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Atlas Shrugged - Week 3: Ch 5&6

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Primeperiwinkle

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Lilian is a very smart person, but I think this is probably her dumbest move in her entire life. Trade her husband's extremely thoughtful, one-of-a-kind gift for a diamond bracelet, which she most likely has plenty, and to do so in public? Seriously, no matter how undesirable someone's gift is, you're obligated to at least show some form of appreciation - keep it at home if you really don't value it, but don't throw it away like that. She'll likely regret her actions later.

Henry must have disliked her wife even more after this. I know I would if someone close to me do this. She has pushed him further away (despite wanting and trying hard to connect with him) and made a fool of herself.
I HATED Lillian in that chapter but Dagny doing this was not appropriate, at all. Hank is Lillian’s guy not Dagny’s. You can’t be having a girl pissing match over a married man! Sheesh.

If he hasn’t had the cajones to deal with Lillian’s twisty cold meanness in eight years what makes you think he’s gonna magically change now? He made his bed.. now he’s gotta lie in it, alone.
 

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Fun stuff. Sorry I missed it yesterday.

I really like Fransisco's dad. Bringing him up to understand the world. Bringing him up as a producer. The education thing was a bit much, but I applaud Fransisco for respecting his dad, the head of the empire, the patriarch. I really liked that he felt he had to earn his good name.

I can relate to his frustrated side. He has an understanding of the world that is not necessarily hard for him to explain, but it is hard for others to understand.

I agree with his reasoning for letting the mines be a total letdown. I agree with punishing the Mexican government and imprudent followers. An interesting notion to say the least. He is making a statement. He and his efforts are not here for YOU. He is NOT your errand boy and he does NOT work for anyone, but himself.

Some may say it was a swindle. I say it is a man at his wits end with society and their collective expectations of him and other people like him. He lost money. He didn't steal. He simply entered an imprudent investment and people followed.

This reminds me of people following Warren Buffett into every investment he makes. What if he one day got pissed off and just bought something idiotic? The dumb money would be so pissed at him.

As far as Hank's family and family friends... Yikes. It is hard to feel sorry for him though because it was his choice. I still do. Although, being a family man and a world class businessman are not mutually exclusive. Maybe if he had chosen better, he would excell at both.

I understand what it can be like in a social situation among people I have no respect for or anything in common with. Not really wanting to socialize. Those people may even call me an introvert. Obviously those from the forum that know me know that isn't the case among like minded people.

We all know those social circles where everyone talks over each other and nobody listens. I sit quietly or just leave depending on obligation. I don't interrupt stupid, they don't listen anyway. My favorite thing to say and it always makes me the villian... "Oh, I am sorry... Did I interrupt the beginning of your sentance with the middle of mine?"

The equalization act or whatever it is called parallels to today where they are regulating in the name of freedom. And regulating in the name of equality. The end result being neither freedom nor equality.
 
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Uuugh. Grrrrrr. That's my honest reaction so far. Words do not even begin...

I am still sorting all this out. I'm just going to give random thoughts right now.

I think it was @Primeperiwinkle who said Ayn Rand is reflecting mud. Yeah, I needed a shower for my heart when I read these chapters. I'm going to start reading more detached.:playful:

Thank God for Francisco. The only enjoyment I got these two chapters was from him. I am not looking forward to the rest of this book. ( :thumbsup:to Banderas. But taller I think.)

Of course there's a Viking. I believe he knows Francisco and there's a connection between them in bringing down the world. (Of course they went to the same school). Maybe also to Atlantis, because who knows the sea better than a pirate. How does Francisco know about Galt? Because of Ragnar.

The slap. Her reaction. Just pouring gas on the fire. Smh.

Where is Dagny's pontificating on the nature of parties headed?

Francisco did ask Dagny to leave TT. She wouldn't. So he left her. You can't bring down a company your wife works at. Maybe Francisco doesn't look good for his part in this, but she made her choices too. She picked a side.

But that’s what love is right? It’s deciding to do stuff together.
No. Its not.

If that's what love is, the Reardons have love.

It is hard to feel sorry for him though because it was his choice. I still do. Although, being a family man and a world class businessman are not mutually exclusive. Maybe if he had chosen better, he would excell at both.
Exactly. Well said. This part of the book is hitting way too close to home for me.

Why did Francisco harm TT? Why would he want to hurt Hank?
images.jpeg

Unlike the joker, I'm sure there is a method to Francisco's madness.

---------

To wrap up:

I found this line fascinating:

To me, there’s only one form of human depravity—the man without a purpose.

Your thoughts?

And this:

They have a weapon against you. It’s their only weapon, but it’s a terrible one. Ask yourself what it is, some time.

What is the weapon? I have a feeling I am not going to like the answer...
 
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That is revealed later in the book.
Of COURSE it is! And he’s read it so he knows, duh. He’s asking so that WE will think about it. That’s the discussion part of a book discussion.
 
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You guys are reading this book 100x better than I did my first time around :rofl:
Stick with me dude! I’m in a group on fb that just started Catcher in the Rye and the drama has already begun! Rofl
 
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As far as Hank's family and family friends... Yikes. It is hard to feel sorry for him though because it was his choice. I still do.
That’s nice of you but it’s been eight years. He’s had plenty of time to go to therapy.
Fun stuff. Sorry I missed it yesterday.
You’re here now and it makes us happy! We saved you a chair - it’s a very fancy chair.
Why did Francisco harm TT? Why would he want to hurt Hank?
The love of his life is intrinsically connected to one of the biggest and most corrupt businesses .. and she doesn’t see it. At all. Sigh.

Hank is easily used. He’s a fragile man who can’t work out his own emotions and he’s really really good at making cool stuff.

They have a weapon against you. It’s their only weapon, but it’s a terrible one. Ask yourself what it is, some time.
This is from the convo between Francisco and Hank correct?
 
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Francisco did ask Dagny to leave TT. She wouldn't. So he left her. You can't bring down a company your wife works at.
Exactly. But it’s more than just working at TT.. Dagny is the heart and soul of the place.. it’s part of her identity.

Where is Dagny's pontificating on the nature of parties headed?
I think that’s just Rand being annoyed with fake rich ppl.

No. Its not.

If that's what love is, the Reardons have love.
Q: What do they do together? Serious question.
A: Nothing. They have no commonalities.

My point is that love is a commitment to another person to share communication, activities, emotions and life while aiming for the same goal.
The slap. Her reaction. Just pouring gas on the fire. Smh.
I’m pretty sure Rand has a little bdsm tendencies because Rearden mentions wanting to slap somebody later too.
 

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I was falling behind, as I was only halfway through Chapter 3 today. Picked up the pace and got caught back up fully. If anyone else finds themself in the same boat at some point, just do it.

I was enthralled by Chapter 5. Really enjoyed learning the history of d'Anconio and Dagny. Chapter 6? It was a drag. Dagny-d'Anconio is rather lackluster compared to the history they had growing up. Rearden was such a bore in this chapter that it makes Jim Taggart look good. The best parts of Chapter 6 were when d'Anconio was involved, and perhaps Dagny swapping her bracelet with Lillian.
 

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I was falling behind, as I was only halfway through Chapter 3 today. Picked up the pace and got caught back up fully. If anyone else finds themself in the same boat at some point, just do it.
I was in that boat this morning. Which brings me to...

Why is that?
Keep in mind I had just finished reading the chapters.

It was tough. 7 times I read things that made me take a hard look... At me. And I recognize the truth from the perspective of the writer/character, but I do not agree with it for myself. Ok, I'm not making sense.

This is "supposed" to be a book about finance, economics, liberty, business, government theory, etc. I did not expect to see parts of me or my actions or my past in these pages, nor was I prepared to judge those so harshly.

I wanted to intellectualize these pages, not emote my way through a discussion. If this book can do that in chapter 5/6 what am I in for here?

So that's why I said it. It was a best instant reaction to what I had read.

That said I have hours of distance. The finest in literature exposes our selves to new ideas or experiences, so that we may grow. I just didn't like how this one did it. I'll be better prepared now that I've seen it happen.

Only 2 other books have had this kind of surprise negative effect on me where I was invested and beating myself up metaphysically through the book. Zen And The Art Of Motorcycle Maintenance, which I read when I was 20 and Catcher In The Rye which I read at 15.

Because of course that book got brought up in here. That's just the kind of day it's been. :party::rofl:

That’s nice of you but it’s been eight years. He’s had plenty of time to go to therapy.
Hank has an issue of honor. Therapy won't help. He can't make his wife love him without sacrificing (changing) who he is. He won't do that and he won't leave. He is making do while living his code.

Fragile? I didn't get that here.

He is deciding to stay, but ok, that isn't love... to be continued.

The love of his life is intrinsically connected to one of the biggest and most corrupt businesses .. and she doesn’t see it. At all. Sigh.
He didn't choose to stay together and share. Love of his life?

Exactly. But it’s more than just working at TT.. Dagny is the heart and soul of the place.. it’s part of her identity.
You're right. Ok, so wild theory time. What if Francisco asked her to leave with him to make it easier to destroy the place? (Cue dramatic music)

Ok I doubt it, but...

This is from the convo between Francisco and Hank correct?
Yes. Fransisco says Hank's family has a weapon against him.

Does anyone who hasn't read ahead know what the weapon is?

I’m pretty sure Rand has a little bdsm tendencies because Rearden mentions wanting to slap somebody later too.
I actually got that vibe from the scene in childhood when James is teasing Dagny about why she hasn't shined Francisco's shoes. "Because he hasn't asked me."

My point is that love is a commitment to another person to share communication, activities, emotions and life while aiming for the same goal.
See comments above. You're contradicting yourself.

I think you described a partnership. Love is what comes before that.

But I'm not sure why I'm pointing this out, because I get your point and I'm discussing semantics again. So I'm going to skip ahead to the part where I admit I have only ever heard one definition of love I can't argue with. And I won't pull the pin on that grenade here.

Here are others that I've heard and feel come debatably close to the mark.

Love is the recognition of yourself in another.
Love is the recognition of the Divine in another.

I don't know how I got on this tangent, but I gotta jump off this train.

Someone say something libertarian. Or wrong. I need to pick a fight.

Oh, I know! @csalvato I made up my mind. You definitely did beg the question. Oh yes you did. :rofl: ;)

Chapter 6? It was a drag. Dagny-d'Anconio is rather lackluster compared to the history they had growing up.
See, I really enjoyed Francisco at work and at play at that party. Smug Francisco is the best Francisco.

Maybe I get my grade A schemer in this book after all! (Stupid James... :rage:)

--------

Also, I hate the philosophers at the party. Their words just grated on me, like they didn't understand the meaning of the word philosophy.

Lastly, what's the deal with the professor? That kind of went over my head.
 

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“It is against the sin of forgiveness that I wanted to warn you.”

I think that’s the weapon he can’t stand against. Hank stands on his own pride to know who he is. If he was pitied he would crumple.

“Rearden could accept any form of reproach, abuse, damnation anyone chose to throw at him: the only human reaction which he would not accept was pity.”

Pitied as someone who is torturously alone. Pitied because his own mother shows him no respect. Pitied as a man who has worked to create an empire but can’t understand his own wife.

But I don’t know which way Rand is gonna take the story..

She’s braiding her themes well. I have a feeling she wants to whip us all with them though. Sigh. Rand is the one who can’t take pity I’d bet. This book is a knifes edge of pride and lust w/ just enough truth to cut a vein.

I know TT is going to fall but Rand has made Dagny the heroine. And now we’re seeing Francisco as this god-like character orchestrating things. It’s like, why add in a mysterious Superman? He’s the force of justice on all the characters but he can’t save Dagny, yet.

And yes, she’s absolutely the love of his life. Men like that don’t weep in agony, held in the arms of their beloved, a hairsbreadth away from begging for no reason.
 
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If she is a hero, will she be a tragic hero? And, if so, what is her tragic flaw that will bring her down?
This is a really good question. I have no idea about the answer.
 

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For those who are reading this for the first time.
  • Do you think there are any similarities to what we see in society today?
  • Do you see any of yourself in the characters? If so, who?
  • Has the book changed anything about how you look at the world?
For any of my questions, I'm not suggesting you must agree with I'm just wondering. It's been said for some this book completely changed their view of the world.

When I first read it (about only 7 years ago), it wasn't a completely ah-ha moment but did help put some pieces together in my thoughts.
 

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Guys. Nobody’s discussing Francisco’s Dad or his education.

Or the slap.

Or the Viking guy.

Are y’all huddled up reading the next chapters already? Come on.. say it ain’t so.
Been a bit busy and just finished chapters 5 & 6 yesterday. I think I see where this story is going now.

Francisco is trying to bring down all the remaining productive companies not because he's some useless playboy or he's doing it for fun. But rather because his goal is to crush all the parasitic people like James Taggert and all those people at that party.

Think about it. At this point the only reason those people are still able to thrive is bacuse they're leeching off the success of others who work hard. Like Dagney and Rearden. Same with the governments of various countries. The peoples state of Mexico for example was hoping to get themselves out of their situation not through hard work, but through taking Francisco's resources as well as the Taggert railways built down there. And apparently other states are like that with all the People's states of whatever overseas.
 
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  • Do you think there are any similarities to what we see in society today?
  • Do you see any of yourself in the characters? If so, who?
  • Has the book changed anything about how you look at the world?
No to all of the above.

Sorry? I just don’t identify with any of these characters, yet. I’m starting to feel a bit bad because it’s a powerfully written book and has obviously impacted many people but so far.. it’s not hitting me too deep. I love Dagny but I wouldn’t say I see myself in her at all. I’m just really enjoying the writing style.
 

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Surely you must see some similarities? ;)
Ok a bit, lol. I don’t usually pay attention to financial politics though. I’m too worried about the moral decline.
 

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Ok a bit, lol. I don’t usually pay attention to financial politics though. I’m too worried about the moral decline.
I’d argue that punitively taxing/stealing from society’s most productive people is about as morally reprehensible as it gets.

The people being targeted as a political platform do more for this country than they are ever given credit for. I suspect we’ll find out in this book that the morality and well being of the people declines with the increase in regulations like the anti dog eat dog rule and the nationalization of the San Sebastián mines.
 
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I’d argue that punitively taxing/stealing from society’s most productive people is about as morally reprehensible as it gets.
There are people in my city fighting in the court to begin chemically castrating a seven year old boy so that he can live as a girl.

Abortion has killed more people than every war ever fought, combined.

Sex trafficking, child slavery.. the list goes on. The reason I don’t pay attention to politics is because it’s all awful.

Anyhoo.. I don’t want to get into a debate about what the worst evil is.

I think the more important question that could be asked at this point in the book is do we want to be like any of these characters?

Do I want to be like Dagny? Or Rearden? Or D’Ancinio or any of them?
 

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There are people in my city fighting in the court to begin chemically castrating a seven year old boy so that he can live as a girl.

Abortion has killed more people than every war ever fought, combined.

Sex trafficking, child slavery.. the list goes on. The reason I don’t pay attention to politics is because it’s all awful.

Anyhoo.. I don’t want to get into a debate about what the worst evil is.

I think the more important question that could be asked at this point in the book is do we want to be like any of these characters?

Do I want to be like Dagny? Or Rearden? Or D’Ancinio or any of them?
I want to be Ragnar Danneskjöld. 272e66be16674f99ecdd13fb763e97a1.jpg
 

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I think the more important question that could be asked at this point in the book is do we want to be like any of these characters?

Do I want to be like Dagny? Or Rearden? Or D’Ancinio or any of them?
I personally think that's the wrong question/frame.

These characters are so off to an extreme that they are all impossible to personify fully in real life.

I believe a better question is around their values (no surprises here, since I went on a rant about values in the last thread).

What do they value? What does it cause their extreme, hyperbolic personality to do? What impact does that value have on this fictional world? What can I learn about myself and the real world from that?

The reason I don’t pay attention to politics is because it’s all awful.
I believe the counterpoint here is that such policies are not simply politics; its deeply moral.

People live and die by these political and economic decisions.

For example:
  1. The ability for Bill Gates to do his philanthropic work which is saving hundreds of millions (billions?) of lives is impacted by economic policy.
  2. The ability for abortion centers to operate is dictated by the same underlying philosophy of liberty that impacts economic policy.
  3. The ability for a 7 year old to choose and modify their gender is dictated by the same underlying rules of freedom/liberty that impact economic policy.
In other words, it's all connected. In some ways indirectly (e.g. applying the philosophy to one place necessitates it be applied elsewhere); in other ways it's very direct where economic policy hinders people from affecting maximal good or enables people to cause harm on a mass scale.
 
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I don’t have the mental energy tonight to peel apart what you just said but it’s interesting that you’d rather take a 3000 foot view of values while lumping together significant issues under the heading of “These are all political” while I want to be up close and personal and see which character aligns with my personal values most.
 

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it’s interesting that you’d rather take a 3000 foot view of values while lumping together significant issues under the heading of “These are all political” while I want to be up close and personal and see which character aligns with my personal values most.
My apologies, I think you’re misreading me.

I’m not intending to say “These are all political”. I intend to say, “This is much deeper than being just political.”

I am also not discouraging you from identifying with a character; I think you will just have a hard time doing that (as you’ve already stated), since these characters are so unrealistically hyperbolic and archetypal.

EDIT to add: I found myself also unable to identify with any single character, yet all of them at once.
 
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I’m not intending to say “These are all political”. I intend to say, “This is much deeper than being just political.”
I can’t for the life of me figure out why I misread you so often. I’ll try harder dude.. I think I saw your

I personally think that's the wrong question/frame.
And got frustrated maybe? You want me to dissect the characters values but frankly, I can’t. They’re not fully complete to me, yet. I only know such a very tiny bit about them.

Like for all that I do not sympathize with Reardens marriage woes I do think his invention is phenomenal. And for all I want Dagny to succeed because she’s so incredibly passionate - I think her focus is sad and deeply flawed.

I’m still learning them, I suppose.
 

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