"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?