Book Review: The Art Of Fiction by Ayn Rand | #SmartReads

ArtOfFiction
TheBreakaway | BreakawayConciousness
Zy Marquiez
June 20, 2017

Analogous to the Art Of NonFiction, the Art Of Fiction, by Ayn Rand details the core concepts of Rand’s writing repertoire, crystallized for all to see.

In the first half of the book Rand cogently creates very practical, and yet methodical approach that
narrows down on importance of the subconscious in writing, theme, plot and its development, climax, and characterization.  The latter half of the book focuses on style from a variety of angles, all from her objectivist point of view.

Throughout the book Rand speaks at length of the two types of writing that exist in her eyes: naturalist writing vs. romanticist writing.

Naturalistic style catalogues things, which often are inconsequential.  On the other hand, romanticist writing employs carefully selected concrete words in specificity to capture the essentials, what really matters, of a scene.

Rand juxtaposes the two, offering samples that precisely describe why in her mind one is superior to the other.  Moreover, after showing the reader the pros and cons of each style, Rand speaks at length about how to maximize writing while not overstating words.

Imperative as well is the importance of avoiding floating abstractions, choosing instead to gravitate towards making writing more concrete, more specific.  She also covers a few issues with style, for instance, narrative vs. dramatization, which was quite insightful.  Exposition is also covered, as well as flashbacks, transitions, and other notable points.

On the importance of style, Rand notes:

“What constitutes the heart of any style is the clarity of the thoughts a writer expresses – plus the kind of thoughts he choose to express.”[1]

Further:

“A good style is one that conveys the most with the greatest economy of words.  In a textbook, the ideal is to communicate one line of thought or a set of facts as clearly as possible.  For a literary style, much more is necessary.  A great literary style is one that combines five or more different meanings in one clear sentence.   (I do not mean ambiguity but the communication of different issues).”[2][Bold Emphasis Added]

More importantly, however, Rand elucidates on the importance of precision in writing:

“I never waste a sentence on saying: “John Smith meets James Brown.”  That is too easy; it is playing the piano with one finger.  Say much more, just as clearly, say it in chords, with a whole orchestration.  That is good style.”[3]

Anyone who has ever read any of Rand’s book knows that Rand’s novels function on multiple tiers, employing various layers of insights, just like a building features various floors that carry out different functions.  For instance, analyzing one of her passage from Atlas Shrugged, she points out how one passage had four purposes: a literary one, a connotative one, a symbolic level, and an emotional level.  The seamlessness of how Rand fuses multiple tiers of purpose is one of the many reasons Rand writing will always remain in the upper caste of the field/discipline.

Although not originally created to be a book, and was instead drawn from Rand’s prior lectures, this book impeccably allows readers to view writing through her unique eyes.  Likewise, the way in which Rand breaks down the purpose of every single thing she does is a breath of fresh air.  The tenets within this book will make readers ruminate upon a much more precise type of writing, one that functions on a deeper level.  Such profound depth and meaning is usually missing from most modern fiction books, which is a shame since much more could be achieved if people employed different skills.

The Art Of Nonfiction is a terrific read in its totality.  The book is a veritable treasure trove of insights.  Couple this book with such classics such as The Element Of Style by William Strunk Jr. and E.B. White, gather a bit of inspiration with The War Of Art by Steven Pressfield, and sprinkle a bit of The Art Of Description by Mark Doty, and one has the veritable seeds for success in writing.

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Footnotes:

[1] Ayn Rand, The Art Of Fiction, p. 142.
[2] Ibid., 143.
[3] Ibid., 143.
___________________________________________________________
If you find value in this information, please share it.  This article is free and open source.  All individuals have permission to republish this article under a Creative Commons license with attribution to Zy Marquiez and TheBreakaway.wordpress.com.
___________________________________________________________
About The Author:

Zy Marquiez is an avid book reviewer, inquirer, an open-minded skeptic, yogi, and freelance writer who studies and mirrors regularly subjects like Consciousness, Education, Creativity, The Individual, Ancient History & Ancient Civilizations, Forbidden Archaeology, Big Pharma, Alternative Health, Space, Geoengineering, Social Engineering, Propaganda, and much more.

His other blog, BreakawayConsciousnessBlog.wordpress.com features mainly his personal work, while TheBreakaway.wordpress.com serves as a media portal which mirrors vital information nigh always ignored by mainstream press, but still highly crucial to our individual understanding of various facets of the world.

May Book Haul 2017 | #SmartReads

MayBookHaul

TheBreakaway | BreakawayConciousness
Zy Marquiez
June 14, 2017

Though a busy and tiring month it sure was, there was still a lot of time to feed the old addiction in May.

And as addictions go, they need sustenance.  What follows are my chosen literary drugs of choice, with some new literary spices to add additional flavor.

The Art Of Non-Fiction by Ayn Rand

Having read two books by Rand, and having them offer much for rumination, I got The Art Of Non-Fiction to dig deeper into Rand’s process of writing.  Thankfully, book offered much to glean from, and it showed what Rand’s latitude and precision can accomplish in works of non-fiction.  A review of it can be read here.

Bradbury Stories – 100 Of His Most Celebrated Tales by Ray Bradbury

Short stories are not something I usually read, although have always held an interest in.  Having ruminated upon that, the work of Bradbury, which I had held in high esteem for some time, seemed like a great place to dive in.  I am only a handful of stories in, but the book is vintage Bradbury in bite-sized chunks.  It’s definitely a book that I will take my time reading given its colossal size.

Strange Candy by Laurell K. Hamilton

Along the same lines as the Bradbury book, this book is also features short stories.  The topics of this book are considerably different – being sci-fi, paranormal, and fantasy – but still hold great interest to me.

Maximum Achievement by Brian Tracy

This book is about maximizing efficiency.  Wanting to get more done on a daily basis, centering upon Maximum Achievement was a straight forward choice.  The book was excellent for my tastes; here is a review of it.        

Getting Things Done by David Allen

Following the notion of maximizing efficiency, this book followed the same previous thread.  That said, taking a look at the title, it’s easy to be skeptical considering many books make claims but do not deliver.  Thankfully, this book was worth the effort.   With that in mind, there are various editions of this book, and after doing some research, for my purposes the first edition of the book seemed best given it covers the nuts and bolts process.  Later editions change a bit, while also adding a lot of seemingly unnecessary information.  That’s merely what I learned from reading reviews.

What I can say for sure is that the first edition offered much purchase.  Some of it common sense, but quite easy overlook as well.  Since adding more efficiency to my daily routine is paramount, this book was another no-brainer.

As A Man Thinketh by James Allen

The work of James Allen was unknown to me up until a few weeks ago.  Synchronicity being what it is, ‘out of nowhere’ the book popped up in my radar and quickly seemed like something that I was meant to read, as uncanny as it sounds.  Fortuitously, Allen’s words are not only brilliant, but they are insightful, and even poetic in a way.  I have never read a writer like him.

The book focuses on mindset and the thoughts one harbors.  Although overlooked by some, a lot of evidence is beginning to show that whatever intention and thoughts people hold in their mind does have a conscious effect on our environment.  Books like The Biology Of Belief by Bruce Lipton Ph.D., Lynne McTaggart’s The Intention Experiment, The Field, as well as many other books cover components of this idea.

In any case, Allen merely espouses being a master of the self and of your thoughts.

A dash of his work follows:

“Every thought-seed sown or allowed to fall into the mind, and to take root there, produces its own, blossoming sooner or later in act, and bearing its own fruitage of opportunity and circumstance.  Good thoughts bear good fruit, bad thoughts bear bad fruits.”[1 ]

Most people including myself have seen this play out on a daily basis once my attention was focused precisely on it.

Beyond that, though, the work of the author was so sensible and mindful that I sought out more of his work.  However, before purchasing one of his other books, I luckily stumbled upon a book called Mind Is Master.  This book happens to be a collection of all of the works of the author and sure saves a lot of money if one was planning to buy all of his books.  That will be featured in next month’s book haul.

Star Wars Rebel Rising by Beth Revis

Being an avid fan of Sci-Fi and Star Wars, I bought this book wanting to examine where the franchise is going considering the considerable increase in Star Wars books over these last few years.  I have attempted starting it twice, and the second time got slowly into it, only to get bogged down early on.  This book just isn’t as engaging as the other ones.  I will read it, but after a few samplings I’m not holding my breath.  I hope I am wrong though!

The Art Of Description by Mark Doty

The Art Of Description popped up within one of my streams on social media, and having liked the blurb, I got one at AbeBooks.  It is short but engaging book, and having now read it I really enjoy and appreciated the author’s unique method of examining a wide array of descriptive examples.  A review for this book will soon follow.

Liberal Fascism by Jonah Goldberg

A few trusted friends suggested this book.  Given my penchant for wanting to know more about history, and fascism in particular (given its considerable increase over the years) this book seemed to be a great place to go to task.   Witnessing the evolving political climate over the last decade, the information in this book is becoming even more important for the future, which was also one of the leading reasons for wanting to research this further.

Fat For Fuel by Dr. Mercola

Fat For Fuel is a veritable treasure trove of information about health that’s written in a cogent and accessible manner, that also outlines the many benefits of healthy fats.  Its in-depth approach helps individuals come to terms with many of the myths that have been expounded by mainstream press and Big Pharma.  The book also offers some solutions for those with significant health problems such as cancer.  It really is a great book, and anyone with any type of disease should contemplate on reading it.  A review of this book can be seen here.

The Vanishing American Adult by Ben Sasse

This book is a dire warning of what the future holds. The author examines many of the causes that have increasingly brought about less capable younger generations than their forefathers.  Not only is there a decline in education, but self-sufficiency is nigh non-existent; the newer generation just isn’t as robust as prior ones.  That’s only the beginning, though.  There are many other disturbing considerations.  Thankfully, the author also ruminates upon some solutions as well.  A review of this book can be seen here.

The Virtue Of Selfishness by Ayn Rand

As a strong proponent of individuality, Ayn Rand stands unlike none other.  Rand was rather outspoken in her views of the Individual against the Collective that pushes conformity.  This book examines those circumstances and analyzes them from various viewpoints.  Only about a quarter of the way through the book, but it’s been vintage Rand as one would expect.

The Romantic Manifesto by Ayn Rand

In this particular piece Rand delves into what she believes are the key tenets of art and its role in life.  Having never read nor found anything of substance regarding this topic in Academia, I am hoping this book leaves much for rumination.   Haven’t had time to delve into it though.

Why I Write by George Orwell

This book has four parts, and only one held great interested me, which was Orwell’s insight into Politics and the English Language.  The others were useful, just not as intriguing.  The language part alone was worth the price, which wasn’t much.   Although the section wasn’t long, it was still great on substance, like one would expect from the father of DoubleThink.

Last Words by George Carlin & Tony Hendra

Throughout his life, George Carlin was known for his no-nonsense straight forward approach to various subjects.  This is one of the main reasons why I wanted to learn more about him, especially given that this approach in life is rarely seen, although it’s much needed.  A review of the book will be posted sometime in the future after having read the book.

Like last month, a handful of books were found at garage sales, which cost next to nothing.  This month also featured some rather fortuitous finds as I was able to find George R.R. Martin’s A Dance With Dragons and James Patterson’s Beach Road for mere pocket change.  There was another book, but that was commandeered by a friend.  What’s up with some people?  Sheesh.

All things considered, though the month had its fair share of obstacles, I was still able to have enough time to read quite a bit.  I am certainly looking forward to finishing these books.

In any case, how was the month for the rest of you?  Found anything intriguing and portentous lately?  Feel free to share any recommendations or insights below.  Be well!

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[1] James Allen, As A Man Thinketh, p 14.
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If you find value in this information, please share it.  This article is free and open source.  All individuals have permission to republish this article under a Creative Commons license with attribution to Zy Marquiez and TheBreakaway.wordpress.com.
___________________________________________________________
About The Author:

Zy Marquiez is an avid book reviewer, inquirer, an open-minded skeptic, yogi, and freelance writer who studies and mirrors regularly subjects like Consciousness, Education, Creativity, The Individual, Ancient History & Ancient Civilizations, Forbidden Archaeology, Big Pharma, Alternative Health, Space, Geoengineering, Social Engineering, Propaganda, and much more.

His other blog, BreakawayConsciousnessBlog.wordpress.com features mainly his personal work, while TheBreakaway.wordpress.com serves as a media portal which mirrors vital information nigh always ignored by mainstream press, but still highly crucial to our individual understanding of various facets of the world.

Book Review: The Art Of Nonfiction by Ayn Rand | #SmartReads

TheArtOfNonfiction
TheBreakaway | BreakawayConciousness
Zy Marquiez
May 19, 2017

Collated from prior presentations that Ayn Rand undertook, The Art Of Nonfiction is a straight forward foray into Rand’s considerations, techniques and process of writing nonfiction.

Written in a cogent and methodical fashion, some of the main points Rand addresses are (1) subject and theme, (2) creating an outline, (3) writing the draft, (4) editing, (5) style, which is addressed at length, and even (6) writing books as well.  The prior list is not exhaustive, but merely a sampling of the range of ideas Rand undertook.

While some of the rules Rand expounds upon could be seen as mechanical if acted upon rigidly, they need not be.  Writing is as much an art as it is a science; using the rules she suggests as guidelines will certainly help one’s writing in a sound manner, as long as one doesn’t fuse themselves to a mechanistic process.

Be that as it may, two of the main points which Rand stressed considerably were that of clarity, and the importance of an outline.  These are two parts of writing which all writers struggle with sooner or later, but they are also components that will net some of the greatest benefits if one executes them properly.

On the point of clarity, Rand elucidates:

“If you cannot write something down clearly and objectively, then you do not really know it.  Any vagueness or indecision on any fundamental aspect of your article will be disastrous.  That which you cannot name you know only approximately.”[2]

Translation: Know what you know, know what you don’t know, and be crystal clear and precise about it.

Along the same avenue, on the point of outlines, Rand states:

“The Outline’s level of detail depends on how clear the subject is in your mind, and how complex the article is.  I suggest the following test.  If in making an outline you feel vaguely that some point is difficult to formulate though you “kind of” know what you mean, then you need more detail.  On the other hand, if you begin to feel bored – if all you need are a few lines on some point but you are writing a volume – then you are being too detailed.  As in all mental activity, you are the only judge.”[2]

For a book whose information wasn’t meant to be part of a book at the outset, it flows seamlessly.  Given that The Art Of Nonfiction was collated from a set of oral lectures, the editing done by Robert Mayhew is extremely precise, and Rand’s thoughts are easy to follow.

For good measure, the book even includes selected outlines used by Ayn Rand in some of her articles.  This helps the reader view an outline through Rand’s eyes.  Though this section isn’t lengthy, the precision in execution is flawless and aids in the reader setting their crosshairs on what a correctly created outline format will look like.

In light of the breadth and scope of information provided in such a small package, The Art Of Nonfiction would be a mainstay in any nonfiction writer’s arsenal.  Incisive individuals who wish to apprise themselves of sound writing tips that will be guideposts for their writing endeavors would be wise learn the tenets in these books, for they are as important as they are timeless.

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Footnotes:

[1]  Ayn Rand, The Art of Nonfiction, p. 17.
[2] Ibid., pp. 44-45.
___________________________________________________________
This article is free and open source.  All individuals are encouraged to share this content and have permission to republish this article under a Creative Commons license with attribution to Zy Marquiez and TheBreakaway.wordpress.com.
___________________________________________________________

About The Author:

Zy Marquiez is an avid book reviewer, researcher, an open-minded skeptic, yogi, humanitarian, and freelance writer who studies and mirrors regularly subjects like Consciousness, Education, Creativity, The Individual, Ancient History & Ancient Civilizations, Forbidden Archaeology, Big Pharma, Alternative Health, Space, Geoengineering, Social Engineering, Propaganda, and much more.

His other blog, BreakawayConsciousnessBlog.wordpress.com features mainly his personal work, while TheBreakaway.wordpress.com serves as a media portal which mirrors vital information nigh always ignored by mainstream press, but still highly crucial to our individual understanding of various facets of the world.

April Book Haul 2017 | #SmartReads

BookHaulApril2017

TheBreakaway | BreakawayConciousness
Zy Marquiez
May 8, 2017

“You cannot open a book without learning something.”
– Confucius

“The mind, once stretched by a new idea, never returns to its original dimensions.”
– Ralph Waldo Emerson

Another month, another book haul.

What follows are this month’s pickings.  Being the bibliophile that I am, a couple of patterns will be quite evident, which thankfully led to some intriguing reads when time was available.  There were even some fortuitous garage sale finds which were a pleasant surprise.

All in all, it was a solid month of reading, although didn’t read as much as I would have liked due to unforeseen circumstances.  That said, life will be life, and books certainly help through the journey in myriad ways.

The Mindful Writer by Dinty Moore

Looking for a source of inspiration to summon the muse more often, The Mindful Writer seemed like a sure bet.

In similar footsteps to the War Of Art by Steven Pressfield where the author dabbles within aspects of the writer’, The Mindful Writer was even more inspiring then conceived at first blush.  Not only is the book a lightning quick read, but it also features a mindfulness approach that other books could feature but do not.

If you’re looking for a book that dabbles in quotes that are thought-provoking, employs writing that is purposeful and inspiring, while echoing the Zen point of view if mindfulness, you’ll definitely enjoy this book.

Magicians Of The Gods by Graham Hankcock

Graham Hancock has been researching Ancient Civilizations for a few decades, with his landmark piece Fingerprints of the Gods which is easily his magnum opus.  Magicians Of The Gods is the sequel to that touchstone of alternative history research of ancient civilizations.

Fingerprints Of The Gods was one of the first books I read about alternative history and it was as in-depth as it was thought-provoking.  It captivated me for various reasons, not the least of which was the author’s methodical and thorough research of verifiable sourced materials which broadened the alternative history perspective considerably.  Without a doubt, Hancock’s research set the bar high for the author’s future work, and because of that, Magicians of the Gods will be expected to deliver in similar sound fashion.

Although I haven’t had the time to read this book, really hope that over the next month or so I will be able to read it.  Either way, a review will promptly follow after the book has been thoroughly read.

Curiosity by Alberto Manguel

As an avid reader, and someone who has spoken about the importance of curiosity, finding out about this book was like a child finding a gift on X-mas morning.  That said, I actually have not read this book, but plan on within the next month.

Curiosity is one of those indispensable qualities that are important.  Unfortunately, this s also why modern public schooling seeks to stamp it out while they wish all to conform and make individuals manageable.

As award winning teacher and 30-year veteran of the public school system, John Taylor Gatto stated in the Weapons Of Mass Instruction, the true purpose of public schooling is simply to engineer division, conformity and control.  In fact, these are some of the reasons why Gatto quit teaching within the corrupt schooling system and began speaking at length about these pervasive issues.

For all those reasons, and more, I am really looking forward to reading this particular book.

The Library At Night by Alberto Manguel

Another great book authored by Manguel, this book was purchased having not only had a great respect for libraries, but also because libraries are one of those places where many unexpected and yet life changing circumstances took place.  To not get this book and read it would be a crime!

I can definitely say the book was everything expected and a bit more.  For what it’s worth, the review for this book just got published today.

A History Of Reading by Alberto Manguel

Wanting to do a little bit of research on the history of reading and books, this book felt like a natural place to begin that adventure.  Learning the author was a lover of books simply sealed the deal.  Now having read it, the book was definitely worth the time.

If you appreciate reading and books, you will love this book.  The review for this book was written a few weeks ago.

The Elements Of Style – Classic Edition by William Strunk Jr. Edited By Richard A De A’Morelli

Having read The Elements Of Style 4th Edition by William Strunk Jr. and E.B. White, this book seemed like a natural addition to avail myself of some writing tips.

Unfortunately, the book was a huge let down for reasons mentioned in this review.  Needless to say, although the book had some noteworthy points, it was a huge fell quite short from what was expected.

Origins Of The Sphinx by Robert M. Schoch Ph.D. & Robert Bauval

This is a truly scholarly dissertation into a more precise dating of the Sphinx that makes a lot more sense than the mainstream explanation.  In any case, Origins Of The Sphinx samples a wide array of data on a redating of the Sphinx – enough for the layman, and plenty still for the academic.

More can be read about this book in this review.

The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand

In one of his recent posts entitled Ayn Rand Reconsidered, Jon Rappoport from [JonRappoport.wordpress.com] spoke at length about Ayn Rand, her characters and her work in respect to Individuality.  This quickly became the impetus for me purchasing the book.

Since I respect Individuality a great deal, getting this book was a no-brainer.  Read the book right after receiving it, and it’s hands down one of my favorite fiction books without a doubt.  There really is no other book like it.  A review of it can be read here.

How To Win Friends & Influence People by Dale Carnegie [Miniature Edition]

Having read this book in college, thought it practical to get this brief synopsis of that work.

Curiously, the book’s size shocked most people even though it was stated as “miniature”.  There might have been some tampering with the description according to one reviser.  However, when I myself read the description it was stated as a Miniature Edition, and saw nothing wrong with it, especially since the book only cost $5.  I really wasn’t expecting much more than what arrived.  That said, I do understand some people having wanted a larger book however, so I can empathize with their plight.

Goddess Of The MarketAyn Rand & The American Right by Jennifer Burns

After reading The Fountainhead, I made it a point to seek out as much of Rand’s work as possible.  Although a lot of what she states I am still ruminating upon, regardless, I still very much appreciate her point of views, especially about individuality.

Whether I agree with her, or anyone else, matters not.  What matters is what I can learn from said individuals, and there’s much to learn from Ayn Rand.

Being able to gaze through the eyes an intellectual from decades ago is definitely something I intend to do more of, and thought it sensible to follow suit with more of Rand’s work.

On Writing Well by William Zinsser

Along the same lines as Elements of Style 4th Edition, On Writing Well is another salvo into my self-directed learning process about writing.  The book was worth every penny, and made me consider writing in ways I had not previously thought of.

Veterans of the craft will know many of the tenets, but for me, being a neophyte, it offered much for contemplation.

The Chicago Manual Of Style 15th Edition

Mirroring the above book, this book was purchased to serve as a reference for particulars rules about writing.

This is not in any way to make writing mechanical, but to makes sure some of the simple mistakes that can be glossed over are swept away from the page before they arrive at writer’s row.

The Art Of Fiction by Ayn Rand

Having thoroughly enjoyed Ayn Rand’s The Fountainhead, which is a veritable crashcourse on all things individuality, and having read nothing as meaningful in fiction from anyone else with such depth, The Art Of Fiction became a natural target for my curiosities on Rand’s point of view on writing fiction.

Unfortunately haven’t read it, but will do so within the next month or so and a review will certainly follow.

Phenomena by Anne Jacobson

Having experienced some paranormal circumstances in the past prompted me to search for answers.  At the time, this led me to read books on remote viewing and extra-sensory perception.  After reading many significant books on the subject and finding much purchase in most of them, seeing Phenomena available piqued my curiosity on the psi phenomena considerably.

Unfortunately, for many reasons this book was an absolute failure, which can be read about here.  There are much better books out there to say the least.

Battlefront: Twilight Company (Star Wars)

Needing a hiatus from all the non-fiction books I’ve been reading, and being a veritable Sci-Fi junkie and avid Star Wars fan, my sights were set on this particular book.

So far I am only a fourth of the way through the book, but it’s been rather engaging, intriguing and consistent on all areas.  I might review the book if time permits, time will tell.  Regardless, unless the story drops off a cliff or something unexpected takes place I cannot see myself not enjoying the book.

As far as unplanned purchases are concerned, at a  garage sale, James Patterson’s Private Berlin and Max were found, as well as Robert Ludlum’s The Rhine Exchange & John Grisham’s The Whistler.  All of these totaled a whopping $2 collectively.

How was the month for everyone else?  Any of you read anything enjoyable and/or intriguing lately?  Were there any hidden gems that shone fortuitously on your path?  Feel free to share them below, for I would really enjoy hearing what other people are reading about and finding intriguing.

___________________________________________________________
This article is free and open source. You are encouraged to share this content and have permission to republish this article under a Creative Commons license with attribution to Zy Marquiez and TheBreakaway.wordpress.com.

___________________________________________________________
About The Author:

Zy Marquiez is an avid book reviewer, researcher, an open-minded skeptic, yogi, humanitarian, and freelance writer who studies and mirrors regularly subjects like Consciousness, Education, Creativity, The Individual, Ancient History & Ancient Civilizations, Forbidden Archaeology, Big Pharma, Alternative Health, Space, Geoengineering, Social Engineering, Propaganda, and much more.

His other blog, BreakawayConsciousnessBlog.wordpress.com features mainly his personal work, while TheBreakaway.wordpress.com serves as a media portal which mirrors vital information nigh always ignored by mainstream press, but still highly crucial to our individual understanding of various facets of the world.

Book Review: The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand | #SmartReads

TheFountainhead
TheBreakaway | BreakawayConciousness
Zy Marquiez
May 7, 2017

There are writers.  And then there’s Ayn Rand.

Ayn Rand was a very unique individual; an individual that isn’t afraid to stand by her convictions, no matter what anyone said.  That’s what made her so beloved and hated.  Even more so, that’s why people were so bifurcated about her books.

Knowing that, then it isn’t shocking to realize that The Fountainhead was written with her very own ideals embedded within every page, within every character, within every thought.  In that sense, she is rather unique because not only did she create an amazing story, as many authors have, but she went a step beyond and used the book with the essence of her philosophy, which was, and will always be, a  truly daring endeavor for any writer.

The Fountainhead has been described in many ways, but at its core it is about The Individual vs. The Collective; about Freedom vs. Conformity.

With characters that are gripping, settings that are par excellence, and dialogue that displays incredible depth, the book is a well rounded synthesis about the nature of individualism and what it means to be human.

The leading characters all flow through their roles seamlessly, and whether you love them or hate them, you can feel the realism in them, even if at times they are the epitome of Rand’s ideal.

Anyone who values individuality will value this book.  Those that seek to conform will undoubtedly hate it.  That’s the nature of the beast, and always will be.  What Rand did though, perhaps better than anyone else, is show both sides of the coin – Individualism vs. Conformity – in a manner that nobody else had brought about through fiction.  This is why the book is so engaging, because you hate the villains as much as you love the characters you gravitate towards.  It is rare when a book has you personally invested in nigh every character failing or succeeding, but this book accomplishes that in spades.

Ayn Ran went to war for the Individual against The Collective in a torrential manner in a way almost nobody does.  Through her characters, Rand did a salient job of showing the wide range of latitudes within human nature.   All of this was, of course, was to highlight the importance of Individualism.

As Rand herself elucidates in the following passages, the last of the three which is in her own words, the prior two through her characters:

“Throughout the centuries there were men who took first steps down new roads armed with nothing but their vision.  Their goals differed, but they all had this in common: that the step was first, the road new, their vision unborrowed, and the response they received – hatred.  The great creators – the thinkers, the artists, the scientists, the inventors – stood alone against the men of their time.  Every great new thought was opposed.  Every great ne invention was denounced.  The first motor was considered foolish.  The airplane was considered impossible.  The power loom was considered vicious.  Anesthesia was considered sinful.  But the men of unborrowed vision went ahead. They fought, they suffered and they paid.  But they won.”[1]

“From this simplest necessity to the highest religious abstraction, from the wheel to the skyscraper, everything we are and everything we have comes from a single attribute of man – the function of his reasoning mind.”[2]

“And for the benefit of those who consider relevance to one’s own time as of crucial importance, I will add, in regard to our age, that never has there been a time when men have so desperately needed a projection of things as they ought to be.”[3]

Rand stated those words decades ago, and they apply even more so now.  Given that humanity keeps snowballing down a hill in a world where morality, common sense and virtues keep getting swept under the rug, such statements and their ramifications should be pondered at length.

Whether you love the book or you hate it, it will give you much to ponder about, especially if you value Freedom and Individuality in any way shape or form.

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Sources:

[1] Ayn Rand, The Fountainhead, p. 710.
[2] Ibid., p. 711.
[3] Ibid., p. vii.  Written in the Author’s Introduction to the 1968 Edition.

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This article is free and open source. You are encouraged to share this content and have permission to republish this article under a Creative Commons license with attribution to Zy Marquiez and TheBreakaway.wordpress.com.
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About The Author:

Zy Marquiez is an avid book reviewer, researcher, an open-minded skeptic, yogi, humanitarian, and freelance writer who studies and mirrors regularly subjects like Consciousness, Education, Creativity, The Individual, Ancient History & Ancient Civilizations, Forbidden Archaeology, Big Pharma, Alternative Health, Space, Geoengineering, Social Engineering, Propaganda, and much more.

His other blog, BreakawayConsciousnessBlog.wordpress.com features mainly his personal work, while TheBreakaway.wordpress.com serves as a media portal which mirrors vital information nigh always ignored by mainstream press, but still highly crucial to our individual understanding of various facets of the world.

Howard Roark & The Collective

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Source: NoMoreFakeNews.com | JonRappoport.wordpress.com
Jon Rappoport
April 4, 2017

Why go to fiction to learn about power?

Because in art we can see our visions. We can see ideals and archetypes. These fictional characters have the energy we strive for.

When Ayn Rand, the author of The Fountainhead (1943), was asked whether Howard Roark, the hero of her novel, could exist in real life, she answered, with annoyance, “Of course.”

Her implication was: don’t you have the desire to discover your own highest ideals and live them out?

Roark is an architect who creates buildings no one has imagined before. His refusal to compromise his vision is legendary. He suffers deprivation and poverty and rejection with an astonishing amount of indifference. He is the epitome of the creative individual living in a collective world.

For reasons no one can discover (must there always be reasons?), Roark has freed himself from The Group. Perhaps he was born free.

Roark’s hidden nemesis is a little man named Ellsworth Toohey, an architecture columnist for a New York newspaper, who is quietly building a consensus that has, as its ultimate goal, the destruction of all thought and action by the individual for the individual.

But Roark, in his personality, spirit and force, is The Exception to the Rule.

He stands as a force that transcends the complication of Need and, instead, is pure Desire.

Desire, plus intelligence, plus creative power.

Whatever dross may once have existed in Roark’s character has been burned away.

Rand allows us to see that society encourages everything an individual does and thinks that keeps him from being self-sufficient. That is what society, in its advanced stage of dissolution, is for.

Therefore, as Roark moves through space and time, he ignites in others, without trying to, all the emotions that signal their self-betrayal: shame, fear, disgust, resentment, hatred.

Their dedication to endless compromise remains intact. They tell themselves whatever stories they need to, in order to protect their second-hand existences.

They enact the range of feelings that allow for entombment in The Group.

These days, when people talk about “self-improvement,” they unerringly manage to avoid the starkness of these matters. And this is why the so-called “helping professions” fail.

Those who own the systems that run the world enforce, celebrate, champion, and fund life-by-need.

Drug dealer and his addicts—that’s the societal model.

But then, what of community? What of family? These are often thrown in the face of The Fountainhead as accusations, as if Rand wants to stamp them out and leave them in the dust.

The obvious answer is, which community, which family? Are the individuals intact, or are they sacrificing themselves to an “ideal” of diminishing their power?

The Matrix has an entrance, a gate on which is transcribed, “Reduce your vision and surrender your separate power.”

Yes, “separate.” A word that is now considered taboo. “Separate” was what we defended before we “understood” that the only salvation was attained in “coming together” and melting down.

We can even find this Melt in physics. The latest version of coming together is the interpretation placed on quantum entanglement, in which atoms light years apart react simultaneously from a stimulus placed on either atom. We are supposed to believe that the whole universe is arranged as a spontaneously reacting Whole, with no part distinct from another. And this is confirmation that the Collective is the preferred pattern of life in every venue. In other words, political collectivism mirrors cosmic collectivism.

Are you sensing something strange here? You should be.

Once upon a time, in a document called the Constitution, separateness was considered a key element. There was separation of church and state. There was separation of the rights of an individual from what the state could arbitrarily do to the individual. There was separation among the three branches of federal government, a plan enacted to limit overall federal power. There was separation of the enumerated powers of the federal government from the far more numerous powers of the states.

DISTINCTIONS that created separation were absolutely necessary. Making and abiding by such distinctions were made possible by minds that could think, minds that could utilize logic—rather than minds that boiled down in a puddle of gray sameness.

Roark is shown to us as a man who stands separate from the mass, the crowd, the mob, the group, the collective, the majority, the minority. He isn’t seeking permission or approval or praise or consensus for his work, his art, his buildings, his creations.

The stunning intensity of his Desire isn’t watered down by a Need to be drawn into what the group wants or accepts or believes in.

The hallmark of The Matrix is a collective lens, through which the individual is supposed to view his life, his work, and the world.

“I see what everybody sees, and they see what I see, and we all see together.”

Talk about fiction. The collective lens is built, step by step, piece by piece, along a path of self-betrayal and corruption.

To speak about individual freedom while living and seeing and thinking through the collective lens is a contradiction and impossibility of titanic proportions.

“I have the inalienable right to see things as others see them. To melt down what might, in other circumstances, be my Separate Vision. To melt it down for the sake of the Whole. So that I might better serve others.”

Well, thank you for your sacrifice. I’m sure a gold star is waiting for you in some cosmic classroom. Now, if we all sacrifice all the time, someday soon we will all be invisible. We will all live in the great mouth of a great nothing. No one will have power. No one will be free. But we will speak as if we are free.

Our false words will sound important. Our rhetoric will, perhaps, convince us and everyone else that freedom still exists.

We will, in fact, be speaking like those politicians do, the ones we accuse of acting on ulterior motives.

Modern leaders have found their power through promoting a concept of endless need. This need can never be solved, it can only be accommodated.

Groups are educated and tuned up to demand more. They must have more of this and more of that. Without limit.

The individual, if he is thought of at all, is depicted as a bundle of needs.

Naturally, when someone defects, he is looked at as a betrayer. Actually, he is exposing the game.

That is when things become interesting.

That is when life takes over.

Read More At: JonRappoport.wordpress.com
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Jon Rappoport

The author of three explosive collections, THE MATRIX REVEALED, EXIT FROM THE MATRIX, and POWER OUTSIDE THE MATRIX, Jon was a candidate for a US Congressional seat in the 29th District of California. He maintains a consulting practice for private clients, the purpose of which is the expansion of personal creative power. Nominated for a Pulitzer Prize, he has worked as an investigative reporter for 30 years, writing articles on politics, medicine, and health for CBS Healthwatch, LA Weekly, Spin Magazine, Stern, and other newspapers and magazines in the US and Europe. Jon has delivered lectures and seminars on global politics, health, logic, and creative power to audiences around the world. You can sign up for his free NoMoreFakeNews emails here or his free OutsideTheRealityMachine emails here.

Ayn Rand Reconsidered

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“Why carry the burden of creating something and then having to stand for it and be proud of it? Why think and imagine and create your own way into the future of your most profound vision? Why bother? And why, therefore, allow others to do so for themselves and cause disordered, disharmonious ripples in the great silent lake of humanity? Pull them down. Make them equal. Make them empty.” (The Underground, Jon Rappoport)

Source: NoMoreFakeNews.com | JonRappoport.wordpress.com
Jon Rappoport
March 31, 2017

I wrote the following article five years ago. Since then, I’ve had a chance to set down a few more remarks about Ayn Rand. Here they are:

The one glaring problem in her work is the overall effect of her hammering mercilessly on behalf of freedom and the individual—after 400 pages, her prose takes on a programmatic aspect. It grips the reader with iron. The moral imperative to be free replaces the exhilaration of being free.

On the other hand, she obviously wrote her two great novels in the middle of a feverish exaltation. Every page burned. Most characters went down in flames. A few rose into the sky. She knew she was up against the most powerful forces of society, and she was not going to compromise or relent one inch. She fully intended to destroy collectivism at its root. On the basis of that decision, she refused to suspend her attack, even for a moment.

Most people who brush up against her work can’t stop to consider the depth of her admiration for the independent and powerful and creative individual, or the nature of her aversion to the collectivist who can only borrow from such individuals—and then distort and undermine what they have misappropriated.

She means to be extreme. It is no accident. With no apologies, she splits the world down the middle. In her own way, she is an ultimate riverboat gambler. She shoves in all her chips on the self-appointed task of illuminating the great dichotomy of human history and modern life: the I versus the WE.

On a personal level, she possessed enormous ambition, and she wrote her two novels to achieve deserved recognition. Again, no apologies. She knew she and her work would be attacked by numerous critics who didn’t themselves own a tiny fragment of her talent. So be it.

To say she revealed “a thorny personality” in her relationships would constitute a vast understatement. In her later years, she no doubt contributed to bringing the house down on her head. But by then, her work was over. She stood behind it. She had achieved what she set out to create.

And every official cultural messenger of her time reviled her.

Here is my 2012 article:

“…nearly perfect in its immorality.”
Gore Vidal, reviewing Rand’s Atlas Shrugged

“…shot through with hatred.”
The Saturday Review, on Atlas Shrugged

“…can be called a novel only by devaluing the term.”
The National Review, on Atlas Shrugged

“[The] creative faculty cannot be given or received, shared or borrowed. It belongs to single, individual men.”
Howard Roark, The Fountainhead

When people perceive their society is being infiltrated and taken over by collectivism, how should they respond? What is their ultimate fuel in the battle for liberty?

What do they resurrect as the ideal that is being scorched by collectivism?

Yes the Constitution, yes the Bill of Rights, yes the Republic. But what were those documents and that form of government there for in the first place? What WAS the great ideal that lay behind them?

And if very few people can recall the ideal or understand it, what then?

The ideal was and is THE INDIVIDUAL.

But not just the individual.

The FREE INDIVIDUAL.

But not just the free individual.

The FREE AND POWERFUL INDIVIDUAL.

Which is why I’m writing about Ayn Rand.

To grasp her Promethean effort and accomplishment, you have to read her books at least several times, because your own reactions and responses will change. She was attempting to dig a whole civilization out from its smug certainty about the limits of freedom, from its compulsion to borrow and steal worn-out ideas.

I write this because the matrix of modern life has no solution without a frontal exposure of the meaning and reality and sensation and emotion and mind and imagination of INDIVIDUAL POWER.

Ayn Rand, in her unique way, climbed the mountain of power and told about the vista that was then in her sights. She exercised no caution. She knew the consequences would be extraordinary.

The characters she creates who embody power are electric. You experience them beyond mere fiddle-faddle with symbols.

Rand wrote two novels that still reverberate in the minds of millions of people: The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged.

The books have inspired unalloyed adoration and hatred. They are received as a magnificent tonic or a dose of poison.

Readers who hate Rand’s work hate her for daring to present the power of an individual in full force.

Rand’s major heroes, Howard Roark and John Galt, are artists. Creators. They bow before no one and nothing. They invent. They decide. They imagine. They refuse to compromise. They leave the group and the committee and the bureaucracy and the collective behind them in the dust.

Society is ever more, over time, a mass concept. Society’s leaders, through illegal dictum, deception, and force, define a space in which all life is supposed to occur. That is the “safe zone.” Within it, a person may act with impunity. Outside that space, protection is removed. The protection racket no long applies.

Once a controller owns a space in which others live, he can alter it. He can make it smaller and smaller. He can flood it with caterwauling about “the greatest good for the greatest number,” the slogan of the mob. He can pretend to elevate the mob to the status of a legitimate “democratic majority” who are running things. He can con whole populations.

On the other hand, we are supposed to believe that individual power is a taboo because men like Hitler, Stalin, Napoleon, Attila, and Alexander once lived. That is the proof. We are supposed to believe individual power is always and everywhere the expression of dominance over others and nothing more.

If we only take into consideration “what is best for everybody,” we will see our way out of the morass. That’s what we’re told.

Civilizations are being made more puerile because it is children who are most vulnerable to the “greatest good for all” maxim. It is children who can be suckered into that ideal overnight. And those adults who buy the maxim do, in fact, revert back in the direction of being children.

At this late date, significant numbers of people are waking up to the fact that “greatest good” is being managed and manipulated by new Stalins and Hitlers, who care about humanity in the same way that a bulldozer cares about the side of a building.

Ayn Rand, after growing up in the USSR, knew something about the paradise of the common man. She saw it play out. She could eventually look back and see, with certainty, that writing her two novels in the Soviet Union would have cost her her life.

Rand refused to compromise her exaltation of individual power.

But she was acutely aware of the nature of compromisers. Such characters, brilliantly and mercilessly drawn, are there in her novels, in the full bloom of decay. Peter Keating, the pathetic and agonized hack; Guy Francon, Keating’s boss, a socially connected panderer and promoter of hacks; Jim Taggart, moral coward in extremis; Ellsworth Toohey, prime philosopher of the mob impulse; Robert Sadler, the scientist who sold his soul.

Around us today, we see growing numbers of these very types, peddling their phony idealism over and over. Among them, Barack Obama, promoting class warfare, dependence on government as the source of survival, generalized pretended hatred of the rich, and a phony empty “we are all together” sing-song collective mysticism.

Again, keep in mind that Rand’s two major heroes, Howard Roark and John Galt, were artists. This was no accident. This was the thrust of her main assault. The artist is always, by example, showing the lie of the collective. The artist begins with the assumption that consensus reality is not final. The artist is not satisfied to accommodate himself to What Already Exists.

The dark opposite of that was once told to me by a retired propaganda operative, Ellis Medavoy (pseudonym), who freelanced for several elite non-profit foundations:

“What do you think my colleagues and I were doing all those years? What was our purpose? To repudiate the singular in favor of the general. And what does that boil down to? Eradicating the concept of the individual human being. Replacing it with the mass. The mass doesn’t think. There is no such thing as mass thought. There is only mass impulse. And we could administer that. We could move it around like a piece on a board. You see, you don’t hypnotize a person into some deeper region of himself. You hypnotize him OUT of himself into a fiction called The Group…”

Rand was attacking a mass and a collective that had burrowed its way into every corner of life on the planet. If you were going to go to war against THAT, you needed to be fully armed. And she was.

Rand was also prepared to elucidate the physical, mental, and emotional DEPTH of her heroes’ commitment to their own choices, their own work, their own creations. She wasn’t merely dipping her toe in the water of that ocean.

Howard Roark, her protagonist of The Fountainhead, remarks:

“And here man faces his basic alternative: he can survive in only one of two ways—by the independent work of his own mind or as a parasite fed by the minds of others. The creator originates. The parasite borrows…”

Parasites don’t want anyone to stand out from the group, the swamp. The presence of someone who is so separate from them could trigger alarm bells and confirm their deepest fear:

An individual with power and his own singular creative vision can exist.

Parasites want you to believe you’re just a drop of water in the great ocean, and once you attain “higher consciousness” you’ll give in and float in the sea, and you’ll offload that oh-so primitive concept of yourself as Self. You’ll be One with all the other undifferentiated drops of water.

In their ritual of joining, people are awarded a mantrum: “I’M NOT VERY MUCH.”

Just that little phrase can open the door into the collective.

In The Fountainhead, architect Peter Keating utilized a second assertion as well:

“I AM GREAT BECAUSE OTHER PEOPLE THINK SO.”

Keating, the social grasper, finds acceptance from people of influence. They welcome him and reward him with architectural commissions because, well, they think they are supposed to; after all, his name has been bandied about by “those who should know Quality.”

It’s a world in which no standards apply except the opinions of people who carry weight.

And Peter is conventionally handsome, he’s the golden boy, he’s quick, he can design buildings that look like other buildings, he can work with others, he can look like he’s enjoying life, he’s good at parties, he’s congenial.

On what other basis should rewards be handed out? What else exists?

Unfortunately and fatally, Keating knows the real answer to that question, since he’s the boyhood friend of Howard Roark, the architect who does have a singular and astonishing vision, who stands beyond the crowd without trying.

Keating returns to Roark time after time; to insult Roark, to beg him for help, to be in the presence of a Force and breathe clean air.

Not determined enough to be himself, but still possessed of a shred of conscience, Keating is caught in the middle, between the man of vision and power (Roark) and new friends who offer him “the glittering world”—and the grips of this vise are unrelenting.

Adulation, money, success, fame, acceptance…Keating is given all these things, and still he destroys himself.

Here is why The Fountainhead provoked such rage from the self-styled elite: they’re committed to live on an insider’s rotting feast of mutual admiration and support, and in Keating they see themselves reflected with a clarity they’d assumed was impossible to construct. But there it is.

The very people who launched attack after attack at Rand, for “pawning off such preposterous characters as real,” were boiling inside, as they viewed themselves on the screen of her imagination: characters riddled with compromise, bloated with pretension, bereft of integrity.

Keating is eventually reduced to an abject yearning: would that his life had been lived differently, better—yet at the same time he maintains a dedication to hating that better life he might have had. He’s consumed by the contradiction. He sees his own career fall apart, while Roark’s ascends. The tables are turned. Keating has administered a poison to his own psyche, and the results are all too visibly repellent.

The Keatings of this world carry water for their masters, who in turn find bigger and better manipulators to serve. It’s a cacophony of madness, envy, and immolation posing as success.

The world does not want to watch itself through the eyes of Ayn Rand. It does not want to see the juggernaut of the drama playing out, because, as with Keating, it is too revealing. And yet Rand has been accused, over and over, of being an author of cartoon personae!

She elevates characters and destroys other characters. She picks and chooses according to her own standards and ideals. She never wavers. She passes judgment. She differentiates vividly between the forces and decisions that advance life and those that squash it.

Again and again, she comes back to the fulcrum: the featureless consensus versus unique individual creative power.

Creative power isn’t a shared or borrowed quality. One person doesn’t live in the shadow of another. The creator finds his own way, and if that weren’t the case, there would be no basis for life.

We are supposed to think existence by committee is a viable concept. This is a surpassing fairy tale that assumes the proportions of a cosmic joke.

For those whose minds are already weak, in disarray, unformed, the substitution of the collective for the individual is acceptable. It’s, in fact, rather interesting. It has the kick of novelty. And the strength of hypnotic trance.

The strategy is obliquely described in The Fountainhead by Ellsworth Toohey, a newspaper columnist and philosopher of the collective, a little man who is covertly and diabolically assembling a massive following:

“…if I sold them the idea that you [an ordinary playwright] are just as great as Ibsen—pretty soon they wouldn’t be able to tell the difference…then it wouldn’t matter what they went to see at all. Then nothing would matter—neither the writers nor those for whom they write.”

Reduction to absurdity. An overall grayness called equality.

If the public is told the owner of a business didn’t create that business, but instead the public sector, the collective did, and if this theme is pushed and emphasized by others, eventually the absurd notion will take hold. Then it won’t matter what is done to the independent individual, because he was never really there at all in the first place. He was just an invisible nonentity.

Contrast this treatment of the individual with the stand that Howard Roark takes during his climactic trial, at the end of The Fountainhead:

“But the mind is an attribute of the individual. There is no such thing as a collective brain. There is no such thing as a collective thought.”

“We inherit the products of the thoughts of other men. We inherit the wheel. We make the cart. The cart becomes an automobile. The automobile becomes an airplane…The moving force is the creative faculty which takes product as material, uses it and originates the next step. This creative faculty cannot be given or received, shared or borrowed. It belongs to single, individual men. That which it creates is the property of the creator.”

“Yet we are taught to admire the second-hander who dispenses gifts he has not produced above the man who made the gifts possible.”

We are now in an age where EVERYTHING BELONGS TO EVERYBODY.

Obama is the latest in a line of demagogues who fully intend to reverse the course of history. That timeline shows us the heroic struggle to replace WE with I.

From the earliest days of our planet, since its habitation by humans, the tribe and the clan and the priest class and the monarchy, all claiming divine right, have enforced the WE. Finally, the I, which was always there, emerged fully enough to overthrow the criminals and murderers who were restraining the individual.

But now we are being pulled back into the primitive swamp of the past, through the systematic application of a pseudo-philosophy. The I is turning back into the WE.

To people who carry advanced technological devices around with them wherever they go, which give…

Read More At: JonRappoport.wordpress.com
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Jon Rappoport

The author of three explosive collections, THE MATRIX REVEALED, EXIT FROM THE MATRIX, and POWER OUTSIDE THE MATRIX, Jon was a candidate for a US Congressional seat in the 29th District of California. He maintains a consulting practice for private clients, the purpose of which is the expansion of personal creative power. Nominated for a Pulitzer Prize, he has worked as an investigative reporter for 30 years, writing articles on politics, medicine, and health for CBS Healthwatch, LA Weekly, Spin Magazine, Stern, and other newspapers and magazines in the US and Europe. Jon has delivered lectures and seminars on global politics, health, logic, and creative power to audiences around the world. You can sign up for his free NoMoreFakeNews emails here or his free OutsideTheRealityMachine emails here.