Maeterlinck’s Monna Vanna, set in Italy during the Renaissance, has a timeless theme: Romantic love ennobles the human soul. One rises in love. But how can one recognize true love? What price is worth paying for it? What risk is worth taking for it? This talk will consider the play’s special qualities, salient virtues, and significant history, including its role in Ayn Rand’s life and work.
This talk shows that there are several attributes of literary heroism: the promotion of life-affirming values, the depth of virtue(s) manifested, the power of antagonists faced, and the hero’s degree of prowess. When we deploy such criteria and compare and contrast Howard Roark to some of literature’s other great heroes-for example, Odysseus, Cyrano, Doctor Stockmann, and Shane-where do we find he stands in the pantheon of literary heroism? This talk examines and answers this question.
On a Pedestal: Sport as an Arena for Admiration
This talk explores the value of admiration in the realm of sports. At a time when much in the world around us seems distinctly un-admirable, spotlighting athletes’ achievements offers a refreshing antidote. Even those who aren’t sports fans can gain a deeper appreciation of how admiration itself is a value and can contribute to the admirer’s own flourishing. We explore how the sight of an achievement (as Ayn Rand observed) is, indeed, a glorious thing.
This talk was recorded live in Newport Beach, California, at Objectivist Summer Conference 2018.