Re-Run: Mending Walls: “holes and gaps, lacks and losses”

Here’s a post I’ve ressurrected in slightly redacted form from July 28, 2006.

In an earlier post I made allusion (allusion, heck: I linked the thing) to the (musical) Principles of Classicism in “Seven”. But first, for those who will not click the link, an excerpt from Principles of Classicism *heh*

One of the primary reasons I am a fan of Classical (and even much classical) music is not just because the music is complex, beautiful and compelling but because it is the expression of a particular ethos which our society sorely lacks.

Aside from technical matters of form, the principles of Classicism as found in Classical Music were

  • balance
  • clarity
  • accessibility
  • expressiveness
  • edification

Although two of these principles are still found in abundance in contemporary music (though not in contemporary “serious” or “academic” music, IMO) it is the lack of the others, especially the last, that has seriously harmful effects upon our society.

The email exchange that led to this post included an excerpt from William Blake’s Laocoön that I think points up several “holes and gaps, lacks and losses” in our society today:

A Poet a Painter a Musician an Architect: the Man Or Woman who is not one of these is not a Christian

Caveat: Blake’s view of Christianity was idiosyncratic. If we take not only the rest of his Laocoön inscriptions but the whole of his body of work into account, what Blake seems to mean when he refers non-ironically to a “Christian” is more in line with his thinking on “true” or “whole, complete, authentic” man (which to Blake in this sort of context meant simply human, male and female).

Strangely, for Blake, his thought in this and other of his Laocoön inscriptions (viz., “The Unproductive Man is not a Christian, much less the Destroyer” et al) are quite closely aligned with traditional Christian theology as it relates to the concept of imago dei.

Think for a few secs: the traditional Christian view of the imago dei (loosely, the image of God in man) includes the expression of God’s eternally creative nature in mankind. Thus in this model, all human acts of creative nature are indicative of God’s continuing creation… and all destructive or harmful acts are indicative of a marred, damaged, imperfect mankind.

Understanding this fundamental principle as embedded in Western Civilization (and lacking almost entirely in other so-called civilizations–and I use “so-called” in a deliberately challenging tone) leads us to see some of the critical elements that are fading from today’s society, elements we sorely need in abundance to prevail in The War Against the West being waged on many fronts both at home and abroad.

Look, folks, once the fides covenant meme began to fade in our society, many of the other foundation stones supporting our society began to crumble as well. The idea that creation is better than destruction came under assault as soon as good and evil were dismissed as culturally relativistic phenomena. I’ll not continue the litany of woes perpetrated by postmodernism and post-postmodernism and their progeny in the multiculturalists and others. Dig for a few on your own.

Suffice it for this relatively short post to simply point out: absent the values derived from just the Creator/imago dei meme, we have scant chance of turning the tide of barbarism that has resulted in the Academia Nut Fruitcake Bakeries, the Mass Media Podpeople’s Hivemind and the Loony Left Moonbat Brigade steadily chipping away at our society’s foundations.

“Creative” today has devolved to mean largely crap rap, crucifixes in jars of urine and the like.

At best.

Where is beauty in art today? Where are there artists who are devoted to being true craftsmen, working diligently to develop the chops to really BE artists? Oh, I’ll admit there are some few, but their acceptance in the marketplace is so scanty that one has to credit Ortega y Gasset’s early 20th Century elitist (in the best sense of the word) observations about “mass man” with true prophetic vision.

Human beings and their circumstances exist in a dynamic interplay (‘Yo soy yo y mi circumstancia’)…How an individual influences his circumstances is his creative action (‘quehacer vital’)…The hero…creates the noble life by exerting his will to go beyond the ordinary…The opposite of the hero, the mass man, is content with his own mediocrity and relies on opinion rather than reason… [emphasis added]

And opinion, unsupported by reason, is ever more in the driver’s seat in our society. Not only is the opinion of “mass man” unsupported by reason, its only support seems to be ignorance. (Witness the popularity of “music” wherein the “artists” can scarcely even find pitch, let alone consistently reproduce it. The ignorance of their audience supplies their lack of ability… *sigh*)

And so it goes in every area of society: in the arts, in politics, in education, in business: short-sightedness based on an abundance of (often wilfull) ignorance, supported by emotional opinion without reason carry the day.

(And that’s just one, among many, reasons the Framers were wary of democracy and chose instead to frame a republic; note that: instead… )

What utopia it would be (or very like, in comparison to what we now possess) were

  • balance
  • clarity
  • accessibility
  • expressiveness
  • edification

to be the order of the day for the arts, political discourse, education, etc.

N.B. The extremely short excerpt quoted in the post title is from P.L. Heath’s marvelous essay on “Nothing” for The Encyclopedia of Philosophy.

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41 Replies to “Re-Run: Mending Walls: “holes and gaps, lacks and losses””

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  3. opinion, unsupported by reason, is ever more in the driver’s seat in our society. THATS a cool line David..heh
    have a cool weekend! 🙂

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  8. Dammit David, you got the 16 responses above, none of which addressed “Billy” Blake.

    He be one of my favorites from the English “Romantic Period.” Mostly ’cause he kept things simple.

    Heck “Laocoön” may fit the connoisseur’s diet, but I’m still attuned to the simple & friendly “Blake” . 😉

    His more easily read items are “chock full” of Christian meanng & theology! Why complicate it more?

    How about? :

    “The Lamb”

    “Little Lamb, who made thee?”
    … yes there’s *considerably* more here. yep, there dobe ‘nother 19 lines. go read ’em!

    Then Billy follows that one up with:

    “The Chimney Sweeper” (1789), and “The Chimney Sweeper” (1794).

    Then there’s:

    “The Little Black Boy” — “”The Sick Rose” — and “The Tiger!”

    “Tiger, Tiger! burning bright
    in the forests of the night. …
    “Did He who made the Lamb make thee?”

  9. Hugh, Blake was “Christian” in his life and writings to less extent than, say, Arminius was. That’s not to say I can’t find Christian ideas, concepts, memes running through his works, but many–perhaps even most–of them are presented with Blake’s idiosyncratically unchristian theology as their foundation.

    That said, I too appreciate his works–both literary and graphic (see here for example). They remain Christian not so much for their content, which is often theologically heretical *heh*–but for his inability to obscure the imago dei in himself with his offbeat theology. His creativity and workmanship–like Beethoven’s in his pagan paean, the Ninth Symphony–overwhelm his heretical theology and point to a God he apparently did not know all that well in many ways.

    But then, perhaps something similar could be said of me, since I prefer the Jesus of the Bible to the Jesus “preached” from most churches nowadays…

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  11. RE: Current Item # 30, above.

    “Blue Star Chronicles Says:
    August 4th, 2007 at 8:13 pm
    Marines Want to Shed Some Body Armor…
    Some of our Marines would like to shed some of their PPE (personal protective equipment).”

    From my personal experience in the SEA War Games: I flew Bird Dogs (O-1E) as a FAC (Forward Air Controller).

    Caveat — it’s good to know which regulations can be regularly ignored & which ones can only be severly bent!

    We (at the time I was there) had a passel of SAC weiners come into “middle-management” — all of whom had no real “understanding” of combat operations in small planes. But they virtually ALL thought one had to comply with *ALL* USAF regulations, no matter whether they made sense in a practical daily environment or not.

    We all had to “fly” with a back-pack chute strapped on. Really? When you have the opportunity, go to an “airshow” with old war birds. Then tell me how much sense it makes to have a 6″ backpack strapped on in the confines of *that* cockpit. 😉

    In day-to-day ops out in the boondocks, we left the chute on the ground — no need for the x-tra weight. If we needed to take the bird back to “mother’s house” for maintenance, we would throw a chute in the back seat, then grab it on arrival — as if we had been wearing it.

    Kinda think some of the marines (as mentally slow as they are at times) have probably figured that one out by now!

    Most of us with any rudiment of Bird Dog experience had rather “fly it in” than jump out. The structure of the bird was such that if we couldn’t “dead stick” it, then we would also be too incapicated to “jump.”

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