Thursday, April 14, 2011

Next Meeting: Tuesday April 18th from 6:00pm - 8:00pm

"The Esthetic Vacuum of Our Age," is what we are covering this week.
This week's essay is much shorter than the last several weeks. This will allow us to really dig in to the material!

We meet in our usual spot and we'll likely go out afterward. Below are 17 questions. Once again, I always make more questions than we'll need. Try and look over them all anyway. We have a lot to discuss this week!

Also, if you're still making lists of your favorite movies, and novels please bring them in and remind us all to discuss those.

See you all on Monday!

The Esthetic Vacuum of Our Age

1. Paragraph 1: Why has the dominant belief in mankind’s history been that he is determined by outside forces? Why did the change in literature occur during the industrial revolution?

2. Paragraph 1: Why does holding the premise of determinism mean one cannot “project what might happen to men,” only what did happen to them?

3. Paragraph 2: What does it mean to “[project] the choices men ought to make?”

4. Paragraph 4: What does it mean to “project abstractions?”

5. Paragraph 4: Why does it follow that if a literary writer records what happens around them, they cannot pronounce value-judgments?

6. In paragraph 5 Ayn Rand discusses the problem of reverting back to the literary principle of the chronicle after having developed the novel. That now, the Naturalists must present a chronicle that is invented. Why must a writer even worry about “what to regard as important?”

7. In paragraph 6 Ayn Rand gives a few example of journalistic answers to the question “What is man?” Can you think of films, plays, or books that exemplify what she is discussing?

8. (A sub question to Q7): What is different about The Fountainhead? Couldn’t one say this story “is what the architects are in New York, from 1922-1930s?”

9. Paragraph 7: How is art the integrator of metaphysics? Think of examples.

10. Paragraph 8 illustrates a logical progression of what happens when one wrongfully substitutes what one sees around one for metaphysical value-judgments. Read this section carefully, it is very important. We will discuss it thoroughly in our meeting.

11. Paragraph 12: Why is the basic premise of naturalism anti-man, anti-mind, and anti-life? Also, how is Naturalism an outgrowth of the Altruist morality, thus leading it to attempt to “escape from moral judgment?”

12. Paragraph 13: What is Symbolism?

13. Paragraph 16: Why does presenting man as a loathsome monstrosity give people the hope and demand of a moral blank check? What is a moral blank check?

14. Paragraph 17: Think of examples of various types of art that is lauded as good because it cannot be understood, thus it is profound. In music, painting, literature, etc.

15. Paragraph 19: Do you think Ayn Rand is against documentaries?

16. Paragraph 21: How is art the sum and barometer of a culture, and how does modern art demonstrate our bankruptcy?

17. What is the esthetic vacuum of our age?

Monday, March 28, 2011

Next Meeting: Tuesday April 4th from 6:00pm - 8:00pm "What Is Romanticism?"

This week we are discussing Ayn Rand's essay "What Is Romanticism?"

Britannica explains romanticism as the "rejection of the precepts of
order, calm, harmony, balance, idealization, and rationality that
typified Classicism in general and late 18th-century Neoclassicism in
particular. It was also to some extent a reaction against the
Enlightenment and against 18th-century rationalism and physical
materialism in general. Romanticism emphasized the individual, the
subjective, the irrational, the imaginative, the personal, the
spontaneous, the emotional, the visionary, and the transcendental."

In one college book on literature Romanticism is defined through a
list of characteristics: "sensibility; primitivism; love of nature;
sympathetic interest in the past, especially the medieval; mysticism;
individualism; romanticism criticism; and a reaction against whatever
characterized neoclassicism."

In many online dictionaries it is defined as: "An artistic and
intellectual movement originating in Europe in the late 18th century
and characterized by a heightened interest in nature, emphasis on the
individual's expression of emotion and imagination, departure from the
attitudes and forms of classicism, and rebellion against established
social rules and conventions."

Ayn Rand would not define such an important concept as Romanticism by
such superficial means, however.
Her definition is: "A category of art based on the recognition of the
principle that man possesses the faculty of volition."

Though many definitions explain one aspect of Romanticism is the
individual, they also specify it as a category of "emotionalism." Why
does Ayn Rand give free-will primacy in her definition? How can we
properly understand Romanticism as a broad category? And how can we
understand Ayn Rand's own fiction within this category?

Discuss this and much more this coming monday on the Auraria Campus
from 6-8pm. And, as usual, we will be hanging out downtown after the

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Next Meeting: Monday March 21st from 6:00pm - 8:00pm

This week we will be covering Ayn Rand's essay entitled "Basic
Principles of Literature." We will be discussing questions such as
"What makes a novel a novel?" "What attributes give rise to literature
in all its forms?" (e.g. plays, film, novels, etc). "What exactly does
Ayn Rand's term "Plot-theme" mean? And much more.

In light of our discussion this week I thought it might be helpful to
have everyone attending watch a film beforehand. My recommendation is
"McLintock!" with John Wayne, directed by Andrew V. McLaglen. You of
course do not have to watch this, but it will add to the discussion.
The film can be found streaming on Netflix and possibly other online

Also, as another optional exercise, I suggest re-watching a favorite
film of yours and summing up the abstract theme in accordance with Ayn
Rand's theory of theme as an abstract summation of the events in a

Again, this is optional.

I hope to see you all on Monday March 21st.

We'll be in our usual location. Just go to the Direction tab to the left.

Also, RSVP on our facebook EVENT


Monday, March 7, 2011

Ideas Matter: Ayn Rand's Message To Todays World. a national simulcast event by Dr. Yaron Brook

What: Ideas Matter: Ayn Rand's Message To Todays World. a national simulcast event by Dr. Yaron Brook the President of the Ayn Rand Institute. There will also be opportunity to ask questions live!

When: Thursday, March 31st 7:00pm

Where: The Auraria Campus.
The Tivoli Building, Room 320 Section C (Baerresen Ballroom)
Click HERE for a parking map.
And click HERE for a general map of the campus. We are in BLDG 7 on the map.

Who: Yaron Brook is president of the Ayn Rand Center for Individual Rights. He is a columnist at, and his articles have been featured in major publications such as the Wall Street Journal, USA Today, and Investor’s Business Daily. Dr. Brook is often interviewed on radio and is a frequent guest on a variety of national TV programs. He is co-author of Neoconservatism: An Obituary for an Idea and a contributor to Winning the Unwinnable War: America’s Self-Crippled Response to Islamic Totalitarianism. Dr. Brook, a former finance professor, is an internationally sought after speaker on such topics as the causes of the financial crisis, the morality of capitalism, and U.S. foreign policy.

Dr. Brook was born and raised in Israel. He served as a first sergeant in Israeli military intelligence and earned a BSc in civil engineering from Technion-Israel Institute of Technology in Haifa, Israel. In 1987 he moved to the United States, where he received his MBA and Ph.D. in finance from the University of Texas at Austin; he became an American citizen in 2003. For seven years he was an award-winning finance professor at Santa Clara University, and in 1998 he cofounded a financial advisory firm, BH Equity Research, of which he is presently managing director and chairman.

DETAILS OF THE TALK:Today's young people face an uncertain world. Unemployment among recent college graduates is at a record high, the United States is still bogged down in two foreign wars, and the wobbling American economy is in danger of deteriorating further once the Baby Boomers retire. Voters Choose between Democrats in one landslide election and Republicans in another, expressing their discontent with each party, and seemingly, their own uncertainty about how America should move forward. Many people wonder: Where are we headed? Will America continue to be the land of opportunity, or are our best days behind us?
Dr. Yaron Brook will argue that the answer to that question depends on what ideas young people accept and fight for. Join Dr. Brook as he goes beyond the headlines, examining the basic ideas that have shaped today's events. And learn why the solution to today's problems lies in rethinking not just our political system, but in abandoning the worship of selfishness.

Monday, February 28, 2011

Next Meeting: Monday March 7th from 6:00pm - 8:00pm

This next monday we will be covering Ayn Rand's essay "Art and
Cognition," where she describes how art affects us emotionally and
why. In this essay she discusses all of the major forms of art, and
what she considers secondary (though not less important) arts.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Next Meeting: Tuesday February 21st from 6:00pm - 8:00pm "Art and Sense of Life"

Our last meeting was a great success! On top of discussing the concept of Sense of Life we also analyzed a few classical paintings to gain a sense of how an artist guides a viewer by the concept "important."

At our next meeting we are discussing Ayn Rand's essay "Art and Sense of Life." We'll be discussing the nature of Art and how an artists Sense of Life will determine the type of painting he will create - and how a viewers Sense of Life affects his reaction.

Come join us February 21st at the auraria campus. You can find exact directions on the "Directions" tab to the left.

We'll see you then! And don't forget, we always go out for drinks afterwards and you're more than welcome to join us!


Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Next Meeting: Tuesday February 7th from 6:00pm - 8:00pm

Our next meeting is February 7th and we will be covering Ayn Rand's Essay on esthetics "Philosophy and Sense of Life"

You can join in on the discussion whenever you'd like. The essays are available in the book The Romantic Manifesto which can be purchased at any bookstore or online for around $7.

For more information on the topics and our schedule of discussions for the semester click HERE.