Upcoming California talk on “Postmodernism and Its Discontents”

clu-hicks-talk-2014On March 5, I’ll be speaking at California Lutheran University in Thousand Oaks. My topic is “Postmodernism and Its Discontents.”

The talk is billed as the Artists and Speakers Spring Lecture and is open to the public.

Many thanks to Professor Nathan Tierney of CLU’s Department of Philosophy for arranging the invitation. More information at CLU’s site.

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Upcoming talk on philosophy and representational art

On Tuesday, March 4, I’ll be giving a “Featured Paper” at the The Representational Art Conference in Ventura, California. My topic is “Why Philosophy Matters to Representational Art.”

Keynote speakers include Juliette Aristides, Roger Scruton, and Odd Nerdrum, so it will be an intellectually varied and rich event.


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Kaizen 29: The Zol Cendes interview

Entrepreneurial Software

k29-coverThe latest issue of Kaizen [pdf] features my interview with Zoltan Cendes. We met in Naples, Florida, to discuss Mr. Cendes’s experience founding Ansoft, a $900 million software company that revolutionized engineering modeling.

My favorite images from this issue show the uses of Ansoft’s software in improving the air and fluid dynamics for products such as Ferrari sports cars and the swim caps used by Michael Phelps in the Olympics.


Also featured in this issue of Kaizen are guest speakers John Chisholm, an entrepreneur from San Francisco, and Robert Lawson, a professor of economics from Dallas, along with two students, Amour Muro and Alex Patnou, who were the co-winners of CEE’s essay contest in Business and Economic Ethics.

pathlines-gt2ferrariPrint copies of Kaizen are in the mail to CEE’s supporters and are available at Rockford University.

Our next issue will feature an extended interview with Guillermo Yeatts on the theme of Entrepreneurship in Latin America.

More Kaizen interviews with leading entrepreneurs are at my site here or CEE’s site.

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Shooting Shakespeare–novelist William Burroughs

I have only two questions:

1. Would Shakespeare feel the need to shoot a portrait of Burroughs?
2. Would he find it amusing?

Defacing others’ work is a recurring theme in modern and postmodern art:

“Picasso took one of Matisse’s portraits of his daughter—and used it as a dartboard, encouraging his friends to do the same. Duchamp’s L.H.O.O.Q. (1919) is a rendition of the Mona Lisa with a cartoonish beard and moustache added. Rauschenberg erased a de Kooning work with a heavy wax pencil. In the 1960s, a gang led by George Maciunas performed Philip Corner’s Piano Activities (1962)—which called for a number of men with implements of destruction such as band saws and chisels to destroy a grand piano. Niki de Saint Phalle’s Venus de Milo (1962) is a life-size plaster-on-chickenwire version of the classic beauty filled with bags of red and black paint; Saint Phalle then took a rifle and fired upon the Venus, puncturing the statue and the bags of paint to a splattered effect.”

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Wellesley sculpture protests are not feminist

Tony Martelli’s The Sleepwalker has generated a large number of protests about its patriarchal nature. Journalists at Slate and The Wall Street Journal have more coverage. sleepwalker-statue-petition

Students at Wellesley College have complained about how the statue triggers in them fears of sexual assault, white privilege, male privilege, oppression, and other very bad things.

Feminism should be about empowering women — teaching them and the rest of us that women can lead corporations, participate in Olympic wrestling, and become politicians who go toe-to-toe with authoritarian governments around the world.

Yet these young women cannot handle The Sleepwalker. The contemporary “feminist” rhetoric they have absorbed announces their weakness and vulnerability. Imagine what a statue of the wrath of Achilles would do to the poor dearies.

This is not feminism. It is infantilism. Or, rather, since it is a product of academic theory, we should give it a proper label such as Learned Infantilism, with all its faux distress and passive-aggressiveness.

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You are the Dictator of My Heart


(More on the sexiness of communist sex.)

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Cover for Polish translation of Nietzsche and the Nazis

To be published in March. Very dramatic and darkly serious. Designed by Bartek.Balaa.Nowak.


More information here.

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Creative geniuses as selfish — Beethoven version

How did Beethoven become Beethoven?

“The ‘personality’ of such a man as Beethoven is a slowly developed synthetic whole. It is formed by the gradual combination of its constituent elements into an organic unity. For the development of a personality a rich and profound inner life is necessary, and for that reason it is usually only great artists and religious teachers who impress us as being complete persons. beethoven_hornemannAmongst the elements constitutive of Beethoven’s personality we must include his lack of malleability. This quality made him almost immune from purely external influences. Thus he was impervious to criticism; his manners were atrocious; he ignored conventions; he was permanently subject to no social passions, not even sexual love. The low standard of education he achieved seems to have been as much due to his lack of plasticity as to his lack of opportunities. He was not an educable man. He accepted none of the schemes of thought or conduct current in his time; it is doubtful whether he was even fully aware of their existence. He remained utterly faithful to his own experience. It is for this reason that his affirmative utterances, as in the Credo of the Mass in D, have such unexampled weight. Such utterances spring solely from his own personal and tested experience.”

Source: J. W. N. Sullivan, Beethoven: His Spiritual Development (Alfred A. Knopf, 1927), p. 44. A rough e-pub version is online here. (Parts of Sullivan’s description of Beethoven read like a description of Howard Roark in The Fountainhead. Sullivan’s book was published in 1927 and Rand’s in 1943.)

Creative geniuses as selfish — Rachmaninoff version.
Creative geniuses as selfish — Richard Wagner version.
Creative geniuses as selfish — Maria Callas version.
How great artists became great (Beethoven and Michelangelo).

Posted in Art, Ethics, Music | Tagged , , | 7 Comments