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MUSIC MONDAY Rolling Stones 1968 Beggars Banquet full album

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Rolling Stones 1968 Beggars Banquet full album

Beggars Banquet

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
This article is about the Rolling Stones album. For the record label, see Beggars Banquet Records. For the story collection by Ian Rankin, see Beggars Banquet (book).
Beggars Banquet
BeggarsBanquetLP.jpg
Studio album by The Rolling Stones
Released 6 December 1968
Recorded March – July 1968
Studio Olympic Studios, London[1] and Sunset Sound, Los Angeles
Genre Roots rock,[2] country blues[3]
Length 39:44
Label Decca (UK)
London (US)
Producer Jimmy Miller
The Rolling Stones chronology
Their Satanic Majesties Request
(1967)
Beggars Banquet
(1968)
Let It Bleed
(1969)
Alternate cover

The originally planned “toilet” cover was rejected by both Decca and London in 1968. It was later featured on most Compact Discreissues.[4][5]
Singles from Beggars Banquet
  1. Street Fighting Man“/”No Expectations
    Released: 31 August 1968 (US)

Beggars Banquet is the seventh British and ninth American studio album by English rock band The Rolling Stones. It was released in December 1968 by Decca Records in the United Kingdom and London Records in the United States. The album was a return to roots rock for the band following the psychedelic pop of their 1967 album Their Satanic Majesties Request.[2] It was the last Rolling Stones album to be released during Brian Jones‘ lifetime.

Background[edit]

Glyn Johns, the album’s recording engineer and longtime collaborator of the band, said that Beggars Banquet signaled “the Rolling Stones’ coming of age … I think that the material was far better than anything they’d ever done before. The whole mood of the record was far stronger to me musically.”[5] Producer Jimmy Miller described guitarist Keith Richards as “a real workhorse” while recording the album, mostly due to the infrequent presence of Brian Jones. When he did show up at the sessions, Jones behaved erratically due to his drug use and emotional problems.[5] Miller said that Jones would “show up occasionally when he was in the mood to play, and he could never really be relied on:

When he would show up at a session—let’s say he had just bought a sitar that day, he’d feel like playing it, so he’d look in his calendar to see if the Stones were in. Now he may have missed the previous four sessions. We’d be doing let’s say, a blues thing. He’d walk in with a sitar, which was totally irrelevant to what we were doing, and want to play it. I used to try to accommodate him. I would isolate him, put him in a booth and not record him onto any track that we really needed. And the others, particularly Mick and Keith, would often say to me, ‘Just tell him to piss off and get the hell out of here’.[5]

Jones played sitar[6] and tanpura on “Street Fighting Man”,[7] slide guitar on “No Expectations”,[8][9][10] harmonica on “Parachute Woman”, “Dear Doctor” and “Prodigal Son”,[11] and Mellotron on “Jig-Saw Puzzle” and “Stray Cat Blues”.[12] Jones is sometimes mistakenly credited for playing the slide guitar on “Jig-Saw Puzzle”; both guitars are played by Keith Richards.[13][14] The basic track of “Street Fighting Man” was recorded on an early Philips cassette deck at London’s Olympic Sound Studios, where Richards played a Gibson Hummingbird acoustic guitar, and Charlie Watts played on an antique, portable practice drum kit.[15] Richards and Mick Jaggerwere mistakenly credited as writers on “Prodigal Son”, a cover of Robert Wilkins‘s Biblical blues song of the same name.[5] According to Keith Richards the name Beggars Banquet “comes from a cat called Christopher Gibbs“.[16]

On 7 June 1968, a photoshoot for the album, with photographer Michael Joseph, was held at Sarum Chase, a mansion in Hampstead, London.[17] Previously unseen images from the shoot were exhibited at the Blink Gallery in London in November and December 2008.[18] The album’s original cover art, depicting a bathroom wall covered with graffiti, was rejected by the band’s record company, and their unsuccessful dispute delayed the album’s release for months.[5]

On 11–12 December 1968 the band filmed a television extravaganza titled The Rolling Stones Rock and Roll Circus featuring John Lennon, Eric Clapton, The Who, Jethro Tull and Marianne Faithfull among the musical guests.[19][20] One of the original aims of the project was to promote Beggars Banquet, but the film was shelved by the Rolling Stones until 1996, when their former manager, Allen Klein, gave it an official release.[21]

Critical reception[edit]

Contemporary reviews[edit]

Beggars Banquet received a highly favourable response from music critics,[22][23] who considered it a return to form for the Stones.[24][25] Author Stephen Davis writes of its impact: “[The album was] a sharp reflection of the convulsive psychic currents coursing through the Western world. Nothing else captured the youthful spirit of Europe in 1968 like Beggar’s Banquet.”[23] The album was also a commercial success, reaching number 3 in the UK and number 5 in the US (on the way to eventual platinum status).[citation needed]

According to music journalist Anthony DeCurtis, the “political correctness” of “Street Fighting Man”, particularly the ambivalent lyrics “What can a poor boy do/’Cept sing in a rock and roll band”, sparked intense debate in the underground media.[5] In the description of author and critic Ian MacDonald, French director Jean-Luc Godard‘s filming of the sessions for “Sympathy for the Devil” contributed to the band’s image as “Left Bank heroes of the European Maoist underground”, with the song’s “Luciferian iconoclasm” interpreted as a political message.[26]

Time magazine described the Stones as “England’s most subversive roisterers since Fagin’s gang in Oliver Twist” and added: “In keeping with a widespread mood in the pop world, Beggars Banquet turns back to the raw vitality of Negro R&B and the authentic simplicity of country music.”[27] Jann Wenner of Rolling Stone considered that the band’s regeneration marked the return of rock’n’roll, while the Chicago Sun-Times declared: “The Stones have unleashed their rawest, ludest, most arrogant, most savage record yet. And it’s beautiful.”[28]

Less impressed, the writer of Melody Makers initial review dismissed Beggars Banquet as “mediocre” and said that, since “The Stones are Mick Jagger”, it was only the singer’s “remarkable recording presence that makes this LP”.[29] Geoffrey Cannon of The Guardian found that the album “demonstrates [the group’s] primal power at its greatest strength” and wrote admiringly of Jagger’s ability to fully engage the listener on “Sympathy for the Devil”, saying: “We feel horror because, at full volume, he makes us ride his carrier wave with him, experience his sensations, and awaken us to ours.”[30] In his ballot for Jazz & Pop magazine’s annual critics poll, Robert Christgau ranked it as the third best album of the year, and “Salt of the Earth” the best pop song of the year.[31]

Retrospective assessment and legacy[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
AllMusic 5/5 stars[24]
Boston Herald 4/4 stars[32]
eMusic 4.5/5 stars[33]
Encyclopedia of Popular Music 5/5 stars[34]
Entertainment Weekly A[35]
The Great Rock Discography 10/10[36]
MusicHound 4.5/5[37]
NME 8/10[38]
Rolling Stone 5/5 stars[5]
The Rolling Stone Album Guide 5/5 stars[39]

In a retrospective review for eMusic, Ben Fong-Torres called Beggars Banquet “an album flush with masterful and growling instant classics”, and said that it “responds more to the chaos of ’68 and to themselves than to any fellow artists … the mood is one of dissolution and resignation, in the guise of a voice of an ambivalent authority.”[33] Colin Larkin, in his Encyclopedia of Popular Music (2006), viewed the album as “a return to strength” which included “the socio-political ‘Street Fighting Man’ and the brilliantly macabre ‘Sympathy for the Devil’, in which Jagger’s seductive vocal was backed by hypnotic Afro-rhythms and dervish yelps”.[34] Writing for MusicHound in 1999, Greg Kot opined that the same two songs were the “weakest cuts”, adding: “Otherwise, the disc is a tour de force of acoustic-tinged savagery and slumming sexuality, particularly the gleefully flippant ‘Stray Cat Blues.'”[37] Larry Katz from the Boston Herald called Beggars Banquet “both a return to basics and leap forward”.[32]

In his 1997 review for Rolling Stone, DeCurtis said the album was “filled with distinctive and original touches”, and remarked on its legacy: “For the album, the Stones had gone to great lengths to toughen their sound and banish the haze of psychedelia, and in doing so, they launched a five-year period in which they would produce their very greatest records.”[5] Author Martin C. Strong similarly considers Beggars Banquet to be the first album in the band’s “staggering burst of creativity” over 1968–72 that ultimately comprised four of the best rock albums of all time.[36] Writing in 2007, Daryl Easlea of BBC Music said that although in places it fails to maintain the quality of its opening song, Beggars Banquet was the album where the Rolling Stones gained their enduring status as “the Greatest Rock ‘n’ Roll Band in the World”.[40]

In 2003, the album was ranked at number 58 on Rolling Stones list of the 500 greatest albums of all time.[41] In the same year, the TV network VH1 named Beggars Banquet the 67th greatest album of all time. The album is also featured in the book 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die.[42]

Reissue[edit]

In August 2002, ABKCO Records reissued Beggars Banquet as a newly remastered LP and SACD/CD hybrid disk.[43] This release corrected an important flaw in the original album by restoring each song to its proper, slightly faster speed. Due to an error in the mastering, Beggars Banquet was heard for over thirty years at a slower speed than it was recorded. This had the effect of altering not only the tempo of each song, but the song’s key as well. These differences were subtle but important, and the remastered version is about 30 seconds shorter than the original release.

Also in 2002 the Russian label CD-Maximum unofficially released the limited edition Beggars Banquet + 7 Bonus,[44] which was also bootleged on a German counterfeit-DECCA label as Beggars Banquet (the Mono Beggars).[45]

It was released once again in 2010 by Universal Music Enterprises in a Japanese only SHM-SACD version;[46] and on 24 November 2010 ABKCO Records released a SHM-CD version.[47]

On 28 May 2013 ABKCO Records reissued the LP on vinyl.[48]

Track listing[edit]

All songs written by Mick Jagger and Keith Richards, except “Prodigal Son” by Robert Wilkins.

Side one
No. Title Length
1. Sympathy for the Devil 6:18
2. No Expectations 3:56
3. Dear Doctor 3:28
4. Parachute Woman 2:20
5. Jigsaw Puzzle 6:06
Side two
No. Title Length
6. Street Fighting Man 3:16
7. “Prodigal Son” 2:51
8. Stray Cat Blues 4:38
9. Factory Girl 2:09
10. Salt of the Earth 4:48

Personnel[edit]

The Rolling Stones
Additional personnel

[49] [50] [51] [52]

Charts and certifications[edit]

Charts[edit]

Album
Chart (1968–69) Peak
position
Australia (Kent Music Report)[53] 3
Canada Top Albums/CDs (RPM)[54] 3
German Albums (Offizielle Top 100)[55] 8
Norwegian Albums (VG-lista)[56] 2
UK Albums (OCC)[57] 3
US Billboard 200[58] 5
Chart (2007) Peak
position
Swedish Albums (Sverigetopplistan)[59] 43
Chart (2007) Peak
position
French Albums (SNEP)[60] 197
Singles
Year Single Chart Position
1968 “Street Fighting Man” Billboard Hot 100[58] 48
Austrian Singles[61] 7
Dutch Singles[62] 5
German Singles[63] 8
Swiss Singles[64] 4
1971 UK Singles (OCC)[57] 62

Certifications[edit]

Region Certification Certified units/Sales
Canada (Music Canada)[65] Gold 50,000^
United Kingdom (BPI)[66] Gold 100,000^
United States (RIAA)[67] Platinum 1,000,000^
*sales figures based on certification alone
^shipments figures based on certification alone

References[edit]

  1. Jump up^ Brown, Phill (July 2000). “Phill Brown, Recording the Rollig Stones’ Classic, Beggar’s Banquet”. tapeop.com. TapeOp.
  2. ^ Jump up to:a b Lester, Paul (10 July 2007). “These albums need to go to rehab”. guardian.co.uk. London: Guardian News and Media Limited. Retrieved 21 July 2013.
  3. Jump up^ Dimery, Robert, ed. (2011). 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die. London: Cassell. p. 130. ISBN 978-1-84403-699-8.
  4. Jump up^ 45 Years Ago: The Rolling Stones Court Controversy Over ‘Beggars Banquet’ Cover
  5. ^ Jump up to:a b c d e f g h i DeCurtis, Anthony (17 June 1997). “Review: Beggars Banquet”. Rolling Stone. New York. Archived from the original on 31 January 2002. Retrieved 9 July 2013.
  6. Jump up^ Karnbach, James; Bernson, Carol (1997). The Complete Recording Guide to the Rolling Stones. Aurum Press Limited. p. 234. ISBN 1-85410-533-7.
  7. Jump up^ Elliot, Martin (2002). The Rolling Stones: Complete Recording Sessions 1962–2002. Cherry Red Books LTD. p. 131. ISBN 1-901447-04-9.
  8. Jump up^ Elliot, Martin (2002). The Rolling Stones: Complete Recording Sessions 1962–2002. Cherry Red Books LTD. p. 142. ISBN 1-901447-04-9.
  9. Jump up^ Egan, Sean (2005). Rolling Stones and the making of Let It Bleed. Unanimous Ltd. p. 64. ISBN 1-903318-77-7.
  10. Jump up^ Wyman, Bill (2002). Rolling with the Stones. Dorling Kindersley Limited. p. 314. ISBN 0-7513-4646-2.
  11. Jump up^ Clayson, Alan (2008). The Rolling Stones: Beggars Banquet. Billboard Books. pp. 165, 186, 245, 246. ISBN 978-0-8230-8397-8.
  12. Jump up^ Clayson, Alan (2008). The Rolling Stones: Beggars Banquet. Billboard Books. pp. 192, 246. ISBN 978-0-8230-8397-8.
  13. Jump up^ Elliot, Martin (2002). The Rolling Stones: Complete Recording Sessions 1962–2002. Cherry Red Books LTD. p. 129. ISBN 1-901447-04-9.
  14. Jump up^ Clayson, Alan (2008). The Rolling Stones: Beggars Banquet. Billboard Books. p. 187. ISBN 978-0-8230-8397-8.
  15. Jump up^ The Wall Street Journalhttp://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10001424052702303497804579238550068715652. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  16. Jump up^ Egan (ed), Sean (2013). Keith Richards on Keith Richards interviews and encounters (1st ed.). Chicago: Chicago Review Press. p. 79. ISBN 978-1-61374-791-9.
  17. Jump up^ Hayward, Mark; Evans, Mike (7 September 2009). The Rolling Stones: On Camera, Off Guard 1963–69. Pavilion. pp. 156–. ISBN 978-1-86205-868-2. Retrieved 17 July 2011.
  18. Jump up^ “Our Work”. Metro Imaging. Retrieved 17 July 2011.
  19. Jump up^ Norman, Philip (2001). The Stones. London: Sidgwick & Jackson. pp. 322–23. ISBN 0-283-07277-6.
  20. Jump up^ Bockris, Victor (1992). Keith Richards: The Unauthorised Biography. London: Hutchinson. p. 116. ISBN 0-09-174397-4.
  21. Jump up^ Davis, Stephen (2001). Old Gods Almost Dead: The 40-Year Odyssey of the Rolling Stones. New York, NY: Broadway Books. pp. 278–79, 536. ISBN 0-7679-0312-9.
  22. Jump up^ Norman, Philip (2001). The Stones. London: Sidgwick & Jackson. p. 322. ISBN 0-283-07277-6.
  23. ^ Jump up to:a b Davis, Stephen (2001). Old Gods Almost Dead: The 40-Year Odyssey of the Rolling Stones. New York, NY: Broadway Books. p. 275. ISBN 0-7679-0312-9.
  24. ^ Jump up to:a b AllMusic review
  25. Jump up^ Salewicz, Chris (2002). Mick & Keith. London: Orion. p. 154. ISBN 0-75281-858-9.
  26. Jump up^ MacDonald, Ian (November 2002). “The Rolling Stones: Play With Fire”. Uncut. Available at Rock’s Backpages (subscription required).
  27. Jump up^ Wyman, Bill (2002). Rolling with the Stones. London: Dorling Kindersley. p. 315. ISBN 0-7513-4646-2.
  28. Jump up^ Wyman, Bill (2002). Rolling with the Stones. London: Dorling Kindersley. pp. 314–15. ISBN 0-7513-4646-2.
  29. Jump up^ Uncredited writer (30 November 1968). “The Rolling Stones: Beggars Banquet (Decca)”. Melody Maker. Available at Rock’s Backpages (subscription required).
  30. Jump up^ Cannon, Geoffrey (10 December 1968). “The Rolling Stones: Beggars’ Banquet (Decca SKL 4955)”. The Guardian. Available at Rock’s Backpages (subscription required).
  31. Jump up^ Christgau, Robert (1969). “Robert Christgau’s 1969 Jazz & Pop Ballot”. Jazz & Pop. Retrieved 17 April 2014.
  32. ^ Jump up to:a b Katz, Larry (16 August 2002). “Music; Stoned again; Band’s early albums reissued in time for tour”. Boston Herald. Scene section, p. S.21. Retrieved 9 July 2013. (subscription required)
  33. ^ Jump up to:a b Fong-Torres, Ben (2 April 2008). “The Rolling Stones, Beggars Banquet”. eMusic. Archived from the original on 23 October 2014. Retrieved 9 July 2013.
  34. ^ Jump up to:a b Larkin, Colin (2006). The Encyclopedia of Popular Music. 7(4th ed.). Oxford University Press. p. 119. ISBN 0-19-531373-9.
  35. Jump up^ Browne, David (20 September 2002). “Satisfaction?”. Entertainment Weekly. New York (673): 103. Retrieved 9 July2013.
  36. ^ Jump up to:a b Strong, Martin C. (2004). The Great Rock Discography (7th ed.). Canongate U.S. pp. 1292, 1294. ISBN 1-84195-615-5.
  37. ^ Jump up to:a b Graff, Gary; Durchholz, Daniel (eds) (1999). MusicHound Rock: The Essential Album Guide. Farmington Hills, MI: Visible Ink Press. p. 950. ISBN 1-57859-061-2.
  38. Jump up^ “Review: Beggars Banquet”. NME. London: 46. 8 July 1995.
  39. Jump up^ “The Rolling Stones: Album Guide”. rollingstone.com. Archived version retrieved 15 November 2014.
  40. Jump up^ Easlea, Daryl (2007). “The Rolling Stones Beggars BanquetReview”. BBC Music. Retrieved 11 March 2016.
  41. Jump up^ Beggars Banquet. Rolling Stone. January 2003. Retrieved 21 August 2011.
  42. Jump up^ Dimery, Robert, ed. (2011). 1001 Albums: You Must Hear Before You Die. Preface by Michael Lydon. Octopus. p. 22. ISBN 978-1-84403-714-8.
  43. Jump up^ Walsh, Christopher (24 August 2002). “Super audio CDs: The Rolling Stones Remastered”. Billboard. p. 27.
  44. Jump up^ discogs – Beggars Banquet + 7 Bonus 2002 Russian limited edition
  45. Jump up^ discogs – Beggars Banquet (the Mono Beggars) 2002 German bootleg
  46. Jump up^ discogs – Beggars Banquet 2010 Universal International ref# UIGY 9038
  47. Jump up^ discogs – Beggars Banquet 2010 ABKCO ref# UICY-20001
  48. Jump up^ discogs – Beggars Banquet 2013 Vinyl reissue
  49. Jump up^ The Rolling Stones | Official Website
  50. Jump up^ Stone Alone – Bill Wyman
  51. Jump up^ Rolling With The Stones – Bill Wyman
  52. Jump up^ Satanic Sessions – Midnight Beat – CD box sets
  53. Jump up^ Kent, David (1993). Australian Chart Book 1970-1992. St Ives, N.S.W.: Australian Chart Book. ISBN 0-646-11917-6.
  54. Jump up^ Top RPM Albums: Issue 5887.” RPM. Library and Archives Canada. Retrieved 11 June 2016.
  55. Jump up^ Offiziellecharts.de – The Rolling Stones – Beggars Banquet”(in German). GfK Entertainment Charts. Retrieved 11 June 2016.
  56. Jump up^ Norwegiancharts.com – The Rolling Stones – Beggars Banquet”. Hung Medien. Retrieved 11 June 2016.
  57. ^ Jump up to:a b “Rolling Stones | Artist | Official Charts”. UK Albums Chart Retrieved 11 June 2016.
  58. ^ Jump up to:a b “The Rolling Stones – Chart history” Billboard 200 for The Rolling Stones. Retrieved 11 June 2016.
  59. Jump up^ Swedishcharts.com – The Rolling Stones – Beggars Banquet”. Hung Medien. Retrieved 11 June 2016.
  60. Jump up^ Lescharts.com – The Rolling Stones – Beggars Banquet”. Hung Medien. Retrieved 11 June 2016.
  61. Jump up^ “The Rolling Stones – Street Fighting Man”. austriancharts.at. Archived from the original on 14 April 2016. Retrieved 11 June 2016.
  62. Jump up^ “The Rolling Stones – Street Fighting Man”. dutchcharts.nl. Archived from the original on 15 August 2016. Retrieved 11 June 2016.
  63. Jump up^ “Offizielle Deutsche Charts”. Gfk Entertainment. Retrieved 11 June 2016.
  64. Jump up^ “The Rolling Stones – Street Fighting Man”. swisscharts.com. Archived from the original on 17 August 2016. Retrieved 11 June 2016.
  65. Jump up^ “Canadian album certifications – The Rolling Stones”. Music Canada. Retrieved 11 June 2016.
  66. Jump up^ “British album certifications – The Rolling Stones”. British Phonographic Industry. Retrieved 11 June 2016. Enter The Rolling Stones in the field Search. Select Artist in the fieldSearch by. Select album in the field By Format. Select Gold in the field By Award. Click Search
  67. Jump up^ “American album certifications – The Rolling Stones”. Recording Industry Association of America. Retrieved 11 June2016. If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then selectAlbum, then click SEARCH

External links[edit]

 

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“Now, they’re gonna own it, and all the problems in the health-care system are going to be on their backs,” Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D., N.Y.) said Wednesday.

Write to Kristina Peterson at kristina.peterson@wsj.com and Siobhan Hughes at siobhan.hughes@wsj.com

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FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE PART 156 John Hospers, this post includes portion of 6-2-94 letter from Hospers to me blasting Christian Evangelicalism, Part L (Featured artist is Michael Heizer )

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I sent a cassette tape of Adrian Rogers on Evolution to John Hospers in May of 1994 which was the 10th anniversary of Francis Schaeffer’s passing and I promptly received a typed two page response from Dr. John Hospers. Dr. Hospers had both read my letter and all the inserts plus listened to the whole sermon and had some very angry responses. If you would like to hear the sermon from Adrian Rogers and read the transcript then refer to my earlier post at this link.  Over the last few weeks I have posted  portions of Dr. Hospers’ letter and portions of the cassette tape that he listened to back in 1994, but today I want  to look at some other comments made on that cassette tape that John Hospers listened to and I will also post a few comments that Dr. Hospers made in that 2 page letter.

John Hospers on His Friendship with Ayn Rand

 

Conversations With Ayn Rand Part 1

by John Hospers

 

At the same time, she was an inspiration to me. It was inspiring to talk with someone to whom ideas so vitally mattered. By presenting intellectual challenges she set my intellectual fires crackling in a new way. And she was largely responsible for renewing my spirits. I never got bored with teaching — I always enjoyed contact with students — but I had become discouraged about its results. A class ends, I seldom hear from the students again, and a new crop comes in with all the same errors and unquestioned prejudices and assumptions as the one before. I suppose this was to be expected, but I was often discouraged by the lack of improvement. Doubtless I could have noticed some if I had been able to follow the members of the class after they had had my courses. And as for changing the world from its ignorance and lethargy, there seemed little hope of this occurring; all the combined efforts of high school and college teachers seemed to do little to prevent wars or create happiness or even ease the human situation very much.

So I was surprised when Ayn said, “Yours is the most important profession in the world.”

I responded, “Important, but not very influential.”

“That’s where you’re wrong,” she said. “You deal in ideas, and ideas rule the world.” (I seldom quote Ayn directly, and do so only when I clearly remember exactly what she said.)

I objected rather lamely that I didn’t see any ideas molding the world, in fact that the world seemed quite indifferent to ideas. But she persisted that it was indeed ideas that ruled the world — and that if good ideas did not come to the fore, bad ones would rule instead. Nature abhors a vacuum, and it is when good ideas are not taught that a Hitler or a Lenin can come in, filling the vacuum, trying to justify the use of force (for example) against entire classes of victims, when even a modest amount of teaching about human rights would have shifted the battle of ideas and perhaps carried the day. She reiterated that it was ideas — specifically the ideas underlying the American Revolution — that had created the greatness of America. Prosperity had been a consequence of the adoption of these ideas; it occurred when physical labor was animated by an economic theory by which the work could be productive.

We came back to the subject many times, and I began to notice a new energy in my teaching, a new bounce in my attitude, as if the intellectual life was not fruitless after all, and as if I might even make a bit of real difference in the world. Not much in the whole scheme of things, to be sure; but later, when ex-students would say to me, “My whole life has been changed by your course,” or “Something you said at the end of your lecture one day years ago changed me forever,” the words not only buoyed me up, but made me aware of a fearsome responsibility. I don’t know whether I ever communicated to Ayn this gradual change in my professional attitude. In a way, she had saved my life. I wondered, much later, whether she ever knew this.

She did not take kindly to any recommended change in her writing, not even a single word. I was strongly in sympathy with this. Even if a word was appropriate in what it meant, it might not fit into the rhythm of the sentence or the idiom of the passage. But there is one occasion on which she gave way to me nonetheless. She showed me the typescript of her forthcoming introduction to Victor Hugo’s novel 1793. I then proceeded to read certain passages of it aloud to her. By this means, I convinced her that some passages were unidiomatic, and that certain words hindered the ambience rather than helping it. She went along with all my recommended changes. “Boy, do you have a feeling for words,” she said glowingly as she made the changes.

She was convinced that on my forthcoming trip to California I should call on her Hollywood producer, Hal Wallis. “He’s a movie producer,” I said; “I would have nothing to say to him. And he’d be about as interested in me as in a hole in the ground.”

Not so, she said. She said I had no idea what an intellectual inferiority complex these people have. “To have a philosopher come to them would be an honor to them,” she insisted.

But I had no idea what I would say if I did go; I would probably stand there with a mouthful of teeth. (And I never did follow her suggestion.) “Well, maybe I could write the script for the movie Atlas Shrugged,” I said, more than half in jest.

But at once she put her foot down, though in good humor. “Nathaniel Branden is going to write the script for Atlas Shrugged,” she said decisively, and that was that.

She reserved her best-chosen curse words for her philosophical arch-enemy, Immanuel Kant. She considered him the ultimate altruist and collectivist. Though not a Kantian, I did not share her extreme view of him. I invited her to read his book on philosophy of law, with its defense of individual rights, and certain sections of hisMetaphysics of Morals in which he discussed duties to oneself. But it was all in vain. She insisted that these were only incidental details, but that the main thrust of Kant’s philosophy was profoundly evil. I did not consider him more altruistic than Christianity, and in some ways less so.

I did get her to acknowledge agreement, I think, with Kant’s Second Categorical Imperative, “Treat every person as an end, not as a means,” even though I tended to believe that the implications of this precept for ethical egoism might be ominous. And I told her that I thought she was also Kantian in her insistence on acting on principle(even though she and he didn’t share the same principles). I even thought that she shared some of his emphasis on universalizability: that if something is wrong for you to do it is also wrong for others (in similar circumstances), and that before acting one should consider the rule implied in one’s actions as it if were to become a universalrule of human conduct. She would praise impartiality of judgment as strongly as any Kantian. Sometimes, when we were discussing another view, such as existentialism, I would twit her, saying “You’re too Kantian to accept that, Ayn,” and she would smile and sometimes incline her head a bit, as if to admit the point before going on with the discussion.

The more I thought about it, the more I was convinced that the most fundamental distinction in practical ethics was between individualism and collectivism. Consider the American Civil War, I said. Assuming that it played a decisive role in eliminating slavery, wasn’t the result worth the loss of half a million lives? Yet it may well not have been worth it to the men who were drafted into the army to fight that war. The fact that it “helped the group” (the collective) may not have been much comfort to them.

Or consider the American Revolutionary War. It produced an enormous benefit, the founding of a free America, and was the most nearly bloodless of all major revolutions. Yet was it “worth it” to those who shed their blood fighting in the cause of independence? If you look at the group as a whole, the group was better off because those wars were fought; we’re glad that somebody did it. But if you look at theindividuals, it was a case of some individuals sacrificing their lives so that others could live in freedom and prosperity.

Ayn’s response was that no human life should be sacrificed against that person’s will. If a person believes a cause to be worth it, such as freedom from slavery or oppression, then he may willingly sacrifice his life for that cause; but no one should be forced to do so. The sacrifices must be made voluntarily.

But are you enlisting voluntarily if you do it because you’ll be drafted anyway later? I wondered. Perhaps voluntariness is a matter of degree. And what if the Germans are invading France and the Germans draft all their young men and the French don’t? Then the French would be overrun and perhaps enslaved. To escape this fate, France institutes the draft. But this example didn’t deter Ayn. Then France is overrun, she said. (The principle of voluntariness must not be violated.) And maybe the prospect that this was going to happen would be sufficient to make most Frenchmen voluntarily enlist.

Image result for john hospers ayn rand

But then, I suggested, there is another problem: what is meant by “voluntary”?

You think about doing something, you deliberate, then do it. Nobody forces you or pressures you. Let’s take this as a paradigm case of voluntary action. On the other hand, someone with a loaded gun at your back says to you, “Your money or your life,” and you surrender your wallet. This is a case of coercion, and ordinarily we’d say you don’t give up your wallet voluntarily.

OK, now the problems begin. What exactly distinguished these cases? Some say that a voluntary act is one of which one can say that just before it one could have done otherwise. Thus the patellar reflex and other reflex actions are not voluntary; you can’t prevent the response.

But all our everyday actions are by that definition voluntary, including our response to the gunman: we could have, just before surrendering the wallet, decided not to surrender it. That was within our power. (Indeed, some would say, “Under the circumstances, you voluntarily chose to give up your money.”) The result of using thisdefinition is that practically all our acts are voluntary, even the robber example used as a paradigm case of not being voluntary. So, I said, let’s take another criterion for voluntariness. With the gunman you can still choose, but your choices are limited by his actions. (You can choose to give your life rather than your money, whereas without his intervention you would have kept both.) The gunman limits your choices. But so does the employer when he fires an employee, or lays him off because the factory is losing money. The employee’s choices are now more limited, limited by the employer’s actions.

But has the employer coerced him? Some would say yes, though he didn’t threaten the employee’s life as in the gunman case. Others would say no, he only limits the employee’s choices. Indeed, the rainfall that prevents you from going to the picnic also limits your choices as to what to do that day. Our choices are limited hundreds of times a day — limited by a wide variety of conditions, human and non-human. (Ouroptions are never limitless in any case.) So that definition won’t distinguish our two paradigm cases from each other; there is something in both cases to limit our choices.

Let’s try another, I persisted: an act is voluntary if it’s not forced. But now what exactly is the import of the verb “force”? Did he force you to give up your wallet, since you could have said no? Is the child whose parents say to him “Kill your pet dog or we’ll never feed you again” forced to kill his dog? Are you ever 100 percent forced, except when you are physically overpowered and literally can’t do anything else?

But very few acts are forced in this sense. When we say “He forced me to go with him,” we need not mean that he physically overpowered her, but rather that he threatened her or even that he “knew what buttons to push” to get her to do what he wanted. Shall we say in that case that she did his bidding voluntarily? No matter which definition we employ, there are cases that seem to slip between the cracks. Thus, saying “He did it voluntarily” doesn’t convey as clear a piece of information as most people think it does.

I concluded that when people say “He did it voluntarily” they usually have no idea of the complexities of meaning that can be plausibly attached to that word; they have no idea which fork in the road they would choose in deciding which meaning of several to take. They just blurt out the word. And that, I suggested, is what philosophicalanalysis is all about — by suggestion and example (“Would you say this is a case of X? No, then perhaps that would be?” etc.) to draw out the meaning behind the words — to pierce the veil of words so as to get a hold on those meanings. But the words constantly obscure this, often in a bewilderingly complex way. Yet it’s important to keep us from blurting out some quick and easy verbal formula. It’s not easy, andtakes a lot of practice; as Brahms said of his second piano concerto, “It’s not a piece for little girls.”

But there it is, the difficulties are there, not only for “voluntary” but for “free” and “caused” and “responsible” and “intentional” (to take a few from just one area of philosophy). These are especially dense philosophical thickets, which require lots of thankless untangling. Most people haven’t the heart or the will to go through with it.  I fear my little lecture was pretty much lost on Ayn. Her philosophical aspirations lay in an entirely different area. And in time the tension between these approaches to doing philosophy is what probably marked the beginning of the end for us.  — Click here for Part 2 –>

(Originally published in Liberty magazIne, 1987)

When most people talked philosophy with Ayn Rand, the relationship was student to teacher. But with Rand and John Hospers, it was philosopher to philosopher.

Here is a portion of Hospers’ June 2, 1994 letter to me: 

Just because I don’t accept your conclusions, do no infer that I have not given these matters deep and profound thought. Why do you ASSUME that I haven’t (which you do when you say “don’t you think it is time to think about spiritual things… etc..)? Why do you start out being so insulting?

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From Adrian Rogers’ LOVE WORTH FINDING website we find this devotion and some of these points were on the cassette tape that I sent to Dr. John Hospers:

The Decision To Become An Atheist

Why does someone decide to become an atheist? Perhaps they’ve been raised in a home where their parents are atheists. Perhaps they started out in life believing in God, but when they prayed about a situation and didn’t get the answer they wanted—or didn’t get it quickly enough—they said, “Well, there must not be a God after all.” Or they decided the problem of why God allows evil in the world is just too great to overcome.

In his message “No Other Way to Heaven except through Jesus,” Adrian Rogers presents the case for belief in God, the reasons many choose unbelief, and the clear, simple path one can take to know that first, there is a God, and then we can know Him personally.

It’s a comprehensive message, one that cannot be reduced to a short article, so we encourage you to hear it in its entirety on June 6-7, or in the broadcast archives on those dates or afterward at our website, www.lwf.org.

In this article, we take one aspect of that extensive message: looking at the path a person may take when they make the choice to become an atheist.

In Romans 1, Paul says (v. 16-20)

For I am not ashamed of the Gospel of Christ, for itis the power of God unto salvation to everyone that believeth, to the Jew first and also to the Greek, for therein is the righteousness of God revealed. From faith to faith, as it is written, “the just shall live by faith,” for the wrath of God is revealed from Heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who hold the truth in unrighteousness, because that which may be known of God is manifest in them, for God hath showed it unto them, for the invisible things of Him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made,even His eternal power and godhead [and here’s the bottom line], so that they are without excuse.

Every Person Has Some Light

All people have been given have some light about the reality and existence of God. Paul makes that clear.

Imagine that the end of time has come, the time we call “the final judgment.” Standing before the throne are all those who’ve never heard the Gospel of Jesus Christ, as well as those who did hear and rejected it.

The indictment is given,
For the wrath of God is revealed from Heaven against all ungodliness of men who hold the truth in unrighteousness.”

Some say, “Your Honor, we’re not guilty! We never heard the Gospel; we never knew how to be saved. We’re innocent by reason of ignorance.”

Then the Apostle Paul will speak up. He’ll point out, “Your Honor, I will prove they’re not innocent because of ignorance or never had an equal chance. I call two witnesses to testify. Witness number one, take the stand. Give the court your name.”

He says, “My name is Creation.”
“You’re the witness that God exists?”
“Yes. Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them, for God hath showed it unto them, for the invisible things of Him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and godhead, so that they are without excuse” (Romans 1:19-20).

Creation testifies, “The Heavens declare the glory of God” Psalm 19:1.

If you have a creation, you have to have a Creator. The Bible says that the Creator “is clearly seen by the things that are made.” When I see a finely tuned piano, I know someone crafted and tuned it. When I see a watch running with precision, I know someone crafted it. When I see a building put together in symmetry, I say, “There is an architect.” When I see this mighty creation, I say, “Creator.” When I see order and system, I say, “Intelligence.” That’s the reason the Bible says, “The fool hath said in his heart, ‘There’s no God’” (Psalm 14:1).

Then Paul will call his second witness.

“My name is Conscience. For when the Gentiles [those who’ve never heard the Gospel], which have not the law,” [Old Testament law], “do by nature the things contained in the law, these having not the law are a law unto themselves, which show the work of the law written in their hearts; their conscience also bearing witness, and their thoughts the meanwhile accusing or else excusing one another.” Romans 2:14.

Two witnesses all people on earth must face: the outward, objective witness of creation and the inward, subjective witness of conscience. “Unto them” is creation, “in them” is conscience. T

Man has a built‑in knowledge of God. God made man to know, love, serve and have fellowship with Him forever. “Christ is that true light that lighteth every man that cometh into the world” (John 1:9).

Augustine said, “The soul of man is restless until it rests in God.” You cannot get around the two witnesses. Creation and conscience testify that no matter who you are or where you are, every person has some light.
Atheists are not in atheists because of intellectual problems. They’re atheists because of moral problems. It’s not a matter of intelligence.
Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools.” Romans 1:22

All of us have a God‑consciousness. It’s not a matter of intellectualism; it’s a matter of morality. “The fool hath said in his heart, ‘There is no God’” (Psalm 14:1).

An atheist is someone who is uncomfortable with the existence of God, so he says, “If I can get rid of this idea of God, I can get rid of this uncomfortable feeling.”

But he really doesn’t get rid of it—not down deep. He’s like a man who bought a new boomerang and killed himself trying to throw the old one away. The knowledge that God is just there, and the more you try to get rid of it, the more you know subconsciously God exists, because deep in your heart, conscience speaks.

Light Refused Increases Darkness

There is great danger in refusing the light we’ve been given.

They are without excuse, because when they knew God [by creation and conscience they knew God exists], they glorified Him not as God, neither were thankful, but became vain in their imaginations and their foolish heart wasdarkened.”

Darkened.
All mankind has some light. Light refused increases darkness.

You cannot simply take light or truth and put it in your pocket and say, “That’s very interesting, I’ll spend it someday if I need it.” No, when God gives you light, when creation and conscience speak to the heart of any individual anywhere on earth, if they do not glorify God, believe there is a God, and desire to know Him, they do not remain static. They begin to regress. And they lose even the light that they had. Their foolish heart will be darkened.

Watch carefully here. I pray you won’t miss what I’m about to say. In the Bible, the opposite of truth is not error, it is sin. Why does a person refuse truth? Because of the sin in his heart.

For the wrath of God is revealed from Heaven against all ungodlinessand unrighteousness of men who hold the truth in unrighteousness” (v. 18)

The word “hold” literally means to resist the truth; suppress, smother, hold back the truth. How do you hold back the truth? Not in error, but in unrighteousness.

Why Does A Person Not Believe In God?

Belief in God means they have to adjust their lifestyle. On the one hand, on one side is the person’s unrighteous lifestyle. On the other side are creation and conscience.  Creation and conscience tell him there’s a God. His lifestyle says, “If you admit that, you’re going to have to change how you’re living.”

He’s in a quandary between the two. If he turns toward acknowledging God, he turns from that lifestyle; but if he turns away from truth, he’s free to embrace his old lifestyle. So when he says, “I will resist the truth in unrighteousness,” and turns away, he gets farther from the truth, father from the light, into the darkness, and “his foolish heart is darkened.”

Unbelief Is the Baggage That Comes With Sin

This truth is never more graphically illustrated than in 2 Thessalonians 2:9-12, a most terrifying passage in the Bible. It speaks of the Antichrist who is coming:

Even him whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders and with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish because”—note—“they received not the love of the truth that they might be saved.”

Why do they perish?
For this cause God shall send them strong delusion.” (v. 11)

You say, “Hold it, Pastor! God doesn’t send anybody delusion.”  Go back and read verse 11. Why would God send them strong delusion? Verse 11 continues, “That they should believe a lie.”

It’s getting worse, isn’t it? God sends delusion “that they should believe a lie” What is the end result?  “…that they all might be damnedwho believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.” (v. 12)

There in that last phrase is your key: they had the truth, they saw it, yet they chose to “believe not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.”

They heard the truth! They knew the truth! They turned from the truth! They pleasure in their sin! They looked at God, they looked at their sin, and they chose their sin.

God responds, “All right. That’s what you want. You want your sin, and the baggage that comes with it is delusion, a lie, and damnation.”

How does this compute with the verse, “God is not willing that any should perish”?

He is not willing. But He also will not violate a person’s free will. I have often observed,

You are free to choose.
You are not free not to choose.
You are also not free to choose the consequences of your choice.

Again, the problem is not in the head. The problem is in the heart. One of the greatest promises in the Bible is John 7:17. People were wondering, “Who is Jesus Christ?” The Pharisees were testing Him, taunting Him, picking at Him. Jesus responded, “My doctrine is not Mine, but His who sent Me.” Then He threw out one of the greatest challenges in the Bible:

If any man will do His will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God or whether I speak of Myself,” in other words, “whether I’m just some megalomaniac, some peasant prophet who has a messianic complex, or if I have come from God.”

Do you will to do the will of God? If you do, and if you take up this challenge, then you will know.

 

How can I know the Bible is the Word of God? by Adrian Rogers

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Is the Bible historically accurate? Here are some of the posts I have done in the past on the subject: 1. The Babylonian Chronicleof Nebuchadnezzars Siege of Jerusalem2. Hezekiah’s Siloam Tunnel Inscription. 3. Taylor Prism (Sennacherib Hexagonal Prism)4. Biblical Cities Attested Archaeologically. 5. The Discovery of the Hittites6.Shishak Smiting His Captives7. Moabite Stone8Black Obelisk of Shalmaneser III9A Verification of places in Gospel of John and Book of Acts., 9B Discovery of Ebla Tablets10. Cyrus Cylinder11. Puru “The lot of Yahali” 9th Century B.C.E.12. The Uzziah Tablet Inscription13. The Pilate Inscription14. Caiaphas Ossuary14 B Pontius Pilate Part 214c. Three greatest American Archaeologists moved to accept Bible’s accuracy through archaeology.

 The Bible and Archaeology – Is the Bible from God? (Kyle Butt)

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During the 1990′s I actually made it a practice to write famous atheists and scientists that were mentioned by Adrian Rogers and Francis Schaeffer and challenge them with the evidence for the Bible’s historicity and the claims of the gospel. Usually I would send them a cassette tape of Adrian Rogers’ messages “6 reasons I know the Bible is True,” “The Final Judgement,” “Who is Jesus?” and the message by Bill Elliff, “How to get a pure heart.”  I would also send them printed material from the works of Francis Schaeffer and a personal apologetic letter from me addressing some of the issues in their work. My second cassette tape that I sent to both Antony Flew and George Wald was Adrian Rogers’ sermon on evolution and here below you can watch that very sermon on You Tube.   Carl Sagan also took time to correspond with me about a year before he died. 

(Francis Schaeffer pictured below)

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Adrian Rogers pictured below

I have posted on Adrian Rogers’ messages on Evolution before but here is a complete message on it.

Evolution: Fact of Fiction? By Adrian Rogers

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Featured artist is Michael Heizer

Michael Heizer

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Michael Heizer
Born 1944 (age 71–72)
Berkeley, California
Nationality American
Education San Francisco Art Institute
Known for Land art, sculpture

Michael Heizer is a contemporary artist specializing in large-scale sculptures and earth art (or land art). He currently lives and works in Hiko, Nevada.[1]

Early life and education[edit]

Michael Heizer was born in Berkeley, California in 1944, the son of the distinguished University of California, Berkeley archaeologist Dr. Robert Heizer. He spent one year of high school in France.[2] He attended the San Francisco Art Institute (1963–64) and moved to New York City (1966), where he found a loft on Mercer Street in SoHo and began producing conventional, small-scale paintings and sculptures….

Work[edit]

In the late 1960s, Heizer left New York City for the deserts of California and Nevada, where he began to produce large-scale works that could not fit into a museum setting and could only possibly be displayed through photographs. In 1967, he completed North, East, South, West 1, which included several holes he dug in the Sierra Nevada, the holes akin to the shapes in his paintings.[2] In 1969, Heizer made the series Primitive dye paintings, in which bright big bags of white lime powder and concentrated aniline dyes were spread over the dry desert landscape, covering large areas that, when viewed from the air, formed amorphous, organic shapes.[2] Later that year, Heizer began to create “negative” sculptures by cutting directly into the earth.[1] Made in 1968, Heizer’s Nine Nevada Depressions series of pieces was located primarily on dry lakes throughout the state, comprising a 520-mile earthwork. Jean Dry Lake, south of Las Vegas, has totally absorbed Heizer’s “Rift 1”, a zig-zag trench dug into the lake surface in 1968, as the first of the Nine Nevada Depressions.[3] Dissipate consisted of five small trenches lined in wood, inserted into the playa at the Black Rock Desert.[4] Isolated Mass/Circumflex, the ninth piece, is a circular loop made in a dry lake bed surface at Massacre Dry Lake, near Vya, Nevada.[5] Heizer displaced 6 tons of earth, making a one-foot-wide trench, 120 feet long, with the loop being 12 feet in diameter. This culminated in the production of Double Negative in 1969 and 1970, a project for which he displaced 240,000 tons of rock in the Nevada desert, cutting two enormous trenches—each one 50-feet-deep and 30-feet-wide and together spanning 1,500 feet—at the eastern edge of Mormon Mesa near Overton, Nevada.[6]

Since then, Heizer has continued his exploration of earthworks. His Adjacent, Against, Upon (1976) juxtaposes three large granite slabs in different relationships to cast concrete forms; the 30-50 ton granite slabs were quarried in the Cascade Mountain Range and transported by barge and train to Myrtle Edwards Park.[7] For “Displaced/Replaced Mass” (1969/1977), later installed outside the Marina del Rey, California, home of Roy and Carol Doumani, he planted four granite boulders of different sizes from the High Sierra into lid-less concrete boxes in the earth so that the tops of the rocks are roughly level with the ground.[8] For a 1982 work at the former IBM Building in New York, Heizer sheared off the top of a large rock and cut grooves into the surface before setting it on supports hidden within a stainless steel structure. Designed as a fountain, the boulder appears to float over running water. He called it Levitated Mass, a title he would use for later works as well.[8] Commissioned by the president of the Ottawa Silica Company, the Effigy Tumuli earthwork in Illinois is composed of five abstract animal earthworks reclaiming the site of an abandoned surface coal mine along the Illinois River; the shapes (1983–85)—a frog, a water strider, a catfish, a turtle, and a snake—reflect the environment of the site, which overlooks the river.

Since the late 1990s, Heizer’s work has focused primarily on City, an enormous complex in the rural desert of Lincoln County, Nevada. His work on the project continues to this day, supported by the Dia Art Foundation through a grant from the Lannan Foundation. In 1970, Heizer hired G. Robert Deiro, a pilot from Las Vegas, to help him find the property.[2] In 1972, he acquired land in Garden Valley, near the border with Nye County, and began work on the first part. He finished Complex One in 1974, working mostly alone, using a paddle-wheel scraper a farmer lent him and following plans drawn up by seismic engineers.[9] While working on the first parts of the project, he gradually acquired three square miles, at $30 an acre; the last parcel was paid off in 1997.[2] City is not yet available to the public.

A campaign to have the Basin and Range area around City designated as a national monument to protect it from development took place, and a group of American museums, including the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA), the Museum of Modern Art, the Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston and the Walker Art Center, have joined together to draw public attention to a petition urging preservation of the area.[10][11] In July 2015, President Barack Obama signed a proclamation (using his authority under the Antiquities Act of 1906) creating the Basin and Range National Monument on 704,000 acres in Lincoln and Nye counties, an area including Heizer’s City.[12][13]

Heizer’s latest project, Levitated Mass (2012), was for LACMA. He tried to build it in 1969 with a smaller boulder, but the crane attempting to lift it snapped.[14] It was not until 2005 that he discovered an appropriate boulder, when a routine blast at Stone Valley Quarry in Riverside County, California, produced the piece he had imagined, and the project started coming together.[15] LACMA’s director Michael Govan first visited the site in 1994 as director of Dia:Beacon. Since then, Govan has become Heizer’s greatest ally in the art world, raising $10 million from private donors to realize Levitated Mass and serving as a spokesman for the artist.[8] It took eleven nights, from February 28 to March 10, 2012, to move the 340-ton rock from Jurupa Valley to the museum. The granite boulder (21.5 feet wide and 21.5 feet high) is installed atop a 456-foot-long trench, which allows people to walk under it. The long channel, descending to a depth of 15 feet, is encircled by a lozenge-shaped line of weathering steel embedded in the earth and rusting to a velvety brown. The installation is situated in a field of polished concrete slices, set at a slight angle between the Resnick Pavilion and Sixth Street.[16] Heizer opened the exhibit on June 24, 2012.[17] A feature documentary,[18] also named “Levitated Mass,” was directed and edited by the filmmaker Doug Pray. It details the making of the sculpture as it relates to Heizer’s career, while portraying the boulder’s 105-mile journey through Los Angeles and the public’s reaction to its installation. The film premiered at the Los Angeles Film Festival in June 2013 [19] and opened theatrically at the Landmark’s Nuart Theater in Los Angeles, CA on September 5, 2014.[20] Heizer’s most recent work is Tangential Circular Negative Line in Mauvoisin, Switzerland, commissioned by Fondation Air&Art directed by Jean Maurice Varone.

Heizer has also produced a number of abstract paintings, and his large-scale sculptures, often inspired by Native American forms, can be found in museums and public spaces worldwide.

Major permanent commissions[edit]

  • Tangential Circular Negative Line (2012), Mauvoisin, Switzerland, an Air&Art Foundation commission directed by Jean Maurice Varone

The Rock installation in LACMA’s backyard

Other works[edit]

Exhibitions[edit]

In 1968, Heizer was included in Earth Works, the influential group show at Virginia Dwan‘s gallery, and then in the Whitney Museum painting annual in 1969, where his contribution was a huge photograph of a dye painting in the desert.[9] For his first one-person show, at the Galerie Heiner Friedrich, Munich in 1969, he removed 1,000 tons of earth in a conical shape to create Munich Depression. In 1977, he was included in documenta 6, Kassel. Major exhibitions of his work have been staged at institutions such as the Museum Folkwang, Essen (1979), the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles (1984), and Fondazione Prada, Milan (1996).[22]

Homages[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Jump up to:a b Michael Heizer National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.
  2. ^ Jump up to:a b c d e Michael Kimmelman (December 12, 1999), A Sculptor’s Colossus of the Desert New York Times.
  3. Jump up^ Michael Heizer, “Rift 1” (1968-72) Center for Land Use Interpretation, Los Angeles.
  4. Jump up^ Michael Heizer, Dissipate (1968-72) Center for Land Use Interpretation, Los Angeles.
  5. Jump up^ Michael Heizer, Isolated Mass/Circumflex (#2) (1968-72) Center for Land Use Interpretation, Los Angeles.
  6. Jump up^ Christopher Knight (June 3, 2012), Art review: ‘Ends of the Earth’ brings Land art indoors Los Angeles Times.
  7. Jump up^ Michael Heizer, Adjacent, Against, Upon (1976) Seattle Public Art
  8. ^ Jump up to:a b c Jori Finkel (May 25, 2012), Michael Heizer’s calling is set in stone Los Angeles Times.
  9. ^ Jump up to:a b Michael Kimmelman (February 6, 2005), Art’s Last, Lonely Cowboy New York Times.
  10. Jump up^ Tennent, Scott (18 March 2015). “Protect Michael Heizer’s “City””. LACMA. Retrieved 19 March 2015.
  11. Jump up^ Burns, Charlotte (18 March 2015). “Museums unite in campaign to save massive land art project”. The Art Newspaper. Retrieved 19 March 2015.
  12. Jump up^ Steve Tetreault & Henry Brean, A done deal, Obama to create Basin and Range monument, Las Vegas Review-Journal (July 9, 2015).
  13. Jump up^ Mascaro, Lisa (December 20, 2016). “The artist and the senator: One built a desert masterpiece, the other a Nevada legacy”. Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 27 December 2016.
  14. Jump up^ Danielle Paquette (June 24, 2012), It’s opening day for Michael Heizer’s ‘Levitated Mass’ at LACMA Los Angeles Times.
  15. Jump up^ Ina Jaffe (June 20, 2012), 340 Tons Of Art: ‘Levitated Mass’ To Rock L.A. NPR.
  16. Jump up^ Christopher Knight (June 22, 2012), Review: LACMA’s new hunk ‘Levitated Mass’ has some substance Los Angeles Times.
  17. Jump up^ Deborah Vankin (September 22, 2011), LACMA set to roll away the stone Los Angeles Times.
  18. Jump up^ The Boulder (Doug Pray/Jamie Patricof)
  19. Jump up^ http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/review/levitated-mass-laff-review-573330
  20. Jump up^ BWW Movies News Desk
  21. Jump up^ Christopher Knight, A rock star is born–or is it?, Los Angeles Times, March 13, 2012
  22. Jump up^ Michael Heizer Dia Art Foundation.
  23. Jump up^ Aspen Art Museum, July 4, 2012, exhibition
  24. Jump up^ Observatoire du Land Art, Feb 29 – March 10, 2012, transatlantic action
  25. Jump up^ Greg Kucera Gallery http://www.gregkucera.com/_images/daws/daws_life-on-the-farm-heizer_web.jpg

External links[edit]

Michael Heizer arkin michael heizer dissipate 8 of nine nevada

Land art celebrating the work of michael heizer robert smithson and walter de maria

Early life and education

Michael Heizer Michael Heizer Effigy Tumuli Enviromental Art

Michael Heizer was born in Berkeley, California, in 1944, the son of the distinguished University of California, Berkeley archaeologist Dr. Robert Heizer. He spent a year in high school, in France. He attended the San Francisco Art Institute (1963–64) and moved to New York City (1966), where he found a loft on Mercer Street in SoHo and began producing conventional, small-scale paintings and sculptures.

Work

Michael Heizer 1960 MICHAEL HEIZER COMPLEX CITY Bronzo Reader

In the late 1960s, Heizer left New York City for the deserts of California and Nevada, where he began to produce large-scale works that could not fit into a museum setting, except perhaps in photographs. In 1967, he completed North, East, South, West 1, which included several holes he dug in the Sierra Nevada, the holes akin to the shapes in his paintings. In 1969, Heizer made the series Primitive dye paintings, in which bright big bags of white lime powder and concentrated aniline dyes were spread over the dry desert landscape, covering large areas that, when viewed from the air, formed amorphous, organic shapes. Later that year, Heizer began to create “negative” sculptures by cutting directly into the earth. Made in 1968, Heizer’s Nine Nevada Depressions series of pieces was located primarily on dry lakes throughout the state, comprising a 520-mile earthwork. Jean Dry Lake, south of Las Vegas, has totally absorbed Heizer’s “Rift 1”, a zig-zag trench dug into the lake surface in 1968, as the first of the Nine Nevada Depressions. Dissipate consisted of five small trenches lined in wood, inserted into the playa at the Black Rock Desert. Isolated Mass/Circumflex, the ninth piece, is a circular loop made in a dry lake bed surface at Massacre Dry Lake, near Vya, Nevada. Heizer displaced 6 tons of earth, making a one-foot-wide trench, 120 feet long, with the loop being 12 feet in diameter. This culminated in the production of Double Negative in 1969 and 1970, a project for which he displaced 240,000 tons of rock in the Nevada desert, cutting two enormous trenches—each one 50-feet-deep and 30-feet-wide and together spanning 1,500 feet—at the eastern edge of Mormon Mesa near Overton, Nevada.

Michael Heizer troublemakersthefilmcomwpcontentuploads20140

Since then, Heizer has continued his exploration of earthworks. His Adjacent, Against, Upon (1976) juxtaposes three large granite slabs in different relationships to cast concrete forms; the 30-50 ton granite slabs were quarried in the Cascade Mountain Range and transported by barge and train to Myrtle Edwards Park. For “Displaced/Replaced Mass” (1969/1977), later installed outside the Marina del Rey, California, home of Roy and Carol Doumani, he planted four granite boulders of different sizes from the High Sierra into lid-less concrete boxes in the earth so that the tops of the rocks are roughly level with the ground. For a 1982 work at the former IBM Building in New York, Heizer sheared off the top of a large rock and cut grooves into the surface before setting it on supports hidden within a stainless steel structure. Designed as a fountain, the boulder appears to float over running water. He called it Levitated Mass, a title he would use for later works as well. Commissioned by the president of the Ottawa Silica Company, the Effigy Tumuli earthwork in Illinois is composed of five abstract animal earthworks reclaiming the site of an abandoned surface coal mine along the Illinois River; the shapes (1983–85)—a frog, a water strider, a catfish, a turtle, and a snake—reflect the environment of the site, which overlooks the river.

Michael Heizer Artist Michael Heizer in the Nevada desert for 43 years

Since the late 1990s, Heizer’s work has focused primarily on City, an enormous complex in the rural desert of Lincoln County, Nevada. His work on the project continues to this day, supported by the Dia Art Foundation through a grant from the Lannan Foundation. In 1970, Heizer hired G. Robert Deiro, a pilot from Las Vegas, to help him find the property. In 1972, he acquired land in Garden Valley, near the border with Nye County, and began work on the first part. He finished Complex One in 1974, working mostly alone, using a paddle-wheel scraper a farmer lent him and following plans drawn up by seismic engineers. While working on the first parts of the project, he gradually acquired three square miles, at $30 an acre; the last parcel was paid off in 1997. City is not yet available to the public.

Michael Heizer seeds Michael Heizer Landart artist USA

A campaign to have the Basin and Range area around City designated as a national monument to protect it from development took place, and a group of American museums, including the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA), the Museum of Modern Art, the Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston and the Walker Art Center, have joined together to draw public attention to a petition urging preservation of the area. In July 2015, President Barack Obama signed a proclamation (using his authority under the Antiquities Act of 1906) creating the Basin and Range National Monument on 704,000 acres in Lincoln and Nye counties, an area including Heizer’s City.

Heizer’s latest project, Levitated Mass (2012), was for LACMA. He tried to build it in 1969 with a smaller boulder, but the crane attempting to lift it snapped. It was not until 2005 that he discovered an appropriate boulder, when a routine blast at Stone Valley Quarry in Riverside County, California, produced the piece he had imagined, and the project started coming together. LACMA’s director Michael Govan first visited the site in 1994 as director of Dia:Beacon. Since then, Govan has become Heizer’s greatest ally in the art world, raising $10 million from private donors to realize Levitated Mass and serving as a spokesman for the artist. It took eleven nights, from February 28 to March 10, 2012, to move the 340-ton rock from Jurupa Valley to the museum. The granite boulder (21.5 feet wide and 21.5 feet high) is installed atop a 456-foot-long trench, which allows people to walk under it. The long channel, descending to a depth of 15 feet, is encircled by a lozenge-shaped line of weathering steel embedded in the earth and rusting to a velvety brown. The installation is situated in a field of polished concrete slices, set at a slight angle between the Resnick Pavilion and Sixth Street. Heizer opened the exhibit on June 24, 2012. A documentary about the installation process has been made by the filmmaker Doug Pray and premiered at the Landmark’s Nuart Theater in Los Angeles, CA on September 5, 2014. His most recent work is Tangential Circular Negative Line in Mauvoisin, Switzerland, commissioned by Fondation Air&Art directed by Jean Maurice Varone.

Heizer has also produced a number of abstract paintings, and his large-scale sculptures, often inspired by Native American forms, can be found in museums and public spaces worldwide.

Major permanent commissions

 

  • Tangential Circular Negative Line (2012), Mauvoisin, Switzerland, an Air&Art Foundation commission directed by Jean Maurice Varone
  • Levitated Mass (2012), Resnick Pavilion North Lawn at LACMA (Los Angeles, California)
  • 45 Degrees, 90 Degrees, 180 Degrees (1984), Rice University (Houston, Texas)
  • North, East, South, West (1982), 5th and Flower Streets, Los Angeles

 

Other works

 

  • Isolated Mass/Circumflex (#2) (1968–72), Nine Nevada Depressions, Menil Collection (Houston, Texas)
  • Rift # 1 (1968–72; deteriorated), Nine Nevada Depressions, Massacre Dry Lake, Nevada
  • Windows and Matchdrops (1969), seven small rills in the floor in front of the Kunsthalle Dusseldorf entrance, Germany
  • Double Negative (1969–70), located near Overton, Nevada
  • City (1972, unfinished), Lincoln County, Nevada
  • Adjacent, Against, Upon (1976), Myrtle Edwards Park (Seattle, Washington)
  • This Equals That (1980), Michigan State Capitol Complex, Lansing, Michigan
  • North, East, South, West (1967/2002), Dia:Beacon, Beacon, New York

 

Exhibitions

In 1968, Heizer was included in Earth Works, the influential group show at Virginia Dwan’s gallery, and then in the Whitney Museum’s painting annual in 1969, where his contribution was a huge photograph of a dye painting in the desert. For his first one-person show, at the Galerie Heiner Friedrich, Munich, in 1969, he removed 1,000 tons of earth in a conical shape to create Munich Depression. In 1977, he was included in documenta 6, Kassel. Major exhibitions of his work have been staged at institutions such as the Museum Folkwang, Essen (1979), the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles (1984), and Fondazione Prada, Milan (1996).

Homages

 

  • Mungo Thomson, Levitating Mass (2012), Aspen, Colorado.
  • Regis Perray, 340 grammes deplaces… during Levitated Mass by Michael Heizer (2012), Nantes, France.
  • Jack Daws, Life on the Farm (Heizer), 2010

 

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Gauguin’s 3 Questions

Gauguin's 3 Questions

Paul Gauguin, now regarded as a French Post-Impressionist artist, was not received well by his old painter friends while living. And having abandoned his wife and children he had no options or resources for getting by. He never found artistic success, either critically or financially in his lifetime.

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D’ Ou’ venons-nous?     Que sommes-nous?    Ou’ allons-nous?

Where Do We Come From?     What Are We?      Where Are We Going?

Why are these questions significant? What do they have to do with our exploration of the family?

Where do we come from?     asks…    What is the source of our being?

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Where are we going?     probes …       What’s our destiny?  What is our existence, and  everything else, moving toward?

These are the questions that are at the core of what it means to be human; they are natural to all of us.

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Can you think of three more important questions that any soul can ask? Have you ever considered them yourself?

Materialistic Humanism: The World-View of Our Era
What has produced the inhumanity we have been considering in the previous chapters is that society in the West has adopted a world-view which says that all reality is made up only of matter. This view is sometimes referred to as philosophic materialism, because it holds that only matter exists; sometimes it is called naturalism, because it says that no supernatural exists. Humanism which begins from man alone and makes man the measure of all things usually is materialistic in its philosophy. Whatever the label, this is the underlying world-view of our society today. In this view the universe did not get here because it was created by a “supernatural” God. Rather, the universe has existed forever in some form, and its present form just happened as a result of chance events way back in time.
Society in the West has largely rested on the base that God exists and that the Bible is true. In all sorts of ways this view affected the society. The materialistic or naturalistic or humanistic world-view almost always takes a superior attitude toward Christianity. Those who hold such a view have argued that Christianity is unscientific, that it cannot be proved, that it belongs simply to the realm of “faith.” Christianity, they say, rests only on faith, while humanism rests on facts.
Professor Edmund R. Leach of Cambridge University expressed this view clearly:
Our idea of God is a product of history. What I now believe about the supernatural is derived from what I was taught by my parents, and what they taught me was derived from what they were taught, and so on. But such beliefs are justified by faith alone, never by reason, and the true believer is expected to go on reaffirming his faith in the same verbal formula even if the passage of history and the growth of scientific knowledge should have turned the words into plain nonsense.78
So some humanists act as if they have a great advantage over Christians. They act as if the advance of science and technology and a better understanding of history (through such concepts as the evolutionary theory) have all made the idea of God and Creation quite ridiculous.
This superior attitude, however, is strange because one of the most striking developments in the last half-century is the growth of a profound pessimism among both the well-educated and less-educated people. The thinkers in our society have been admitting for a long time that they have no final answers at all.
Take Woody Allen, for example. Most people know his as a comedian, but he has thought through where mankind stands after the “religious answers” have been abandoned. In an article in Esquire (May 1977), he says that man is left with:
… alienation, loneliness [and] emptiness verging on madness…. The fundamental thing behind all motivation and all activity is the constant struggle against annihilation and against death. It’s absolutely stupefying in its terror, and it renders anyone’s accomplishments meaningless. As Camus wrote, it’s not only that he (the individual) dies, or that man (as a whole) dies, but that you struggle to do a work of art that will last and then you realize that the universe itself is not going to exist after a period of time. Until those issues are resolved within each person – religiously or psychologically or existentially – the social and political issues will never be resolved, except in a slapdash way.
Allen sums up his view in his film Annie Hall with these words: “Life is divided into the horrible and the miserable.”
Many would like to dismiss this sort of statement as coming from one who is merely a pessimist by temperament, one who sees life without the benefit of a sense of humor. Woody Allen does not allow us that luxury. He speaks as a human being who has simply looked life in the face and has the courage to say what he sees. If there is no personal God, nothing beyond what our eyes can see and our hands can touch, then Woody Allen is right: life is both meaningless and terrifying. As the famous artist Paul Gauguin wrote on his last painting shortly before he tried to commit suicide: “Whence come we? What are we? Whither do we go?” The answers are nowhere, nothing, and nowhere. The humanist H. J. Blackham has expressed this with a dramatic illustration:
On humanist assumptions, life leads to nothing, and every pretense that it does not is a deceit. If there is a bridge over a gorge which spans only half the distance and ends in mid-air, and if the bridge is crowded with human beings pressing on, one after the other they fall into the abyss. The bridge leads nowhere, and those who are pressing forward to cross it are going nowhere….It does not matter where they think they are going, what preparations for the journey they may have made, how much they may be enjoying it all. The objection merely points out objectively that such a situation is a model of futility.79
One does not have to be highly educated to understand this. It follows directly from the starting point of the humanists’ position, namely, that everything is just matter. That is, that which has existed forever and ever is only some form of matter or energy, and everything in our world now is this and only this in a more or less complex form. Thus, Jacob Bronowski says in The Identity of Man (1965): “Man is a part of nature, in the same sense that a stone is, or a cactus, or a camel.” In this view, men and women are by chance more complex, but not unique.
Within this world-view there is no room for believing that a human being has any final distinct value above that of an animal or of nonliving matter. People are merely a different arrangement of molecules. There are two points, therefore, that need to be made about the humanist world-view. First, the superior attitude toward Christianity – as if Christianity had all the problems and humanism had all the answers – is quite unjustified. The humanists of the Enlightenment two centuries ago thought they were going to find all the answers, but as time has passed, this optimistic hope has been proved wrong. It is their own descendants, those who share their materialistic world-view, who have been saying louder and louder as the years have passed, “There are no final answers.”
Second, this humanist world-view has also brought us to the present devaluation of human life – not technology and not overcrowding, although these have played a part. And this same world-view has given us no limits to prevent us from sliding into an even worse devaluation of human life in the future.
So it is naive and irresponsible to imagine that this world-view will reverse the direction in the future. A well-meaning commitment to “do what is right” will not be sufficient. Without a firm set of principles that flows out of a world-view that gives adequate reason for a unique value to all human life, there cannot be and will not be any substantial resistance to the present evil brought on by the low view of human life we have been considering in previous chapters. It was the materialistic world-view that brought in the inhumanity; it must be a different world-view that drives it out.
An emotional uneasiness about abortion, infanticide, euthanasia, and the abuse of genetic knowledge is not enough. To stand against the present devaluation of human life, a significant percentage of people within our society must adopt and live by a world-view which not only hopes or intends to give a basis for human dignity but which really does. The radical movements of the sixties were right to hope for a better world; they were right to protest against the shallowness and falseness of our plastic society. But their radicalness lasted only during the life span of the adolescence of their members. Although these movements claimed to be radical, they lacked a sufficient root. Their world-view was incapable of giving life to the aspirations of its adherents. Why? Because it, too – like the society they were condemning – had no sufficient base. So protests are not enough. Having the right ideals is not enough. Even those with a very short memory, those who can look back only to the sixties, can see that there must be more than that. A truly radical alternative has to be found.
But where? And how?

Related posts:

“Woody Wednesday” ECCLESIASTES AND WOODY ALLEN’S FILMS: SOLOMON “WOULD GOT ALONG WELL WITH WOODY!” (Part 7 MIDNIGHT IN PARIS Part F, SURREALISTS AND THE IDEA OF ABSURDITY AND CHANCE)

Woody Allen believes that we live in a cold, violent and meaningless universe and it seems that his main character (Gil Pender, played by Owen Wilson) in the movie MIDNIGHT IN PARIS shares that view. Pender’s meeting with the Surrealists is by far the best scene in the movie because they are ones who can […]

“Woody Wednesday” ECCLESIASTES AND WOODY ALLEN’S FILMS: SOLOMON “WOULD GOT ALONG WELL WITH WOODY!” (Part 6 MIDNIGHT IN PARIS Part E, A FURTHER LOOK AT T.S. Eliot’s DESPAIR AND THEN HIS SOLUTION)

In the last post I pointed out how King Solomon in Ecclesiastes painted a dismal situation for modern man in life UNDER THE SUN  and that Bertrand Russell, and T.S. Eliot and  other modern writers had agreed with Solomon’s view. However, T.S. Eliot had found a solution to this problem and put his faith in […]

“Woody Wednesday” ECCLESIASTES AND WOODY ALLEN’S FILMS: SOLOMON “WOULD GOT ALONG WELL WITH WOODY!” (Part 5 MIDNIGHT IN PARIS Part D, A LOOK AT T.S. Eliot’s DESPAIR AND THEN HIS SOLUTION)

In MIDNIGHT IN PARIS Gil Pender ponders the advice he gets from his literary heroes from the 1920’s. King Solomon in Ecclesiastes painted a dismal situation for modern man in life UNDER THE SUN  and many modern artists, poets, and philosophers have agreed. In the 1920’s T.S.Eliot and his  house guest Bertrand Russell were two of […]

“Woody Wednesday” ECCLESIASTES AND WOODY ALLEN’S FILMS: SOLOMON “WOULD GOT ALONG WELL WITH WOODY!” (Part 4 MIDNIGHT IN PARIS Part C, IS THE ANSWER TO FINDING SATISFACTION FOUND IN WINE, WOMEN AND SONG?)

Ernest Hemingway and Scott Fitzgerald left the prohibitionist America for wet Paris in the 1920’s and they both drank a lot. WINE, WOMEN AND SONG  was their motto and I am afraid ultimately wine got the best of Fitzgerald and shortened his career. Woody Allen pictures this culture in the first few clips in the […]

“Woody Wednesday” ECCLESIASTES AND WOODY ALLEN’S FILMS: SOLOMON “WOULD GOT ALONG WELL WITH WOODY!” (Part 3 MIDNIGHT IN PARIS Part B, THE SURREALISTS Salvador Dali, Man Ray, and Luis Bunuel try to break out of cycle!!!)

In the film MIDNIGHT IN PARIS Woody Allen the best scene of the movie is when Gil Pender encounters the SURREALISTS!!!  This series deals with the Book of Ecclesiastes and Woody Allen films.  The first post  dealt with MAGIC IN THE MOONLIGHT and it dealt with the fact that in the Book of Ecclesiastes Solomon does contend […]

“Woody Wednesday” ECCLESIASTES AND WOODY ALLEN’S FILMS: SOLOMON “WOULD GOT ALONG WELL WITH WOODY!” (Part 2 MIDNIGHT IN PARIS Part A, When was the greatest time to live in Paris? 1920’s or La Belle Époque [1873-1914] )

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“Woody Wednesday” ECCLESIASTES AND WOODY ALLEN’S FILMS: SOLOMON “WOULD GOT ALONG WELL WITH WOODY!” (Part 1 MAGIC IN THE MOONLIGHT)

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RESPONDING TO HARRY KROTO’S BRILLIANT RENOWNED ACADEMICS!! Part 122 Haroon Ahmed, Physics Dept, Cambridge “I decided then as a thinking child that religion was not good for one”

 

On November 21, 2014 I received a letter from Nobel Laureate Harry Kroto and it said:

…Please click on this URL http://vimeo.com/26991975

and you will hear what far smarter people than I have to say on this matter. I agree with them.

Harry Kroto

Nick Gathergood, David-Birkett, Harry-Kroto

I have attempted to respond to all of Dr. Kroto’s friends arguments and I have posted my responses one per week for over a year now. Here are some of my earlier posts:

Arif Ahmed, Sir David AttenboroughMark Balaguer, Horace Barlow, Michael BatePatricia ChurchlandAaron CiechanoverNoam Chomsky,Alan DershowitzHubert Dreyfus, Bart Ehrman, Stephan FeuchtwangDavid Friend,  Riccardo GiacconiIvar Giaever , Roy GlauberRebecca GoldsteinDavid J. Gross,  Brian Greene, Susan GreenfieldStephen F Gudeman,  Alan Guth, Jonathan HaidtTheodor W. Hänsch, Brian Harrison,  Hermann HauserRoald Hoffmann,  Bruce HoodHerbert Huppert,  Gareth Stedman Jones, Steve JonesShelly KaganMichio Kaku,  Stuart Kauffman,  Lawrence KraussHarry Kroto, George LakoffElizabeth Loftus,  Alan MacfarlanePeter MillicanMarvin MinskyLeonard Mlodinow,  Yujin NagasawaAlva NoeDouglas Osheroff,  Jonathan Parry,  Saul PerlmutterHerman Philipse,  Carolyn PorcoRobert M. PriceLisa RandallLord Martin Rees,  Oliver Sacks, John SearleMarcus du SautoySimon SchafferJ. L. Schellenberg,   Lee Silver Peter Singer,  Walter Sinnott-ArmstrongRonald de Sousa, Victor StengerBarry Supple,   Leonard Susskind, Raymond TallisNeil deGrasse Tyson,  .Alexander Vilenkin, Sir John WalkerFrank WilczekSteven Weinberg, and  Lewis Wolpert,

Haroon Ahmed

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
 Haroon Ahmed FREng[4] (born 2 March 1936), is a prominent British Pakistani scientist in the fields of microelectronics and electrical engineering. He is an Emeritus Professor of Microelectronics at the Cavendish Laboratory, the Physics Department of the University of Cambridge.[1][3][5][6][7][8][9][10]

Education[edit]

Ahmed was educated at St Patrick’s High School, Karachi, followed by an undergraduate degree at Imperial College London.[1] He went on to obtain his PhD in 1963[11] and his Doctor of Sciencedegrees in 1996 from the University of Cambridge.

Career[edit]

Ahmed was appointed a faculty member of the Engineering Department, Cambridge in 1963 and worked there for 20 years before moving to the Physics Department where he was promoted to Professor of Microelectronics and was the Head of the Microelectronics Research Centre until his retirement in 2003. He is a former Fellow, Director of Studies in Engineering, and Master of Corpus Christi College, Cambridge, and is now an Honorary Fellow.

Research[edit]

Ahmed has published a large number of papers in scientific and engineering research journals on microelectronics, micro and nanofabrication, electron and ion beam lithography, semiconductor single electron devices and related topics.[3][5][12]

He established a number of major collaborations between industry and the University including the Hitachi Cambridge Laboratory in the Microelectronics Research Centre. He is the author with P.J. Spreadbury of Electronics for Engineers (CUP 1973) and An Introduction to Physical Electronics with A.H.W. Beck (Elsevier, 1968, out of print). He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering in 1990.

He has served as a Syndic of Cambridge University Press, as Non-Executive Director of the Addenbrooke’s Hospital NHS Trust, as President of the Philosophical Society, as a member of the MacRobert Committee which awards a prize annually to the most innovative engineering company in the UK and is currently a member of the Development Board of Imperial College. He has also worked as a consultant to several major electronics industrial companies. He was elected a Fellow of Corpus Christi College in 1967, became Warden of Leckhampton (the College’s Graduate Campus) in 1993 and Master in 2000, succeeding Professor Sir Tony Wrigley and resigned in 2006 to advise the Government of Pakistan on Higher Education matters.

He was the College’s 48th Master since its foundation in 1352. In his time as Master the College celebrated its 650th anniversary, the Taylor Library project was implemented, the Conservation Centre for manuscripts was built and the project on the digital imaging of the College’s Parker collection was started.

Awards and nominations[edit]

In January 2014, Ahmed was nominated for the Science and Engineering award at the British Muslim Awards.[13]

Personal life[edit]

Among his other interests are golf and cricket.[citation needed]

In  the second video below in the 84th clip in this series are his words and  my response is below them. 

50 Renowned Academics Speaking About God (Part 1)

Another 50 Renowned Academics Speaking About God (Part 2)

A Further 50 Renowned Academics Speaking About God (Part 3)

 

 

Interview of Haroon Ahmed, Part 1

Uploaded on Feb 13, 2012

Haroon Ahmed interviewed by Alan Macfarlane 8th December 2009 on his life and work

All revenues to World Oral Literature Project

Interview of Haroon Ahmed, Part 2

Haroon Ahmed interviewed by Alan Macfarlane 8th December 2009

Below is a letter I wrote to Dr. Ahmed and in this letter I respond to his quote from You Tube:

 

March 27, 2016

Professor Haroon Ahmed, The Old Schools,

Dear Dr. Ahmed,

Since you an avid golfer I wanted to tell you a couple of my golf stories that I thought you would find interesting.

In 1977, two huge events made national news at the now titled “Danny Thomas Memphis Classic.” First, President Gerald Ford made a hole-in-one during Wednesday’s Celebrity Pro-Am. That event is now referred to as the “Shot Heard ‘Round the World.” Two days later, Al Geiberger shocked the golf world with his record low round of 59 on Friday of the tournament. The 13-under-par round still stands as a PGA TOUR record. (Chip Beck and David Duval have since tied the mark.)

Entertainer Danny Thomas cheers former President Gerald Ford’s hole-in-one at the Danny Thomas Memphis Classic at Colonial Country Club’s fifth hole on June 9, 1977.

I had the chance to hear the roar that came from the crowd that day that President Ford hit the hole in one (on hole #5 at Colonial Country Club in Cordova, TN). Just a few holes later I saw Danny Thomas walking around saying with slurred speech, :”This is the ball, this is the ball” while he held up a golf ball. I thought he was going to fall on me as he passed by.

 

Al Geiberger’s 59 in 1977

Danny Thomas Hugs Al Geiberger after famous 59 in 1979

__

Then just two days later I saw the last 5 holes of Al Geiberger’s 59. He was walking around with this silly grin on his face because almost every putt was going in.

I learned much from your in-depth interview with Dr. Alan MacFarlane. Since you have studied science all your life I thought you would be interested in the subject of this letter today and when I heard your interview with Dr. MacFarlane that  that prompted me to send you two CD’s today. Recently I had the opportunity to come across a very interesting article by Michael Polanyi, LIFE TRANSCENDING PHYSICS AND CHEMISTRY, in the magazine CHEMICAL AND ENGINEERING NEWS, August 21, 1967, and I also got hold of a 1968 talk by Francis Schaeffer based on this article. Polanyi’s son John actually won the 1986 Nobel Prize for Chemistry. This article by Michael Polanyi concerns Francis Crick and James Watson and their discovery of DNA in 1953. Polanyi noted:

Mechanisms, whether man-made or morphological, are boundary conditions harnessing the laws of in
animate nature, being themselves irreducible to those laws. The pattern of organic bases in DNA which functions as a genetic code is a boundary condition irreducible to physics and chemistry. Further controlling principles of life may be represented as a hierarchy of boundary conditions extending, in the case of man, to consciousness and responsibility.

 

James Watson (1928-) and Francis Crick  (8 June 1916 – 28 July 2004)

Michael Polanyi, FRS[1] (11 March 1891 – 22 February 1976)

John Charles Polanyi,  (born 23 January 1929)

I am sending you this two CD’s of this talk because I thought you may find it very interesting. It includes references to not only James D. Watson, and Francis Crick but also  Maurice Wilkins, Erwin Schrodinger, J.S. Haldane (his son was the famous J.B.S. Haldane), Peter Medawar, and Barry Commoner.

 

John Scott Haldane (2 May 1860 – 14/15 March 1936)

J. B. S. Haldane
J. B. S. Haldane.jpg

Haldane in 1914

(5 November 1892 – 1 December 1964)

Maurice Wilkins (15 December 1916 – 5 October 2004)

Erwin Schrödinger (12 August 1887 – 4 January 1961)

Sir Peter Medawar ( 28 February 1915 – 2 October 1987)

Barry Commoner (May 28, 1917 – September 30, 2012)

In the You Tube video “A Further 50 Renowned Academics Speaking About God (Part 1),” you asserted at the 32 min mark in the interview: 

32:54:00 When I was in the refugee camp I asked my father why we were there and why were they trying to kill us; he told me these were riots between people of the Hindu religion and people of the Muslim religion, so the conflict was religious; I decided then as a thinking child that religion was not good for one; I abandoned it then; my mother was aware and scolded me sometimes, but my father had been completely honest with me and accepted that I would not have any religious belief after that; that has remained the case, although I have sat through many religious services; before becoming Master of Corpus Christi College I went to see the clerics in the College and talked about my lack of religious belief although strongly supported the right of others to hold them; one of them said, “Well, Master-Elect, if you are prepared to do your duty we will not hold that against you”; I was rather moved and thought that if they had that sort of trust in me I would go to Evensong; I was fortunate that I was married to a Vicar’s daughter; long before I went to Corpus I had learned a great deal about the Anglican faith; her father was at Christ’s and grandfather at Corpus Christi, and her great-grandfather, all became vicars, so I was very supportive of other people’s religious beliefs; when I went to Evensong I didn’t know the hymns but my wife knows them without even looking at the hymn book; so we went into Chapel and I read the lesson when asked to; I did it as my duty and some were constrained to say that I did it well; I was President of the Philosophical Society; I certainly don’t think that religion has been destroyed by science, and I wouldn’t dream of being critical about people’s religious beliefs; I have a great interest in cathedrals and I look with awe at them; they started to build them in the eleventh century, and what powerful forces had moved the people who then built these marvellous buildings; if you look at their history, they were built, torn down, built again, destroyed by fire or invaders, and yet there they rise above the sky; look at the mosques in Islamic countries; what wonderful buildings are created for the love of God; I just have a strong personal view that religion is not for me, and that religion taken to any extreme is very dangerous; however, my religious beliefs were coloured by the effect of Partition and have remained with me ever since; I have brought my children up to believe that they have to be extremely tolerant, to have strong principles. 

I am going to answer you in an indirect way. Today is Easter and sometimes a song will just minister to a person in a special way and I heard this song at church today and I wanted to share it with you. It is  called MAN OF SORROWS and it can be found on You Tube Man Of Sorrows – Hillsong Live (2013 Album Glorious Ruins) Worship Song with Lyrics and here are the lyrics:

“Man Of Sorrows”

Man of sorrows Lamb of God
By His own betrayed
The sin of man and wrath of God
Has been on Jesus laid

Silent as He stood accused
Beaten mocked and scorned
Bowing to the Father’s will
He took a crown of thorns

Oh that rugged cross
My salvation
Where Your love poured out over me
Now my soul cries out
Hallelujah
Praise and honour unto Thee

Sent of heaven God’s own Son
To purchase and redeem
And reconcile the very ones
Who nailed Him to that tree

Now my debt is paid
It is paid in full
By the precious blood
That my Jesus spilled

Now the curse of sin
Has no hold on me
Whom the Son sets free
Oh is free indeed

See the stone is rolled away
Behold the empty tomb
Hallelujah God be praised
He’s risen from the grave

We sang that song at our Easter service.

On Easter morning March 27, 2016 at FELLOWSHIP BIBLE CHURCH our teaching pastor Brandon Barnard delivered the message THIS CHANGES EVERYTHING based on I Corinthians chapter 15 and I wanted to share a portion of that sermon with you today.

This day is the day that changes everything. The resurrection changes everything and that is why we are gathered here today to celebrate the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ because it changes everything.

Some of you are going to be blown away by the opportunity before you this Easter morning because the resurrection of Jesus Christ stands at the very heart of Christianity. If what we we are gathered here to celebrate did not happen then people need to pity us as believers.  They need to feel sorry for you and me more than anyone on earth because we have set our hopes firmly on a lie.

But if the resurrection really did happen, then we need to repent and we need to believe in Jesus and we need to rejoice that we have hope in this life and the life to come. 

Paul wrote this to the believers in Corinth.

1 Corinthians 15:3-6, 13-21 English Standard Version (ESV)

3 For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve. Then he appeared to more than five hundred brothers at one time, most of whom are still alive, though some have fallen asleep.

13 But if there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised. 14 And if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain and your faith is in vain. 15 We are even found to be misrepresenting God, because we testified about God that he raised Christ, whom he did not raise if it is true that the dead are not raised.16 For if the dead are not raised, not even Christ has been raised. 17 And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins. 18 Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished.19 If in Christ we have hope[a] in this life only, we are of all people most to be pitied.

20 But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. 21 For as by a man came death, by a man has come also the resurrection of the dead.

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If Christ hasn’t been raised then these facts are true:

  1. PREACHING AND FAITH ARE IN VAIN.
  2. WE ARE FALSE WITNESSES
  3. WE ARE STILL IN OUR SINS.
  4. THOSE WHO DIED IN FAITH ARE STILL DEAD
  5. WE ARE TO BE PITIED MORE THAN ANYONE ELSE IN THE WORLD.

Verse 20 says, “but Christ has been raised!!! Therefore, these things are true:

  1. Our faith is significant, valuable and eternal.
  2. we are truth tellers!!
  3. we are forgiven of our sins.
  4. death is not our final stop.
  5. don’t pity us but join us in believing in Jesus Christ.

You said above that you are an agnostic. However, would you agree that if the Bible is correct in regards to history then Jesus did rise from the grave? Let’s take a closer look at evidence concerning the accuracy of the Bible.

I know that you highly respected Surgeon General C. Everett Koop and he co-authored with Francis Schaeffer the book WHATEVER HAPPENED TO THE HUMAN RACE? Below is a piece of evidence from that book.

 

  

Francis Schaeffer (30 January 1912 – 15 May 1984[1])  and his wife Edith  (November 3, 1914 – March 30, 2013)

C. Everett Koop, MD (October 14, 1916 – February 25, 2013) 13th Surgeon General of the United States

  

 

 

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Two things should be mentioned about the time of Moses in Old Testament history.

First, consider the archaeological evidence that relates to the period. True, it is not of the same explicitness that we have found, say, in relation to the existence of Ahab or Jehu or Jehoiakim. We have no inscription from Egypt which refers to Moses being taken out of the bulrushes and removed from the waterproof basket his mother had made him. But this does not mean that the Book of Exodus is a fictitious account, as some critics has suggested. Some say it is simply an idealized reading-back into history by the Jews under the later monarchy. There is not a reason why these “books of Moses,” as they are called, should not be treated as history, just as we have been forced to treat the Books of Kings and Chronicles dating 500 years later.

There is ample evidence about the building projects of the Egyptian kings, and the evidence we have fits well with Exodus. There are scenes of brick-making (for example, Theban Tomb 100 of Rekhmire). Contemporary parchments and papyri tell of production targets which had to be met. One speaks of a satisfied official report of his men as “making their quota of bricks daily” (Papyrus Anastasi III vso, p.3, in the British Museum. Also Louvre Leather Roll in the Louvre, Paris, col ii, mentions quotes of bricks and “taskmasters”). Actual bricks found show signs of straw which had to be mixed in with the clay, just as Exodus says. This matter of bricks and straw is further affirmed by the record that one despairing official complained, “There are no men to make bricks nor straw in my area.”

We know from contemporary discoveries that Semites were found at all levels of Egypt’s cosmopolitan society. (Brooklyn Museum, New York, no. 35, 1446. Papyrus Brooklyn). There is nothing strange therefore about Joseph’s becoming so important in the pharaoh’s court.

The store cities of Pithom and Raamses (Rameses) mentioned in Exodus 1:11 are well known in Egyptian inscriptions. Raamses was actually in the east-Delta capital, Pi-Ramses (near Goshen), where the Israelites would have had ample experience of agriculture. Thus, the references to agriculture found in the law of Moses would not have been strange to the Israelites even though they were in the desert at the time the law was given. Certainly there is no reason to say, as some critics do, that these sections on agriculture were an indication of a reading-back from a latter period when the Jews were settled in Canaan.

The form of the covenant made at Sinai has remarkable parallels with the covenant forms of other people at that time. (On covenants and parties to a treaty, the Louvre; and Treaty Tablet from Boghaz Koi (i.e., Hittite) in Turkey, Museum of Archaeology in Istanbul.) The covenant form at Sinai resembles just as the forms of letter writings of the first century after Christ (the types of introductions and greetings) are reflected in the letters of the apostles in the New Testament, it is not surprising to find the covenant form of the second millennium before Christ reflected in what occurred at Mount Sinai. God has always spoken to people within the culture of their time, which does not mean that God’s communication is limited by that culture. It is God’s communication but within the forms appropriate to the time.

The Pentateuch tells us that Moses led the Israelites up the east side of the Dead Sea after their long stay in the desert. There they encountered the hostile kingdom of Moab. We have firsthand evidence for the existence of this kingdom of Moab–contrary to what has been said by critical scholars who have denied the existence of Moab at this time. It can be found in a war scene from a temple at Luxor (Al Uqsor). This commemorates a victory by Ramses II over the Moabite nation at Batora (Luxor Temple, Egypt).

Also the definite presence of the Israelites in west Palestine (Canaan) no later than the end of the thirteenth century B.C. is attested by a victory stela of Pharaoh Merenptah (son and successor of Ramses II) to commemorate his victory over Libya (Israel Stela, Cairo Museum, no. 34025). In it he mentions his previous success in Canaan against Aschalon, Gize, Yenom, and Israel; hence there can be no doubt the nation of Israel was in existence at the latest by this time of approximately 1220 B.C. This is not to say it could not have been earlier, but it cannot be later than this date.

Christ came and laid his life down to die for our sins and there is evidence that indicates the Bible is true!!!!! Some 400 years before crucifixion was invented, both Israel’s King David and the prophet Zechariah described the Messiah’s death in words that perfectly depict that mode of execution. Further, they said that the body would be pierced and that none of the bones would be broken, contrary to customary procedure in cases of crucifixion (Psalm 22 and 34:20; Zechariah 12:10). Again, historians and New Testament writers confirm the fulfillment: Jesus of Nazareth died on a Roman cross, and his extraordinarily quick death eliminated the need for the usual breaking of bones. A spear was thrust into his side to verify that he was, indeed, dead.

Psalm 22 New American Standard Bible (NASB)

A Cry of Anguish and a Song of Praise.

For the choir director; upon [a]Aijeleth Hashshahar. A Psalm of David.

22 My God, my God, why have You forsaken me?
[b]Far from my deliverance are the words of my [c]groaning.
O my God, I cry by day, but You do not answer;
And by night, but [d]I have no rest.
But I am a worm and not a man,

A reproach of men and despised by the people.
7 All who see me [g]sneer at me;
They [h]separate with the lip, they wag the head, saying,
[i]Commit yourself to the Lord; let Him deliver him;
Let Him rescue him, because He delights in him.”

12 Many bulls have surrounded me;
Strong bulls of Bashan have encircled me.
13 They open wide their mouth at me,
As a ravening and a roaring lion.
14 I am poured out like water,
And all my bones are out of joint;
My heart is like wax;
It is melted within [l]me.
15 My strength is dried up like a potsherd,
And my tongue cleaves to my jaws;
And You lay me [m]in the dust of death.
16 For dogs have surrounded me;
[n]A band of evildoers has encompassed me;
[o]They pierced my hands and my feet.
17 I can count all my bones.
They look, they stare at me;
18 They divide my garments among them,
And for my clothing they cast lots.

Francis Schaeffer ended HOW SHOULD WE THEN LIVE? Episode 7 with these words:

When we think of Christ of course we think of his substitutionary death upon the cross when he who claimed to be God died in a substitutionary way and as such his death had infinite value and as we accept  that gift raising the empty hands of faith with no humanistic elements we have that which is real life and that is being in relationship to the infinite personal God who is there and being in a personal relationship to Him. But Christ brings life in another way that is not as often clearly thought about perhaps. He connects himself with what the Bible teaches in his teaching and as such he is a prophet as well as a savior. It is upon the basis of what he taught  and the Bible teaches because he himself wraps these together that we have life instead of death in the sense of having some knowledge that is more than men can have from himself, beginning from himself alone. Both of these elements are the place where Christ gives us life.  

The answer to find meaning in life is found in putting your faith and trust in Jesus Christ. The Bible is true from cover to cover and can be trusted.

Thanks for your time.

Sincerely,

Everette Hatcher, everettehatcher@gmail.com, http://www.thedailyhatch.org, cell ph 501-920-5733, Box 23416, LittleRock, AR 72221

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The John Lennon and the Beatles really were on a long search for meaning and fulfillment in their lives  just like King Solomon did in the Book of Ecclesiastes. Solomon looked into learning (1:12-18, 2:12-17), laughter, ladies, luxuries, and liquor (2:1-2, 8, 10, 11), and labor (2:4-6, 18-20). He fount that without God in the picture all […]

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MUSIC MONDAY Rolling Stones 1967 Between The Buttons US full album

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Rolling Stones 1967 Between The Buttons US full album

Between the Buttons

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Between the Buttons
BetweenthebuttonsUK.jpg
Studio album by The Rolling Stones
Released 20 January 1967
Recorded 3–11 August, 8–26 November, and 13 December 1966
Genre
Length 38:51
Language English
Label Decca
Producer Andrew Loog Oldham
The Rolling Stones British chronology
Aftermath
(1966)
Between the Buttons
(1967)
Their Satanic Majesties Request
(1967)

Between the Buttons is the fifth British and seventh American studio album by The Rolling Stones, released on 20 January 1967 in the UK and 11 February in the US as the follow-up to Aftermath. It was the beginning of the Stones’ brief foray into psychedelia. In 2012, the American version of Between the Buttons, which included “Ruby Tuesday” and “Let’s Spend the Night Together“, was ranked #357 on Rolling Stone magazine’s 500 Greatest Albums of All Time.[1]

Recording and background[edit]

Sessions for the album began on 3 August 1966 and lasted until the 11th at Los Angeles‘ RCA Studios during the Rolling Stones’ 1966 American Tour. David Hassinger was the engineer for the album. Several songs were worked on; the backing tracks of six songs that would appear on the album were recorded, as were those of “Let’s Spend the Night Together” and “Who’s Driving Your Plane?”, B-side of “Have You Seen Your Mother, Baby, Standing in the Shadow?“, released as a single in late September. During this time, Brian Wilson of The Beach Boys was invited down to RCA Studios during the recording of “My Obsession”, which remains one of his favourite Rolling Stones songs.

The band returned to London and sessions continued at IBC Studios from 31 August until 3 September. “Have You Seen Your Mother, Baby, Standing in the Shadow?” was completed to be released on 23 September before the Stones embarked on their seventh British tour which lasted into early October and was their last UK tour until 1971.

The second block of recording sessions for Between the Buttons began on 8 November at the newly opened Olympic Sound Studios in Barnes, London, alternating between Olympic and Pye Studios until 26 November. During this time the bulk of the album was completed including vocal and other overdubs on the previously recorded backing tracks and mixing. “Ruby Tuesday” was also completed.

Around the same time producer Andrew Loog Oldham was also preparing the US-only live album Got Live If You Want It!, a contractual requirement from London Records that contained live performances from their recent British tour as well as studio tracks overdubbed with audience noise. After that album’s release on 10 December, a final overdubbing session for Buttons was held at Olympic Studio on 13 December 1966 before Oldham took the tapes back to RCA Studios in Hollywood for final mixing and editing.

The album was recorded using 4-track machines, with the initial sessions pre-mixed to make room on the remaining tracks for overdubs. Mick Jagger felt this process lost the clarity of the songs, commenting during an interview that “we bounced it back to do overdubs so many times we lost the sound of it. [The songs] sounded so great, but later on I was really disappointed with it.”[2] He commented further: “I don’t know, it just isn’t any good. ‘Back Street Girl’ is about the only one I like.”[3] In an interview with New Musical Express, he even called the rest of the album “more or less rubbish.”[4]

Between the Buttons was the last album wholly produced by Oldham, with whom the Stones fell out in mid-1967 during the recording sessions for Their Satanic Majesties Request.

Artwork[edit]

The photo shoot for the album cover took place in November 1966 on Primrose Hill in North London. The photographer was Gered Mankowitz, who also shot the band photos for the cover of Out of Our Heads. The shoot took place at 5:30 in the morning following an all night recording session at Olympic Studios. Using a home-made camera filter constructed of black card, glass and Vaseline, Mankowitz created the effect of the Stones dissolving into their surroundings. The goal of the shoot was, in Mankowitz’s words, “to capture the ethereal, druggy feel of the time; that feeling at the end of the night when dawn was breaking and they’d been up all night making music, stoned.”[5] Brian Jones‘ dishevelled and ghostly appearance on the cover disturbed many of his fans, and critic David Dalton wrote that he looked “like a doomed albino raccoon.”[2]

“Brian [Jones] was lurking in his collar,” Mankowitz commented years later, “I was frustrated because it felt like we were on the verge of something really special and he was messing it up. But the way Brian appeared to not give a shit is exactly what the band was about.”[6] Outtakes from this photo session were later used for the cover and inner sleeves of the 1972 ABKCO compilation release More Hot Rocks (Big Hits & Fazed Cookies).

The back cover of Between the Buttons is dominated by a six-panel cartoon accompanied by a rhythmic poem drawn by drummer Charlie Watts. When Watts asked Oldham what the title of the album would be, he told him it was “between the buttons”, a term meaning “undecided”. Watts gave the phrase to the title of his cartoon which in turn became the title of the album.[2]

Release and reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Retrospective reviews
Review scores
Source Rating
AllMusic 5/5 stars[7]
Entertainment Weekly A[8]
NME 7/10[9]
The Rolling Stone Album Guide 5/5 stars[10]

Between the Buttons, like many British long-players, differed between its UK and US versions. The UK edition (in the form Oldham and the Stones intended it) was issued on 20 January 1967 (Mono, LK 4852; Stereo, SKL 4852) on Decca Records, concurrently with a separate single, “Let’s Spend the Night Together” b/w “Ruby Tuesday.” As was common in the British record industry at the time, the single did not appear on the album. Between the Buttons reached #3 in the UK.

In August 2002 both editions of Between the Buttons were reissued in a new remastered CD and SACD digipak by ABKCO Records.[11] Almost all reissues of the album since 1968 have been in stereo; in 2016, the album’s mono release was reissued on CD, vinyl, and digital download as part of The Rolling Stones in Mono. While most reissues have used the US track-listing to maximise profit by featuring the two hit singles, the UK version was re-issued by ABKCO in 2003 on 180 gram vinyl in the US.

According to Robert Christgau, Between the Buttons was “among the greatest rock albums”,[12] and AllMusic‘s Richie Unterberger hailed it as one of the Rolling Stones’ “strongest, most eclectic LPs”.[7] In a retrospective review for Entertainment Weekly, David Browne called the album “a cheeky set of sardonic Swinging London vaudeville rock”,[8] while Billboard magazine’s Christopher Walsh wrote that “it’s brimming with overlooked gems, the band delivering a captivating blend of folky, Beatles-esque pop and tough bluesy rockers.”[11] Tom Moon wrote in The Rolling Stone Album Guide (2004) that the album was “lighter and thinner” than Aftermath and, “having belatedly discovered pop melody, Jagger and Richards were suddenly overdosing on the stuff.”[10] Jim DeRogatis included Between the Buttons in his 2003 list of the essential psychedelic rock albums.[13]

Track listing[edit]

All songs written by Mick Jagger and Keith Richards.

Side one
No. Title Length
1. Yesterday’s Papers 2:04
2. “My Obsession” 3:17
3. Back Street Girl 3:27
4. Connection 2:08
5. “She Smiled Sweetly” 2:44
6. “Cool, Calm & Collected” 4:17
Side two
No. Title Length
7. “All Sold Out” 2:17
8. Please Go Home 3:17
9. “Who’s Been Sleeping Here?” 3:55
10. “Complicated” 3:15
11. “Miss Amanda Jones” 2:48
12. Something Happened to Me Yesterday 4:55

American release[edit]

Between the Buttons
BetweenthebuttonsUK.jpg
Studio album by The Rolling Stones
Released 11 February 1967
Recorded 3–11 August, 8–26 November, and 13 December 1966
Genre Rock, pop, psychedelic rock
Length 38:42
Language English
Label London
Producer Andrew Loog Oldham
The Rolling Stones American chronology
Aftermath
(1966)
Between the Buttons
(1967)
Flowers
(1967)
Singles from Between the Buttons
  1. Ruby Tuesday” / “Let’s Spend the Night Together
    Released: 14 January 1967 (US)

In the US, the album was released by London Records on 11 February 1967 (mono, LL 3499; stereo, PS 499). “Let’s Spend the Night Together” and “Ruby Tuesday” were slotted onto the album while “Back Street Girl” and “Please Go Home” were removed (these would be included on the following US odds-and-ends release, Flowers, in July 1967). With “Ruby Tuesday” reaching #1, Between the Buttons shot to #2 in the US, going gold.

In 2012, the American version of the album was ranked #357 on Rolling Stone magazine’s 500 Greatest Albums of All Time.[1]

Track listing[edit]

All songs written by Mick Jagger and Keith Richards.

Side one
No. Title Length
1. Let’s Spend the Night Together 3:38
2. Yesterday’s Papers 2:01
3. Ruby Tuesday 3:16
4. Connection 2:08
5. “She Smiled Sweetly” 2:44
6. “Cool, Calm & Collected” 4:17
Side two
No. Title Length
7. “All Sold Out” 2:17
8. “My Obsession” 3:20
9. “Who’s Been Sleeping Here?” 3:55
10. “Complicated” 3:15
11. “Miss Amanda Jones” 2:48
12. Something Happened to Me Yesterday 4:55

Personnel[edit]

The Rolling Stones
Additional musicians

[14] [15] [16]

Chart positions[edit]

Album
Year Chart Position
1967 UK Albums Chart 3[17]
1967 Billboard 200 2[18]
1967 French SNEP Albums Charts 25[19]
Singles
Year Single Chart Position
1967 “Let’s Spend the Night Together/Ruby Tuesday” UK Top 40 Singles 3[17]
1967 “Let’s Spend the Night Together” The Billboard Hot 100 55[20]
1967 “Ruby Tuesday” The Billboard Hot 100 1[20]

Certifications[edit]

Country Provider Certification
(sales thresholds)
United States RIAA Gold

References[edit]

  1. ^ Jump up to:a b Between the Buttons. rollingstone.com. January 2012. Retrieved 11 February 2016.
  2. ^ Jump up to:a b c Davis, Stephen (2001). Old Gods Almost Dead: The 40-year Odyssey of the Rolling Stones. Broadway Books. ISBN 978-0-7679-0956-3.
  3. Jump up^ Torres, Ben Fong (1981). The Rolling Stone Interviews: 1967-1980. New York: Rolling Stone Press. pp. 48–49. ISBN 0-312-03486-5.
  4. Jump up^ Bronson, Fred (2003). The Billboard Book of Number 1 Hits (5th ed.). New York: Billboard Books. p. 1301. ISBN 0-8230-7677-6.
  5. Jump up^ Craske, Oliver (2004). Rock Faces – The World’s Top Rock ‘n’ Roll Photographers and Their Greatest Images. Rotovision. p. 89. ISBN 978-2-88046-781-4.
  6. Jump up^ Woolridge, Max (2002). Rock ‘N’ Roll London. Singapore: New Holland Publishers. p. 72. ISBN 0-312-30442-0.
  7. ^ Jump up to:a b Allmusic review
  8. ^ Jump up to:a b Browne, David (20 September 2002). “Satisfaction?”. Entertainment Weekly. New York (673). Retrieved 17 October 2014.
  9. Jump up^ NME. London (8 July): 46. 1995. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  10. ^ Jump up to:a b Moon, Tom (2004). “The Rolling Stones”. In Brackett, Nathan; Hoard, Christian. The New Rolling Stone Album Guide. London: Fireside. pp. 695–699. ISBN 0-7432-0169-8.
  11. ^ Jump up to:a b Walsh, Christopher (24 August 2002). “Super audio CDs: The Rolling Stones Remastered”. Billboard. Billboard. p. 27. Retrieved 17 October 2014.
  12. Jump up^ The Rolling Stones. Robert Christgau. Retrieved 17 October 2014.
  13. Jump up^ DeRogatis, Jim (2003). Turn on Your Mind: Four Decades of Great Psychedelic Rock. Hal Leonard Corporation. p. 568. ISBN 0634055488.
  14. Jump up^ The Rolling Stones | Official Website
  15. Jump up^ Stone Alone – Bill Wyman
  16. Jump up^ Rolling With The Stones – Bill Wyman
  17. ^ Jump up to:a b http://www.everyhit.com/ Type in “Rolling Stones” under “Name of Artist”
  18. Jump up^ http://www.allmusic.com/artist/p5298/charts-awards/billboard-albums
  19. Jump up^ Tous les Albums classés par Artiste, Note : user must select The Rolling Stones in the list
  20. ^ Jump up to:a b http://www.allmusic.com/artist/p5298/charts-awards/billboard-singles

External links[edit]

 

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President-Elect Trump’s selection of philanthropist and long-time school choice advocate Betsy DeVos for Secretary of Education has the public education establishment and its allies in panic mode. American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten tweeted“Trump has chosen the most ideological, anti-public ed nominee since the creation of the Dept of Education.” Over at Slate, Dana Goldstein frets that “Trump could gut public education“—even though federal dollars account for less than 10 percent of district school funding nationwide. The New York Times has also run series of hand-wringing pieces about what the Trump administration has in store for our nation’s education system.

At the center of the panic over Trump’s nomination of DeVos is their support for school choice. Although light on details, Trump has pledged to devote $20 billion to a federal voucher program. As is so often the case, the most vocal opponents of federal school choice are right for the wrong reasons. Not only does the federal government lack constitutional jurisdiction (outside of Washington, D.C., military installations, and tribal lands), but a federal voucher program poses a danger to school choice efforts nationwide because a less-friendly future administration could attach regulations that undermine choice policies. Such regulations are always a threat to the effectiveness of school choice policies, but when a particular state adopts harmful regulations, the negative effects are localized. Louisiana’s folly does not affect Florida. Not so with a national voucher program. Moreover, harmful regulations are easier to fight at the state level than at the federal level, where the exercise of “pen and phone” executive authority is increasingly (and unfortunately) the norm.

Many of Trump’s critics have not addressed very real federalism concerns, but have instead used the DeVos appointment to attack school choice generally, particularly its more free-market forms.

In a New York Times blog, Kevin Carey of the left-wing New America Foundation writes:

Ms. Devos [sic] will also be hamstrung by the fact that her deregulated school choice philosophy has not been considered a resounding success. In her home state, Detroit’s laissez-faire choice policies have led to a wild west of cutthroat competition and poor academic results. While there is substantial academic literature on school vouchers and while debates continue between opposing camps of researchers, it’s safe to say that vouchers have not produced the kind of large improvements in academic achievement that market-oriented reformers originally promised.

In a Times op-ed, Tulane Professor Douglas Harris echoed these critiques, claiming that “even charter advocates acknowledge” that Detroit’s charter school system—which DeVos supposedly “devised […] to run like the Wild West”—is “the biggest school reform disaster in the country.”

Consider this: Detroit is one of many cities in the country that participates in an objective and rigorous test of student academic skills, called the National Assessment of Educational Progress [NAEP]. The other cities participating in the urban version of this test, including Baltimore, Cleveland and Memphis, are widely considered to be among the lowest-performing school districts in the country.

Detroit is not only the lowest in this group of lowest-performing districts on the math and reading scores, it is the lowest by far. One well-regarded study found that Detroit’s charter schools performed at about the same dismal level as its traditional public schools. The situation is so bad that national philanthropists interested in school reform refuse to work in Detroit. As someone who has studied the city’s schools and used to work there, I am saddened by all this.

Likewise, Harvard Professor Paul Reville decried that “in places like Michigan and Arizona where the approach to opening up choice has been a Wild West version of an unregulated free market, the results have been highly disappointing, giving school choice a bad name.”

Charter schools in Michigan and Arizona may be subject to fewer government regulations than in other states, but it’s absurd to describe the sectors as “laissez-faire” or “an unregulated free market.” For example, charter school regulations in both states, as elsewhere, limit the ability of charter schools to set their own mission (e.g., they must be secular), mandate that they administer the state standardized test, forbid them from setting their own admissions standards, forbid them from charging tuition, limit who can teach in the schools, limit the growth of the number of schools, and so on.

“Laissez-faire” indeed!

And although Michigan’s results are far from stellar, they’re also not the “disaster” that Harris depicts. Indeed, Harris links to the 2013 CREDO report, which found that, on average, Detroit’s charter schools outperformed the district schools that their students would otherwise have attended. Indeed, nearly half of Detroit’s charter schools outperformed the city’s traditional district schools in reading and math scores, while only one percent of charter schools performed worse in reading and only seven percent performed worse in math.

CREDO 2013 Michigan Charter School Study

Source: CREDO’s 2013 report on charter schools (page 44).

CREDO’s 2015 report even called Detroit’s charter sector “a model to other communities.” I’d say that’s overstating it. Nevertheless, while Detroit’s district schools are so bad that it’s not a very high bar, Detroit does show how even a significantly regulated system of school choice can outperform the government’s system of district schools. Using the CREDO study to knock Detroit’s charter sector is, to borrow a phrase from Harris, “a triumph of ideology over evidence.”

And since Harris mentioned the NAEP, let’s see how Arizona’s “Wild West” charter sector performs. As education analyst Matthew Ladner has detailed, Arizona’s charter sector not only outperformed the state average for gains between the 2011 4th-grade and 2015 8th-grade NAEP tests for math and language arts, but they beat the statewide average gains for every single state. The Arizona charter sector’s gains between the 2009 and 2015 NAEP science tests were at least double the statewide average gains everywhere else.

Source: Matthew Ladner.

A word of caution is in order. These comparisons don’t account for differences in demographics among states nor changes in demographics over time. The raw NAEP results cannot tell us whether a particular policy caused any improvement or decline in the scores. Moreover, as Ladner notes, it’s possible to have significant gains while simultaneously doing poorly overall. The bowler whose average score improves from a 25 to a 50 might earn the “Most Improved” trophy while still being the worst bowler in the league. That said, after controlling for demographics, Arizona’s math and language arts scores are above average (13th nationwide). Although we don’t have adjusted scores for Arizona’s charter sector, they are likely even better. Moreover, even using raw scores, Arizona charter students perform about as well as Massachusetts students on the 2015 8th grade NAEP science test. For that matter, Arizona’s charter schools topped the list for college attendance among Arizona’s 2015 graduates.

If Harris believes that supposed lack of regulation in Detroit’s charter sector (at least as compared to charter school regulations in other states) accounts for their poor performance on the NAEP, how does he explain the Arizona results?

Indeed, even without heavy top-down oversight, Arizona manages to close down poorly performing charter schools fairly quickly through a rather innovative method called “parental choice.” The average closed charter operated for only four years and had an average of only 62 students enrolled in their final year. As Ladner explains, parents put most of those charters out of business before the regulatory apparatus got around to it:

Arizona parents seem extremely adept at putting down charter schools with extreme prejudice. Arizona parents detonate far more schools on the launching pad compared to the number we see bumbling ineffectively through the term of their charter to be shut by authorities (or to give up the ghost in year 14 in an ambiguous fashion). Both of these things happen, but the former happens with much greater regularity than the latter. Having a vibrant system of open enrollment, charter schools and some private school choice means that Arizona parents can take the view that life is too short have your child enrolled in an ineffective institution.

The critics’ read of the evidence on voucher programs also leaves much to be desired. Harris points only to research on statewide voucher programs in Louisiana and Ohio that found negative impacts, but he ignores the near-consensus of more than a dozen random-assignment studies that found modest positive impacts on student performance on tests as well as on high school graduation and college matriculation. Outside of Louisiana’s heavily regulated voucher program, none were found to produce a negative impact and only one found no discernible impact. (The Ohio study was not random-assignment and its comparison group may have been severely compromised by the study’s design.) Moreover, nearly every study on the impact of private school choice policies on district school performance found a positive impact, including in Louisiana and Ohio. The one exception was Washington, D.C., where the voucher funds come from a separate source and therefore a decrease in district school enrollment does not affect their funding.

On the whole thus far, private school choice programs have been an improvement over the status quo. Nevertheless, Carey is only half right when he writes that “vouchers have not produced the kind of large improvements in academic achievement that market-oriented reformers originally promised” because no state has yet adopted the sort of large-scale, lightly regulated, universal voucher system that market-oriented reformers like Milton Friedman called for. Instead, most voucher programs are limited in scale and eligibility and subject to numerous regulations. They’re designed, essentially, to fill empty seats rather than to revolutionize the way education is delivered. Small-scale choice programs should be expected to deliver positive but small-scale results, and that is what the research has found.

Advocates of large-scale private school choice programs should be careful not to over-promise, but critics of market-oriented educational choice policies should also be careful not to cherry pick or to make claims that the research literature does not support. Outside heavily regulated environments, private school choice policies have a consistently positive track record. What we should be able to agree about is that the positive track record of state-level school choice policies does not imply that Congress should enact a federal voucher program.

 

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Public schools need more competition and vouchers is the answer. Related posts: Powerful Evidence for School Choice April 22, 2013 by Dan Mitchell I expressed pessimism a few days ago about the possibility of replacing the corrupt internal revenue code with a flat tax. Either now or in the future. But that’s an exception to my […]

Brummett still resistant to vouchers because he wants us to save public schools at all cost

John Brummett in his article, “A new civil rights struggle in Little Rock?” Arkansas News Burea, August 25, 2011, asserted the main role vouchers should have is  “providing new models for regular public schools to emulate, not about replacing regular public schools.” The Heritage Foundation cares nothing about saving the public schools. If the public […]

FRIEDMAN FRIDAY Need more school choice!!!!

Milton Friedman – Public Schools / Voucher System __ The NAACP’s Shameful Betrayal of Black Kids September 1, 2016 by Dan Mitchell I’ve explained many times that an economy’s wealth and output depend on thequantity and quality of labor and capital and how effectively those two factors of production are combined. Let’s look today on the […]

School Choice will improve U.S. Education!!!!

_ Milton Friedman – Public Schools / Voucher System __ The NAACP’s Shameful Betrayal of Black Kids September 1, 2016 by Dan Mitchell I’ve explained many times that an economy’s wealth and output depend on thequantity and quality of labor and capital and how effectively those two factors of production are combined. Let’s look today on […]

FRIEDMAN FRIDAY Excellent Washington Post Editorial (Yes, Really) on School Choice September 3, 2013 by Dan Mitchell (with Milton Friedman video)

_ Friedman & Sowell: Should Our School System Be Privatized? Excellent Washington Post Editorial (Yes, Really) on School Choice September 3, 2013 by Dan Mitchell School choice should be a slam-dunk issue. There’s very powerful evidence that we can provide superior education for lower cost if we shift away from monopoly government schools to a system […]

Excellent Washington Post Editorial (Yes, Really) on School Choice September 3, 2013 by Dan Mitchell (with Milton Friedman video)

_ Friedman & Sowell: Should Our School System Be Privatized? Excellent Washington Post Editorial (Yes, Really) on School Choice September 3, 2013 by Dan Mitchell School choice should be a slam-dunk issue. There’s very powerful evidence that we can provide superior education for lower cost if we shift away from monopoly government schools to a system […]

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Open letter to President Obama (Part 585) Milton Friedman and the School Voucher System

Open letter to President Obama (Part 585) Milton Friedman (Emailed to White House on 6-25-13.) President Obama c/o The White House 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW Washington, DC 20500 Dear Mr. President, I know that you receive 20,000 letters a day and that you actually read 10 of them every day. I really do respect you for trying to […]

FRANCIS SCHAEFFER ANALYZES ART AND CULTURE PART 155, this post includes portion of 6-2-94 letter from Hospers to me blasting Christian Evangelicalism, John Hospers Part K (Featured artist is Frank Stella )

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John Hospers pictured below:

Image result for john hospers

 

I sent a cassette tape of Adrian Rogers on Evolution to John Hospers in May of 1994 which was the 10th anniversary of Francis Schaeffer’s passing and I promptly received a typed two page response from Dr. John Hospers. Dr. Hospers had both read my letter and all the inserts plus listened to the whole sermon and had some very angry responses. If you would like to hear the sermon from Adrian Rogers and read the transcript then refer to my earlier post at this link.  Over the last few weeks I have posted  portions of Dr. Hospers’ letter and portions of the cassette tape that he listened to back in 1994, but today I want  to look at some other comments made on that cassette tape that John Hospers listened to and I will also post a few comments that Dr. Hospers made in that 2 page letter.

John Hospers Compares John Ross’s Unintended Consequences and Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged

Published on May 2, 2012

John Hospers was professor emeritus of philosophy at the University of Southern California. He was also the first Libertarian Party Presidential candidate in 1972.

In this lecture from an International Society of Individual Liberty conference in 1996, Hospers compares John Ross’s novel Unintended Consequences with Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged. Hospers was a personal friend of Rand during her lifetime. He passed away in 2011.

Download the .mp3 of this lecture here: http://bit.ly/KvAzAh

Image result for john hospers ayn rand

MemoirConversations
With Ayn Rand
Part 2
by John Hospers
(Originally published in Liberty magazine, 1987)

In our last issue, John Hospers related what it was like to talk philosophy with Ayn Rand. Now, in the conclusion to his memoir, he details some of their philosophical differences and relates the inevitable falling out between the philosopher and the visionary. . .
.
Ayn occasionally expressed some disquiet (perhaps resentment) that she
was not recognized as a philosopher by the contemporary philosophical
community. In spite of long philosophical passages in Atlas Shrugged,
philosophers had never taken note of her views, and her philosophizing
in Atlas had largely fallen on deaf ears in the academic community.
I told her that philosophical discussion goes on almost entirely in
philosophical journals. What about philosophical books? she asked.
“Yours is a philosophical book,” I said, “but it is a novel. It’s not
that philosophers don’t read novels—though a lot of them don’t—but
they don’t consider it their professional duty to do so.” Besides, I
added, she had acquired a right-wing image in the popular press, and
that is a position that most academicians are strongly opposed to.
There were a few well-placed curses from Ayn about the prejudices of
the “liberal establishment.”

I told her that if she wanted to become known in philosophical
circles, she should write a piece or two and submit it to the Journal
of Philosophy or the Philosophical Review or the Review of
Metaphysics. After its publication, I said, it would be studied,
commented on, and probably criticized. She would then respond to these
criticisms, which again would evoke more from others, and at that
point, I said, “I guarantee that you will be known as a philosopher.”
But she never did this. She did not want to enter the arena of public
give-and-take with them. She wanted them to come to her. What she
wanted of philosophers, other than recognition, is not easy to say. I
am sure she would have cursed them soundly if they offered criticisms.
Even a mild criticism would often send her to the stratosphere in
anger.

At the same time, I must add, she would often tolerate criticism, even
revel in responding to it, if (1) it was given “in the right spirit”
(the vibes had to be non-hostile) and (2) it was sort of “on the right
track”—the sort of thing that could be said by someone who was “on his
way to the truth” but hadn’t yet arrived there; then she would
“correct him” painstakingly and in detail.

I sometimes pondered how people could approach so differently the
enterprise of philosophy. I thought of the composers Igor Stravinsky
and Richard Strauss; each occupies a high place in contemporary music,
but neither could tolerate the other’s musical idiom. Similarly, was
it just a difference of style among philosophers? Surely not. Each
comes to philosophy as a satisfaction for a felt need. I had been
“burned” early on by over-eager philosophic generalizations, and I was
weary of systems in which different philosophers said opposed things,
with no apparent way of resolving the issues in favor of the one or
the other. I had come to the conceptual-analysis route as a way of
resolving (or sometimes dissolving) problems that had long haunted me.
Ayn had aimed instead at a “final philosophical synthesis,” and
regardless of its strengths or weaknesses, that is what she had to
present to the world.
 
Human beings are distinguished from all other creatures by the power
of choice. I agreed with Ayn about this—we know that the dog scratches
at the door but we don’t know that he chose to do it (nor do we know
that he didn’t). But I tended to disagree with Ayn about some of the
things that (according to her) we choose. Do we really choose “to
think, or not to think”? I for one (I said) don’t remember making such
a choice. I would often think about things, perhaps because I am a
questioning sort of person and don’t usually take things on faith.
Yes, often when confronted by a specific problem, I have said “I’ll
think about it.” But when my first acts of thinking occurred I no more
chose “to think or not to think” than I chose “to be or not to be.”
But more than that I considered the scope of human choice to be much
more limited than she did. Some limitations we would both agree on: a
dunce can’t choose to be a genius, and a crippled person can’t choose
to walk (he can only choose to try, unsuccessfully). Without practice
a person can’t choose to do shorthand or typing at 60 words a minute.
Neither can a person, just by choosing (or even by choosing and
trying), extricate himself from situations that have been years
abuilding. An obsessive-compulsive cannot just stop doing whatever he
obsessively has been doing for years, such as putting the key in the
lock three times and then tapping the floor three times (or whatever
his ritual is). And if a teenager ran away from home to escape
alcoholic parents and now has lived on the city streets for two years,
she can’t just suddenly “straighten out” and become a normal
citizen—the gutter-instincts (survival by any means) are just too
strong by now. And so on for thousands of cases in which we may
unthinkingly believe people could have chosen to do what we want them
to do.

At this point in my diatribe Ayn reminded me that people do escape
from the slums, that with determination they overcome seemingly
impossible odds and sometimes become leaders in society. Prepared for
this observation, I granted that it was true; but the fact that one
person, A, can do this, doesn’t show that other persons, B, C, and D,
can also do it. Each of them acts under somewhat different conditions
from A. They have one common denominator, slum upbringing; but some
had the love and trust of their parents, and the wherewithal to
prepare them to surmount adversities, and others did not; some had
father-figures with whom they could identify; and so on. (If a person
tries hard enough, he will succeed; but what is meant by “hard
enough”? Would you call it “hard enough” if he did not succeed?
Doesn’t the statement come to the tautology “If you try till you
succeed, you’ll succeed”?)

Anyway, all this preparatory conversation was so much chaff in the
wind, for Ayn hit me with the charge that I was sure she would come up
with sooner or later. “You don’t believe in freedom at all, you are a
determinist.”

I knew what dense philosophical thicket lay in waiting here, with
vague and overlapping meanings of crucial terms like “free,”
“determined,” and “caused.” I hesitated even to embark on it. One must
come at the issue from so many different aspects, breaking one stone
and then another along the way—and most people lack the tenacity to go
through it all, they want quick and easy solutions, so that they can
repeat certain verbal formulas and convince themselves that they have
the problem mastered. So I began simply: “Determinism is just
universal causation. Everything that happens has some cause or other,
that’s the core meaning of ‘determinism’ (to which other meanings have
sometimes become attached). The causes may be matter or mind, spirits
or God—all that determinism says is that everything has a cause, even
if we never find out what all the causes are.” This was determinism in
its most neutral, vanilla-flavored sense, without the punch it was
supposed to pack, for there was nothing in my formulation that made it
incompatible with freedom, yet that was the main feature which led
many people to oppose it.

Of course, I continued, if everything is caused, events in human life
are caused too. Every decision you or I make is caused. But so what? I
decide to rake the leaves because I think the lawn looks unsightly. So
what’s so hostile to freedom in that? Would it be better if I
causelessly raked the lawn?

But of course, no matter how many actions are caused by decisions (or
other things going on in the mind), ultimately these events in the
mind are caused by things that take place in the world outside the
mind. They may be hereditary factors or factors in the environment,
all very complex indeed, but if my decisions are caused, so are the
factors that caused them, and so on back. And over the hereditary and
early environmental factors I had no control at all. So am I really
free?

Once the term “free” is raised, more clarification is called for. (I
discussed this with Ayn at much greater length than I have indicated
here.) The word “free,” I began, does have a use; it does describe
something. Ordinarily we say that I am free when I am not coerced,
when no one has forced me to act as I do; I act as a result of my own
choice, unforced and unconstrained by others. If she marries him
because she wants to, she does so freely, but if she is dragged to the
altar she is forced. This is a rough-and-ready distinction that
everyone understands and uses. Does determinism (I said) really deny
this? Determinism says “My act is caused”; freedom says “I caused my
act.” The difference is between the active and the passive voice.
Ayn started to object, but I went on. Sure, you can find causal
antecedents of human actions in the brain, in the environment, in
parental influences—in such complex causation as this there are
antecedents to be found all over the place. Most of the factors,
however, we don’t know at all, such as what makes one person make this
decision and another person in the same circumstances make a different
decision. In the human realm we are very far from having established
determinism as we have done in physics and astronomy, where we can
predict an eclipse to the split-second a hundred years ahead.
Determinism asserts the universality of causes in the human realm,
without having gone much of the distance toward proving it that has
been accomplished in the natural sciences.

Ayn expressed the belief that in the area of human choices, there are
indeed causes, but that a person in so acting is self-caused (causa
sui). I expressed doubt as to what this could mean. If something is
caused, isn’t it caused by something else, something other than
itself? How could my decision cause itself? Cause has to do with
origination, and how could the origin of choice X be choice X itself?
We can say, truly, that I caused my choices—that I, a complex set of
actual and dispositional characteristics, caused this act of choosing
to occur—but that is not the same as saying that X caused X. I was not
able to see causa sui as anything but a desperate attempt to escape
“the dilemma of determinism.”

At any rate, what I wanted to make crystal clear to Ayn was that the
“principle of determinism” (or Causal Principle), that everything that
occurs has a cause, is not merely a statement (true or false) about
nature’s workings; I tried to give her a sense that it had a much more
complex and ambivalent epistemological status than that, which
rendered labels like “true” and “false” extremely dubious.
I tried to make the epistemological point very simply. Suppose a
chemistry student gets some quite unexpected results when he repeats a
laboratory experiment. He then reports to his teacher that the same
effects don’t always arise from the same cause: he set up the
experiment exactly the same both times, yet got different results (an
orange precipitate in the first case, none in the second). Conditions
C produced result E-l the first time and E-2 the second time—different
effects from the same cause! Yet his teacher wouldn’t tolerate this
for a moment. Maybe he had some evidence that the C’s weren’t the
same—he might find an impurity in the liquid the second time that
wasn’t there the first. But more usually he had no evidence at
all—there was a difference in the E’s, he reasoned, so there had to be
a difference in the C’s. And we would say this whether we know it or
not, whether we ever discover it or not.

And so on in general, I said. If after repeated trials we discover the
cause of something, we say that confirms the Causal Principle even
more; but if after repeated trials we fail to discover the cause, we
don’t say it had no cause, but only (and always) that it’s there but
we haven’t discovered it yet. Isn’t this a remarkable asymmetry? Isn’t
this very peculiar—a principle that discoveries confirm but no
discoveries can disconfirm? A principle that parades as a truth about
the world, yet is apparently immune to refutation by discoveries about
the world? What does this show? Isn’t there “something funny going on”
here? Aren’t we trying to run with the hare and hunt with the hounds?
Isn’t this asymmetry a ground for suspicion?

I was not sure whether Ayn followed the direction in which I was
pointing, but I went on. I suggested that the much-vaunted Causal
Principle was not a statement about the world at all—not like “All
birds fly,” which can be disconfirmed by finding a few ostriches. That
which can be confirmed by experience but not disconfirmed by
experience is not a statement about the world. It might be an a priori
truth, like the Law of Identity, not subject to, and not requiring,
confirmation by experience. But I could not think it a priori because
it made claims about nature which, I suggested, could only be
confirmed by observing nature—which can’t be done from one’s armchair.
Instead, I suggested that it was a kind of scientific rule-of-the-game
(“heuristic maxim”) that has stood us in good stead because when we
used it in the past we have found lots of causes, but one which we
don’t permit to be disconfirmed, for there’s nothing that we could do
that we need to count as disconfirming it. It’s a rule, the following
of which has pragmatic value—it helps us to find more causes; but
since it isn’t falsifiable it doesn’t count as an empirical rule,
which is what it would be if it were like “All birds fly” or “All
bodies gravitate.”

Something may look like a plain and simple statement about the world,
the only question about it being “Is it true or false?” But what looks
like a statement needn’t be a statement, and perhaps this one
isn’t—instead maybe it’s a rule that we use to guide our future
scientific activities, or express a faith in some ultimate uniformity
of nature. And if it has that status, then our talk about the
Principle of Determinism being true or false is mistaken from the
outset. We have been misled into thinking it has this simple
true-false status at all.

I could not expect Ayn or anyone else to grasp the import of this at
once: to someone who has spent most of a lifetime asking “Is it true
or is it false?” it is disorienting and mind-blowing to be told that
this distinction may not be applicable to the question at hand. One
has to see how this approach can be applied to other philosophical
problems (not just determinism), and how it clarifies or dissolves
those problems rather than leaving them forever intractable. But to
appreciate all this requires much more one-on-one philosophizing than
I had done with Ayn. I had high hopes that we might yet do it. But
whether it was the defects of my presentation or her disinclination to
think outside the traditional categories with which she had operated
for many years, I was never able to get far with her on this—it
remained terra incognita to her, and her responses seldom indicated
that she had grasped the true import of what I had said.
 
It seemed to me that she failed to appreciate the subtle shifts of
meaning of crucial terms that often occur midway in a discussion, and
result in total confusion unless the shifts are pointed out when they
arise. She seemed to have a number of ideas packaged together under
the heading she called “determinism” and assumed that the term
retained the same meaning in its various contexts of use (a common
enough error). One example that I particularly remember is that she
would say that according to determinism a person never could  do other
than he did; and that if exactly the same circumstances were to arise
again (according to determinism), the same result would occur.
“And if the same thing didn’t recur,” I said, “then you’d conclude,
without further evidence, that some factor in the circumstances
leading up to it were different this time. And you would say it,” I
insisted, “as an a priori assumption, without any independent evidence
that any of the conditions were different.” I remember using this
analogy: A says “All swans are white,” and B replies that there are
black swans in Australia; to which A replies, “If they’re not white,
they’re not swans.”

I tried to open up to her the logic of the word “could.” I said that
“could” is an ability word: when someone says “You couldn’t have done
otherwise,” this charge invites the retort, “Not even if I wanted to?”
And of course if I had wanted to I would have done something
different—I would have continued reading the paper instead of going to
the kitchen. My wanting to do X instead of Y could well be the
deciding factor that caused me to do X instead of Y. So, I said, it
isn’t true that I couldn’t have done Y; I would have done Y if I had
wanted to.

But the next step, of course, was “According to determinism, you
couldn’t have wanted anything other than you did.” But what, I said,
does “couldn’t” mean in this sentence? That I wouldn’t have wanted
anything else even if I had wanted to? No? If not, then what does
“could” mean in this sentence? I suggested that it would be preferable
to say that if exactly the same conditions were repeated the same
event would have happened—and then show the unprovability of that
statement because of the impossibility of tracking down all the
conditions.

Ayn was impatient with such subtleties. When we recapitulated, she
would always return to the position that if you are a determinist you
believe that nothing could have happened except what did happen. And
once again I would inquire what “could” might mean in that
sentence—and we would start on the merry-go-round once again.
Of course, I went on, there are (as usual) other senses of “could” as
well, not specifically applying to human action. We may say that when
you let go this pencil from your hand it could not fly upwards, that
it could not do anything but go downwards in accordance with the law
of gravity. But that is only to say that the downward motion of the
pencil is the one that accords with laws of nature. That is, if you
assume certain laws of physics, then the pencil could not (logically
could not) have moved in any other way. The “could” here is a logical
“could” (not an empirical one) expressing the logical connection
between statements—statements of the laws of nature, statements about
the mass and volume of the pencil, and the third statements (the
conclusion) about the behavior of the pencil. We can say that granted
certain premises, this behavior could not have been other than it was.
(But, I added, saying that the pencil could not have behaved otherwise
is already a departure from the central meaning of “could,” which has
to do with ability.)
 
I never made much progress with her on determinism, but when we talked
one evening about a specific kind of causation—extra-sensory
perception—I evoked in her an unexpectedly vigorous response.
I do not remember how the subject arose, and I didn’t even consider it
a philosophical area of discussion, but I was describing to her Soal
and Bateman’s book Experiments in Parapsychology. I explained that out
of thousands of tries, a few people made very good subjects; they were
able to state with considerable accuracy truths that (as far as we
knew) were discoverable only by sense-perception, but which they could
not have known through sense-perception.

A man was sealed into a room evening after evening, and there was no
possible communication between this room and another room three doors
away—there were scientists who averred that there was no way a person
in Room 1 could convey information to someone in Room 4. In each of
these two sealed-off rooms, cards were being pulled from a deck one
per minute. Every minute a bell would ring, at which moment a card
would be pulled from a deck in one room and the subject in the other
room would write on a piece of paper which card he thought it was.
There were five different kinds of cards (apple, elephant etc.) and
thus one chance out of five of guessing correctly. Getting the correct
result slightly above chance (20 percent) for a time wasn’t
particularly noteworthy, but getting results like 40 percent correct
over 100,000 attempts was quite remarkable, the chances against this
being some trillions to one. Yet several subjects were reported to
have done just that, and no one knew how. Ayn looked skeptical but
allowed me to proceed.

Moreover, I went on, the subjects had improved with practice. From a
fifth they had gone gradually to a quarter and even to a third. No one
could figure out how they got the ability to do this. They themselves
didn’t know: they weren’t aware at the time that they were guessing
correctly, they just “put down the first thing that popped into their
heads.” And then the rules of the game were changed—”You will now
write down the card that was being pulled last night at this point in
the sequence”—and their achievements vanished (went down to chance),
but came up again with practice to the previous fraction.

And then, most curious of all, the rules were changed once more: “You
will write down the card that is going to be pulled at this point in
the sequence tomorrow evening.” Again the results went down to chance,
but again with practice the record gradually improved. But the
implications of it shocked me: How could they possibly know the
future? What if between tonight and tomorrow night the entire building
burned down? And so on.

Ayn was now taken quite aback, and thought I should give no credence
to any of this. It implied reverse causality, she said, and that was
impossible—something at a later time causing something at an earlier
time. I agreed that reverse causality was impossible—such as the rain
tomorrow helping the crops grow today. But I didn’t think the example
involved reverse causality but only precognition. We all predict the
future, I said, usually with some evidence; what made this case
peculiar was the ability of the person to make a correct prediction
again and again without apparently having any evidence whatever. (At
least there was nothing known to science that we would call evidence.)
That was what I found different about this kind of case, and I
couldn’t think of any explanation.

Ayn was quite shocked that I would take any of this “mystery-
mongering” seriously. (It was hard to convey briefly the
import of entire books on the subject, and the extraordinary lengths
to which people had gone to make sure there was no sensory route by
which A could have known B.) Didn’t I know that reality does not work
in that way? Perhaps so, I said—and I added I didn’t much care whether
reality does work in that way or not—but whether it does or doesn’t is
not something we can know by just pontificating about it from our
armchairs: we have to go the difficult route of empirical
investigation to find out whether people can know truths about the
universe that are not mediated through sense-organs. One cannot know
this a priori, I claimed; one has to go the more difficult route of
checking it all out in detail. But I gathered that she considered this
all a matter of necessity—that it was necessarily the case that nature
doesn’t work in this way. She was more disturbed about my
permissiveness on this subject than I had thought she would be.
Instead of saying that nature can’t work in this way, the question for
me was whether in fact it does; if it does, then it won’t do to say
that it can’t.

For me, the question of what caused what is entirely a contingent
matter, on which we can make judgments only in the light of
observation of the world. But it dawned on me that Ayn didn’t accept
the distinction between necessary and contingent at all. For her, it
seemed (though I never got it in just these words) every statement
that is true is necessarily true. “Doesn’t everything that happens
have to happen?” she once asked me.

I replied that one would first have to inquire about the meaning of
the phrase “have to.” In most locutions, “have to” involves a command
or order—”I have to be in by midnight.” When one says that events in
nature, such as a comet entering the earth’s atmosphere, have to
happen, it sounds first off as if this event is being commanded,
perhaps by God. But this is surely not what most people mean when they
say it. Perhaps we mean that if one accepts certain laws of nature
(concerning gravitation, mass, velocity), and if one grants certain
initial conditions (Comet X is in such-and-such a position at
such-and-such a time), then Comet X must be another place at a
specific other time. (Not that the comet must—but that the
statement—the conclusion—logically must be true if the premises are
true. The “must” is about the relation between statements, not about
phenomena in nature.) When I say that if I let go of this pencil it
must fall, doubtless I am saying that the statement that it does (or
will) follows from certain laws of nature plus initial conditions. But
it would be clearer if I just said that the pencil will fall.

There are many uses of “must” and “have to” (I took her through
several more) and I told Ayn that I thought she was telescoping
several disparate uses of the term “must” into one, without
distinguishing among them, and that this might be why she was led to
make such a statement as “whatever happens must (has to) happen.” (If
you take it quite literally, I said, it seems like a more extreme
fatalism than any view I have ever countenanced.)
 
Ayn usually let me take the initiative in deciding what subjects we
should discuss. The conversations described in this paper reflect
largely my choice of topics—these were the things about which I was
interested in sounding her out. I reflected later that in this respect
I had probably made a mistake. Only occasionally did we get around to
discussing topics that were central to her philosophy. That is why
some topics central to her are largely absent from these pages. Her
papers on these subjects had yet to be written.
 
“A is A” is, I insisted, a tautology, but an important one: every time
a person is guilty of a logical inconsistency he is saying A and then
in the next breath not-A. Thus “A is A” is something of which we need
to remind ourselves constantly. But it is not, I said, an empirical
statement: we don’t have to go around examining cats to discover
whether they are cats. (We might have to examine this creature to
discover whether it is a cat.)

But, I said, statements of what causes what, such as “Friction causes
heat,” are empirical statements; we can only know by perceiving the
world whether they are true. How, I wondered, can the Law of Causality
be merely an application of the Law of Identity? You could manipulate
the Law of Identity forever and never squeeze out anything as specific
as a single causal statement.

But (I went on) I could see how such a confusion might be generated. A
tautology can easily look like something else. “A thing acts in
accordance with its nature” might be one example. This might be taken
as an instance of the Law of Identity: if a creature of type X acts in
accordance with laws A, B, C, and this creature doesn’t do that, then
it isn’t an X. If dogs bark and growl and this creature hisses and
meows, it isn’t a dog; that is, we wouldn’t call anything a dog that
did this. So we can plausibly classify the statement about what we
call “a thing’s nature” as special cases of the Law of Identity. But
this, I insisted, tells us nothing about the world, but only about how
we are using words like “dog” and “cat.”

What is a thing’s “nature” supposed to be anyway? I went on. Is a
thing’s nature its definition? Some might say yes: it’s the nature of
water to be two parts hydrogen and one part oxygen. But one might also
answer no: it’s the nature of water, one might say, to flow downwards,
and this is no part of any (usual) definition of “water.” It wouldn’t
even be true if atmospheric pressure were ever so much less than on
earth (it might evaporate and not flow). So to answer the question, we
have to know what the person means by talking about a thing’s nature.
Often, I suggested, when we talk about a thing’s nature we are talking
about a set of dispositional traits: thus, “It is the nature of cats
to prowl”—yet so far as I know the tendency to prowl is not listed in
the definition of “cat.” Or, when we say “I used to think his lying
was just a quirk, but now I think it’s his nature,” we are saying that
his tendency to lie is a more fundamental trait than we had previously
thought.

I could see that Ayn was getting bored, so I summarized the moral of
the tale: that statements about “X’s nature” sound simple and easy,
but that under this linguistic simplicity lies a morass of vagueness,
which comes out only gradually as we explicate one case after another
in which we actually use the expression. I seemed unable to convey to
Ayn any sense of this; and yet, it seemed to me, what was wrong with
the usual philosophic formulations, including hers, couldn’t be
appreciated without going through the detailed “digging” required to
turn up these disparate meanings, and their confusion with one another
from which the errors flow. Philosophic formulas, I said, merely give
us “philosophy on the cheap.”
 
It was inevitable that sooner or later we would get to the subject of
definition. I never had an opportunity to present my views on this
systematically, from the ground up. I had done this in some detail in
my book Introduction to Philosophical Analysis, in the long 100-page
introductory chapter entitled “Words and the World.” I gave her a copy
of the book and encouraged her to read the relevant chapter. But she
never did; I was disappointed by this, for I had thought we could use
this material at least as a starting place for discussion, but in time
I realized that she read almost no philosophy at all. And I was amazed
how much philosophy she could generate “on her own steam,” without
consulting any sources.

She began by insisting that one should search for true definitions,
and I responded that definitions were neither true nor false. But it
shortly turned out that I was talking about definitions of words and
phrases, and she was talking about definitions of things (entities in
the world) or, sometimes, concepts of those things. But I expressed
ignorance as to what the phrase “the definition of a thing” meant. (We
also discussed “definition of concepts,” examining the differences
between words and concepts.)

I suggested that there were no true or false definitions. “The word
‘symphony’ once referred to any orchestral composition, without voice,
in four movements,” I said. “Then, as in Beethoven’s 9th, voices would
sometimes be introduced and the work would still be called a symphony,
so that was no longer a defining feature. Then in the 20th century
came one-movement symphonies, such as Sibelius’ 7th, so the
four-movement requirement fell out. What happened was that the word
‘symphony’ was no longer used to describe what it had described
before. But there is no true or false definition of ‘symphony.'”

A simple case to the contrary, Ayn said, was that H2O is a true
definition of water; if someone said water was HO or H2SO4, he would
be mistaken.

I responded that I saw nothing but confusion in this. “It depends on
what you mean in the first place by the word ‘water.’ If by ‘water’
you mean H2O, then course ‘Water is H2O’ is true because you’ve
already defined water to mean that. All you get that way is ‘H2O is
H2O,’ a simple tautology. But of course you might not already mean
that by the word ‘water’—early man surely did not. He meant the liquid
that flows in streams and rivers. In that meaning, it is true that
water is H2O—that is, the liquid in streams and rivers has the
chemical formula H2O. That is a true statement about water—an
empirically true statement, not a definition. Once you are clear what
you mean by the word, the issue is resolved.”

Ayn alleged that man is a rational animal, and that this is a true
definition. It is true, in other words, that that’s what man is. I
replied that it all depends what you mean by “man” in that sentence.
As a rule we employ a biological definition of man—man is a creature
with two legs, two arms, walks upright, etc.; that’s how we identify
creatures as human without knowing anything more about them than our
senses present to us. Now, the creature that fulfills that biological
requirement is also a rational animal (that is, has rational
potentialities, even if unfulfilled)—that is a true statement: not a
definition, but a statement about the creatures identified by the
first (biological) definition. (Of course, again, if by “man” you
already mean “rational animal,” then it’s a sheer tautology.)
We could say, I suggested, that man is a laughing animal, or an
aesthetic animal (the only creature that enjoys works of art), a
volitional animal (the only creature capable of choice), and perhaps
several others. But, as Ayn aptly pointed out, these features are less
fundamental. If we were not rational animals we would not be able to
comprehend works of art or see the point of jokes; the rationality
explains the other characteristics, not vice versa. I assented to
this; but I insisted that my point still held, that if “man” is
already defined as a rational animal, the statement that man is a
rational animal is a tautology (merely an example of A is A); whereas
if “man” is defined biologically, as we ordinarily do, then the
statement that man is a rational animal is true, but not a definition.
A stipulative definition, I said, merely tells others how we’re going
to use a word (“I’ll use this noise to mean so-and-so”), and a
stipulation isn’t a true statement, just a proposal to use a noise in
a certain way. A reportive definition is a report of what a word is
used to mean in a language-group. Thus, “A father is a male parent” is
a report (in this case a true one) of what the word “father” is used
to mean in the English language. And finally, if you already mean by
“father” a male parent, the definition of “father” as male parent is
presupposed, and the statement “A father is a male parent” comes to “A
male parent is a male parent,” another instance of “A is A.” Confusion
comes only if we get these scrambled together.

Is “Steel is an alloy of iron” a true definition of steel? No, I said,
it is a definition of “steel” if that is what you choose to mean by
the word “steel.” It is also a true report about how users of the
English language use the word “steel,” and as such it is a true
reportive definition. And if you already mean “alloy of iron” by the
word “steel,” then again you have a tautology, Steel is steel, A is A.
It seemed to me that these distinctions clear up the question. In
every case we define words and phrases, and we describe things (using
the words or phrases).

Whales were once thought to be fish. When it was discovered that they
were mammals, wasn’t this a discovery of the true definition of
whales? The discovery (an empirical one), I said, was that those
creatures which we called “whales” (on the basis of their shape, size,
and general appearance) also had the feature of being mammalian. We
then changed (or biologists did) the definition of the word so as to
include being mammalian as a defining feature; biological
classification on the basis of mammal, reptile, etc., had already long
been in place; so after the discovery nothing that looked like a whale
but was a fish would have been called a whale. The re-definition of
the term was simply an adaptation to existing methods of biological
classification. But the discovery, that these creatures were mammals,
was an empirical one, like the discovery that some nebulae are
actually galaxies.

This is one of the issues that seemed so obvious to me that I did not
see how anyone could think otherwise. That is why I tended not even to
remember opposing remarks as long as they were not clear to me. Rather
than misreport what Ayn said, I have chosen not to say anything about
her remarks: what I said is very clear to me, what she said is not.
At the time being described, Rand’s non-fiction works, including
Introduction to Objectivist Epistemology, had not yet been written. I
would like to think that our discussions helped motivate her to write
some of these non-fiction works. At the time of our discussions she
was writing very little. Time was on her hands, and perhaps that was
one reason for inviting me back.
 
She vehemently denied the validity of certain distinctions, like
analytic vs. synthetic and a priori vs. a posteriori. Both were
Kantian distinctions, and her hatred of Kant may have played a part in
the rejection; but more likely her rejection of the distinctions
played a part in her hatred of Kant.

Already at the time of our discussions there was critical talk in
philosophic circles about the analytic-synthetic distinction. Is it
analytic to say that all green things are extended? Quine had asked,
and concluded that the failure to provide a satisfactory answer was
due to the unclarity of the term “analytic,” not to any defects in
“green” or “extended.” But the examples I used were of the very
simplest sort: “All A is A” is analytic, I said (it’s another
formulation of the Law of Identity), and “All A is B” is not. “Lions
are lions” is analytic and “Lions are fierce” is not—to determine that
you have to observe lions. And the same for a priori: you don’t have
to go to the next room to discover whether the cat is a cat, but you
do have to in order to find out whether the cat is lying on the bed
there.

Why did Ayn deny a distinction that seemed to me so obvious—perhaps
not for far-out cases like colors being extended, but for ordinary “A
is A” type cases? She seemed to think, as Leibniz had done for
different reasons, that the distinctions do not apply because all the
statements are really in the same bag. All the features of lions,
whether now known or not, are really a part of their definition. All
statements about X follow from X’s definition—that seemed to be the
view.

But I did not see how this could be so. That this table is a solid
object does follow from (or is contained in) the definition of a
table. But that we are now sitting at this table does not. Nothing in
any definition of a table known to me could possibly tell us whether
it is true that we are now sitting at the table.

Perhaps the issue has a different focus: This would not be the egg
that it is if it had not been laid by this hen, and I would not be the
person I am if I had not been born to the specific parents I had.
True—but would I also have to have the characteristic of having been
born at the moment that I was? If I had been born a day earlier (to
the same parents etc.), wouldn’t it still have been me? True, it
wouldn’t have been me if the birth had taken place in ancient
Greece—the parents wouldn’t have been the same, etc. But would one
really be prepared to say that all features of me are defining,
including the mole on my cheek and the fact that a bee had just stung
me? I saw nothing but endless confusion in that way of trying to deny
the difference between necessary and contingent statements.
I tried using some examples, of the kind that made my students catch
on to the distinction most quickly. That this flower is red, that
there are six of them on this plant, that such plants exist at
all—these are contingent statements, they depend on the way the world
is, which can’t be known a priori; that 2 + 2 = 4, that the angles of
a triangle equal 180 degrees, that if A is larger than B then B is
smaller than A—these are necessary truths, I tried to explain, even if
one doesn’t accept the analytic-synthetic distinction.

Or again, with regard to possibility and impossibility: I can’t jump
20 feet high, but I (logically) might, and if I claimed to do so my
statement would be false, but there would be no contradiction in it.
But if I claimed to have gone backward in time, and disappeared from
1961 to 2500 B.C. (and what could that mean?), and actually helped the
Egyptians build the pyramids—this, I said, was a logical
impossibility, because contradictions would be involved in asserting
it: I would be saying that (for example) the pyramid-building occurred
without me (I wasn’t born yet) and also that I participated in it (by
“going back” in 1961 to 2500 B. C.); and that there were, let’s say,
5,368 persons building the pyramids and (with the new addition of
myself) there were 5,369—but there (logically) couldn’t have been both
5,368 and other than 5,368. And so on. She granted the impossibility
in the second case, but perhaps not for the reason I mentioned. To her
all impossibility was of one stripe, and she did not admit the
distinction between logical and empirical possibility.
 
I stated a problem (or pseudo-problem) which seemed to fascinate my
students: “How do you know that you and I are seeing the same color?
True, we both pass the color-blindness tests, and you say you see
green when you look at the tree, just as I do, but how do I know you
aren’t the victim of a “reversed spectrum,” for example that you
regularly see red where I see green and vice versa, but of course you
call it green like everyone else, since that’s the word you’ve been
taught to use in describing the color of trees? But perhaps if I could
see what you’re seeing, I’d call it red, or something else. After all,
how do I know?” Maybe the outcome has no practical import, but it’s a
nice theoretical question anyway—the sort of thing that science seems
unable to answer.

I cannot say that Ayn was fascinated by this question. She regarded it
as rather trivial. But she heard me out. I suggested that you can
(usually, perhaps always) get to what a questioner means by his
question, if he can tell you what sort of thing would satisfy him as
an answer—what precisely does he want to know? Now consider these
possibilities (I said): (1) Suppose it were technically possible, as
one day it may be, to connect one person’s eyes and optic nerve with
another person’s brain. You could, then, quite literally see through
the other person’s eyes; and then you would know whether the leaves
looked the same color to you as they did when you looked through your
own eyes. You’d be able to compare what you saw with your former eyes
with what you saw through your new eyes. Perhaps when you did this you
would say, “They still look the same to me,” and that would settle the
question; or you might say “They don’t look as they used to at all,”
and that too would settle the question.

But of course (I pursued) one may object that this won’t do. (2)
Exchanging eyes isn’t enough, runs the objection. The interpretation
of these visual data takes place in the brain. To settle the issue, I
would not only have to have your eyes, I’d have to have your brain (or
at least a part of it). But now we run into what’s called the problem
of personal identity. If my brain were put into your body and vice
versa (assuming this to be as technically possible as exchanging eyes)
would it still be me? Would it still be me, with all my brain’s
memory-traces now inside your head? Here we run into a problem that’s
more than a technical problem; what is it that constitutes one’s self,
if not one’s perceptions, dispositions, and memories? How can I
exchange brains with you and still be me? Thus, if this second
alternative is the one demanded to resolve the problem, then unlike
the first alternative, it can’t be solved: the conditions demanded for
the solution are self-contradictory.

Ayn wasn’t very impressed with all this. She didn’t consider the
issue to be of any importance in the first place. She was
temperamentally unsympathetic to this way of doing philosophy. And she
had no patience with the distinctions I used in order to arrive at a
solution. For her it was a non-solution to a non-problem.
 
In spite of her lack of concern for shifts of meaning in a word or
phrase, I had to be very careful what terms I used in her presence;
for some terms, if I used them, would trigger in her an instant
conclusion that was quite foreign to anything I meant. When I
mentioned that a theory in science can be accepted or rejected on
pragmatic grounds—as a device for explaining the most by means of the
least—she would hear the term “pragmatic” and accuse me of being a
pragmatist. And then I would explain at some length that I was not a
pragmatist in any sense that she probably had in mind—for example, I
did not hold that the truth of a statement had anything to do with its
utility. I only used the term within a definite context, with a
meaning defined within that context—and one should not jump to the
conclusion “You’re a pragmatist,” for I wouldn’t even know what she
meant by the term in that sentence.

For a person who was always insisting on “iron-clad definitions,” I
found her linguistic habits quite sloppy. I was aware that Rome wasn’t
built in a day and that she had not grown up in a tradition in which
sensitivity to these matters was considered important—one just strode
over the issues in seven-league boots (my characterization, not hers).
Still, philosophic outcomes depend so much on just such subtleties
that I became discouraged when after many hours of discussion she
showed no more awareness of where I was really coming from than she
had when we started.

I had no problems with her ignorance of modern logic or physics (such
as Heisenberg’s principle), but when the very issues she raised
required a finely honed instrument to grapple with them insightfully,
and she seemed quite unaware of what that instrument could do, and
remained so after time, I gradually became as discouraged with her as
she was impatient with me.
 
Somewhere she had picked up the idea that philosophers in the
twentieth century were skeptical about the existence of an “external
world” (tables, trees, stars, etc.). I told her that skeptical
arguments in this area were still extensively examined, in the
tradition of Hume, but that no one so far as I knew had any actual
doubts about the existence of the chair they were sitting on, and so
on. But that, she said, was the mistake: they don’t doubt it in
practice but they do in theory—they don’t practice what they preach. I
explained that when skeptical arguments occur, as in Hume, they have
to be met, in an attempt to make theory accord with practice; one
can’t just assume that “common sense” is always right. I explained a
similar situation in Zeno’s paradoxes, and Parmenides’ attempt to deny
the reality of motion. I said there were lots of problems about the
relation of the world to the senses by means of which we perceive it.
I did mention, almost incidentally, an attempt to prove that we know
the existence of the external world for certain, namely by Prof.
Norman Malcolm in his essay “The Verification Argument” (in Max
Black’s anthology, Philosophical Analysis). Instantly she picked up on
this, inquiring about Malcolm as a possible ally. She wanted to know
more about him and even to invite him to New York for a personal
meeting. She did not read his article, or anything else by him, but I
outlined the rather complex argument of the article for her in two
typed pages, trying to state his premises accurately and show how they
yielded his conclusions. She expressed gratitude to me for doing this.
But, she wondered, why should a person go to such lengths to defend a
thesis that was so obvious? I realized that to Ayn the existence of
the physical world was axiomatic and didn’t require defense, and told
her that she would probably find no particular ally in Malcolm, who
was most interested (in the essay) in exploring the implications of
terms like “verification” and “certainty.” At any rate, there the
matter dropped. She took my word as to what his arguments were, and as
far as I know she  never read anything to enlighten her further on the
issue.
 
We discussed many other philosophical issues, often in a brief and
fragmentary way, before concentrating on something else. I omit here
those issues of which I could not now give an accurate account from
memory. In many cases I remember more clearly what I said than what
she said. Her non-fiction works had yet to be written, and what I
endeavor to record here is what she and I said then, not what we might
have said later. Moreover, most of my readers will probably be
acquainted with her position on various issues, but unacquainted with
mine; and I want to provide some conception, however brief and
unsystematic, of where I was coming from on the issues we discussed.
 
When we discussed metaphysical and epistemological issues, a certain
tension between us would very gradually and almost imperceptibly
arise. I could usually avoid an unpleasant scene by attributing
(correctly) the view being discussed to some actual philosopher,
living or dead, and then she could curse the philosopher in question
and take the heat off me. It’s not that I wanted to avoid
responsibility for the view, but I wanted to avoid unpleasant scenes,
which only impeded the progress of our discussions, and achieved no
worthwhile end that I could think of. But it was clear that I was not
“giving in” to her brand of metaphysics, and equally clear that my
methods of what I liked to call philosophical clarification were
falling on arid ground in the present case. I became somewhat
discouraged, especially since she seldom acknowledged an error and
seemed less interested in learning than in defending prepared
positions. Moreover, what seemed like a blinding philosophical light
to me would be a total dud to her, and her highly abstract
philosophical pronouncements often seemed to me confused, unclear, or
false, effective though they might be as banners for enlisting the
philosophically un-washed.
 
Meanwhile, several incidents occurred that distressed me. There was a
professor at a midwestern university who had been denied tenure some
months earlier, for saying that he wouldn’t mind too much if his
daughter slept around a bit before she decided on whom to mate with
for life. The faculty was up in arms against the university
administration for terminating him, and started a nation-wide petition
on his behalf. I had also signed a petition requesting that he not be
terminated.

When I showed Ayn the letter to which I had responded on his behalf,
Ayn saw my name on the letterhead and urged me strongly to dissociate
myself from any attempt to defend him. He should not have referred to
his daughter publicly in that way, she said. I asked her whether she
really thought he should be denied tenure just on account of having
said what he did. And Ayn’s reply stunned me: he should have been
terminated from his job, she said, even if he’d had tenure. Knowing
all that tenure means to someone who has worked for years to earn it,
I found her reply shocking and astonishing.
 
Newsweek wrote a terribly unfair piece about Ayn. I responded to it by
letter, trying to answer their charges point by point. I gave Ayn a
copy of my letter. Newsweek never published it, but that, said Ayn,
made no difference; what mattered was that I had come to her defense
by writing it and responding to the false charges.

Not long after, New York University’s philosopher Sidney Hook attacked
her in print, and she wanted me to take him on as well. Knowing
Sidney, I was disinclined to do this. He already knew about my
acquaintance with Ayn, but we had never discussed it further (I hardly
ever saw him). Should I now condemn him publicly and destroy a
long-standing friendship? I knew that this friendship would be at an
end if I condemned him.

Ayn was sure that nothing less than a public condemnation was required
to prove to him how much I was devoted to “intellectual objectivity.”
But she had very little conception of the manners and morals of
professional academicians—they can get along well and even be friends,
while disagreeing strongly with one another on rather fundamental
issues. The philosophic arena was one for the friendly exchange of
diverse ideas. But for her, it was a battlefield in which one must
endlessly put one’s life on the line. I was not willing to risk years
of occasional friendly communion with Sidney by condemning him
publicly, even if I thought he was mistaken in some of his
allegations.

But for Ayn this was a betrayal. It almost cost us our friendship. In
the end she attributed my attitude to the misfortune of having been
brainwashed by the academic establishment, at least with regard to
their code of etiquette.

I once mentioned to her my friendship with Isabel Hungerland, a
distinguished aesthetician from Berkeley with whom I would discuss
issues at philosophical conventions. Ayn inquired what her politics
were. “As far as I know, she’s a liberal,” I said. “What!” exclaimed
Ayn, “a friend of yours—a liberal?”

I realized then that I was expected, once I knew Ayn, to sacrifice
the friendship of all persons with political (and other) views opposed
to hers. Not that I would have to—I was supposed to want to. It was
immoral of me to continue to deal with such people. With many of them,
as with Isabel, I had a kind of relaxed, laid-back relationship, never
talking politics at all from one year to the next, and often not
knowing what their political views were. But now I was supposed to
excommunicate them all. “If thine hand offend thee, cut it off.” I was
not willing to plant a flag on a new terrain and thereby disavow my
allegiance to all other views, and I deeply resented Ayn’s attempt to
steer me in that direction—or should I say, her assumption that I
would “of course” do such a thing.

It wasn’t that I would have been unwilling to declare where I stood,
if I had been totally convinced and was prepared to defend it. I try
not to back off of commitments. But my whole way of coming at
philosophy was quite different from hers, and in spite of various
attempts I don’t think she ever understood mine. With her, it was as
if she were developing a Euclidean geometry from a set of axioms; I,
on the contrary, was the gadfly who kept puncturing the axioms or
finding their meaning (in some cases) to be vague or confused. As a
result of this I was convinced that “the high priori road” was not the
way to go in philosophy; I was sure that a careful, step-by-step,
case-by-case approach, frustrating though it might be in the work
required and the time needed to get anywhere with it, was the only
road to progress. This wearied her, bored her, and ultimately repelled
her.
 
The more time elapsed, the more the vise tightened. I could see it
happening; I hated and dreaded it; but knowing her personality, I saw
no way to stop it. I was sure that something unpleasant would happen
sooner or later. The more time she expended on you, the more
dedication and devotion she demanded. After she had (in her view)
dispelled objections to her views, she would tolerate no more of them.
Any hint of thinking as one formerly had, any suggestion that one had
backtracked or still believed some of the things one had assented to
previously, was greeted with indignation, impatience, and anger. She
did not espouse a religious faith, but it was surely the emotional
equivalent of one.

When I was authorized by the American Society for Aesthetics to ask
Ayn to give a twenty-minute talk at their annual meeting, which would
take place this time in Boston the last weekend of October 1962, I
passed on the offer to her at once. She accepted, with the provision
that I be her commentator (all papers were required to be followed by
a response from a commentator). She thought that I would understand
her views better than those who had no previous acquaintance with
them. I consented.

And so it was that on the last Friday night of October 1962, she gave
her newly-written paper “Art and Sense of Life” (now included in The
Romantic Manifesto). In general I agreed with it; but a commentator
cannot simply say “That was a fine paper” and then sit down. He must
say things, if not openly critical, at least challengingly exegetical.
I did this—I spoke from brief notes and have only a limited
recollection of the points I made. (Perhaps I repressed it because of
what happened shortly thereafter.) I was trying to bring out certain
implications of her talk. I did not intend to be nasty. My fellow
professors at the conference thought I had been very gentle with her.
But when Ayn responded in great anger, I could see that she thought I
had betrayed her. She lashed out savagely, something I had seen her do
before but never with me as the target. Her savagery sowed the seeds
of her own destruction with that audience.

When her colleague Nathaniel Branden and I had a walk in the hall
immediately following this exchange, there was no hint of the
excommunication to come. But after the evening’s events were
concluded, and by previous invitation I went to Ayn and her husband
Frank’s suite in the hotel, I saw that I was being snubbed by everyone
from Ayn on down. The word had gone out that I was to be (in Amish
terminology) “shunned.” Frank smiled at me, as if in pain, but he was
the only one. When I sensed this, I went back to my room. I was now
officially excommunicated. I had not so much as been informed in
advance. It was all over. In the wink of an eye.
So now a two-and-a-half-year friendship was at an end. It had come
with such suddenness, I couldn’t quite handle it at first. The long
evenings with Ayn were now a thing of the past. I was now the one to
feel a sense of betrayal.

But my pain was not entirely unmixed with relief. The pressure had
been mounting, and certain tensions between us had been increasing
steadily. Being forced to choose between friendship and truth as I saw
it (even if I saw it mistakenly), was not my way of conducting
intellectual life. I would sooner or later have had to escape from the
vise, I reflected. Perhaps it was better this way, with an outside
event precipitating the break. Sooner or later, probably sooner, I
would have been too explicitly frank or honest, and she would have had
an angry showdown with me, and that would have been that. Or so I told
myself. At any rate, along with the pain and the desolation, I felt a
sense of release from an increasing oppressiveness, which had been
inexorably tightening.

At dinner earlier that evening, when the radio announcer said that
Kennedy would not call off his blockade of Cuba even at the risk of
nuclear war, Ayn had said, “Good!” Privately I wondered whether she
had also said “Good” in connection with the break in our relations.
Perhaps she merely reflected with regret that the years of her efforts
on my behalf had been largely wasted.

At any rate, that night was the last time I ever saw her.
 
But I heard her once after that. In the late summer of 1968, not long
before the Big Break, Nathan phoned me in California and said “I want
to put you on the line to someone.” The conversation with Ayn was very
brief. “I understand that you are presenting my philosophy to your
classes,” she said. I replied that I was—I considered Ayn’s views in
several of my courses, without thereby implying that I did so with
total agreement. She seemed gratified, and wondered how I was, and
then turned the telephone back to Nathan.
 
I thought of her endlessly during the years. Her enthusiasm for ideas,
her intensity, her unfailing bluntness and those piercing eyes—the
image of these things was never far away from me, especially when I
assigned some of her essays in my classes and discussed them with
students point by point. But I never regretted that I had not been
enveloped further in the web of intellectually stifling allegiances
and entanglements, the route I had seen so many of her disciples go.
In the next few years, as her non-fiction essays appeared, I read them
avidly and made many notes and comments in the margins—points to raise
with her, questions to ask her. But of course I never got to ask them.
And then, almost fifteen years after my expulsion, I heard on the
radio that she had died. I felt, even after all these years, a
devastating sense of loss. It was hard to stay in control during my
talk at the memorial service for her in Barnsdall Park in Los Angeles.
How often, on visiting New York, I had almost stopped at her apartment
building. No, I thought, her friendships are broken but her enmities
last. It wouldn’t be any good. And surely she had treated me pretty
shabbily. But I thought of her, up there in that apartment, without
Frank now, and I wanted to be mesmerized by those piercing eyes once
again, and have another all-night discussion as in the old days.
I never got up the courage to take that step. It would probably have
been useless.  The occasion is past, and the past is gone forever.
That, I thought to myself with a certain grim irony, is at least one
necessary proposition to which she would have given her assent.

Here is a portion of Hospers’ June 2, 1994 letter to me: 

You don’t just throw these statements at an audience and then (without explaining the first ones) go on to throw others. It’s like hurling huge gobs of undigested food around. One would have to go thru each one separately, asking for its presuppositions and hidden assumptions, showing how the argument has shifted, and so on. Most preachers don’t go in for this even know this (never having taken a course in valid REASONING). So they just on pontificating. I feel sorry for the audience, their victims.

BELOW is from a sermon by Adrian Rogers that was included on the cassette tape I sent to DR. JOHN HOSPERS: 

There are not only the historical facts that indicate that the Bible is the Word of God but also there are the scientific facts of the Bible!!!!

There a medical book that has been discovered that goes all the way back at least to 1,552 B.C. It’s called the papyrus Ebers. And that is a compendium, a gathering together of the medical knowledge of ancient Egypt. Ancient Egypt had the dominant position of medicine in the ancient world. And what the ancient Egyptians were able to do is astounding and incredible. And people are still trying to figure out such things as how they embalmed the dead and did certain procedures and so forth. But, in this medical book, there are also some ludicrous things that you read. I’ll give you some of the prescriptions in the papyrus Ebers.

For example, to prevent your hair from turning gray, you anoint it with the blood of a black cat which has been boiled in oil, or with the fat of a rattlesnake. Now, here is a prescription if your hair’s falling out. One remedy is to apply a mixture of 6(?) fats, including those of the snake and the ibex (wild goat). I think I’ll try that! Here’s another prescription. If you have a splinter that’s embedded, you take worm’s blood and donkey’s dung and you put it on that splinter. Can you imagine the tetanus spores and bacteria that would be in donkey’s dung? Other drugs that they used were lizard’s blood, swine’s teeth, rotten meat, moisture from pig’s ears, donkey’s hooves, even excretion from animals.

Now listen. I want you to understand, dear friend. This was written by the sophisticated and learned ancient Egyptians. Now, put on top of that the fact that Moses studied in the University of Egypt. Did you know the Bible says that Moses was trained in all the knowledge of the Egyptians? (Acts 7:22). He had the best education that money could buy because his adopted granddaddy was the Pharaoh of Egypt!

Aren’t you glad that when you read the book of Genesis or Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy, and so forth, you don’t read anything about lizard’s blood and donkey’s dung, and all of this kind of stuff as being these cures? Listen, when you read the books of Moses in the Bible, and you read the sanitary code and the dietary code, you’re going to find one of the highest levels of scientific knowledge that you’ll find even to this day. And you’ll not find one medical misconception in Moses’ writings. As a matter of fact, Moses says things that are incredible, like, “The life of the flesh is in the blood” (Lev. 17:11, 14). How did Moses know that this blood is a red river of life? Holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit. The dietary laws excluded such things as pig meat, catfish and shrimp. They taste great, but they raise your cholesterol and have other harmful effects.

In the 14th century the Black Plague was the greatest human disaster that’s ever come. An estimated 60 million people died in the Black Plague in Europe. But let me tell you what brought the Black Plague to a close. It was the Church, and not the doctors. In desperation those leaders in the Church began to read the Word of God. They read Leviticus 13:46, and it spoke of someone who had a plague. And it says, “All the days wherein the plague shall be in him, he shall be defiled. He is unclean. He shall dwell alone outside the camp.” That’s the principle that we use today when we put people in an isolation ward. But friend, they didn’t understand germs. You couldn’t have said, “He has a germ.” They’d say, “What?” They couldn’t say, “He has a virus.” They didn’t understand something that was invisible to the eye. But God taught these people so long ago that principle of isolation and quarantining, and putting that into practice saved millions of lives.

How can I know the Bible is the Word of God? by Adrian Rogers

________________________

 

____

Is the Bible historically accurate? Here are some of the posts I have done in the past on the subject: 1. The Babylonian Chronicleof Nebuchadnezzars Siege of Jerusalem2. Hezekiah’s Siloam Tunnel Inscription. 3. Taylor Prism (Sennacherib Hexagonal Prism)4. Biblical Cities Attested Archaeologically. 5. The Discovery of the Hittites6.Shishak Smiting His Captives7. Moabite Stone8Black Obelisk of Shalmaneser III9A Verification of places in Gospel of John and Book of Acts., 9B Discovery of Ebla Tablets10. Cyrus Cylinder11. Puru “The lot of Yahali” 9th Century B.C.E.12. The Uzziah Tablet Inscription13. The Pilate Inscription14. Caiaphas Ossuary14 B Pontius Pilate Part 214c. Three greatest American Archaeologists moved to accept Bible’s accuracy through archaeology.

 The Bible and Archaeology – Is the Bible from God? (Kyle Butt)

______________________

During the 1990′s I actually made it a practice to write famous atheists and scientists that were mentioned by Adrian Rogers and Francis Schaeffer and challenge them with the evidence for the Bible’s historicity and the claims of the gospel. Usually I would send them a cassette tape of Adrian Rogers’ messages “6 reasons I know the Bible is True,” “The Final Judgement,” “Who is Jesus?” and the message by Bill Elliff, “How to get a pure heart.”  I would also send them printed material from the works of Francis Schaeffer and a personal apologetic letter from me addressing some of the issues in their work. My second cassette tape that I sent to both Antony Flew and George Wald was Adrian Rogers’ sermon on evolution and here below you can watch that very sermon on You Tube.   Carl Sagan also took time to correspond with me about a year before he died. 

(Francis Schaeffer pictured below)

Image result for francis schaeffer

Adrian Rogers pictured below

I have posted on Adrian Rogers’ messages on Evolution before but here is a complete message on it.

Evolution: Fact of Fiction? By Adrian Rogers

__

__________

Featured artist is Frank Stella 

Frank Stella: A Retrospective

 

Image result for frank stella art

Frank Stella

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Frank Stella
Born Frank Philip Stella
May 12, 1936 (age 80)
Malden, Massachusetts
Nationality American
Known for Painting, Printmaking, Sculpture, Architecture
Movement Modernism, Minimal art, Abstract expressionism, Geometric abstraction, Abstract Illusionism, Lyrical abstraction, Hard-edge painting, Shaped canvas painting, Color field painting
Awards 1984 Harvard University Charles Eliot Norton lectures

Frank Philip Stella (born May 12, 1936) is an American painter and printmaker, noted for his work in the areas of minimalism and post-painterly abstraction. Stella lives and works in New York.

Biography[edit]

Frank Stella was born in Malden, Massachusetts,[1] to parents of Italian descent. His father was a gynecologist, and his mother was an artistically inclined housewife who attended fashion school and later took up landscape painting.[2]

After attending high school at Phillips Academy in Andover, Massachusetts, where he learned about abstract modernists Josef Albers and Hans Hofmann,[3] he attended Princeton University, where he majored in history and met Darby Bannard and Michael Fried. Early visits to New York art galleries fostered his artistic development, and his work was influenced by the abstract expressionism of Jackson Pollock and Franz Kline. Stella moved to New York in 1958, after his graduation. He is one of the most well-regarded postwar American painters still working today.[citation needed] He is heralded for creating abstract paintings that bear no pictorial illusions or psychological or metaphysical references in twentieth-century painting.[4]

As of 2015, Stella lives in Greenwich Village and keeps an office there but commutes on weekdays to his studio in Rock Tavern, New York.[2]

Work[edit]

Late 1950s and early 1960s[edit]

Upon moving to New York City, he reacted against the expressive use of paint by most painters of the abstract expressionist movement, instead finding himself drawn towards the “flatter” surfaces of Barnett Newman‘s work and the “target” paintings of Jasper Johns. He began to produce works which emphasized the picture-as-object, rather than the picture as a representation of something, be it something in the physical world, or something in the artist’s emotional world. Stella married Barbara Rose, later a well-known art critic, in 1961. Around this time he said that a picture was “a flat surface with paint on it – nothing more”. This was a departure from the technique of creating a painting by first making a sketch. Many of the works are created by simply using the path of the brush stroke, very often using common house paint.

This new aesthetic found expression in a series of new paintings, the Black Paintings (59) in which regular bands of black paint were separated by very thin pinstripes of unpainted canvas. Die Fahne Hoch! (1959) is one such painting. It takes its name (“The Raised Banner” in English) from the first line of the Horst-Wessel-Lied, the anthem of the National Socialist German Workers Party, and Stella pointed out that it is in the same proportions as banners used by that organization. It has been suggested that the title has a double meaning, referring also to Jasper Johns’ paintings of flags. In any case, its emotional coolness belies the contentiousness its title might suggest, reflecting this new direction in Stella’s work. Stella’s art was recognized for its innovations before he was twenty-five. In 1959, several of his paintings were included in “Three Young Americans” at the Allen Memorial Art Museum at Oberlin College, as well as in “Sixteen Americans” at the Museum of Modern Art in New York (60).

From 1960 Stella began to produce paintings in aluminium and copper paint which, in their presentation of regular lines of color separated by pinstripes, are similar to his black paintings. However they use a wider range of colors, and are his first works using shaped canvases (canvases in a shape other than the traditional rectangle or square), often being in L, N, U or T-shapes. These later developed into more elaborate designs, in the Irregular Polygon series (67), for example.

Also in the 1960s, Stella began to use a wider range of colors, typically arranged in straight or curved lines. Later he began his Protractor Series (71) of paintings, in which arcs, sometimes overlapping, within square borders are arranged side-by-side to produce full and half circles painted in rings of concentric color. These paintings are named after circular cities he had visited while in the Middle East earlier in the 1960s. The Irregular Polygon canvases and Protractor series further extended the concept of the shaped canvas.

Late 1960s and early 1970s[edit]

Frank Stella Harran II 1967

Stella began his extended engagement with printmaking in the mid-1960s, working first with master printer Kenneth Tyler at Gemini G.E.L. Stella produced a series of prints during the late 1960s starting with a print called Quathlamba I in 1968. Stella’s abstract prints used lithography, screenprinting, etching and offset lithography.

In 1967, he designed the set and costumes for Scramble, a dance piece by Merce Cunningham. The Museum of Modern Art in New York presented a retrospective of Stella’s work in 1970, making him the youngest artist to receive one.[citation needed] During the following decade, Stella introduced relief into his art, which he came to call “maximalist” painting for its sculptural qualities. The shaped canvases took on even less regular forms in the Eccentric Polygon series, and elements of collage were introduced, pieces of canvas being pasted onto plywood, for example. His work also became more three-dimensional to the point where he started producing large, free-standing metal pieces, which, although they are painted upon, might well be considered sculpture. After introducing wood and other materials in the Polish Village series (73), created in high relief, he began to use aluminum as the primary support for his paintings. As the 1970s and 1980s progressed, these became more elaborate and exuberant. Indeed, his earlier Minimalism [more] became baroque, marked by curving forms, Day-Glo colors, and scrawled brushstrokes. Similarly, his prints of these decades combined various printmaking and drawing techniques. In 1973, he had a print studio installed in his New York house. In 1976, Stella was commissioned by BMW to paint a BMW 3.0 CSL for the second installment in the BMW Art Car Project. He has said of this project, “The starting point for the art cars was racing livery. In the old days there used to be a tradition of identifying a car with its country by color. Now they get a number and they get advertising. It’s a paint job, one way or another. The idea for mine was that it’s from a drawing on graph paper. The graph paper is what it is, a graph, but when it’s morphed over the car’s forms it becomes interesting, and adapting the drawing to the racing car’s forms is interesting. Theoretically it’s like painting on a shaped canvas.”[citation needed]

In 1969, Stella was commissioned to create a logo for the Metropolitan Museum of Art Centennial. Medals incorporating the design were struck to mark the occasion.[5]

1980s and afterward[edit]

Frank Stella La scienza della pigrizia (The Science of Laziness), 1984, oil paint, enamel paint, and alkyd paint on canvas, etched magnesium, aluminum and fiberglass, National Gallery of Art, Washington DC

Stella’s Memantra, 2005, Metropolitan Museum of Art

From the mid-1980s to the mid-1990s, Stella created a large body of work that responded in a general way to Herman Melville’s Moby-Dick.[6] During this time, the increasingly deep relief of Stella’s paintings gave way to full three-dimensionality, with sculptural forms derived from cones, pillars, French curves, waves, and decorative architectural elements. To create these works, the artist used collages or maquettes that were then enlarged and re-created with the aids of assistants, industrial metal cutters, and digital technologies.[6] La scienza della pigrizia (The Science of Laziness), from 1984, is an example of Stella’s transition from two-dimensionality to three-dimensionality. It is fabricated from oil paint, enamel paint, and alkyd paint on canvas, etched magnesium, aluminum and fiberglass.

In the 1990s, Stella began making free-standing sculpture for public spaces and developing architectural projects. In 1993, for example, he created the entire decorative scheme for Toronto’s Princess of Wales Theatre, which includes a 10,000-square-foot mural. His 1993 proposal for a Kunsthalle and garden in Dresden did not come to fruition. In 1997, he painted and oversaw the installation of the 5,000-square-foot “Stella Project” which serves as the centerpiece of the theater and lobby of the Moores Opera House located at the Rebecca and John J. Moores School of Music on the campus of the University of Houston, in Houston, TX.[7][8] His aluminum bandshell, inspired by a folding hat from Brazil, was built in downtown Miami in 2001; a monumental Stella sculpture was installed outside the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C.

Stella’s wall-hung Scarlatti K Series was triggered by the harpsichord sonatas of Domenico Scarlatti and the writings of the U.S. 20th-century harpsichord virtuoso and musicologist Ralph Kirkpatrick, who made the sonatas widely known. (The title’s “K” refers to Kirkpatrick’s chronology numbers.) Scarlatti wrote more than 500 keyboard sonatas; Stella’s series today includes about 150 works.[9]

From 1978 to 2005, Stella owned the Van Tassell and Kearney Horse Auction Mart building in Manhattan’s East Village and used it as his studio. His nearly 30-year stewardship of the building resulted in the facade being cleaned and restored.[10] After a six-year campaign by the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation, in 2012 the historic building was designated a New York City Landmark.[11] After 2005, Stella split his time between his West Village apartment and his Newburgh, New York studio.[12]

Artists’ rights[edit]

Stella had been an advocate of strong copyright protection for artists such as himself. On June 6, 2008, Stella (with Artists Rights Society president Theodore Feder; Stella is a member artist of the Artists Rights Society[13]) published an Op-Ed for The Art Newspaper decrying a proposed U.S. Orphan Works law which “remove[s] the penalty for copyright infringement if the creator of a work, after a diligent search, cannot be located.”

In the Op-Ed, Stella wrote,

The Copyright Office presumes that the infringers it would let off the hook would be those who had made a “good faith, reasonably diligent” search for the copyright holder. Unfortunately, it is totally up to the infringer to decide if he has made a good faith search. Bad faith can be shown only if a rights holder finds out about the infringement and then goes to federal court to determine whether the infringer has failed to conduct an adequate search. Few artists can afford the costs of federal litigation: attorneys’ fees in our country vastly exceed the licensing fee for a typical painting or drawing.

The Copyright Office proposal would have a disproportionately negative, even catastrophic, impact on the ability of painters and illustrators to make a living from selling copies of their work… It is deeply troubling that government should be considering taking away their principal means of making ends meet—their copyrights.[14]

Exhibitions[edit]

Stella’s work was included in several important exhibitions that defined 1960s art[citation needed], among them the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum’s The Shaped Canvas (1965) and Systemic Painting (1966). The Museum of Modern Art in New York presented a retrospective of Stella’s work in 1970.[6] His art has since been the subject of several retrospectives in the United States, Europe, and Japan. In 2012, a retrospective of Stella’s career was shown at the Kunstmuseum Wolfsburg (de).[15]

Collections[edit]

Stella’s work is included in major international collections, including the Menil Collection, Houston; the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington, D.C.; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; National Gallery of Art; the Toledo Museum of Art and the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; the Portland Art Museum, Oregon; The Hunter Museum, Chattanooga, TN. In 2014, Stella gave his sculpture Adjoeman (2004) as a long-term loan to Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles.[16]

Recognition[edit]

Among the many honors he has received was an invitation from Harvard University to give the Charles Eliot Norton Lectures in 1984. Calling for a rejuvenation of abstraction by achieving the depth of baroque painting,[17] these six talks were published by Harvard University Press in 1986 under the title Working Space.[18]

In 2009, Frank Stella was awarded the National Medal of Arts by President Barack Obama.[19] In 2011, he received the Lifetime Achievement Award in Contemporary Sculpture by the International Sculpture Center. In 1996 he received an honorary Doctorate from the University of Jena in Jena, Germany, where his large sculptures of the “Hudson River Valley Series” are on permanent display, becoming the second artist to receive this honorary degree after Auguste Rodin in 1906.[20]

Art market[edit]

Stella joined dealer Leo Castelli’s roster of artists in 1959. Since 2014, he has been represented worldwide in an exclusive arrangement shared by Dominique Lévy Gallery and Marianne Boesky.[21][22]

Gallery[edit]

Interviews[edit]

  • Heti, Sheila (November–December 2008). “‘I’m All in Favor of the Shifty Artist'”. The Believer. 6 (9): 40–46.
  • De Antonio, Emile (director), Painters Painting: The New York Art Scene: 1940-1970, 1973. Arthouse films

References[edit]

  1. Jump up^ “Frank Stella Biography, Art, and Analysis of Works”. The Art Story. Retrieved 2012-05-25.
  2. ^ Jump up to:a b Deborah Solomon (September 7, 2015), The Whitney Taps Frank Stella for an Inaugural Retrospective at Its New HomeNew York Times.
  3. Jump up^ Peter Schjeldahl (November 9, 2015), “Big Ideas: a Frank Stella Retrospective”, The New Yorker
  4. Jump up^ Birmingham Museum of Art (2010). Birmingham Museum of Art : guide to the collection. [Birmingham, Ala]: Birmingham Museum of Art. p. 236. ISBN 978-1-904832-77-5.
  5. Jump up^ Finding aid for the George Trescher records related to The Metropolitan Museum of Art Centennial, 1949, 1960-1971 (bulk 1967-1970). The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Retrieved 8 August 2014.
  6. ^ Jump up to:a b c Frank Stella Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York.
  7. Jump up^ About the Stella Project in the Moores Opera House
  8. Jump up^ “Home”. Music.uh.edu. 2012-04-25. Retrieved 2012-05-25.
  9. Jump up^ Karen Wilkin (June 23, 2011), Complementary AbstractionistsWall Street Journal.
  10. Jump up^ 128 East 13th Street [1] Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation.
  11. Jump up^ “Van Tassell & Kearney Auction Mart Designation Report”(PDF). New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission. Retrieved 1 October 2014.
  12. Jump up^ Sightlines: Frank Stella Wall Street Journal, March 15, 2010.
  13. Jump up^ Artists Rights Society’s List of Most Frequently Requested Artists Archived July 2, 2015, at the Wayback Machine.
  14. Jump up^ Frank Stella, “The proposed new law is a nightmare for artists,” Archived October 7, 2008, at the Wayback Machine. The Art Newspaper, June 6, 2008.
  15. Jump up^ Rhodes, David (November 2012). “Frank Stella: The Retrospective, Works 1958-2012”. The Brooklyn Rail.
  16. Jump up^ Deborah Vankin (July 7, 2014), Abstract Frank Stella sculpture ‘Adjoeman’ joins Cedars-Sinai artworks Los Angeles Times.
  17. Jump up^ John Russell (March 18, 1984), Frank Stella at Harvard – The Artist as Lecturer New York Times.
  18. Jump up^ Frank Stella, Working Space (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1986), ISBN 0-674-95961-2. Listing at Harvard University Press website.
  19. Jump up^ White House Announces 2009 National Medal of Arts Recipients
  20. Jump up^ Frank Stella in Jena
  21. Jump up^ Carol Vogel (March 20, 2014), Seasonal Changes New York Times.
  22. Jump up^ Lévy, Dominique. “Artists”. Dominique Lévy Gallery. Retrieved 14 April 2015.

More references

External links[edit]

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Something about television brings out the nostalgist in Woody Allen (well, y’know, even more than usual), and understandably – it’s a medium inextricably tied to his own early days. He got his start as a staff writer for The Colgate Comedy Hour, Sid Caesar specials, and sitcoms like The Gary Moore Show; in his stand-up and early (comic) filmmaking days, he was a fixture on Jack Paar, Ed Sullivan, Dick Cavett, and Merv Griffin’s shows, and even had a couple of prime-time specials. But after his Nixon-baiting Men of Crisis: The Harvey Wallinger Story was yanked from PBS, he swore off the medium, and mostly stuck to his guns. His last major television project was a 1994 TV movie adaptation of his hit ‘60s play Don’t Drink the Water, in which he was now old enough to play the harried patriarch confounded by his times. [13]

-Woody Allen’s six-episode miniseries for Amazon, “Crisis in Six Scenes,” which runs just less than two and a half hours in total, is, in effect, his “American Pastoral.” Like Philip Roth’s 1997 novel, it’s a vision (a comedic one, where Roth’s is tragic) of a liberal suburban household, in the late nineteen-sixties, that’s thrown into turmoil by a young woman who commits an act of political terrorism. It has the virtues and the faults of Allen’s later films—which is to say that his ideas come to the fore in sharp focus, sketched with clear and decisive lines, but sometimes the sketchiness detaches them from the context of lived experience and turns them merely assertive and hermetic. [1]

-In “Crisis,” Allen writes himself back, in current form, into an time in which he was actually already anachronistic. Allen made his great breakthrough, with “Annie Hall,” not at the beginning of an era but at its end. He was already older than forty; he had twenty years of show biz behind him, and his nineteen-sixties weren’t an age of protest and activism but of trying to establish himself, tooth and nail, as the filmmaker that he had decided to become. “Crisis in Six Scenes” starkly conveys the wistful—yet not regretful—sense that his sixties were secondhand and spectatorial. [1]

-Above all, however, the core of the series is the secondhand experience not of the sixties as action but of the sixties as political rhetoric. It isn’t only Alan and Kay who are transformed by Lennie’s presence. Kay also delivers the political literature to the members of her book club, mainly elderly women, who become comically enthusiastic acolytes of violent revolution, spouting Mao’s aphorisms and eagerly, if obliviously, anticipating bloodshed. [1]

-This readiness of many people to fall for the virtuous-sounding but hollow, reckless, dangerous, and destructive rhetoric of dictatorial revolutionaries is the very through-line of the series. [1]

-Allen presents his Sid as the one sane man who, despite—or rather, because of—his neurotic inhibitions and practical artistic ambitions and ideals, remains invulnerable to such flights of grandiose and vapid thinking. As a portrait of the sixties, this relentless satire of revolutionary action serves to justify the course of Allen’s own ideas and activity, even as he hints at admiration for the fervor and daring of the revolutionaries themselves [1]

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