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Part Two, Chapters III–IV (3 - 4) 
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Post Part Two, Chapters III–IV (3 - 4)
Part Two, Chapters III–IV (3 - 4)

Please use this thread for discussing the above chapters. You're welcome to create your own threads too.



Thu Aug 30, 2012 4:01 pm
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Post Re: Part Two, Chapters III–IV (3 - 4)
Lillian discovers the affair and lays down the law.
Quote:
"Divorce?" she said, chuckling coldly. "Did you think you'd get off as easily as that? Did you think you'd get by at the price of a few of your millions tossed off as alimony? You're so used to purchasing whatever you wish by the simple means of your dollars, that you cannot conceive of things that are non-commercial, non-negotiable, non-subject to any kind of trade. You're unable to believe that there may exist a person who feels no concern for money. You cannot imagine what that means.
Well, I think you're going to learn. Oh yes, of course you'll agree to any demand I make, from now on. I want you to sit in that office of which you're so proud, in those precious mills of yours, and play the hero who works eighteen hours a day, the giant of industry who keeps the whole country going, the genius who is above the common herd of whining, lying, chiseling humanity. Then I want you to come home and face the only person who knows you for what you really are, who knows the actual value of your word, of your honor, of your integrity, of your vaunted self-esteem. I want you to face, in your own home, the one person who despises you and has the right to do so. I want you to look at me whenever you build another furnace, or pour another record breaking load of steel, or hear applause and admiration, whenever you feel proud of yourself, whenever you feel clean, whenever you feel drunk on the sense of your own greatness. I want you to look at me whenever you hear of some act of depravity, or feel anger at human corruption, or feel contempt for someone's knavery, or are the victim of a new governmental extortion—to look and to know that you're no better, that you're superior to no one, that there's nothing you have the right to condemn. I want you to look at me and to learn the fate of the man who tried to build a tower to the sky, or the man who wanted to reach the sun on wings made of wax—or you, the man who wanted to hold himself as perfect!" p.329

Youch. Cold hearted.
Immediately followed by yet another one of those minor mysteries:
Quote:
Somewhere outside of him and apart, as if he were reading it in a brain not his own, he observed the thought that there was some flaw in the scheme of the punishment she wanted him to bear, something wrong by its own terms, aside from its propriety or justice, some practical miscalculation that would demolish it all if discovered. He did not attempt to discover it. The thought went by as a moment's notation, made in cold curiosity, to be brought back in some distant future. There was nothing within him now with which to feel interest or to respond.

If the book was less than 1K pages, I might stop and try to work out the flaw. Anyone else up to it? :17758:



Tue Oct 30, 2012 7:15 pm
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Post Re: Part Two, Chapters III–IV (3 - 4)
Dr. Ferris, the one who wrote a book denouncing reason, attempts to blackmail Reardon into selling steel to the science institute by threatening him with jail for selling steel to Danagger. An interesting point:
Quote:
There's no way to rule innocent men. The only power any government has is the power to crack down on criminals. Well, when there aren't enough criminals, one makes them. One declares so many things to be a crime that it becomes impossible for men to live without breaking laws. Who wants a nation of law-abiding citizens? What's there in that for anyone? But just pass the kind of laws that can neither be observed nor enforced nor objectively interpreted—and you create a nation of law-breakers—and then you cash in on guilt. p. 333

Indeed, this definitely applies to the tax code and many other areas of the law. If we simplified the tax and legal systems, would that endanger the economy by shrinking the prison industry? :shutup:



Tue Oct 30, 2012 7:28 pm
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Post Re: Part Two, Chapters III–IV (3 - 4)
Two references to Atlas in Chapter 3:
Quote:
Well, she thinks that there's something like a shift of stress involved—economic and personal stress. As soon as all the weight of the moment shifts to the shoulders of some one man—he's the one who vanishes, like a pillar slashed off.
(Eddie Willers p. 334)

Quote:
"Mr. Rearden," said Francisco, his voice solemnly calm, "if you saw Atlas, the giant who holds the world on his shoulders, if you saw that he stood, blood running down his chest, his knees buckling, his arms trembling but still trying to hold the world aloft with the last of his strength, and the greater his effort the heavier the world bore down upon his shoulders—what would you tell him to do?"
"I . . . don't know. What . . . could he do? What would you tell him?"
"To shrug."
p. 347



Tue Oct 30, 2012 7:43 pm
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Post Re: Part Two, Chapters III–IV (3 - 4)
LanDroid wrote:
Dr. Ferris, the one who wrote a book denouncing reason, attempts to blackmail Reardon into selling steel to the science institute by threatening him with jail for selling steel to Danagger. An interesting point:
Quote:
There's no way to rule innocent men. The only power any government has is the power to crack down on criminals. Well, when there aren't enough criminals, one makes them. One declares so many things to be a crime that it becomes impossible for men to live without breaking laws. Who wants a nation of law-abiding citizens? What's there in that for anyone? But just pass the kind of laws that can neither be observed nor enforced nor objectively interpreted—and you create a nation of law-breakers—and then you cash in on guilt. p. 333



Great that you picked this passage out, what it does eloquently is described by Rand as being non-objective law. I just listened to an excellent lecture on such non-objective law the other week, by Tara Smith:
https://estore.aynrand.org/p/163
She refers to this passage in the lecture.


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Wed Oct 31, 2012 1:32 am
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Post Re: Part Two, Chapters III–IV (3 - 4)
Non-objective law? Will hafta check that out...
Quote:
Closing his eyes, he permitted himself to experience for a moment the immense relief he would feel if he, too, were to walk off, abandoning everything. Under the shock of his loss, he felt a thin thread of envy. Why didn't they come for me, too, whoever they are, and give me that irresistible reason which would make me go? But in the next moment, his shudder of anger told him that he would murder the man who'd attempt to approach him, he would murder before he could hear the words of the secret that would take him away from his mills.

Immediately after feeling that pang, Reardon sees Frisco who starts to work on him in just this manner, opening his eyes to a clearer vision of modern morality. A few snippets:
Quote:
"If you want to see an abstract principle, such as moral action, in material form—there it is. Look at it, Mr. Rearden. Every girder of it, every pipe, wire and valve was put there by a choice in answer to the question: right or wrong? You had to choose right and you had to choose the best within your knowledge—the best for your purpose, which was to make steel—and then move on and extend the knowledge, and do better, and still better, with your purpose as your standard of value. p. 344

..."When you strain your energy to its utmost in order to produce the best, do you expect to be rewarded for it or punished?" Rearden did not answer. "By every standard of decency, of honor, of justice known to you—are you convinced that you should have been rewarded for it?"
"Yes," said Rearden, his voice low.
"Then if you were punished, instead—what sort of code have you accepted?"
Rearden did not answer.

..."You take pride in setting no limit to your endurance, Mr. Rearden, because you think that you are doing right. What if you aren't? What if you're placing your virtue in the service of evil and letting it become a tool for the destruction of everything you love, respect and admire?
p.346

...All your life, you have heard yourself denounced, not for your faults, but for your greatest virtues. You have been hated, not for your mistakes, but for your achievements. You have been scorned for all those qualities of character which are your highest pride. You have been called selfish for the courage of acting on your own judgment and bearing sole responsibility for your own life. You have been called arrogant for your independent mind. You have been called cruel for your unyielding integrity. You have been called anti-social for the vision that made you venture upon undiscovered roads. You have been called ruthless for the strength and self-discipline of your drive to your purpose. You have been called greedy for the magnificence of your power to create wealth. You, who've expended an inconceivable flow of energy, have been called a parasite. You, who've created abundance where there had been nothing but wastelands and helpless, starving men before you, have been called a robber. You, who've kept them all alive, have been called an exploiter. You, the purest and most moral man among them, have been sneered at as a 'vulgar materialist.' Have you stopped to ask them: by what right?—by what code?—by what standard?

...You're guilty of a great sin, Mr. Rearden, much guiltier than they tell you, but not in the way they preach. The worst guilt is to accept an undeserved guilt—and that is what you have been doing all your life. You have been paying blackmail, not for your vices, but for your virtues. You have been willing to carry the load of an unearned punishment—and to let it grow the heavier the greater the virtues you practiced.

Reardon's mind begins to turn in these new directions and consider Frisco's points carefully, but this is stopped temporarily by the fire at the furnace where Reardon saves Frisco's life...



Wed Oct 31, 2012 7:11 pm
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Post Re: Part Two, Chapters III–IV (3 - 4)
Perhaps I'm slow on the uptake, but in Chapter 4 "The Sanction Of The Victim", I'm starting to see a pattern - seeing a new perspective, then encountering its opposite and learning from it. Reardon has started to open his eyes based on conversations with Frisco. Then he encounters the opposite opinion from his wife at a Thanksgiving celebration. Lillian addresses Hank about his upcoming trial
Quote:
I think you should abandon the illusion of your own perfection, which you know full well to be an illusion. I think you should learn to get along with other people. The day of the hero is past. This is the day of humanity, in a much deeper sense than you imagine. Human beings are no longer expected to be saints nor to be punished for their sins. Nobody is right or wrong, we're all in it together, we're all human—and the human is the imperfect. You'll gain nothing tomorrow by proving that they're wrong. You ought to give in with good grace, simply because it's the practical thing to do. You ought to keep silent, precisely because they're wrong. They'll appreciate it. Make concessions for others and they'll make concessions for you. Live and let live. Give and take. Give in and take in. That's the policy of our age—and it's time you accepted it. Don't tell me you're too good for it. You know that you're not. You know that I know it.

Reardon starts to peel back certain mysteries that had been bothering him and comes to several new insights.
Quote:
She wanted to force upon him the suffering of dishonor—but his own sense of honor was her only weapon of enforcement. She wanted to wrest from him an acknowledgment of his moral depravity—but only his own moral rectitude could attach significance to such a verdict. She wanted to injure him by her contempt—but he could not be injured, unless he respected her judgment. She wanted to punish him for the pain he had caused her and she held her pain as a gun aimed at him, as if she wished to extort his agony at the point of his pity. But her only tool was his own benevolence, his concern for her, his compassion. Her only power was the power of his own virtues. What if he chose to withdraw it? p. 354

Considering that option, Reardon dives deeper.
Quote:
An issue of guilt, he thought, had to rest on his own acceptance of the code of justice that pronounced him guilty. He did not accept it; he never had. His virtues, all the virtues she needed to achieve his punishment, came from another code and lived by another standard. He felt no guilt, no shame, no regret, no dishonor. He felt no concern for any verdict she chose to pass upon him: he had lost respect for her judgment long ago. And the sole chain still holding him was only a last remnant of pity.

But what was the code on which she acted? What sort of code permitted the concept of a punishment that required the victim's own virtue as the fuel to make it work? A code—he thought—which would destroy only those who tried to observe it; a punishment, from which only the honest would suffer, while the dishonest would escape unhurt. Could one conceive of an infamy lower than to equate virtue with pain, to make virtue, not vice, the source and motive power of suffering? If he were the kind of rotter she was struggling to make him believe he was, then no issue of his honor and his moral worth would matter to him. If he wasn't, then what was the nature of her attempt?
To count upon his virtue and use it as an instrument of torture, to practice blackmail with the victim's generosity as sole means of extortion, to accept the gift of a man's good will and turn it into a tool for the giver's destruction . . . he sat very still, contemplating the formula of so monstrous an evil that he was able to name it, but not to believe it possible. p.355

Quote:
Somewhere deep in Rearden's mind, as a steady, gentle, inexorable beat, was a man's voice, saying: By what right?—by what code?—by what standard? p. 357

This is very interesting - using the goodness within a person to manipulate his behavior to one's advantage. What do you think - would like to see some discussion on this...



Sun Nov 04, 2012 7:57 pm
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Post Re: Part Two, Chapters III–IV (3 - 4)
Part 2 ch. 3

Here is an awesome convo that Eddie Willers is having with a worker in the cafeteria at TT, where we learn about what Dagny has gathered what she thinks is happening to the men that vanish:

Quote:
Well, she thinks that there’s something like a shift of stress involved— economic and personal stress. As soon as all the weight of the moment shifts to the shoulders of some one man— he’s the one who vanishes, like a pillar slashed off. A year ago, nothing worse could have happened to the country than to lose Ellis Wyatt. He’s the one we lost. Since then, she says, it’s been as if the center of gravity were swinging wildly— like in a sinking cargo ship out of control— shifting from industry to industry, from man to man. When we lose one, another becomes that much more desperately needed— and he’s the one we lose next.


So that was the economic, now he goes on to the personal stress:

Quote:
And then there’s another thing involved, she says. A man has to come to a certain mental stage— not anger or despair, but something much, much more than both— before he can be cut down. She can’t tell what it is, but she knew, long before the fire, that Ellis Wyatt had reached that stage and something would happen to him. When she saw Ken Danagger in the courtroom today, she said that he was ready for the destroyer. . . . Yes, that’s the words she used: he was ready for the destroyer. You see, she doesn’t think it’s happening by chance or accident. She thinks there’s a system behind it, an intention, a man. There’s a destroyer loose in the country, who’s cutting down the buttresses one after another to let the structure collapse upon our heads. Some ruthless creature moved by some inconceivable purpose . . . She says that she won’t let him get Ken Danagger. She keeps repeating that she must stop Danagger— and she wants to speak to him, to beg, to plead, to revive whatever it is that he’s losing, to arm him against the destroyer, before the destroyer comes. She’s desperately anxious to reach Danagger first. He has refused to see anyone. He’s gone back to Pittsburgh, to his mines. But she got him on the phone, late today, and she’s made an appointment to see him tomorrow afternoon. . . . Yes, she’ll go to Pittsburgh tomorrow. . . . Yes, she’s afraid for Danagger, terribly afraid. . . . No. She knows nothing about the destroyer. She has no clue to his identity, no evidence of his existence— except the trail of destruction. But she feels certain that he exists. . . . No, she cannot guess his purpose. She says that nothing on earth could justify him. There are times when she feels that she’d like to find him more than any other man in the world, more than the inventor of the motor. She says that if she found the destroyer, she’d shoot him on sight— she’d be willing to give her life if she could take his first and by her own hand . . . because he’s the most evil creature that’s ever existed, the man who’s draining the brains of the world. . . . I guess it’s getting to be too much for her, at times— even for her.


Right after this part, we see that Dagny is trying to get to Danagger, but something and/or someone had gotten to him first. This scene at his office is nicely depicted in the film adaptation, Atlas Shrugged Part 2, Danagger plays the part well.


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Tue Nov 06, 2012 2:10 pm
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Post Re: Part Two, Chapters III–IV (3 - 4)
Part2 ch.4

Rearden says:

Quote:
“You know, Dagny, Thanksgiving was a holiday established by productive people to celebrate the success of their work.”


Objectivists have written about the holiday, usually referring to it as “The Producers Holiday”, here are some articles published in regards to it:

Debi Ghate:
http://www.aynrand.org/site/News2?page= ... _ctrl=1021

Gary Hull, Ph.D
http://www.aynrand.org/site/News2?page= ... le&id=5263

Andrew Bernstein, Ph.D
http://www.aynrand.org/site/News2?page= ... le&id=7620


You’ll see other holidays Objectivists write about, usually from a secular viewpoint of the holiday.


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Tue Nov 06, 2012 2:15 pm
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Post Re: Part Two, Chapters III–IV (3 - 4)
Frisco talks about sex.
Quote:
Love is our response to our highest values—and can be nothing else. Let a man corrupt his values and his view of existence, let him profess that love is not self-enjoyment but self-denial, that virtue consists, not of pride, but of pity or pain or weakness or sacrifice, that the noblest love is born, not of admiration, but of charity, not in response to values, but in response to flaws—and he will have cut himself in two. His body will not obey him, it will not respond, it will make him impotent toward the woman he professes to love and draw him to the lowest type of whore he can find. His body will always follow the ultimate logic of his deepest convictions; if he believes that flaws are values, he has damned existence as evil and only the evil will attract him. He has damned himself and he will feel that depravity is all he is worthy of enjoying. He has equated virtue with pain and he will feel that vice is the only realm of pleasure. Then he will scream that his body has vicious desires of its own which his mind cannot conquer, that sex is sin, that true love is a pure emotion of the spirit. And then he will wonder why love brings him nothing but boredom, and sex—nothing but shame. p.374

Rand chains sex and values here and several other places. This seems way over-blown to me. Some men are perfect gentlemen while also being fanatic horn-dogs. This does not mean they necessarily believe "virtue consists of pity or pain or weakness or sacrifice". Sacrifice? Really? Certainly doesn't mean "he has damned existence as evil", it's a banquet, ay? :mrgreen:

These concepts also seem to conflict with the personal affair (s?) Rand engaged in, then raged against when it fell apart...



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Post Re: Part Two, Chapters III–IV (3 - 4)
At his trial, Reardon refuses to recognize the authority of the court.
Quote:
"I have no defense."
"Do you—" The judge stumbled; he had not expected it to be that easy. "Do you throw yourself upon the mercy of this court?"
"I do not recognize this court's right to try me."
"What?"
"I do not recognize this court's right to try me."
"But, Mr. Rearden, this is the legally appointed court to try this particular category of crime."
"I do not recognize my action as a crime,"
"But you have admitted that you have broken our regulations controlling the sale of your Metal."
"I do not recognize your right to control the sale of my Metal."
"Is it necessary for me to point out that your recognition was not required?"
"No. I am fully aware of it and I am acting accordingly."
He noted the stillness of the room. By the rules of the complicated pretense which all those people played for one another's benefit, they should have considered his stand as incomprehensible folly; there should have been rustles of astonishment and derision; there were none; they sat still; they understood.
"Do you mean that you are refusing to obey the law?" asked the judge.
"No. I am complying with the law—to the letter. Your law holds that my life, my work and my property may be disposed of without my consent. Very well, you may now dispose of me without my participation in the matter. I will not play the part of defending myself, where no defense is possible, and I will not simulate the illusion of dealing with a tribunal of justice."
p.364

Very interesting, no? A major step in Reardon's deeper perception of the system.


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Thu Nov 08, 2012 7:37 pm
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Post Re: Part Two, Chapters III–IV (3 - 4)
Quote:
...three ships of d'Anconia copper, bound from San Juan to New York, had been attacked by Ragnar Danneskjold and sent to the bottom of the ocean ... he knew that much more than the copper had gone down for him with those ships.
p. 378

Reardon recognizes that Frisco is in league with pirates. Weird stuff going on....


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Post Re: Part Two, Chapters III–IV (3 - 4)
Rearden’s courtroom speech, was magnificent.

He doesn’t recognize the right of the court to try him, because he does not recognize his action as a crime.

Some important points I’d like to bring up:

Quote:
The public may curtail my profits any time it wishes— by refusing to buy my product.”
“We are speaking of . . . other methods.”
“Any other method of curtailing profits is the method of looters— and I recognize it as such.”


In Rand’s view any other method (as in governmental intervention in the economy, itself) is against the principle of individual rights. Rearden is doing absolutely nothing wrong making and selling Rearden Metal in the marketplace, violating no one’s rights. The moment the government steps in to regulate that market itself, rights violations occur. Just as Rearden mentions, the market has it’s own built in mechanisms in which the public could curtail his profits by not buying his products, or by not dealing with him in any way whatsoever. His rights aren’t violated if people simply do not want to buy his products, or deal with him in business, but if the government was to get involved and restrict him in the marketplace, that would violate his rights.

Quote:
I do not want my attitude to be misunderstood. I shall be glad to state it for the record. I am in full agreement with the facts of everything said about me in the newspapers— with the facts, but not with the evaluation. I work for nothing but my own profit— which I make by selling a product they need to men who are willing and able to buy it. I do not produce it for their benefit at the expense of mine, and they do not buy it for my benefit at the expense of theirs; I do not sacrifice my interests to them nor do they sacrifice theirs to me; we deal as equals by mutual consent to mutual advantage— and I am proud of every penny that I have earned in this manner. I am rich and I am proud of every penny I own. I made my money by my own effort, in free exchange and through the voluntary consent of every man I dealt with— the voluntary consent of those who employed me when I started, the voluntary consent of those who work for me now, the voluntary consent of those who buy my product. I shall answer all the questions you are afraid to ask me openly. Do I wish to pay my workers more than their services are worth to me? I do not. Do I wish to sell my product for less than my customers are willing to pay me? I do not. Do I wish to sell it at a loss or give it away? I do not. If this is evil, do whatever you please about me, according to whatever standards you hold. These are mine. I am earning my own living, as every honest man must. I refuse to accept as guilt the fact of my own existence and the fact that I must work in order to support it. I refuse to accept as guilt the fact that I am able to do it and do it well. I refuse to accept as guilt the fact that I am able to do it better than most people— the fact that my work is of greater value than the work of my neighbors and that more men are willing to pay me. I refuse to apologize for my ability— I refuse to apologize for my success— I refuse to apologize for my money. If this is evil, make the most of it. If this is what the public finds harmful to its interests, let the public destroy me. This is my code— and I will accept no other. I could say to you that I have done more good for my fellow men than you can ever hope to accomplish— but I will not say it, because I do not seek the good of others as a sanction for my right to exist, nor do I recognize the good of others as a justification for their seizure of my property or their destruction of my life. I will not say that the good of others was the purpose of my work— my own good was my purpose, and I despise the man who surrenders his. I could say to you that you do not serve the public good— that nobody’s good can be achieved at the price of human sacrifices— that when you violate the rights of one man, you have violated the rights of all, and a public of rightless creatures is doomed to destruction. I could say to you that you will and can achieve nothing but universal devastation— as any looter must, when he runs out of victims. I could say it, but I won’t. It is not your particular policy that I challenge, but your moral premise. If it were true that men could achieve their good by means of turning some men into sacrificial animals, and I were asked to immolate myself for the sake of creatures who wanted to survive at the price of my blood, if I were asked to serve the interests of society apart from, above and against my own— I would refuse. I would reject it as the most contemptible evil, I would fight it with every power I possess, I would fight the whole of mankind, if one minute were all I could last before I were murdered, I would fight in the full confidence of the justice of my battle and of a living being’s right to exist. Let there be no misunderstanding about me. If it is now the belief of my fellow men, who call themselves the public, that their mood requires victims, then I say: The public good be damned, I will have no part of it!”
The crowd burst into applause.


I think they do a fantastic job with Rearden’s courtroom speech in the film adaptation Atlas Shrugged Part 2, by condensing it to it’s essences to fit the screen.

Later in this chapter Frisco speaks about types of men and the women they are attracted to. There is a great book out that applies Rand’s views to relationships really well, it’s called, The Selfish Path to Romance: How to Love with Passion and Reason by Ellen Kenner and Edwin Locke, also Rand write more in regards to men and women in her “On a Woman President”. For those interested in learning further about her views, and the application of her philosophy to relationships, as such. Masculinity, femininity, hero worship, love, etc. Another source is The Ayn Rand Lexicon, which is available to search for free online here, where you can read about her views by clicking on topics:

http://aynrandlexicon.com/


_________________
"Better to write for yourself and have no public, than to write for the public and have no self."
- Cyril Connolly

My seven published books are available for purchase, click here:
http://www.amazon.com/Steven-L.-Sheppard/e/B00E6KOX12


Sun Nov 11, 2012 1:41 pm
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