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
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.
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
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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