Ayn Rand/Objectivism Sightings
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AESTHETICS, THE FIFTH – AND LAST - COLUMN OF PHILOSOPHY: HOW CAN I CONCRETIZE THE ABSTRACT?Can man live from bread and water alone? Taken symbolically yes, though this requires a mental level close to the one akin to irrational animals, in the same sense as these go through life without any intellectual interests. Yet, even at such a reduced level, a man could not avoid replying to a political discussion, to give his opinion, however fragmentary and limited, however unconnected and copied from what he heard others say on a given issue. In every man, excepting those poor creatures who suffer from dementia or a physically damaged brain, or those who never reached the level of the faculty of reason or abandoned it voluntarily at any moment of their life, there is an intellectual level involved. Given these considerations, no man can live from bread and water alone.
Even if such a man would say that art does not interest him, he will be entrapped both by the beauty of a wonderful sunset and by the delicate capacity of the artist who is painting it. Even at a low level, his brain would suddenly be confronted with art and all the inspiration it transmits and he would emerge from the experience feeling either an uplifting vigor or a depressive disheartening which he may not be capable to explain but which would engulf him anyway.
This being so, we notice already that just as no man can live from bread and water alone he can also not live – as religious people would want this to be – from "spirit" alone, for spirit is just another word for conscience and conscience implies both the recognition of existence and the use of intellectuality.
These interconnected parts of materialism and spiritualism have constituted the separate halves of a dualism onto which both materialists and spiritualists have held for thousands of years. By doing so, they have split man in two and destroyed him as what he is: a rational being, which is living matter that has evolved to reach the highest possible level in nature, the capacity to think.
One of the most decisive feats, probably THE decisive feat of all of Ayn Rand's extraordinary intellectual labors, was her destruction of dualism. This destruction constituted an absolute requirement since it has blinded the view of all philosophers before her and who did not dare to tackle this principal obstacle standing in their way to recognize the truth. After having joined the two halves into a perfect sum did the philosophy of Objectivism inevitably evolve as a logical result.
Even today, religious people strive to stress the importance of spirit over body while materialists do just the opposite. Many of the intellectuals involved know that Ayn Rand solved the problem long ago but still hold to their positions since, on the one hand, it is difficult for them to recognize the mistake made while, on the other, they do not dare to risk loosing their means of survival. Hence, only the braves and those who are ready to build their lives based on truth are willing to take the crucial step of accepting the evident.
In their innermost, those who reject Ayn Rand's philosophy reject the fact that the wealth of material richness which fills nowadays our life, is the product of the mind, a material conglomerate capable to form intellectual connections, i.e. new ideas with which it can master all the materials of the universe into new, naturally not existing combinations. They believe that these feats resulted from chance or by a "gift of 'God'", whatever they mean by it. They do not see that facts are interrelated, that one fact produces multifarious connections that make other, later facts, possible, facts that could not exist without the antecedent facts.
Hertz discovered the waves called by his name, and their nature, which resulted in radio transmission; this, in turn, started the road towards all the nowadays-existing types of communications. However, these new types of communication will be, in their turn, the basis for further types of communication, nowadays unimaginable, which will come into existence when yet unknown geniuses among mankind invent, design or discover them at any time of their lives. It is a spiraling process. It is a Heisenbergian process. You can never know what precisely will happen next. Whoever says that everything has already been invented makes the blunder of his life, just as the then director of the Office of Patents of the United States did at the beginning of the 20th century, when he renounced his position considering that his salary was a robbery against the public, as everything had been invented already. He was surely a decent person but completely wrong in his assumption.
It is only through Ayn Rand's Objectivism that mind and matter have been understood in a splendid blend. Consciousness – spirit as some will call it – cannot exist in a vacuum and matter will remain idle and useless unless consciousness recognizes it, takes hold of it and transforms it to man's purposes. Up to the point where the Objectivist principles were deduced from reality, there had always existed, through all ages and societies, a total intellectual separation between the spirit (consciousness) and matter. Both were considered to exist in two different realms from where they could not depart nor be joined into one unity.
Ayn Rand's deductions destroyed this belief, but to do so the delusion represented by religion and the philosophies based on religious beliefs had to be clearly denounced and destroyed and the absoluteness of existence established. This was done by the famous "Galt's Speech" in her master opus "Atlas Shrugged". What it implied has been extensively presented in Objectivist writings, many of them coming from Ayn Rand’s own pen. The present text is only a summary of what was finally accomplished by her deeds, i.e. showing that man is a perfect symbiosis, a body possessing fine senses and consciousness, a brain having the capacity to observe and understand the data provided by the senses and capable of deducing, creating, renewing and inventing all that is required for the survival and the progress of mankind.
It is due to this power that man has taken over what up to now evolution made in a blind run, that is, producing all that which is naturally inherent in the elements and their multiple combinations, a task that Nature as such cannot accomplish. The highest final result of the possible natural combinations, however, is man himself. As from the time when he fully reached the faculty of reason, man took over evolution itself. His capacity to create synthetic constructs enables the creation of a world completely new which Nature as such could never have made, i.e. producing what its highest creation can do: a world richer than Nature itself. In a way, Nature accomplished this by creating man, thus surmounting the final point into which it had run itself, the obstacle that it could never have resolved in any other way or directly by itself. The predicament of facing an apparently insurmountable barrier could only be solved by either giving up evolution as such or keeping natural evolution at the price of renouncing to reach heights which Nature itself could never attain. These, of course, are human considerations. Nature acted unconsciously, following automatically a teleological path. By itself, it cannot take any intentional decision.
For man's new, future deeds, matter and consciousness must complement each other. A clear understanding of what exists (Objective Reality) and what can be made of what exists (inventions, that is the products of reality and consciousness) are necessary to build future developments, future roads. This implies even a coexistence of man and robot, mechanical-electronic constructs capable to withstand conditions and environments for which man, as such, is not prepared. This might even imply the creation of "artificial intelligence", whose development has already started. Some even think that artificial intelligence could one day replace man (a very popular notion in the field of science fiction) but even if such could eventually be possible or even convenient, remains a question to be answered in times to come. Even then would man be the superior being, since he would be the one to have developed "artificial intelligence" and not the other way round. Besides, silicon has not the combination possibilities that carbon has and is, thus, not as flexible for the applications required. An artificial intelligence based on carbon, on the other hand, would hardly be a good replacement for man. On the contrary, it would be a step back, by creating anew what already exists: man himself. Questions and replies to this issue remains, however, in the future as well as in the requirements set up by reality and man’s necessities and cannot be, at the present time, part of this writing. Even so, they continue to be a perfect theme for science fiction.
A short consideration to the foregoing is necessary for a better understanding of the theme considered in this chapter. The first four pillars of philosophy (Metaphysics, Epistemology, Ethics and Politics) constitute the actual existence of man. Shouldn't this suffice, thus? Materially yes, but we have just said that Objectivism established the blend of matter AND consciousness. Consciousness has further requirements for its activity: its target is the creation of NEW things. For this, the human mind requires intellectual energy, a particular form of energy that consists of constructing abstracts from the already existing. In this way it is possible for man to reduce extensive knowledge into manageable “packages”, starting from which even newer things can be created, things that might be just a reassembling of existing objects or, else, totally new developments out of the existing materials of the universe (plastics, for example, or transistor technology, etc.)
Reason is the faculty to understand our material environment (Metaphysics), the faculty to establish the rules that we have to follow to secure our existence (Ethics) and the faculty to create the type of society in which we can best accomplish our survival (Politics). We have seen this already.
Esthetics, the fifth pillar of philosophy, is both a perplexing result of the former four pillars and the tool to prepare ourselves for new, still higher deeds. To do so it concretizes into forms the abstractions of what we have done so far. This means the following: epistemology (the science to obtain knowledge) allows us to join into abstract concepts the common characteristics of two or more objects. Separate abstractions contain within them further common characteristics from which we then form abstractions from abstractions and so forth. But as we develop ever more intricate physical constructs, including mental constructs, we need to form a new, hierarchically higher set of abstractions from abstractions from abstractions. To hold these in view we have to concretize, in some way, the ideas they contain and imply. We can synthesize this as follows: the designer of the outer shape of a computer does not need the knowledge of the technicians who developed the constituent parts nor do these technicians need to know how the raw materials were transformed into the constituent parts. The outer shape of the computer constitutes the concretization of all the former. It is, in itself, a concretized abstraction.
Esthetics is the tool to do this. This is the duty of what artists have to do: concretize our abstract ideas of what is happening, of what has been created, of what has been done, of what new ways it opens, of what we can make of it in the future. Much attention is dedicated to the details and the beauty of the concretized form. For this, the various expressions of art have at there disposal an overwhelming arrangement of knowledge and tools and, essentially, the creative capacity which is the basis of every work of art, from drawing to painting to sculpturing, writing prose and poetry, from music written to music played, from theatre to movie to TV, photography, the building of architectural constructions, etc. etc.
Just as it is the duty of a doctor to reestablish the health of his patients, so it is the duty of the artist, as direct representative of esthetics, to visualize and concretize the abstractions into works of art for man’s intellectual nourishment and solace, meaning by this the intellectual and physical understanding of what has been achieved (Ideas, products, etc.). Unfortunately, the history of art reveals that a majority of artists, depending from religious or despotic patrons and/or influenced by irrational philosophies, failed in the accomplishment of their task to provide man with the possibility of reaching new heights through the enjoyment of esthetic pleasure devoid of contradictions. Since all acts have consequences, this way of behavior defeated them into the aberrations that nowadays fill the museums and demean human dignity. The artists failed just as the further intellectuals failed in their task to deduce a philosophy that, based on reality and logic, would explain existence and the relation of man with existence. None of them provided the firm intellectual basis required for the human needs nor did they supply the required drive to achieve the human objective for better tools of survival. Defeat for both was unavoidable.
The exception is the philosophy of Objectivism and the new artists, to be mentioned later in this writing, are the new leaders of esthetics.
The saying of "Tell me what you think and I tell you what you are" yields, in this case, just as great a disappointment as "Show me the art you like and I tell you what you think." Art really tells what a person thinks and reveals, thus, either the rationality and logic with which it views both existence and its relation with it or the full incoherence existing between reality and the state of its mind, filled with contradictions and the lack of understanding and productive aims. “Modern art” shows the present confusion of mankind but, simultaneously and in view of the growing interest for Any Rand's ideas, it testifies also that we are living through a time of transition.
While presently only a small proportion of artists – generally ignored by critics, art galleries and the general public – dare to follow the norm of esthetics, the actual state of the arts yields a result that could not be more truly frustrating. Its main expressions show that mankind has not yet understood that matter without human consciousness looks as if it were a chaos and that consciousness without matter is nothing but an empty mind. Hence, “artists”, dismissing the most elementary rules of harmony, beauty and reason, shamelessly show their “creations”, canvasses representing incomprehensible blotches and smears without sense or even totally blank, music being a hollow reflecting the noise made by our distant ancestors and literature and theatre show the existence of creatures who have no goal or are very often directly played by mindless creatures. The authors truly identify themselves with brainless beings using words whose meaning they do not understand. They are stuttering the senselessness of their own life and, by doing so they represent the state of most of mankind reacting to circumstances instead of creating them themselves. If the reader would like to obtain examples of what I have said let him read the incomprehensible phrases uttered by "art critics" about any of the nowadays-existing expositions of "modern art". They are but a high-sounding cacophony of meaningless gibberish.
Throughout her works Ayn Rand has shown that reality requires reason to be understood and used for man's creative, productive purposes, and that these purposes must follow a rational code of values. But the complete set cannot be realized in any way whatsoever without an environment suitable for it to flourish, this being a society based on personal property, the freedom from physical or psychological attack from others and the correct economic structure that allows the fulfillment of all these factors. Integrity and consistency connect these factors into one solid unity. We have seen this earlier.
Just as we cannot use any material on which we may lay our hands to make a cake so we cannot use any imagined idea as the correct means to attain our purposes. Children fill their toy buckets with sand, upturn them and call it a “cake”, but they would never eat it, knowing perfectly well that this is an illusion and not an eatable product. Even were they to “taste” the grit they would spill it out immediately, for reality would have taught them that this material cannot be eaten. Children are far more realistic than many of us adults. They spontaneously understand the fundamental difference existing between imagination and reality. Later on, the existing methods of education and manipulation will teach them to forget this fact. The process used is so refined that they even do not notice it. Once this desired state has been obtained, they start to act like robots, designed to endlessly repeat the same task for which they have been schooled. Such a brainless thing can easily be taught to go to torture and kill those surrounding it. The ruling philosophy of an existence governed by whimsical caprices and the accompanying ideology of obedience has fulfilled its malign purpose of faith and force. Today's art has finally come to reflect this, just as the art of the Middle Ages showed the prevailing idea of a world ruled by Christian beliefs. The result is shameful for what evolution brought human beings to be: thinking beings.
Unfortunately, the majority of mankind is made up of beings who want to be directed, evidently being what the dominant philosophical and ideological trends made of them. It is the task of the rebellious self-thinkers to change this situation. The road towards the future must be straightened out. It must be corrected to what self-thinkers, the true self-made-men, require: a world of rational existence. If this is not accomplished, and accomplished in a very, very short time, that part of humanity that constitutes civilization will disappear. Back will come the times of jungle and bestiality. The return to prehistoric times lies nearby.
For examples witness the insistence with which environmentalists declare that man has no right to exist, that he “contaminates” nature with progress, science and technique, all this without mentioning, of course, that nature and its survival of the strongest caused the disappearance of millions of species and relentlessly continues doing so, as this is nature’s law. Further examples can be obtained from the fact that brawls take precedence in TV and screen pictures and that sects “searching” for "a higher being" under whose "guidance" the adherents are ready to kill others or, else, suicide themselves en masse, mushroom. In such an increasingly violent and absurd world, disoriented youngsters easily fall prey to drugs and their tattooed bodies clearly show that they have no respect for their own body. The whole situation becomes sickening.
Even Picasso himself noticed this when he used people's folly to become rich. In words clearly revealing his own immorality he declared in his testament, published in 1952: "Since art is no longer the nourishment for the best, the artist can use his talent for all the turns and caprices dictated by his fantasy. Thus, all roads are open for intellectual quackery. People no longer find in art either spiritual relief or exultation. However, the snobs, the wealthy, the lazy and all those who want to attract attention, seek in it the strange, the original, the eccentric and the shocking. I have satisfied my critics with countless jokes that I devised and which they admired the more the less they understood them. Today I am not just wealthy but also famous. But when I am alone I cannot consider myself as an artist in the exalted sense of the word, as Giotto, Titian, Rembrandt and Goya were. I am just a clown who understood his time and obtained all that he wanted from the foolishness, the lewdness and the vanity of his fellowmen." Though he lived for another 21 years after this, he never retracted himself from the words said.
Mankind, under the rule of the mystic-collectivist-altruist axis has lost the notion of an independent, productive and happy sense of life and the principles of beauty and harmony. Modern art is the inevitable result of those who hold to the dictates of the mentioned axis in the aesthetic area. They are truly the embezzlers and impostors of art.
If those who set up this type of society did not intend it to be thus, well then, what was it they intended with it? Here total silence reigns supreme.
The universe is ruled by physical-chemical-mathematical rules of total perfection that are integral part of its existence. It cannot act against the intrinsic mechanics that rules it. The universe is its laws and these are the universe. Both act in a perfect blend. Human beings should act likewise, but they cannot do so automatically. They must take their decisions after weighing all the facts involved. Since our distinguishing characteristic, reason, and its concomitant tool, free will, allow us to act against the dictates of nature, nature cannot stop us from acting in a dangerous way, a way that can easily destroy us as individuals and as a civilization. This predicament is inevitable and precisely for this reason does productive thinking, creating, constantly trying to better what has been already created, inventing and opening new roads, takes us forward while destructive or backward thinking pushes us to the rim of disaster and beyond. History is filled with examples of this. The fact that many who thought correctly were destroyed by those who took wrong decisions merely confirms it. Burning Giordano Bruno and condemning Galileo to ostracism bent the road to prehistory.
The decision taken by the church in favor of Ptolemy's concept that the sun revolves around the Earth stopped humanity's progress by 1,500 years. Declaring that cats were the companions of a so called "Devil" and obliging people to kill them unless they would run themselves the risk of being burned alive for being considered to be companions of the "Devil", allowed rats to spread the Black Pest which erased three quarters of the European population.
The absolute rule that only a correct decision will yield favorable results cannot be avoided. Anyone thinking that his own personal decisions do not make a dent in history and that opposing those who decide wrongly will have no effect whatsoever, adds his own portion of guilt to the permanence of a malevolent world. The result is an endless string of dictatorships imposed by Stalitlers of every type and color. Each vote for Hitler was a cobblestone of the way to self-destruction.
The worldwide predominant philosophy, as implanted by the persistent brainwashing exercised by the mainstream intellectuals on the general population, is the foundation for malevolent societies. Whoever does not rebel against this brainwashing is responsible for the persistence of this situation. Modern art represents the ugly outcome of such a standpoint.
That fine and precise commentator that is Ephraim Kishon has clearly stated this over twenty years ago when he said: "People do no longer have their own opinion because the mass media has subjected them to a daily brainwash."
The pseudo-artists that populate the world nowadays have totally forgotten the beautiful words of that exquisite writer (though, unfortunately, also a defender of socialism on the political level) which was Oscar Wilde: "Art must be beauty; else it is not art". Nowadays art is the exact opposite. Ugliness, aberration, the negation of all positive human values is permanently pressed forward. Not even music has been able to escape from such an overwhelming attack. Atonal and dodecaphonic (or should I say cacophonic) "music" shows all the incoherence existing in the brain of those who adhere to the malevolent philosophy still dominating human society.
"Modern theater" is the equivalent to what we find in institutes of mental insanity. Irrationality has replaced sense. The artist's purpose is to introduce in our minds the notion that neither reason nor its concomitant, logic, are the distinguishing characteristics of man. They want to instill in us the opinion that irrationality is what distinguishes rational beings. The contradiction resulting from this could not be greater. The offense towards mankind could not be more outrageous.
We find this kind of mentality even in the "modern" way of using computer technology. The most advanced techniques of programming, drawing and sound are used to design games that take place in the dungeons of the Dark Ages and involve an array of horrendous, malevolent creatures and impossible deeds of magic. All these monstrosities are directed to virgin minds whose development is, thus, subject to the worst influences. There can be little surprise, if any, when youngsters then kill their parents, as has already happened, in a gruesome parody of the reality of this mental feebleness, and just as little surprise can thus produce the new resurgence of astrology and hor(r)oscopy and similar idiocies as well as the reappearance of sects and political "ideas" whose goal is the destruction of mankind. If reason does not prevail there can be no doubt that youngsters imbibed by such irrational "ideas" commit all types of acts of aggression and become followers of dictatorial political systems. They merely act out in reality what such malevolent concepts prod them to do. What their teachers teach them is turned into practice.
Should, thus, there be a law to prohibit all this? No law can prohibit what has been fixed in a mind, reverting a deranged brain into normal reasoning thinking. It is not prohibitions that lead a mind back to the wide and bright lane of reason. Only teaching the right philosophy can do the "trick". This philosophy, which teaches to face life in a rational and positive way, free from hate, fears and contradictions, exists already. It is the philosophy of Objectivism.
Though we are only at the beginning, Objectivism is even reaching art. The joy of life and the romanticism of heroes have taken refuge in new artistic trends that, hopefully, will be strongly established in a short time. Since the time of the great romanticists such as Ibsen, Hugo and Rostand we find this trend anew in the works of Ayn Rand and their followers. They themselves enrich this movement with their creations and attract a steadily growing amount of adherents. New sculptors inspire their works in the new philosophical ideas. "Marchands d'Art" are usually the first to notice from where the new clients come. Several galleries in the United States are already catering to artists that are building this new trend through their paintings, drawings and sculptures based on Ayn Rand's Objectivist ideas. These artists call their works by Ayn Rand's own denomination "Romantic Realism". The Internet contains several sites showing this new direction of art. The works of the new romantics present enhancing, ennobling and refreshing ways of looking at the world.
Beside the many philosophical and political treatises wrought by the students and followers of Ayn Rand, the new trend appears also in the writings of Sondra Marshak, Myrna Culbreth and the late Kay Nolte Smith, adherents of Objectivism, the first two having written several stories for the "Star Trek" books' series.
We still do not need to desperate for, while still infrequent, we already notice small beacons of lights that brighten the way. People are slowly but steadily becoming sick of the “art” of deforming irrationality. Slowly, editors are finding that there is a growing market for positive ideas, and some of these ideas seem to even pop up in the movies where, for example, in one of the more recent versions of the ever present Batman (an evidently romantic figure since he always fights for and achieves justice), the hero replies to the statement uttered by the villainous lady, significantly called Poison Ivy, that she stands for nature, with the words: "I stand for the human being". It can be seen in "The Bicentennial Man", based on the homonymous work of the inspired writer Isaac Asimov, whose main character is a robot with almost human capacities and feelings called Andrew, when his owner, in an endearing sequence, emphatically states that "Individuality has no price" and Robin Williams, acting as Andrew, the robot, muses that "Freedom must be a very valuable good if so many people decide to die for it". Moreover, Isaac Asimov's "Laws of Humanics" – an offspring of his Laws of Robotics – are not too far away from Ayn Rand's moral axiom that "Nobody has a right to initiate an act of violence against another person or persons".
Further on, the recent demolition of several communist regimes is a clear indication that the idea of individual freedom can cross the barrier of the strongest walls and iron curtains. That the process has not been brought to a totally fruitful and productive end is due to several facts: the majority of the leading intellectuals still adhere to irrationality and force, which inevitably also applies to every kind of religion, while all kind of authorities hold to their privileged positions. In addition, the common citizen, confused and disoriented by the education received, whose purpose is the shaping of beings devoid of self-esteem, dependent of religious and political “conductors”, must face the difficult task of living as an independent being, of climbing the difficult road to personal liberty.
However, even socialists, very often confronting the financial defeat of their political system as well as the bankruptcy of their institutions of pretended social security, are slowly bending to the concept that only a free market can establish the wellbeing of mankind. There is a plethora of thinkers preparing the way, following and developing the Objectivist principles on the solid foundation of the work of the brilliant Ayn Rand.
It may not be too late yet, particularly when a public-opinion poll recently revealed that Ayn Rand's "Atlas Shrugged" is, after only fifty years since it was first published, the second most important book among the American readers. That concoction of blood and hatred which is the Bible had 2,000 years to reach the first position by keeping people ignorant through the use of intellectual inertia, persecutions, torture and Inquisitions.
All this said let us shortly return to an explanation of why art is so important for the human being. Is it only a tool of information or does it contain an even deeper sense? For an answer, let us start at the beginning, which is metaphysics. During our evolution, we had to observe our surroundings, notice the existing repetitions and its equivalents and form sounds that were emitted when pointing to something or to several identical or similar objects. These sounds were, of course, the starting point of what we nowadays call words. Relating these words with the objects to which we point, form the ostensive or deictic definitions. As the process advanced, a word representing the common characteristics of two or more objects became a concept and the process of uniting concepts which had one or several common characteristics allowed the creation of a new concept (a new word), which constituted a process of abstraction. All this unfolded in our brains new ways of looking at things and allowed us to unite these things into "objects", not naturally existing in nature but which served to better and more easily allow us to obtain certain goals, like sustenance, health and comfort.
This novel way of combining the elements of nature into materials not existing in nature - natural materials and objects and/or man-made materials (for example, plastics) - is called invention. As evolution proceeded and man's brain grew and became more and more complex so our inventions also took more and more complicated forms to attain even more complex goals. Discoveries and serendipity (the fact of obtaining something more important than the originally established goal) added greatly to the jumps of development.
Since we noticed that our discoveries and inventions could also produce deleterious effects upon our fellowmen and ourselves, we had to design codes of behavior. These were, in the beginning, rather clumsy, incomplete and even contradictory and those who established them obliged people to accept them as commands emitted from "a higher being" to favor those in power. There was some good in some of the rules established but, in general, they produced more damaging effects than they allegedly intended to avoid or cure. In addition, they were also designed to serve those wielding power to subject the population more easily. As ways of behavior, they had limitating effects on personal liberty and did nothing to contribute to the intellectual development of a population submerged in ignorance, since this would raise the feeling of individuality. Even in the 18th century, Schiller was obliged to rewrite his “Ode to Liberty” into “Ode to Happiness”. We have seen this earlier when we referred to religion and the power of self-established chieftains and their modern versions and do not need to repeat it here.
The enormous amount of data joined into concepts, abstractions, abstractions from abstractions, and so forth, led us into the danger of loosing the general view of the whole. Hence, concepts, abstractions, etc. had to be reduced again into visible, auditory or tactile forms. This process had started already much earlier, in the quaternary period, at a time when language was still very rudimentary and the very complex act of hunting for food was conveyed and remembered by paintings on stonewalls which showed what the words uttered meant. The tendency and/or the need to visualize the ideas has existed since prehistoric times and developed together with man’s evolution.
Rhythmic movements can communicate joy and this was joined by a rhythmic beat on some hard or leathery surface. Later on, it was discovered that hollow canes with holes that could be covered or left open with the fingertips produced a certain variety of sounds. This was the beginning of music that, developing through thousands of years, apparently reached its climax during the 18th and 19th century. In the 20th century, after the “Avant Garde” era (Atonality, Seriality, Minimalism, etc.), a rebirth of valuable, pleasant music took place. It found its safe haven and field of expression particularly, though not exclusively, in the movies and musicals, being known, in general, as “Modern Classic”.
Signs made on clay could convey numbers and rough concepts such as "Wheat", etc. Most of the clay tablets found by archeologists represent rough listings of data, sums, early contracts and laws. The more complex things became the more possibilities for communication evolved and the stronger became the need for speed. We are now, in this time that could be called the era of the communications by satellite, surrounded by all kinds of phones, movies, radios and TVs, computers that allow instant transmittal to every point of the planet and even to distant planets, etc.
The artist's mind uses these tools to concretize back what we have, in the course of time, turned into abstractions. This process of turning abstractions into concrete views is the artist's main duty. As Ayn Rand explained, art is a new way of concretizing metaphysics, a re-creation of reality starting from abstractions in accordance with the judgment of same by the artist. And here mistakes can be made, as it happened when religious art developed or as it happens nowadays with the expressions of "modern art". With it, the artist produces a distortion of reality. For this new representation of metaphysics depends on the type of general understanding of reality, and this "general understanding" is conveyed by philosophy, precisely by the type of philosophy which the artist accepts either consciously or subconsciously. It forms his "sense of life" which, as such, can even be meta-philosophical, i.e. prior to the written philosophy itself.
This "sense of life" is built by the way in which the artist and we as well, of course, look at reality, as either something comprehensible or as a sheer mixture of incomprehensible facts, acts and situations. This, in turn, can come from a personal effort to view and understand reality or by just accepting what other men think it to be. If we add to this the fact that an artist also wants to make a living from what he does, the picture is complete with all its psychological motives and urges.
Thus, the way an artist "sees" and represents existence and society in his works, can be either rational or irrational. If it is irrational, he helps to establish the tools that will destroy a given type of society. This has happened all the time through history. There is no further liberty in this, apart from the one of either erring or being correct. Religions, through a series of motives and lines of thinking, consider that they will establish the correct type of society for mankind, a society whose only goal is to prepare it for the "true" life in the "beyond". However, what they and all types of religions in the various parts of the world do and continue to do, by acting thus, is to draw the population into its own destruction. Judging from their motives it is precisely what they have in mind, but this goal also goes thoroughly against the right of survival of all of mankind.
If, on the contrary, the artist draws rational, positive conclusions, he helps to establish the type of society within which each individual can develop – at his own decision - his highest potential. As mentioned earlier those – not yet widely known - who are setting the current of the „Romantic Realism“, nowadays represent this type of artist.
Against these are the Pollocks, Nitsch, Beuys, etc. which show in their "works" – which small children and even apes, as it has been tested, can make in minutes - that they are, for one thing, shrewd loafers who want to effortlessly make a fast buck by appealing to the stupidity of people who are captivated by the “merchandising ability” of the Marchands d’Art, and revealing through their works, on the other hand, the malevolence of their consciousness, this being an even more dangerous feat, for with their disfigured and misshapen creatures and their senseless scrawls and contraptions, they want to instill into their fellow men the notion of a “negative world” where every effort is useless and nothing can oppose a fate of “pre-established” destruction. Anyway, they are self-realizing their own worthlessness, however unconsciously they may do so.
Finally, there are the true criminals, those who, like Picasso, know that they are fooling their fellowmen on purpose: the “pseudo-artists” and the “art critics”. They know the truth, yet they cater to the ignorant, to the brainless, to those who cannot judge by themselves but accept what others say. These are the most indecent among all the intellectuals. They merit the deepest rejection from every thinking man. "Modern art," stated Ayn Rand "is the disintegration of man's conceptual faculty and his retrogression to a state of imbecility."
Art reflects, as said before, the artist's judgment of reality as well as his intellectual position towards it. Out of this comes art's subtle but enormous influence on the mind of the general public, the politicians and the teachers. Since "modern art" is, to say the least, the negation of rationality, the negation of high moral values and the negation of beauty, the present negative, self-destructive trends of our society – particularly among the younger minds – should surprise no one.
The practical demonstration of this can be seen in the politics applied nowadays; permanently acting under the guidance of the environmentalists whose only goal is the destruction of every positive aspect of modern society: science, industry and the resulting wellbeing for the individual.
The practical realization of this can be seen in the steady efforts made to control and dominate the citizen through regulations and a continuous expansion of the dictatorial powers over man.
The practical realization of this can be seen in the steady efforts to establish a worldwide database of what each individual is and makes, and in the worldwide establishment of a police force which turns the domination of two computers over mankind, as shown in the science-fiction novel "Colossus" by DF Jones, into peanuts.
The practical realization of this can be seen in the resurgence of Nazism and theocracies such as the Islamic Fundamentalists and sundry sects and their drive to return us to ages left behind long ago. The present state of "art" confirms the belief of the majority of intellectuals that such threateningly malevolent possibilities can be achieved.
We have seen that just as the events taking place in the universe configure an integrated connection and reciprocity among all parts, so do philosophical ideas create the society they propose. If the ideas see reality as malevolent, so will the resulting society be. On the contrary, if they describe a neutral universe in which we can realize all our positive possibilities, they will create a society in which such positive realizations lay at hand. All causes have multiple effects and it is this what makes it necessary for rational minds to establish a rational environment in which they can prosper. This does not come either by luck or by chance but is the outcome of pushing the correct ideas forward; the ideas that are favorable to a rational humanity where, among other things, “art” such as it exists now cannot emerge under any condition. An intellectual barrier acts against the development of such an "art". This exemplifies the market acting for its proper purposes. No prohibitions or "restrictive laws" are required. A rational market offers no possibilities for the enrichment for artists that have a perverted mentality.
In its essence art can, thus, destroy humanity or lift it to incredible heights.
Backed by the corresponding dialectical method to establish it in every possible present and future areas, Ayn Rand created and built in her works a set of indestructible principles and methods which allow setting up the only possible type of society based on reason, freedom, the right to individuality that automatically implies the respect for the individuality of his fellow men, and the rational egoism that is characteristic of the human being.
For all those who deeply want to establish a society for rational human beings and, thus, change the world for the better, the study and promotion of Objectivism is the proper tool to build a world of these correct ideals and the attainment of the happiness produced by the pride that such a realization produces.
Of course, those who are now ruling the world look at such a goal with both fear and contempt. This is the reason why such a total curtain of silence covers all of Ayn Rand's proposals on the international market. "Modern Art" takes an active part in this automatic confabulation.
The "Anointed", as Thomas Sowell calls them in his book "The Vision of the Anointed", that is those who think that they have some "higher" understanding and are thus "selected" to rule humanity, know automatically what Objectivism plans to establish: a society of free individuals. Hence, they automatically silence anything related with Objectivism. Yet the new ideas progress in spite of these efforts to silence them. The fact that having already captured millions has not produced up to now any official response should not blind its adherents that this reaction will not come, for, as soon as it is noticed that the yet undisturbed waters start to boil, it will.
All acts have consequences. So will the growth of Objectivism through the years. Those who adhere to the new ideas cannot be captured back by the old beliefs. They stand on their own and they will keep to the ideas and ideals they defend. Among these consequences, which are multifarious, is the barrier against the influences of "modern art" and its implicit purpose of stopping the evolution of the human intellect.
As stated earlier, the further consequences are a replacement of the up to now prevailing view of existence and of men's relation to it and the erasure of the pernicious code of ethics which resulted from an irrational view of existence (the notion that reality was "created" by an impossible). Its replacement by the Objectivist code of ethics includes the creation of a new type of society that corresponds to the new code. This society is called Capitalism and, of course, it includes the art of Romantic Realism in all its possible ways of expression.
All this will create a situation of clearly defined conflict. By that time, Objectivists will have to be perfectly aware that a very violent opposition will face them. The old dinosaur, in its dying contortions, will lash out furiously. This will be inevitable. A type of society that existed for at least 4 million years is finally coming to its end. It cannot be expected that it will clear the area without any ugly violence.
We are viewing the beginning of a truly human type of society. Why we? Because we happen to be at the present state of the evolution of civilization. Anyone who has read and studied history at depth, with a broad view for repetitive details, cannot avoid the persistent notion that there is a red thread running through all events, linking every positive effort of mankind, presenting itself in every productive strife, in every rational intellectual act, in every betterment of life. It can also be noticed in the efforts made to eliminate the horrors which humanity had to withstand in its long road: the dictatorships of the monarchical and feudal times, the slavedoms, the tyrannies, the Inquisitions, the Holocausts of all types and the wars, the plagues, the famines, the pains and the brutality produced by mankind's enemies.
The general trend, the strenuous effort towards individualization and personal liberty is evident in many heroic times of history: in the economic revolution of the 13th century, in the establishment of the “Habeas Corpus”, in the Renaissance, in the evolution of sciences and technique and its consequence, the Industrial Revolution. The examples are too many not to be seen. However, it only became clearly defined through the Declaration of Independence and the Republican Constitution of the United States of America, where a clear cut was established between the old way of life and what was to be known as the "American Way of Life". Still, this was only a beginning that, over time, unfortunately became distorted.
As an underground current it can be found in the Second World War when Hitler as well as Roosevelt and Stalin held to the same communist-fascist ideas of domination of the individual and the establishment of a general, universal, dictatorship of collectivism, just using different names for the same purpose. Yet, the invisible underground current of the Second World War was to amplify the basis on individualism and personal freedom, against what the main actors of the drama intended.
The new ideas have their own way to prosper. A mankind based on rationality and its consequences of personal liberty, individuality, productiveness, integrity, justice and personal pride is the teleological goal. The revolutionary spirit guiding it evidences this.
For a revolutionary position is positive. However, revolution does not mean the killings made by bloodthirsty gangs of fanatics. Each man acting for a productive idea cannot do otherwise than occupy a revolutionary position, even if he himself does not perceive it as such. He is, of course, not a "Che" Guevara, a Stalitler or any such slaughterer nor an ideologist backing such a killer.
A revolutionary is anyone inventing, designing or producing something positive in a society of free men, for he is changing the established for the better. Every inventor is a revolutionary; every scientist fulfilling discoveries is a revolutionary; every man who, with his effort and his fighting spirit, sets up a new enterprise is a revolutionary; every thinker bringing a positive, productive idea to mankind is a revolutionary; every teacher who acts to form individuals capable of taking their own decisions and operate for their own productive, positive purposes, such as Maria Montessori was, is a revolutionary; every doctor curing decease is a revolutionary; every man purporting to produce a joyful, creative environment for himself is a revolutionary; every man who solves his own problems with his own efforts is a revolutionary; every artist projecting in his works the ideals of Objectivism is a revolutionary. All these men and women are revolutionaries, revolutionaries in the deep, fruitful sense of constructing a world proper for the rational individual.
This is the main purpose of Objectivism. Let us look up to it and constructively fight for it, both with our mind and our productive efforts.
ABSTRACTION: The common characteristic(s) of separated concepts used to unite same by means of a new word on a hierarchically higher level. While concepts such as "table", "chair", "bed", etc. allow a definition by simply pointing at them, uniting all such objects at a higher level – such as "furniture" would be – removes the set composed of all these objects from perceptual reality, as there is no perceptual object such as "furniture" (Rand). Prior to understanding an abstraction such as "furniture“, an even hierarchically higher abstraction has to be understood: the word signifying the place where such furniture is contained, as "room" is (Ayn Rand). In this case the concept is real, concrete, that is existent, though it can also be used as an abstraction, since it can refer to any room or, else, to a specific room, such as “the room where my son works” (Ayn Rand). This relation refers as well to “table”, etc.
Our languages consist primarily of abstractions on any level whatsoever. We only use concrete concepts when we refer to specifically defined and in reality existing instances, such as "Leonardo's 'Mona Lisa'", "my wife, Dora," etc.
AXIOM: An axiom is that which requires no proof and can only be demonstrated by an ostensive definition (pointing with the finger or a sweep of the hand). Thus, it is the direct opposite to a dogma (See "Dogma"). "(It is) a statement that identifies the base of knowledge and of any further statement pertaining to that knowledge, a statement necessarily contained in all others, whether any particular speaker chooses to identify it or not. An axiom is a proposition that defeats its opponents by the fact that they have to accept it and use it in the process of any attempt to deny it." (“Atlas Shrugged", by Ayn Rand; Galt's Speech, FNI, 193; pb: 155).
BELIEF: The acceptance of an alleged fact or body of facts whose truth neither have been proved nor can be proved. Belief, when it refers to religions, is the acceptance of a dogma established by authority.
In an extensive sense confidence or conviction that a person or thing is, has been or will be engaged in a given action or involved in a certain situation, the truth or falsity of which can be subject to proof, such as: "I believe that the sun will raise tomorrow". (Webster).
CONCEPT: A concept is an idea that represents a class of similar things grouped together by its common characteristic(s); it functions as a mental file folder (From "The Art of Reasoning", by David Kelley). Concepts represent classifications of observed existents according to their relationships to other observed existents. Hence, a concept is a mental integration of two or more units possessing the same distinguishing characteristic(s) or general properties, with their particular measurements omitted (size, form, etc.).
Concepts are based on what can be perceived and proved directly. They are formed by first differentiating two or more existents from other existents. The process of forming the concept of a single attribute consists, for example, in observing a match, a pencil and a stick and noticing that they have one outstanding attribute in common which differs in measurement but is present in each of the objects observed ("length"). Thus, the concept "length" is formed. The same process of thought can be applied to the material used (wood) which has different consistencies, structures, etc. but the common characteristic of belonging to the vegetal kingdom. Words are audio-visual symbols representing concepts that can only be defined by "ostensive definition" (See "Ostensive Definition"). Concepts made up starting from concepts that are more basic, conform abstractions (See "Abstraction") that, in turn, allow forming further abstractions. (For an in-depth treatment of concepts see: "Introduction to Objectivist Epistemology", by Ayn Rand; "Objectivism: The Philosophy of Ayn Rand", by Leonard Peikoff and "The Evidence of the Senses" and "The Art of Reasoning" by David Kelley).
CONCRETE: The individually existent which is directly perceived. Materially real.
COSMOGONY: A pretended "science" with the purported goal of investigating the "origin" of the universe. The origins of cosmogony can be traced back to pre-historic myths and beliefs. It appears in all major religions, forms part of the Bible and other such mythical-historical accounts and purports to "explain" the "origin" of the universe by a superior power or supernatural force for which, however, it provides no proof in any sense.
"Modern" cosmogony has at its start Einstein's theory of relativity with its followers and related scientists who, when specifically keeping to provable facts, brought to light considerations of how the parts composing the universe act and behave in relation with certain natural laws. However, their intention to demonstrate an "origin" of the universe is totally unjustifiable, since it tries to present a proof while at the same time avoids remembering the definition of "universe" (See "Universe"). Cosmogony's intention is to provide a firm basis for religion's basic premise: the existence of a creator. This is sometimes brought up by deception and, at other times, clearly shows its full intention as when Einstein said that "'God' does not play with dices". For this purpose, the definition of "universe" is disregarded and even overridden with the purpose of confusing people ignorant of the hidden intentions. For the rational mind, such a purpose becomes immediately evident because it involves impossibility.
For its goals, cosmogony uses reason in a stunted form. This allows it to produce theories that are of interest only for science fiction but not for reality. In fact, reason is cosmogony's major enemy since it does not allow it to base its intentions in nothing else but the caprices, wishes and desires of "scientists", "intellectuals" and sundry religious people who adhere to esoteric points of view when it comes to explaining reality. The definition of universe seems to be totally unknown to them.
The endeavor to explain the "structure of the universe", i.e. of what it is and how it is built up, must be investigated by the sciences, starting from the philosophical rules stated by Objectivism, in strict adherence to the facts of reality. Else, it cannot be justified. Unfortunately, as stated above, scientists, philosophers and intellectuals in general show a tendency not to apply the necessary respect for definitions.
COSMOLOGY: The study of the universe as such by scientific methods, i.e. the use of reason, man's distinguishing characteristic.
DEFINITION: A definition is a statement that identifies the nature of the units subsumed under a concept (Rand). Definitions are contextual. Their purpose is to differentiate certain units from all other existents in a given context of knowledge (L. Peikoff). A definition consists of two parts: the differentia and the genus, i.e. it shows the common characteristic (the integration or genus) to then state the difference existing in relation to the genus. In the definition of man ("A rational animal"), "rational" is the differentia, "animal" is the genus. The rules of correct definitions are derived from the process of concept-formation. (A. Rand). (See "Concept").
In a nutshell: the formal statement of the meaning or significance of a word, phrase, etc. (Webster)
DOGMA: A dogma is that which is not evident or indisputable and which cannot be proved. Thus, it is the direct opposition to an axiom (See "Axiom"). "(It is) a set of beliefs accepted on faith (See "Faith"), that is, without rational justification or stated against any rational evidence. A dogma is a matter of blind faith". ("Playboy's Interview with Ayn Rand", A. Rand, pamphlet, Page 9)
EMPTINESS: The absence of matter. The nothingness within any four geometric points (one of them separated from the others, as in a three-sided pyramid) or within an empty sphere determining the basic expression of space as such, however small or large it may be.
EPISTEMOLOGY: The science studying the ways available to obtain knowledge. The science devoted to the discovery of the proper method of acquiring and validating knowledge. Second theoretical pillar of philosophy. Though theoretically there are two possible alternatives to acquire knowledge (reason or faith), faith is demonstrably irrational and, thus, false, which leaves reason as the only possible tool to acquire correct knowledge. For a further development of this assertion, see the text of this writing. (See also "Esthetics", "Ethics", "Metaphysics", "Philosophy" and "Politics"). Epistemology studies and provides the answer to the second fundamental question of philosophy: How (do I know it)?
Epistemology is the basis for all sciences that investigate the components of existence and its physical and chemical laws that rule the various combinations of existents, drawing from them the logical conclusions that allow mankind not only to understand existence but also to enrich it by forming new combinations, which do not exist by themselves in nature. This adds up to a re-shaping of reality in the sense of obtaining a steadily increased betterment of the conditions of survival required by each individual of the human species.
ESTHETICS: The study of art, that is the selective re‑creation of reality according to an artist's metaphysical value judgment. Esthetics studies and provides the answer to the fifth fundamental question of philosophy: How can I concretize the abstract? (See also "Epistemology", "Ethics", "Metaphysics", "Philosophy" and "Politics").
ETHICS: The study and definition of a code of values to guide man's choices and actions – the choices and actions that determine the purpose and the course of his life as a peaceful and productive individual, i.e. those choices related with his life that, at the same time, respect the freedom of the further peaceful and productive individuals. Ethics must be based on what is determined by the first two pillars of philosophy: Objective reality and rational epistemology. (See "Epistemology", "Esthetics", "Metaphysics", "Philosophy" and "Politics"). The answer to the third fundamental question of philosophy: What (must I do)?
EXISTENCE: The state or fact of being. This is the basic axiom expressed as "Existence exists". The basic building block of man's knowledge is that something exists, be it a thing, an attribute or an action. "Existence exists” carries with it two additional axioms which state that what one perceives exists and that one oneself has consciousness, which is the capacity to perceive what exists. Existence is the condition for consciousness to exist, for if nothing existed there could be no consciousness, since a consciousness with nothing to be aware of is a contradiction in terms. Prior to identify itself as consciousness it has to be conscious of something. A consciousness with nothing external to be conscious of cannot be called consciousness (from “Atlas Shrugged”, by Ayn Rand). In sum: What is, is. What is not, is not. (Parmenides). The foregoing renders all religious claims senseless, and Descartes' "Cogito, ergo sum" wrong since the true statement is "I exist, hence I can think".
The terms "Existence" and "Universe" are synonyms signifying an axiom, since the universe is all that exists and, thus, merely a synonym for Existence. This axiom does not require nor allow any "proof". What they stand for can and need only be shown by ostensive demonstration, i.e. a sweep of the hand. Moreover, this axiom shows that there can be no existence “beyond” existence itself.
In the German language this is evidenced so thoroughly that the concept "All" means both "everything existing" and the Universe as the term denoting everything existing. Any of these terms can be partialized for conveniences sake. For example the term "all" can be used to denote the totality of a certain set (like "all blue hats") and as an extended definition of its main meaning, i.e. "all existing". Excepting where this writing specifically points it out, the text of this writing will use the main meaning of the term. Hence, "Universe" will mean "everything existing".
FAITH: Faith designates the blind acceptance of a certain ideational content, an acceptance induced by a feeling in the absence of evidence or proof (L. Peikoff). (See also "Belief").
INDIVIDUAL: Anything existing as a distinct, indivisible entity. The human being considered as a unique, separate entity acting in liberty and responsible for his own decisions and actions. Individualism, states Ayn Rand in her article "Racism", regards every man as an independent, sovereign entity possessing an inalienable right to his own life, a right derived from his nature as a rational being.
INFINITY: A mathematical term signifying innumerableness or endlessness. It involves either an endless string of numbers or expressions such as Pi (P), the ratio of the diameter to the circumference of a circle.
LIMIT: The final or farthest border or point. The boundary of an object.
METAPHYSICS: The study of existence as such, i.e. the reply to the first fundamental question of philosophy: Where (am I)?
NATURE: The universe with all that exists in it, together with the characteristics peculiar to what exists and the effects it produces.
NOTHINGNESS / NON-EXISTENCE: The condition of being nothing or not existing. Ayn Rand defined the term indicating that non-existence is the absence of a fact and has no significance of its own but depends on an existent that has ceased to exist. Hence, only from something that is present (existing) can non-existence be derived. To demand an existence out of non-existence is to demand a folly. Non-existence is a total blank.
OSTENSIVE or DEICTIC DEFINITION: The universe, that is the environment in which we exist and of which we form part, and our capacity to think allow us to simplify the process of understanding by forming concepts (See "Concept") and abstractions (See "Abstraction"), i.e. new concepts derived from the combination of earlier concepts directly related to physical objects existing in reality. To explain each of these physical objects we simply need to point at them and say: "I mean this". This type of identification and definition is called "ostensive or deictic definition".
Sensations are effects produced by material or certain incidents (like anger produced by being treated with rudeness). Conceptual terms allow us to explain and define them (e.g. the wavelengths of light and the structure of the human eye, which produce the sensation of color).
Axiomatic concepts, explains Ayn Rand, are identifications of irreducible primaries that can only be defined by pointing at them and saying: "I mean this", which is the essence of all ostensive or deictic definitions.
PHILOSOPHY: Philosophy, being the study of existence and of man's relation to this existence, must be grounded on reality. Wishes, caprices, impossible desires and/or authoritarian commands related with it must, thus, immediately and automatically be labeled as inadmissible. Through the faculty of reason, which is man's distinguishing characteristic, facts are recognized and integrated into a comprehensible whole. It is also this faculty that evidences the contradictions that result when esoteric wish thinking is admitted. In the analysis of one of its enemies Objectivism must be considered to be the only rational philosophy, all others being irrational since they are not based on reality but on beliefs, etc. Hence, only Objectivism equals Philosophy.
POLITICS: The fourth column of philosophy which studies and implements the rules established by rational ethics (See "Ethics") for a proper social system for mankind. (See also "Epistemology", "Esthetics", "Ethics", "Metaphysics" and "Philosophy").
SPACE: "Space", like "time," is a relational concept. It does not designate an entity, but a relationship within the universe. The universe is not in space any more than it is in time. All it means to say, "There is space between two objects" is that they occupy different positions. In this case, one is focusing on two relationships simultaneously. (Leonard Peikoff in "Objectivism: The Philosophy of Ayn Rand"). (See the definition of “Emptiness”)
TIME: A theoretical-practical tool used to simplify certain mathematical and theoretical expressions related with the universe. Time has no existence of its own but is a relational concept used to describe the passing of events in 3-dimensional space. It is a measurement of motion within the universe and as such a type of relationship. Since it is impossible to get "outside" of the universe – for the universe is all there is – time cannot be used as a standard for any "length of existence" of the universe as a whole. The universe is eternal in the literal sense: non-temporal, out of time. (See: "Objectivism: The Philosophy of Ayn Rand", by Leonard Peikoff).
UNIVERSE: The totality of existence. Further considerations conform the main part of this writing.
 Every human being with an active mind, the will to use it and the amount of data required, can become a genius. Hedy Lamarr, the famous actress, developed, together with composer George Antheil, a frequency hopping system that revolutionized the communication technology. The “Day of the Inventor” is celebrated on November 9, in honor of Hedy Lamarr’s birthday.
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