Friday, 18 November 2016

The Question Concerning Authority

Thinker Hannah Arendt saw authority in a positive light as constituting the opposite of violence, which in her thinking arises when there is a breakdown in authority and the resulting power vacuum causes conflict to occur. 

She also tended to make light of slavery in the classical world as enabling the possibility of freedom for those delivered from the necessity of labour through daily chores being carried out by slaves.

By contrast anarchist activist Mark Passio views the belief in authority as synonymous with the belief in the legitimacy of slavery, understanding as he does authority as entailing the existence of masters ruling over slaves.

This apparent antagonism can be somewhat resolved in Passio's favour by distinguishing legitimate from illegitimate forms of authority. 
  • Illegitimate authority is authority based on coercion, i.e. violence, forcing people to act a certain way against their own free will in submission to masters who act in plain sight or by stealth
  • Legitimate authority is authority that emanates naturally from some individuals and creators who have come to be respected through their contribution to the community, there being no trace of coercion but just wilful deference to these authors, so to speak. 
Personally I find Mark Passio's Natural Law teachings a welcome corrective to risky and rather toxic aristocratic biases that can be found in authors like Aristotle, Plato, Nietzsche, Heidegger, Arendt and Leo Strauss. 

Rite of Passage - Commercial Predation

I will be the first to admit that acquiring things commercially has brought me much happiness, apart from necessities, in the shape of music (songs and sheets), books, a digital piano, this laptop I'm typing on and so forth. 

But commercial society today is all-encompassing and many merchants or scammers will prey on people's weaknesses and vices, such as a relentless need for sexual fulfilment, and will do their utmost to play on people's emotions and desires (including the completionist and collector's instincts) to milk money out of them.

As someone said on twitter, humanity is about to pass an unprecedented rite of passage, what with the New World Order agenda, the decimation of public services and welfare programmes, all-seeing surveillance, the phasing out of cash currency, negative interest rates, robotisation of workplaces (physical and metaphorical, robot coming from the Tcheque word for slave worker/drone), ubiquitous mental health problems and breakdowns, poisoned food and water supplies, financial institutional malpractice and abuse, harmful technological realities, air and environmental toxicity, militarised police, engineered killer diseases, harmful pharmaceutical drugs and more. Ever-more ferocious commercialism also belongs to this list.

Now more than ever is it the time to take care of oneself, avoid what harms one's soul and indulge in that which heals and strengthens it, create meaningful and loving relationships and friendships, inform oneself about true as opposed to manufactured realities, open one's heart and crown chakras to be in tune with Being and perhaps engage in creative industry. 

Failing that one will fall victim not only to mind control methodologies and toxic influences but be mercilessly preyed on by negative commercial predation that seeks to capitalise on people's insecurities, vices and fantasies which are often neither wholesome nor temperate. 

Acquiring free will, i.e. reaching that stage in your psychic life where you truly act as you think and feel, i.e. are no longer dual and divided but an in-divi-dual in the proper sense, will protect you against the rapacious demands made on your wallet as you will be able to self-control and resist consumer temptation and easy-to-spot scams.

This ability to be discriminating will in turn help you give your purse power over to causes, businesses and creators who are fighting the good fight. 

Now I know that, for my part, I am and have been very far from perfect in these areas so I am not preaching from a high stool or throne but very much as someone who gives in to the acquisitive pleasure when it takes over.

Buying things is not a wrong in itself but I guess it takes knowing oneself (and the market) well to make purchases that are of true value for one's existence.  

Meaning of Composition

The word 'composition' is formed of two Latin words, the prefix com which means 'together' and the verb ponere 'to place'.

And that perfectly captures the activity of composing, whether it be in music, photography, graphic design, comic book illustration or painting, for these arts all require an element of placing things together (musical notes, objects, words, shapes) in an aesthetically pleasing way. 

Aesthetics comes from the Greek word αἵσθησις which one modern researcher has defined as heart perception. 

Transcendence in Bach & Beethoven

As Glenn Gould noted in a television programme, while J.S. Bach regularly achieved transcendence in his music with an apparent air of effortlessness, Beethoven's music occasionally achieves transcendence but not without the sense of an almighty struggle in order to achieve this effect. 

Judging from their works, it would appear that J.S. Bach was very much God's steward, at least musically, whereas Beethoven was man trying to be God or at least attempting to reach him in his own way.

And this despite Beethoven's tremendous virtuosic and compositional gifts which technically had no equal in his own time and possibly outshone Bach's very own considerable talents. 

As Nietzsche once observed, if too much struggle is put in a work of art this will transpire in the energy it gives out, leaving a certain disjunctive effect in the beholder's mind, which is why that philosopher recommended only putting up to 70% of one's Creator-given energy in a production since, in his opinion, this would lead to a more harmonious and less jarring artistic outcome. 

To summarise in tweet form

Bach: man as God's steward - effortless transcendence
Beethoven: man reaches to God - transcendence achieved through struggle