Re: Rand and Romanticism

Anders Sandberg (
25 Oct 1999 20:39:45 +0200

Max More <> writes:

> >Socialist realism, which is mostly slop.
> Coming from an individualist, this may sound odd, but I've always *liked*
> socialist realism. There are some fantastically powerful and optimistic and
> pro-technology sculptures and structures in Russia (such as the soaring
> edifice honoring Tsoliovsky (sorry if I butchered the spelling here), and I
> like the bold, heroic portrayals of workers.

There was a rather interesting take on it in Pet Shop Boy's video _Go West_, combining it with minimalist style and kitchy computer graphics (I have always wanted to filk that song into a pro-space song - "Go ooouut, there is no atmosphere..." :-)

Also, see "The resurrection of CCCP by email"! It is a website selling .su email addresses, made in socialist realism style. (Yes, it is ironic... kind of).

Seriously, I think the *style* of socialist realism can be quite good. I like the emphasis on that something great is going on, that people and ideas can be heroic. Unfortunately the *contents* are rather worrying - just looking at the pictures on that website you see several known mass murderers and a celebration of ideals of purity and conformism that recur in another form of socialist realism, namely the national socialist realism of 30's Germany... when put side by side, the similarities are obvious, and it is not hard to exchange one symbol for the other.

This of course only goes to show that art can be used for many purposes. But socialist realism has been tainted by its associations so that it can no longer work as art on its own, it rather becomes some kind of quotation (like in the Hayek example, the above website or the portrait I drew in high-school of a right-wing friend as a Soviet Hero).

I wonder what transhumanist realism would be? Drexler standing nobly beside an STM? Max shaking hands with people? Rational, creative people at computers across the world with the linux source scrolling in the background?

I think I'll go for transhumanist surrealism. Look out for the burning nanoassemblers! :-)

Anders Sandberg                                      Towards Ascension!                  
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