Tag Archives: heroism

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Ayn Rand’s Heroic Life – Article by Jeffrey A. Tucker

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Categories: Education, Philosophy, Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

The New Renaissance HatJeffrey A. Tucker
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I first encountered Ayn Rand through her nonfiction. This was when I was a junior in high school, and I’m pretty sure it was my first big encounter with big ideas. It changed me. Like millions of others who read her, I developed a consciousness that what I thought – the ideas I held in my mind – mattered for what kind of life I would live. And it mattered for everyone else too; the kind of world we live in is an extension of what we believe about what life can mean.

People today argue over her legacy and influence – taking apart the finer points of her ethics, metaphysics, epistemology. This is all fine but it can be a distraction from her larger message about the moral integrity and creative capacity of the individual human mind. In so many ways, it was this vision that gave the postwar freedom movement what it needed most: a driving moral passion to win. This, more than any technical achievements in economic theory or didactic rightness over public-policy solutions, is what gave the movement the will to overcome the odds.

Often I hear people offer a caveat about Rand. Her works are good. Her life, not so good. Probably this impression comes from public curiosity about various personal foibles and issues that became the subject of gossip, as well as the extreme factionalism that afflicted the movement she inspired.

This is far too narrow a view. In fact, she lived a remarkably heroic life. Had she acquiesced to the life fate seemed to have chosen for her, she would have died young, poor, and forgotten. Instead, she had the determination to live free. She left Russia, immigrated to the United States, made her way to Hollywood, and worked and worked until she built a real career. This one woman – with no advantages and plenty of disadvantages – on her own became one of the most influential minds of this twentieth century.

So, yes, her life deserves to be known and celebrated. Few of us today face anything like the barriers she faced. She overcame them and achieved greatness. Let her inspire you too.

Kudos to the Atlas Society for this video:

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Review of “The Transhumanist Wager” by Zoltan Istvan – Article by Kyrel Zantonavitch

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Categories: Fiction, Philosophy, Transhumanism, Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

The New Renaissance Hat
Kyrel Zantonavitch
August 20, 2014
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The Transhumanist Wager by Zoltan Istvan is available on Amazon in paperback and Kindle formats.

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This is the best novel I’ve read in over 30 years! I don’t ever expect to see its like again. Fascinating, amazing, and shocking to the point of numbness.

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It’s rather comparable to Atlas Shrugged — the earth-shaking epic and classic by Ayn Rand from 1957. It has Atlas Shrugged’s magisterial story sweep and stunning philosophical ambition. It has Rand’s quasi-god-like heroism too. And like the other novel, Zoltan Istvan’s book is looking to mercilessly conquer the world.

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Let’s hope!

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Mr. Istvan’s thunderous 300-page saga, The Transhumanist Wager, is a truly remarkable novel of ideas. It’s unique. It has no peers or rivals. And it’s completely unexpected and unprecedented.

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Like Atlas Shrugged, it offers many formidable intellectual challenges. One or two of these I’ve yet to work out. Like Rand’s lengthy magnum opus, The Transhumanist Wager is mesmerizingly philosophically bold and rich. And like Atlas, it’s rather repetitive in introducing these dynamic, new ideas to a silently dumbfounded world. But at least you clearly know where each novelist-philosopher stands on the issues, and what controversial and ferocious thing they each have to teach us.

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I find this to be an unapologetically extreme and revolutionary book. A true tour de force and deep-thinking book which comes at all of us from out of the blue. If you don’t read it, you’re fatuously and tragically missing out. Wager is a historical game-changer, and likely to spark a new era in mankind’s evolution. Humans will never be the same.

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It seems a shame and crime to give away virtually anything in the plot, so I’ll keep it very light. The hero of the story seeks a truly astounding level of personal growth and, simultaneously, human evolutionary ascent. He effectively threatens to dethrone Zeus himself. Whether Jethro Knights — the alter ego of Zoltan Istvan – actually achieves this is something the high-intelligence, high-virtue reader will have to find out for himself.

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This book is jaw-droppingly ambitious and powerful. It’s also massively persuasive. The novel is filled with energy, zealotry, ferocity, honesty, courage, and heedless impetuosity. A visionary and fundamentalist book of gigantic and fearless integrity which is almost utterly loyal to its own monumental and yet somewhat narrow beliefs. But make no mistake: these ideas and beliefs are world-rocking.

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Ultimately, Mr. Istvan is a slightly but significantly limited philosopher. He’s not an Objectivist, and isn’t that familiar with Ayn Rand’s intellectual beliefs and theories, evidently. Still, I consider Zoltan Istvan to be an immensely powerful neoliberal thinker and a formidable cultural warrior. He fights for the Good Guys; and he aims to capture a great deal of the future. Amazingly, Mr. Istvan may have come to these ultra-high-level theories and points of view without having had much help from today’s leading neoliberals: the economic Austrians, the political libertarians, and the philosophical Objectivists. Maybe Zoltan Istvan just used his own exceptionally high virtue and Herculean fearlessness to derive his “transhumanist” philosophy from the classics of human literature and intellectualism, especially the Greeks, Romans, Renaissance, and Enlightenment thinkers. Astonishing, if true!

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And yet…Mr. Istvan isn’t that strong a neoliberal. He, his hero, and this novel don’t entirely believe in the epistemology of reason, the ethics of individualism, and the politics of liberty.

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Still, what a dynamo and hero this Zoltan character is! What a vivacious, ferocious, and catastrophic cultural warrior! Mr. Istvan is a one-man wrecking crew of contemporary culture and evidently a magnificent being of immense and singular stature. Or at least his alter ego in the story is.

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Altho’ the ideas inside somewhat overwhelm it, The Transhumanist Wager is a genuine novel which tells a dramatic, wonderous, and wide-ranging tale. The plot is exciting, involving, and enthralling. The characters are generally believable, often archetypal, and sometimes indelible. This is a heroic epic which transverses the entire planet and overwhelmingly impacts all of mankind.

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I also found this book to be a hugely enjoyable, winding, and suspenseful yarn. It’s great fun to read, and even more fun to think about.

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Overall I consider Zoltan Istvan’s The Transhumanist Wager to be outstanding as a novel, and even better as a book of theoretical and practical philosophy, regarding the shooting-star ascent of man, and our soon-to-be superhuman future.

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Kyrel Zantonavitch is the founder of The Liberal Institute  (http://www.liberalinstitute.com/) and a writer for Rebirth of Reason (http://www.rebirthofreason.com). He can be contacted at zantonavitch@gmail.com.