The art and science of creating wanting in others
I'd only change that to "Using glamor is the art and science of unleasing the wants of others." That way, it is faithful to the notion of the glamor reactions happening in the receiver, and that it is wants the receiver already had, in some fashion, that are excited.
Implicit in glamour is gradient; "a sense that one's life is lacking in some way." The power of glamour is to flash a signal of attraction to meandering, struggling humans dealing with gradient in the universe. Here is a vision of a path of less resistance to some sense of well being. It is a powerful signal. It is an abusable signal, politically.
Very well said! I'd just change it from "lacking in some way" to "would be better in some way" so that it would not imply a sense of dissatisfaction was always present, as if only those living in a kind of personal misery about their life could experience glamor. Someone who feels hopeless and powerless in achieving financial success would be a better target for a glamourous ad for casino gambling, but another person who has no such hopeless feelings, and is financially successful, might feel the glamor reaction to a person that embodies the traits of success that they admire, to a greater degree than they'd imagined possible before. Different gradients on different paths of well-being.
I should wait till I've read the book and thought on it a bit, but I see glamor, as Virgina Postrel talked about, as closer to being like Ayn Rand talked about art from the perspective of the viewer. The person reads a novel, or watches a movie and if it resonates with them, it is because it presents in a concrete form what the person could otherwise only experience as an abstraction. Some value, say courage, is presented in a story line and theme and the person experiences an emotional response. It is as if evolution set us up to have our emotional reactions to concretes but to hold our deepest values only as abstractions. That would be the chief purpose of art (from the consumer's point of view) as I understand it.
It seems that what Postrel has done is analyze the factors that go into an art-like emotional reactions in a person. They view a photo, or see a filmstar, and have a positive reaction and she says the following things are present: illusion, mystery, longing (Not having read the book, this might not match her theory). She mentioned dissatisfaction with ones life being a key element, but I'd say that is just a kind of longing, or a kind of context or flavor of longing and that everyone is driven to some degree by seeking their values. There is no such thing as a life so perfect, and so fulfilled that a person wakes up with no desires, and no drive (apart from pathological mental/emotional conditions).
And you grasped this aspect of human nature as being on a gradient. From reacting mildly to a charismatic individual, to the powerful reaction of novel that one it totally in tune with.
We are creatures with a rational capacity AND we are creatures fueled with emotions. Modern K-12 schools, and most modern parenting skills as taught have failed to appreciate the power of expectations presented to children. And this 'glamor' is really a key component here. The adult is transmitting (expectations) and the kid is receiving (glamor reactions) - if the expectations are properly packaged (good teaching, good parenting).
And what is important here is to break this down farther to see what makes a kid want to 'take' an education, since, as you've pointed out that is the only way it is going to be carried away.
Postrel approached this very much from the point of politicians, and madison avenue, but I'm suspecting that those are more useful as examples of use and that the real heart of the matter is that we have a healthy appetite for experiencing our values, and that the 'glamor reaction' will occur when we can see our longings (and not just the "I want to be beautiful," or "I want to be rich," types of longings, but also I want people to be more like that person longings - for me, and many of us here on RoR the longing is for more honesty, more intelligence, more rational, more heroic - those are core longings for many of us).
I see this as taking the aspect of psychology that Rand discussed in the context of art, and expanding it to cover the reaction we have to all things that fall within our individual parameters of 'longing' and that are workable for generating the emotional reaction of glamor. And if this is so, it is more important than she discussed in the interview, because it is a key source of our emotional fuel.
If we were unable to find a gas station, it would only be a matter of time till the car sputtered to a stop and we got out and walked. From how many different sources do we draw our personal energy? What are our gas stations? Those things we love (some of which become parameters for glamor reactions) generate positive emotions in our experience of them, our self-esteem (feedback in the form of positive or negative emotions for how we use our consciousness), the emotional fuel we can get as psychological visibility (seeing our positive qualities in the reactions of others to us), the pride of achievement, the emotional gift from art, and what else? I'd say the biggest thing might be proper relationship of our life to moving forward. When a car moves forward that takes energy, but it doesn't generate any new energy. But when we move forward in good ways, it creates new fuel. And the glamor reaction appears to be an important part of the fueling and moving.
For politics, or to be more specific, for the battle between those who want forced association in this or that form, and those who want free association, what could be more important than to create many, many visions of free association that are glamorous for those they are presented to. It is what the left does. They factionalize, and divide society into classes, and then they create negative illusions that they tack to their opponents (deglamourize?), and positive illusions they whip up (out of lies) that emotionally power people in their direction. Our principles have the advantage of being logical, so that if they were coupled with glamorous visions, they would have the advantage. Atlas Shrugged has sold as many copies as it has because of the number of people who experienced an emotional rush from that vision.