Art of Nonfiction. There is some overlap between them, particularly on the role of the subconscious in the writing process.
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    • Posted by $ gharkness 2 months, 3 weeks ago
      coaldigger, you and I have the same problem: not being able to focus on the narrated words. I've tried for years and it just doesn't happen. I don't know if there is some training that would remedy this, but as long as I can see, I don't really care. If I lose my vision, it might be a different story. It's also possible that if I lost my vision the switch would be much easier. Hope I never find out.

      The other problem I have, specific to AS audio, is that the narration doesn't sound right - at least in the version I listened to. I have a corresponding problem with the movie in that the characters chosen - while I am sure were excellent for their roles - and they did do a good job - just don't look like or sound like the characters I constructed in my head as I was reading, all five times. I'll say, though, that every time I read it again, there is something new and different I notice.

      I'm afraid it's just too late for me to "rearrange" my internal vision of this book, and it's the same with The Fountainhead.
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      • Posted by coaldigger 2 months, 3 weeks ago
        Yeah, I have very poor mind control. I get a thought and pursue my idea and leave the author but with a book it is still there to come back to. When I am immersed I am not even aware that I am reading and chew up a lot of pages in a short time. Until I am in the right gear, each word is a chore.
        I can't get Dagny as a blonde. I painfully see myself as Reardon. I liked the actors in AS I the best and Graham Bissel looked exactly the way I pictured Ellis Wyatt. Even though many people didn't think so I thought Gary Cooper was a really good Roark.
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  • Posted by 2 months, 3 weeks ago
    A couple or four hours into this, it is starting to sound like prophecy. Looters, Moochers. The answer to the question, "Who Is John Galt?" I almost feel like he is out there. Today.
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  • Posted by minesayn 2 months, 3 weeks ago
    I read it back in November, and for the first time, I noticed how many people SHRUG/SHRUGGED throughout the novel.

    I can't tell you how many times I have read it (30+), and I always get something new out of it.

    I understand about the audio; audio-books put me to sleep. I had a cassette version (narrated by E. Hermann) back in the late 1990s, and would listen on my commute to work. For whatever reason, I never lost focus and it was short enough a drive to not fall asleep.

    As for the movies, no matter how well they were done, I was disappointed with the actors. Most did not fit my mind's picture of the characters based on Rand's description. A few did, but most didn't. Especially when the actor changed from movie to movie.

    The book is always better than the film.
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  • Posted by CEGamache 2 months, 3 weeks ago
    The end is always so inspiring! "'The road is cleared', said Galt. 'We are going back to the world.'" That optimism amid the havoc and destruction that backwards policies brought the world to; and their eagerness to go rebuild a better world again, really make one feel the triumph and limitless potential of the human spirit.
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    • Posted by $ jbrenner 2 months, 3 weeks ago
      Be careful. While all of the pages before the last page of Atlas Shrugged have historical precedent now, the last page does not, and I seriously doubt the last page will ever become non-fiction. Nonetheless I have started a new company in preparation for when the last page does come.
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      • Posted by ewv 2 months, 3 weeks ago
        The "last page" was nonfiction in the return of civilization after the Dark Ages.

        But the whole plot in Atlas Shrugged was artificially accelerated. If the last page comes again it will be long after your career. Don't start a new company waiting for it. Assess the possibilities and risks now and for the foreseeable future, then choose accordingly what to try.
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        • Posted by $ jbrenner 2 months, 3 weeks ago
          "The whole plot in Atlas Shrugged was artificially accelerated." Wow, with > 1100 pages, that's depressing.

          My company is making nice progress in the last month. This is the time for capitalize on how to be sure about cleanliness, and my products will make that happen. We have an .mp4 that is ready to post on the web site. Once that is posted, I will talk more about the company.
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          • Posted by ewv 2 months, 3 weeks ago
            1100 pages is miniscule in the course of a civilzation, but every one of those pages represented volumes of thought.

            It took 1100 pages to present the plot. The plot itself was described as taking place over only a few years, not counting flashbacks. Even with the flashbacks for the major characters, encompassing about a generation, the events in that time span were an artificial acceleration of actions leading to a collapse due to withdrawing key individuals and those dropping out on their own.

            I hope your company succeeds and then continues to thrive. The great advances in technology have been in spite of the political and other irrational trends.
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  • Posted by $ jbrenner 2 months, 3 weeks ago
    I went through the chapter titles of AS recently and discovered that we are pretty close to John Galt's speech. I hoped that I would hear that speech on the day that Obama decided to do his podcast about a month ago.
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  • Posted by Aurum79 2 months, 3 weeks ago
    This thing is so rich and has so many components, characters you could read and enjoy it the rest of your life. I know that I will need X number of passes just to get it all. Then you can concentrate on one module- here's a good one. Scrutinize the destruction of Cherryl Taggert. Go over it slowly and carefully.
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  • Posted by 2 months, 3 weeks ago
    I liked the trilogy movies pretty well. They Grokked the basic theme, at least. It's a tough nut to crack for the relatively shallow puddle that is Film. To really go at "Atlas Shrugged" one would need to go multiple season streaming style series. Maybe Netflix would be interested? Ha!
    Might have to be totally independent, Atlas Shrugged Dot TV and just lay it out there. Monetizing it might be possible now. The tools are finally here to get it done. The Star Wars Triple Trilogy method might also work, spun out over a decade or so. Maybe Disney? Naw. There is just a lot of material. Trying to keep it PG-13 is my only real complaint about the Movie Trilogy which does not lend a very Randian Vibe. Amazon might do OK at a production. Although, they just turned Bosch into an anti-Libertarian screed this season.
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