Ayn Rand

Nisam već godinama valjda iskoristio priliku da pišem o knjigama i zbilja mi je žao zbog toga, s jedne strane nešto manje čitam nego ranije i više toga su neke stručne knjige o vrlo specifičnim temama za koje i nema previše publike (a da budem iskren, nemam baš namjeru podijeliti sa svim zainteresiranim koje točno knjige čitam i zašto :).

Prije nekoliko mjeseci na Nenadovu sugestiju počeo sam čitati dvije knjige Rusko-Američke spisateljice Ayn Rand. Ayn je 1926. emigrirala u Ameriku i bavila se kao scenarist i pisac djela koja su se izvodila i na Broadwayu, no njezina dva najznačajnija djela su svakako Fountainhead i Atlas Shrugged. Te dvije knjige su u biti baza za njezinu filozofsku ili možda čak ideološku doktrinu koja je nazvana Objektivizam.

Fountainhead je objavljen 1943. godine i bavi se talentiranim New yorškim arhitektom Howard Roarkom i njegovim usponima i padovima i problemima koje talentirani ljudi imaju u svijetu kojime upravljaju mediokriteti.

Atlas Shrugged je objavljen četrnaest godina kasnije 1957. i govori o društvu kojem upravlja birokracija u sustavu koji dobrim dijelom počiva na konceptima komunizma/socijalizma i koje kroz svoj sustav redistribucije dobara uništava zdravo tkivo zemlje.

Ne bih vam prepričavao knjige jer su knjige sjajne i vrijede svake sekunde koje su utrošenje u njihovo čitanje. Mogu slobodno reći da se već godinama nisam toliko zapalio za neku knjigu kao za ove dvije i makar su ogromne (čitam na Kindleu pa ne znam koliko bi imale stranica u paperbacku ali vjerujem da zajedno imaju oko dvije tisuće stranica paperbacka). Fountainhead u svom centru ima pojedinca Howarda Roarka, dok je u centru Atlasa cijelo društvo – no obje knjige se u svojoj osnovi bave istom tematikom i kroz beletristiku u biti dobijate uvid u filozofiju objektivizma koju pokušava (i velikimd ijelom uspješno brani) Ayn Rand.

Objektivizam kako sam ga ja doživio se u biti može nazvati i radikalnim neoliberalizmom, jer Ayn Rand polazi od premise kako se država mora brinuti za svoje manjine, a najmanja pojedinačna manjina je pojedinac, a pojedincu je sve dopušteno dok time ne ugrožava drugog pojedinca. Ona s gađenjem odbacuje ideju altruizma i u biti smatra da pojedinac najveću dobrobit društvu pruža samo ako doživi svoj puni potencijal a do kojeg dolazi slobodnom trgovinom s drugim pojedincima (dakle odnosom između pojedinaca koji se bazira na zajedničkoj koristi).

Istovremeno, u knjigama govori o problemima koje nadareni pojedinci imaju da bi ostvarili svoje potencijale, a koji su zapriječeni ili različitim društvenim skupinama (gatekeeperima) koji ograničavaju ili se aktivno bore protiv napretka, promjena ili unošenja nove kvalitete; dok u Atlasu promatramo to isto s pozicije društva i parazitske strukture mediokriteta koji su našli za shodno da reguliraju i preusmjeravaju društvene i ekonomske tokove po načelima koji nisu bazirani na ekonomiji uspjeha ili zajedničkoj koristi svih strana koje su uključene u transakciju. Priča je u pojedinim elementima dovedena do totalnih ekstrema i u biti karikature tako da u dijelovima morate napeti maštu da dopustite da pojedini zapleti ili iznesene ideje ostanu u domeni realnog.

Kako god bilo, ove dvije knjige morate pročitati jer makar se ne složili sa svime iznesenime te dvije knjige su kao prvo sjajna beletristika i sama ta činjenice su više nego dobra isprika za čitanje. Mimo toga, pogled na pojedinca i društvo je po meni sjajan i primjerice razina identifikacije s nekim mojim stavovima je bila nevjerojatno visoka, a istovremeno promatrajući njezine opise društva i odluka se donose i na kakav način daju dodatno paralelu vremenu (ali i lokaciji) u kojem živimo iako je od objave te dvije knjige prošlo više od pedeset godina.

Teme kojima se bave ove dvije knjige možda jesu dobrim dijelom apstraktne i dugo sam se vremena i sam opirao razmišljanju o tim stvarima jer se smatram više praktičnom osobom kojoj treba nabaciti problem ne bi li ga krenuo rješavati. Ayn Rand se bavi time što je to pojedinac, što je uloga države, puno vremena provodi govoreći i argumentirajući individualizam, slobodu mišljenja, slobodu i zaštitu privatne imovine i naravno o slobodi poduzetništva. Ako to prebacite na ovu našu situaciju (a paralela ima koliko god hoćete) onda na ovaj ili onaj način morate doći do toga da za konstrukciju vrijednosnog sustava na kojem funkcionirate kao osoba morate odabrati neke temelje, koji god oni bili – i to je trenutak u kojem morate prijeći u domenu filozofije; morate odrediti sebe i načela na kojem funkcionirate ali morate definirati i odnos sebe kao pojedinca u odnosu na društvo (i posljedični državu) i tu Ayn Rand i njezine dvije knjige mogu puno pomoći pa makar se i ne složili s nekim idejama, vrijednosnim sudovima ili konceptima za koje se ona zalaže.

Dakle; žestoka preporuka i za domaću zadaću svakako pročitati Fountainhead i Atlas Shrugged.

Evo i nekoliko sjajnih citata:

  • I swear by my life, and my love of it, that I will never live for the sake of another man, nor ask another man to live for mine.
  • In any compromise between food and poison, it is only death that can win. In any compromise between good and evil, it is only evil that can profit.
  • Money demands that you sell, not your weakness to men’s stupidity, but your talent to their reason.
  • I refuse to accept as guilt the fact of my own existence.
  • “If you saw Atlas, the giant who holds the world on his shoulders, if you saw that he stood, blood running down his chest, his knees buckling, his arms trembling but still trying to hold the world aloft with the last of his strength, and the greater his effort the heavier the world bore down on his shoulders—what would you tell him to do?” ” To Shrug.”
  • “Parties are intended to be celebrations, and celebrations should be only for those who have something to celebrate”.
  • One can’t love man without hating most of the creatures who pretend to bear his name.
  • I am a man who does not exist for others.
  • I have come here to say that I do not recognize anyone’s right to one minute of my life…. It had to be said. The world is perishing from an orgy of self-sacrificing.
  • I can accept anything, except what seems to be the easiest for most people: the half-way, the almost, the just-about, the in-between.
  • There is no such thing as duty. If you know that a thing is right, you want to do it. If you don’t want to do it—it isn’t right. If it’s right and you don’t want to do it—you don’t know what right is and you’re not a man.
  • A gun is not an argument.
  • Every government interference in the economy consists of giving an unearned benefit, extorted by force, to some men at the expense of others.
  • Remember also that the smallest minority on earth is the individual. Those who deny individual rights, cannot claim to be defenders of minorities.
  • When a man declares: “There are no blacks and whites [in morality]” he is making a psychological confession, and what he means is: “I am unwilling to be wholly good—and please don’t regard me as wholly evil!”
  • A genius is a genius, regardless of the number of morons who belong to the same race—and a moron is a moron, regardless of the number of geniuses who share his racial origin.
  • Pity for the guilty is treason to the innocent.
  • Amazon Kindle 2

    Nije neka osobita tajna da sam veliki ljubitelj knjiga (niti da na njih trošim više nego što je to možda zdravo). Nažalost, ritam mi je takav da u posljednje vrijeme i nemam baš vremena čitati koliko bih htio, tako da je vrijeme za čitanje u stvari vrijeme koje provodim po kojekakvim čekaonicama (obično aerodromima, hotelima i sličnim tranzitnim lokacijama). No, problem s putovanjima je između ostalog i to što u ruksaku kojeg nosim uvijek uza sebe spremam notebook, kameru i dokumente (te silne punjače i žice koje omogućavaju spajanje svega sa svačime) i onda knjige ako ih bude zauzmu jednu solidnu količinu prostora (ali i težine) pa su ponekad nespretne, osobto ako je riječ o višednevnom putovanju koje akumulira ne samo knjige koje sam ponio sa sobom nego i one koja sam u međuvremenu pokupio u nekom od gore spomenutih aerodromskih dućana punih lake literature.

    Kindle 2 de Amazon

    Naravno, pratim ja i tehnologiju pa mi je nedavno zapao za oko Amazonov Kindle 2, a nakon što je Jakob Nielsen napisao kako je upravo Kindle prvi device koji omogućava brzinu čitanja istovjetnu onoj kod čitanja obične papirnate knjige pala je i odluka o nabavci. Naravno, nije sve tako jednostavno. Amazon Kindle je predviđen samo za američko tržište pa je prvo trebalo pronaći žrtvu koja će mi donijeti Kindle do Hrvatske (što i nije bilo tako teško), a potom je trebalo istražiti kako kupovati knjige za njega.

    Naime, Amazon po serijskom broju kreditne kartice prepozna da je riječ o našoj kartici i ne dopušta kupovinu. Objektivno, najlakše rješenje je imati američku kreditnu ili debitnu karticu (što je proces koji sam odlučio pokrenuti čisto fore radi) što se može napraviti u nekim bankama i bez da budete fizički prisutni u americi. Na kraju je prevladala druga opcija i svojevrsni “hack” koji možda neće dugo trajati, a koji se svodi na to da odete na amazon, kupite poklon bon s elektronskom isporukom samome sebi, napravite redeem kupona i slobodno kupujete koliko god želite.

    Amazon nudi kindle management pa je pops knjiga koje ste kupili lagano pretraživati a knjige za nas koji nismo u dometu ugrađenog wirelessa možemo uploadati putem USBa kojeg ujedno koristite i za punjenje uređaja. Baterija traje doslovno tjednima i ja sam pročitao pune tri knjige dok nisam morao dopuniti bateriju.

    Kindle je zabavan i zato jer ga možete držati jednom rukom, čak je djelomično i lakši od knjige jer knjige često imaju tendenciju same se zatvarati a ovdje tog problema nema. Također, ako hodate u nekome redu (primjerice čekajući aerodromski security što je na nekim aerodromima postupak koji traje i po sat vremena) super je što next page tipku imate na obje strane uređaja tako da možete sve obaviti jednom rukom (ergonomija korištenja je fakat dobra, nešto slično bberryu). Veličina slova se može podešavati a ima i opcija da vam čita tekst na slušalice što je doista dobra fora (koju imam namjeru iskoristiti u autu umjesto audio CDa).

    Čitanje je doista istovjetno čitanju s papira neke paperback knjige, monitor tj. epapir ne reflektira svjetlost poput ogledala i nekih notebooka i bez problema ga možete čitati na suncu budući da nema backlight. Možda će se nekima učiniti da je kontrast između pozadine i boje premaleni ali meni je i više nego dovoljan i totalno usporediv paperbacku.

    Ukratko, Kindle je super uređaj i baš sam zadovoljan ovom nabavkom, isporuka knjiga je trenutna i osim razlike u cijeni knjige i kindle izdanja, mi ovdje ćemo uštediti i pravo malo bogatstvo samo na troškovima transporta (i živcima izgubljenim u čekanju).

    Kao osoba koja je pročitala tisuće knjiga i koja je prva bila skeptična oko toga “ali nije to prava knjga” i “nikada neki uređaj neće dati osjećaj čitanja” moram reći da me kindle u cijelosti razuvjerio.

    Misao dana:
    Books may well be the only true magic.

    Bulwer Lytton natječaj 2008 rezultati

    Odavno pratim Bulwer Lytton natječaj (vidi rezultate 2007 i 2006). Ukratko radi se o natječaju koji pokušava pronaći najbolje početne rečenice u izmišljenim novelama, a sve po uzoru na početnu rečenicu Bulwer Lyttonove knige “Paul Clifford” koja je započela slijedećom rečenicom:

    “It was a dark and stormy night; the rain fell in torrents–except at occasional intervals, when it was checked by a violent gust of wind which swept up the streets (for it is in London that our scene lies), rattling along the housetops, and fiercely agitating the scanty flame of the lamps that struggled against the darkness.”

    A upravu tu rečenicu je godinama kopirao Snoopy u svojim stripovima koji su koristili “Bila je mračna i olujna noć…”.

    Ovogodišnji pobjednici se nalaze ovdje, a ja vam donosim nekoliko zanimljivijih (svaka rečenica je novi kandidat):

    “Die, commie pigs!” grunted Sergeant “Rocky” Steele through his cigar stub as he machine-gunned the North Korean farm animals.

    Mike Hummer had been a private detective so long he could remember Preparation A, his hair reminded everyone of a rat who’d bitten into an electrical cord, but he could still run faster than greased owl snot when he was on a bad guy’s trail, and they said his friskings were a lot like getting a vasectomy at Sears.

    Bill swore the affair had ended, but Louise knew he was lying, after discovering Tupperware containers under the seat of his car, which were not the off-brand containers that she bought to save money, but authentic, burpable, lidded Tupperware; and she knew he would see that woman again, because unlike the flimsy, fake containers that should always be recycled responsibly, real Tupperware must be returned to its rightful owner.

    Like a mechanic who forgets to wipe his hands on a shop rag and then goes home, hugs his wife, and gets a grease stain on her favorite sweater – love touches you, and marks you forever.

    Nobody knew just who the steely-eyed stranger was, where he came from, where he was headed, or what his intentions were while he was in Dodge City; but he wasn’t an hombre you’d want to stick your tongue out at or flip off, and any man who tried to tickle him would be asking for a long stay in a pine box, if you know what I mean.

    It was a dark and stormy night, except when the lightning flashed, because then it wasn’t dark; it sort of turned the windows into a giant disco ball for a moment, but eventually the thunder and lightning stopped and it settled down to a steady light rain, so then it really was dark, but it would probably be a stretch to call it stormy.

    Vrijedi spomenuti da postoji i jedan drugi natječaj koji se zove Lyttle Lytton, koji također traži uvodne rečenice ali moraju biti nešto kraće:

    Sophi broke down in tears, like a diesel car that had run out of petrol.

    This story is a murder mystery — the mystery of a murder.

    Tears are permanent when you tattoo them to your face.

    With the backbreaking work of the Gold Rush came massage techniques from across the globe.

    More

    Odoh ja u Kopenhagen na nekoliko dana, a u međuvremenu bacite pogled na slijedeći vrlo tužan filmić o sreći.

    http://youtube.com/watch?v=uKf-rNdyfaI

    Misao dana:
    EXTREMELY SERIOUS WARNING
    Unless you are as smart as Johann Karl Friedrich Gauss, savvy as a half-blind Calcutta bootblack, tough as General William Tecumseh Sherman, rich as the Queen of England, emotionally resilient as a Red Sox fan, and as generally able to take care of yourself as the average nuclear missile submarine commander, you should never have been allowed near this document. Please dispose of it as you would any piece of high-level radioactive waste and then arrange with a qualified surgeon to amputate your arms at the elbows and gouge your eyes from their sockets. This warning is necessary because once, a hundred years ago, a little old lady in Kentucky put a hundred dollars into a dry goods company which went belly-up and only returned her ninety-nine dollars. Ever since then the government has been on our asses. If you ignore this warning, read on at your peril — you are dead certain to lose everything you’ve got and live out your final decades beating back waves of termites in a Mississippi Delta leper colony.
    Still reading? Great. Now that we’ve scared off the lightweights, let’s get down to business.

    Bulwer Lyton 2007

    Da se bacimo na malo neozbiljnije teme od politike i ekonomije. Negdje početkom srpnja završen je ovogodišnji krug Bulwer Lyton natječaja (o kojem sam pisao u srpnju 2006 godine).

    Pa eto nekoliko odabranih citata:

    Pobjednik Bulwer Lyton 2007:

    Gerald began–but was interrupted by a piercing whistle which cost him ten percent of his hearing permanently, as it did everyone else in a ten-mile radius of the eruption, not that it mattered much because for them “permanently” meant the next ten minutes or so until buried by searing lava or suffocated by choking ash–to pee.

    Grand Panjandrumnagrada (štogod to bilo):

    LaVerne was undeniably underdressed for this frigid weather; her black, rain-soaked tank top offered no protection and seemed to cling to her torso out of sheer rage, while her tie-dyed boa scarf hung lifeless around her neck like a giant, exhausted, pipe cleaner recently discarded after near-criminal overuse by an obviously sadistic (and rather flamboyant) plumber.

    Adventure (nečasno spomenuti natjecatelj):

    Agent 53986262.9 was strapped precariously to a giant Chinese firework, the fuse slowly shortening like a noodle getting slurped into someone’s pursed lips, and although he knew he was running out of time and still had no plan for escape, all he could think of was the song about the Muffin Man and how the word “polyurethane” made it sound like the material was made out of multiple urethras.

    Dječja litaratura (nečasno spomenuti natjecatelj):

    Out of a hole in the ground popped a bunny rabbit which had a long thick orange carrot between its teeth and a big splotch of mud on its back that had dried into a dirt clump the size of a tumor.

    Roza proza:

    Professor Radzinsky wove his fingers together in a tweed-like fabric, pinched his lips together like a blowfish, and began his lecture on simile and metaphor, which are, like, similar to one another, except that similes are almost always preceded by the word ‘like’ while metaphors are more like words that make you think of something else beside what you are describing.

    Roza proza (nečasno spomenuti natjecatelj):

    Marilyn’s main feature was her mountainous breasts, with an associated sharp ravine of cleavage–the breasts not awesome like Everest, but like one of the Highland peaks near Balquhidder, where the notorious outlaw Rob Roy spent his last days.

    Znanstvena fantastika:

    What a pity Dave was too young to have seen “2001: A Space Odyssey,” for he might have been able to predict what would happen next, when the ape standing next to the big black slab picked up the tapir bone.

    Zločesti štosevi (vile puns u originalu, nečasno spomenuti natjecatelji):

    Upon discovering that his chief executioner Dr. Szekely had been secretly releasing prisoners, Vlad the Impaler ordered him to be skewered on one of the good doctor’s own fiendish spears, when suddenly, not recognizing the type of wood that was slowly advancing through the screaming victim, the nutty Romanian ruler quipped “What’s up doc?”

    Nečasno spomenuti natjecatelj (ostalo):

    It was a dark and stormy night, although according to meteorologists since the lightning density on the satellite imagery for the area was only about 0.5 strikes per square mile, it wasn’t stormy, and according to members of the American Society of Cinematographers because the lights from the city reflected off the clouds and created about 13 lumens of light, it didn’t really fit the technical definition of dark.