Posts Tagged ‘Thomas Mann’
Do you still believe “Future revolutions are for Liberty?”
Thomas Mann from “The Magical Mountain” (La Montagne magique). Photo from Littérature et Poésie‘s photo.
Thomas Mann – La Montagne magique
Are you claiming to be an artist or natural scientist?
If you have never shown any interest or curiosity in the inner structure and functions of any living organism (plants, insects, animals or human body), then refrain from claiming to be an artist, painter, sculptor…or natural scientists.
Otherwise, what you are doing or designing is pure fiction of your imagination.
If occasionally one of your works or designs come close to match the natural reality, it must be by coincidence or a hidden knowledge that you failed to remember from your observations and curious spirit.
Even being a professional surgeon or in the medical field or in biology… is Not a sufficient condition to turn toward art if what you are doing is purely from a professional perspective.
Unless you have this longing to discover “what is life“and “what is death” in order to express the artistic feeling in your projects and designs.
The artist must have one of the senses sharper and more acute than normal people. He feels the need to express what others are oblivious to.
In order to express what he observes and notices, the artist must acquire the basic tools of the trade: essentially, investing these 10,000 hours on his trade to sharpen his talent.
The artist has to return to this humble state of an assistance and doing maintenance tasks in the work art place before he is permitted to do some touching to the works of his master.
The modern urgency for emancipation of the artist is nefarious to the art: emancipation and liberty of expression must intervene at the end of the formative period and never at the beginning.
Liberty has no value unless we feel that we have invested the necessary effort to liberate ourselves from the state of servitude.
Mostly, the artist must have acquired a wide comprehensive education, in schools and personal continuing education, regarding the various cultural backgrounds in humanities to express this urge that reflects a convergence of civilizations in various forms and means. Otherwise, how could an artist express anything of value?
Great masterpieces are the result of modest aspiration: the rank of ambition should never precede the work in progress. Ambition grows with the work as the little details take form from inspiration.
As mankind evolved and communicated his idea and cultures, spread and disseminated knowledge and varieties of arts, it is normal to admit that many factors came into play to influencing approaches to arts, perspectives, purpose of art, utility and personalization of artistic works.
Trying to take definite positions on the driving force in enhancing arts cannot be correct, but the discussion is nonetheless interesting and informative.
What is the critical influence, the core or origin of artistic impulses?
I tend to conjecture that the main catalyst was this drive for individual discrimination from the masses, the common culture, the predominant social environment, and customs.
My conjecture is that as man evolved, and realized that he is more endowed than the surrounding animals, he got very frustrated that he also is to die like any other animal.
Worse, certain animals lived far longer than he did. This discovery was not comforting.
“Since we all have to die… my death has to be different” was the conclusion of mankind. How different?
This is where imagination and art come into existence.
Art is an individual signature, no matter how it is influenced by external forces, and no matter how society would like to view artistic productions.
It is unfortunate that education systems are cutting down on artistic programs and courses and depriving students and children the opportunities to discovering their talents, passions, and potentials.
Note 1: The first part was inspired by the essay of Thomas Mann on “Goethe and Tolstoy”
Note 2: What use is of Art https://adonis49.wordpress.com/2011/02/22/what-use-is-of-art-what-is-the-origin-of-art/
Mythical Tetralogy of Richard Wagner:
Masterpieces, the Ring or Chant of Nibelungen, manipulated and abused by Germany bourgeois class
The 20th century political/economic system in Germany disseminated this myth that German culture doesn’t care about society composition but mainly about the individual human spirit.
This tendency of setting Germany culture apart from western Europe’s Latin culture and the Slovak culture was initiated by manipulating Goethe’s work in the 19th century.
Unlike Dickens, Thackeray, Tolstoy, Dostoyevsky, Balzac, Zola… masterpieces that envisioned the world in its social aspect, The German culture wanted to see the masterpieces of Goethe, Nietzsche, and Wagner as representative of the human in his absolute quest that is crystalized in the myths of the primitive people, the in-temporal poetry of the nature and of the heart.
This cultural explanation was used by Imperial Germany as an expedient for the dissemination of mythical concepts in order to resolve the tenuous organization of its social/economic system “All I want is the popular story“. The Nazi movement took it to its ultimate level of how it interpreted National Socialism.
This genius poet/musician or musician/poet of Wagner had to seek refuge in Switzerland after the failed uprising of Dresden in 1849. It is in Zurich that Wagner composed most of his masterpieces. The German term elend, which means misery, originally meant being in a foreign country, and that is how Wagner felt in his first few years in Switzerland.
And it is from Zurich that Wagner felt deceived by the successive enlargement of the Prussian Empire to include all of Germany and part of Austria.
Wagner wanted that his mythological story goes as far as the origin of mankind and as far as the myths went back in time. Myths not linked to the Scandinavian or German Medieval myths.
He wanted to take care of the primitive nature of a myth in its simplicity.
And Wagner production was not done in a linear manner. The first work was Gold of the Rhine in which Wagner described the primitive life of the natives who didn’t care about wealth, gold or power. He then composed the Death of Siegfried, but had to wait until he produced The Valkyrie, Lohengrin, Tannhauser and the Youth of Siegfried. Why?
Wagner was composing for the masses who were more apt to understand and appreciate the primitive way of life and Not for the bourgeois elite society.
However, the little people need a continuity in the story and need to the genesis of the story first thing first and thus, what took place before the death of Siegfried was essential for the tetralogy and Wagner worked 20 years before he presented his first work.
“The initial plan didn’t include many of his works “This is not what I wanted, but now it must be and may God come to my rescue”
The ambition in the great work has its source in the work in progress as the author seeks larger reach than he initially endeavoured.
“The most little of detail is the fruit of a happy inspiration”
“Enthusiasm has the greater part in my plan and Not the fruit of reflection. But it is wrong to understand the power of reflection: In a period of high culture, the artist work cannot but be born from full consciousness.”
Without primitive music his dramas would have lost a great deal of their poetic values.
The music of the original period in mankind history must be incorporated in the ears of the audience before the audience hear the music in the last episodes.
For example, the motif in the question of the kid’s impatience to get tot know who is his mother, the heroes of a race from an enslaved God who wanted his descendants to live the life of the Free without a God, the rapt of Alberich, the ballade of Senta, the incestuous hymn of Siegfried and Siegelinde, the malediction of love, malediction of gold in the mind of Wotan.
In the beginning was the River Rhine.
Creating the myth of the music and its genesis and knowing that Love and Fear are intertwined so that only music can disseminate these intricate feelings.
The German bourgeois society was initially appalled by the tetralogy, but as it gained momentum and appeal to larger section in society, this bourgeois class ran with it and usurped the masterpiece to give it a nationalistic mythical dimension.
The colonial powers could now send the little people to the colonies under the motto: “What is good for the Nation (elite class) is necessarily good for the citizens”
Note: Read the essay of Thomas Mann “The Nobleness of the Spirit“
What a trip
My shadowless journey among the living
I keep hearing: Life is just a trip
A few come to life, their trip all planned out, scheduled, financed…
They tried all kinds of transport facilities and toured the world without luggage
They get out in their voyage for long treks in nature, climb mountains, surf, hunt wild animal in safaris…
They never had to try Greyhound or these slow trains for destinations not so exciting, and pretty unknown.
A few come to life not having any stipend to dismount from the transport carriage to have a bite
As many riders do in the bus.
A few are discovered in the landing gears of airplanes: They are retrieved in a state of hibernation
Many have no idea where on earth they were born and why they were born.
Frequently trailing after the long pilgrimage convoys to the nearest UN compound for food, potable water
And treatment for curable diseases.
Occasionally they are pushed to join “revolutionary” armies as kid slaves
After being forced to kill their mother, father, and elder brothers and sisters.
It is getting tradition to board rickety ships as immigrants, after suffering long journeys in desert and refugee camps
And hoped to be picked up by more comfortable salvage ships.
The vast majority are stashed in containers
And human-packed containers cross oceans in total darkness
And in the stench of totally closed compartment.
Cars are the transport means that killed and handicapped most trip takers
And particularly in countries suffering from embargoes on spare parts
The daily toll is staggering.
I was packed in the luggage compartment of some transport means and forgotten.
I was found 6 years later.
I woke up after a coma of eternity to discover a semblance of life.
I chocked when I had my first breath of fresh air: It was poisonous to my weakling constitution.
For the first time I noticed shadows of people surrounding me.
And I wanted one of them shadows, all mine.
I was transferred so many times and experienced all kinds of confinement in boarding schools,
In private schools and later in public universities.
I was shuffled from one main language to another main language schools.
As adult, I kept sharing apartment and lived in tight basements, modern caves…
I wanted a shadow, but wanting and getting one is not an easy journey among the living.
My best refuge was dark rooms and basements.
I was a totally transparent body among the living up the age of 13.
Living bodies who never noticed me or paid any attention to me.
Why I’m under the impression that never talked to anybody till the age of 13?
Why I’m under the impression that nobody talked to me till then?
I had no shadow to impress and attract the living.
I joined in trips with the living:
It is not of any fault or limitations of the living for isolating me.
I just had no subjects or emotions that could create any kinds of passions in me
To transmit, communicate, explore.
What a trip among the living
As if no lights left any trace of a shadow
Behind or ahead of me.
And I didn’t find any good enough reason to observe the living and their behaviors.
It is not an easy job to establish a salient shadow.
Years later, I managed to secure a room of my own in the ground floor.
I installed the bookshelves, the computer, the homework of my university students…
I thought I was settled.
Relatives of mine deemed this room a luxury for someone just intent on reading and writing.
A room that was vouchsafed to be better vacant and put for rent.
Instead of being rent, my own room was reserved for storing unwanted belonging that were cramming
And disfiguring their interior designed space for receiving the rare visitors.
Why do I write?
So I can learn to observe.
I observe to resuscitate whatever feeling and emotions I buried
In the deepest recesses of my convoluted memory.
Still this shadowless individual,
Still learning to observe the shadows
Note: I began my piece 3 days ago, before I stumbled on Thomas Mann’s essay “Nobleness of the Spirit”. I flipped to the chapter of the German poet Chamisso and discovered the novel “The marvelous story of Peter Schlemihl (1813)”. I got the key symbol of Shadow and ran with it.
Read every day and you’ll never lack inspirations to improve and finish an essay.
Transcending a myth: “Chosen people?”
There is this trend among the vast majority of Jewish communities, within each powerful nation, to associate with the prevalent capitalist ideology of the elite class of the nation.
In general, they want to emulate the Jewish “dignitaries” or Jewish noteworthy personalities who have contacts with the power to be.
As long as the social and political system encourages professionalism, easy business laws, and education to all minorities then, it becomes irrelevant whether the system is monarchic, constitutional monarchy, dictatorship, apartheid, racist, “anti-semite”, faked democracy, social-democrate, or neo-conservative capitalist.
Once the Jewish dignitaries start feeling the heat of abridged opportunities, they galvanize the rabbis and the Jews in ghettos to supporting reforms that bring the system back to “normal”.
The Jewish dignitaries have pragmatic spirits: They want to found the mythical and very weak claim of the “chosen people” of their Bible on firmer grounds and objective realities. It is the behavior of transcending unsustainable ridiculous historic myth into something very tangible; like assimilating and adopting the culture of the powerful nation they are living in; a culture that has proven and demonstrated its superiority among nations.
For example, Jews in Germany, before WWI and during the period before WWII, had for models and aspirations the Teutonic Wagnerian culture. Walter Rathenau, the head of the AEG industrial empire of power production, encouraged Jews to be assimilated in German society and civilization. He claimed that: “My religion is that Germanic faith that transcends all religiosity.”
The neo-Kant philosopher Herman Cohen published an essay in 1915 haranguing German Jews to defending the notion of German superiority in culture and industry in this modern era of civilization.
The German rabbi Mark Dinemann vehemently compared the retreat of French troops from the Ruhr industrial zone in 1930 to the coming out of the Jews of Moses from the desert. The same attachment to German culture was expressed by Thomas Mann and Albert Einstein before serious anti-Jewish laws restricted opportunities for equal treatments.
Antisemitism was the norm in Germany and Russia but the Jewish dignitaries felt at home and the Jewish communities followed what pleased their noteworthy personalities.
The Jewish professionals felt at home during the first Arab Islamic Empires, they were at home in Andalusia, then in the Ottoman Empire, in the Persian Empires; they felt at home in Imperial Russia, in Imperial Germany, in Great Britain, during Napoleon reign, in Turkey during Kamal Ataturk, and in apartheid South Africa.
Most pogroms and holocausts were the results of propaganda claiming that the prominent jewish dignitaries were the mastermind of turmoil and revolts to the status quo.
Fact is, Jewish “notables” in advanced nations swam freely in the climate of vast opportunities and managed to capture key business sectors and educational professions. Thus, the perception that this minority could manage to reach high position and acquire remunerating professions without tacit political contribution and association was very strong among the large famished and ignorant masses.
As Jews settled in this fabricated State of Israel they had no climate of civilization to emulate.
Within 60 years, Israel society is being guided by Orthodox Jewish sects that are no different from the Wahhabi sect in Saudi Arabia or the salafist Islamic fundamentalists.
For 60 years, Jews who never settled outside of Israel were swimming in stinking streams fraught with all kind of dangerous viruses. Only those who got out of Israel on time and returned to one of the “advanced States” had the opportunity to resuming a healthy moral life away from this degradation into racism and apartheid mentality.
It is no enigma why the US, Russia, and the European States are keeping up investment in Israel and extending the most sophisticated arms: They do not want the Israelis to return to their original Homes. They want the Israelis to keep the illusion that they are part of the Western civilization.
It is just an illusion because the environment does not encourage healthy culture and freedom of opinions. It is no enigma why the Israeli “dignitaries” are not the professors, humanists, or inventors but are the world top traders in drug, arms, prostitution, slavery, and body organs.
It is no enigma why the US Jewish J-Street lobby is trying to counter balance the Zionist lobby. Moderate and professional Jews in the US are feeling the heat: The US citizens are ready to believe the strong impressions that it is the Zionist lobby that is cowering the US Administrations into total bias in the Middle East and the Israeli/Palestinian cause.
The US policies in the Middle East is to keeping this region unstable and in constant state of war but the Zionist lobby wants to perpetuate the illusion and impressions that they are the ones in complete control of the US finance, economy, medias, and foreign affairs.
The US citizens are in a state of losing confidence in their potentials for drastic reforms and Jews might become the scapegoat of people’s violent tendencies in time of loss of hope for a better future.