|This article appears in the March 10, 2017 issue of Executive Intelligence Review. It was originally published in the November 17, 2000 issue of EIR.
Politics as Art
by Lyndon H. LaRouche, Jr.
November 6, 2000
Some winced or giggled, when the amiable and gifted Senator Eugene McCarthy conducted political campaigning as poetry-reading sessions. I laugh happily at what he did. Senator McCarthy’s critics did not remember, as I do, that President Lincoln had won a terrible, justified, and absolutely necessary war on behalf of all humanity, by aid of lessons adduced from Shakespeare, which he had taught, as directives, to the members of his Cabinet. No one, friend or foe, laughed at the awesome result of that instruction.
Real politics, as Plato and the recently elevated, great, and martyred English statesman Thomas More rightly understood,1 is properly practiced as a form of Classical art, practiced according to the same principles which the greatest tragedians, Shakespeare and his successor Schiller, most notably, subsequently expressed as Classical modes of composition and performance of poetry and tragedy. To become efficiently literate in history and politics, you must recognize the tragedies composed by those two latter, greatest masters of that art, as no mere fiction, but, like the greatest operatic staging of the tragedies from Shakespeare2 and Schiller, by Giuseppe Verdi, or, earlier, the relevant operas of Wolfgang Mozart, and Beethoven’s Fidelio,3 the authentic, and inspiring representation of the essence of the specific crises in real history to which those compositions refer.
Tomorrow, U.S. election-day, November 7, 2000, we shall witness an awful real-life tragedy on the world stage, the threat, if not yet the actuality of a new dark age. That threat is today’s outgrowth of a long-standing, widespread violation of those Classical principles of statecraft which every citizen should have been given the right to know, something that citizen should have known by no later than the time he or she had completed a secondary education.
My life’s professional work, during more than fifty years to date, has been focussed on precisely that subject-matter so urgently needed under today’s conditions of global crisis: the interdependency of the history of politics and economics with those Classical methods which underlie competence in both art and science.
Lately, I had been prompted by a number of developments, especially because of the increasingly acute quality of the onrushing world crisis, to place much heavier emphasis on my students’ and co-workers’ rigorous mastery of that function of Classical art. Here, I consolidate and recapitulate what I have said in the content of unpublished manuscripts which were recently written for those collaborators’ private use. I do this here, in as popular a form as competent exposition permits. I do this for the benefit of you as a member of an, unfortunately, still largely unwitting population, a population which the aftermath of this election would tend to overwhelm with despair, unless you are informed of those certain means of remedial action which I outline for you here.
I offer you thus a method for action, which contains the much-needed Classical alternative to today’s real-life tragedy of our nation. I present that to you here, with the intent to afford you a guide to the means by which we may escape from the awful consequences, into which the immediate aftermath of a brutish electoral farce, now threatens to plunge our nation, and also the world at large.
For you, if you are a typical adolescent or adult who has good intentions toward mankind in general, I emphasize, that the beginning of the practice of those kinds of real politics which are consistent with your intentions, is to be found in the proper, truthful, but too rarely used form for conducting ordinary discussion. By ordinary discussion, I mean the practical use of that elementary knowledge of the principles of Classical art, which should inform and guide the way in which two acquaintances might converse about anything but trivial housekeeping subjects, on a street-corner, or under almost any other ordinary, or exceptional auspices.
The model you must come to know, to be able to rise to that higher level of deliberation on the subjects of our nation’s policy-making issues, is the model to be found in re-enacting the Socratic dialogues of Plato, viewing those dialogues for what they are: Classical dramas portraying exchanges among characters typifying notable actual figures from the living history of the Greece of that age. It is by re-enacting those dialogues as dramas, that ordinary people, may be pleasantly surprised to touch something of that quality of mind which makes for genius, as they become, through experience, increasingly efficient, even as ordinary citizens, in use of the most important principles for rational selection of political choices. From that standpoint, you will also come to know, that every form of important Classical artistic composition, functions according to exactly the same principle as Plato’s Socratic method.
Classical composition so defined, includes the greatest works in Classical sculpture and Classical Renaissance painting, such as that of Leonardo da Vinci, Raphael Sanzio, and Rembrandt. It includes all of the greatest Classical poetry and drama. It includes all great musical compositions, which are either Classical from the outset, or rendered fully expressive of Classical principles of composition, by aid of the kind of polish supplied to the Negro Spiritual by the collaboration of Antonin Dvorák and Harry Burleigh, and by the continuation of that process of perfection by the great Classical artist Roland Hayes and his collaborators and followers.
That latter choice of example, the case of the Negro Spiritual, has special importance for all among our people, of African descent or not, who are oppressed by the sense that life has reduced the common folk to the treatment intended for under-dogs, or people degraded even to the social status of virtual human cattle.
If you once come to know the way in which the Classical principle of composition is expressed in such an excellent and profound way by those Spirituals, you should recall that these originated as works of art composed by, and shared among successive generations of cruelly oppressed slaves who were each, at least partially, of African descent. The power of these compositions, which Dvorák, Burleigh, Hayes, and others, have honed to a state of relative perfection, expressed, among those slaves, the same genius inherent in all human beings. Those Spirituals, so honed, have a special power for all, on that account; they should inspire us to recognize, that there is no oppression so efficient, that it can obliterate the fact of the noble quality of humanity, as man and woman made in the image of the Creator, a quality innate to each newborn child.
Typical of the same universal principle, is the celebrated Prisoners’ Chorus of Ludwig Beethoven’s Fidelio, or the chorus of the slaves, Va Pensiero, from Giuseppe Verdi’s Nabucco. The latter chorus became the unofficial national anthem of modern Italy, out of popular recognition of the specific quality of patriotic passion, which that chorus conveys by Classical artistic means. As the case of “Little Boy” illustrates this point best to me, the performances of the repertoire of the Spiritual by Roland Hayes, as by Marion Anderson, set a standard of comparison among those who worked with and followed them, for conveying the Negro Spiritual as a part of the body of mankind’s treasure of true Classical art. No respectable musician or Classical actor would disagree.
The underlying principles expressed by the most successful expressions of great Classical artistic composition, are those expressed in the most concentrated form in Plato’s dialogues, and in those forms of modern Classical artistic composition which I have broadly identified above.
For reasons which I shall clarify in the pages which follow, the achievements of the Negro Spiritual to such effect, reveal to us today the profound, uniquely human creative power, that power which touches the quality of genius, inhering in each new-born slave of those many generations, who suffered such cruelty at the hands of those who express that same contempt for humanity, which was exhibited by what the followers of Richard M. Nixon launched, in collaboration with the Ku Klux Klan, as that legacy of the old Confederacy called the “Southern Strategy” of 1966-1968. That wicked, inhuman legacy of the Nixon campaign, is the same cultural corruption running rampant in the Congress, in our national electoral processes, and in practiced U.S. foreign policy today. It is the same evil, as revived so today, which the voice of the slave indicts, as if by a voice speaking from across the centuries, through the Classical form of the Negro Spiritual. When we participate in such music, or other Classical art, we are similarly inspired, and strengthened in our commitment to wage the battle for all humanity, as all true followers of Jesus Christ have done.
The successful composition and performance of such Classical artistry, depends upon a certain method, that Socratic method most efficiently illustrated by Plato’s dialogues. This is a method for locating, cultivating, and applying that noble authority which is embedded in human nature from birth, our innate authority sometimes identified as creative reason. It is when we communicate with one another in this way, on matters which the poet Shelley described as “profound and impassioned conceptions respecting man and nature,” that that power of reason born within us, may be willfully aroused, and shared with others. So, were our citizens not so often foolish, we would always rely on that method, for assembling with others to shape the policies and future destiny of our nation, and its relations with other nations.
It is that potential power for Classical artistic communication, which you must summon from within yourself, for your deliberations with your fellow-citizens on those policy-issues. That is the method you should choose, which will presently determine the present moments’ choice between recovery, and a living nightmare for not only our nation, but for most of the world.
My central objective in writing his report, is to make that point clear to you in particular. If you understand that point, we shall succeed, together, in bringing the class of those who continue to occupy the role of politicians, up to that higher moral level, too.
1. Why Americans Usually Lie
Begin by asking yourself: What should the word “truth” be understood as signifying? To answer that question, begin by peeking into typical scenes of relevant misbehavior, those prevalent among both leading political figures and ordinary citizens, as we have seen these echoed, yet once again, during the now concluding national election-campaign.
As all of us who are adults, and who are honest about what we know, recall, that, with the most extremely rare individual exceptions, virtually every American, including those who claim to be devoutly religious, is an impulsive liar. He, or she will lie, almost instinctively, as the typically depraved members of “debaters’ clubs” do, and as certain popular political candidates do, “to win the argument,” “to get my way.” Of these, those hypocrites who call themselves Christians, are not the worst cases, but, all too frequently, only the most disgusting ones.
In families in which households still exist these perilous days, children continue to witness their parents politely lying to the guests, the guests lying similarly in return, and both parents and guests hailing each other at the close of the visit, “We must do this soon again!” Then, according to popular custom, follows the epilogue, in which the children may overhear their parents’ ridicule and even calumnies, directed against the guests they had just, a moment before, escorted so amiably to the door.
Similarly, as we nearly all recall, children learn to lie to each other as they lie to their teachers, by conditioning themselves to tell teachers, what they guess that teachers wish to hear. Pupils, thus, set as goals of their own present and future education and careers, being careful to say what is likely to be accepted and rewarded, to speak as free from the encumbrance of truthfulness, as such ambitions might appear to demand of them. So, above the doorway to the room where the students’ qualifying examinations are held, there often might be emblazoned the motto: “Abandon truth, all ye who enter here!”
In keeping with that motto, teachers, like others, lie in the course of their preying upon those over whom they exert reign. Such teachers would defend their actions by statements of the genre “I was just doing my job,” or “Sorry, but that is policy,” “That is what is in the textbook,” “That is what you have to learn, if you are to pass the examination,” “When you finish school, you can make up your own mind, but, for now . . . ,” or, simply, “That is the way we teach it here.” I recall it all, from all those years, with a certain embittering, and knowledgeable recollection of the fact of fraudulent stuff thrown at me in most of that experience—but, for some rare, blessed exceptions which I cherish to the present day.
Probably, many of you who are adolescents or adults, could report a similar kind of experience, if you were not one of the Americans who usually lie about such matters.
Many common social practices are a reflection of popular acknowledgment of the commonplace fact of such popular habits of customary lying.
For example, few employers assess a job-applicant’s resume for the quality of truthfulness, but rather for the desirable or undesirable amount of cleverness to which it attests, and the wish that the applicant, if hired, were likely to be as corrupt in serving the employer’s indicated interest, as he or she had been in composing the fiction which the resume contains. “Yes,” the hiring officer might confide, “the degree from that university is real, but the education it represents is nearly worthless. Still, the fact that he actually has those degrees covers our backs with the stockholders, in case the fellow turns out to be the bum we suspect he might be. We could say, ‘He had the qualifications, but he just didn’t work out.’ ”
Similarly, when an executive is being maneuvered out of the firm, he will be damned with such expressions of faint praise as, “John is to be praised for having done an excellent job, which now prepares the way for obvious improvements.”
Similarly, many of the laws which you believe were enacted by our Congress, are lies, in effect. For example, are you so credulous as to believe, that the passage of a law necessarily represents the “intent of Congress”? Do you not know the frequency with which the essential motive for the passing of a particular law was, predominantly, the Congress’s intent to recess?
That is not the end of that fraud in law-making practice. Since the so-called “democratic reform” of the Committee structures of the U.S. Congress during the 1970s, there was a directly resulting increase of technical incompetence in the kinds of pieces of legislation emitted from the committees. The conflicts in interpretation of outstanding statute and related policy so clumsily generated, relinquished the responsibility for sorting out those legal conflicts to committees in the Executive Branch’s bureaucracy, with the effect that the enforced intent of the legislation, was transformed into what the latter bureaucrats had concocted. So, with the complicity of the courts, intentions which were contrary to the conscious intent of the relevant legislators, became enforced, by authority of the compliant Federal Court, as the official version of “the intent of Congress.”
You should be even more shocked by the related kinds of recent trends in decisions respecting the intent of the U.S. Constitution itself, by majorities of the U.S. Supreme Court. Any literate adult who reads the constitutional law upon which our Federal Republic’s legal existence depends, the 1776 Declaration of Independence and the 1789 Preamble of the Federal Constitution, can know with certainty that the current, Rehnquist-Scalia majority of the Supreme Court has plainly and solemnly lied, repeatedly and outrageously, against the most crucial point of law in both the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution.
Up to now, I had not mentioned the worst habitual liars of all, the popular mass news media.
In everyday life, it is often worse than that.
For example, credulous or simply illiterate citizens attribute great authority to so-called “eyewitness testimony.”
Often, good study of circumstantial evidence proves that the eyewitness has either lied, or was simply incompetent to state, as eyewitness, evidence which was, in reality, the kind of conclusion which he, or she had asserted to be the sworn truth of the matter. Or, often, the witness has lied outrightly, but the onlookers declare, still today, that that testimony must be respected, because the witness claimed to have observed with his or her senses, and because foolish onlookers, still today, choose to believe that the witness appears to be, or was described by the judge as sincere. After all, why should typical jurors not tend to sympathize with the species of such liars; are they not often brought up, at home, in schools, and elsewhere, to be the same kinds of liars themselves?
For example, “Experience teaches us!” were, in effect, often the last words of the legendary lemming who then plunged to his death off the cliff.
In each general election, majorities of voters display impassioned confidence in the clown they will come to despise by the time the next election comes around. The lout they choose next, to replace the one they have come to despise, is often as bad or worse than the donkey they are about to kick out of office. Worse, often, especially of late, the effect of the citizens’ voting, is to chuck out a decent political figure, in momentary preference for someone whom they will have good reason to hate soon enough. Indeed, these days, the majority among those who choose to vote, must be seen, on performance, as never to have learned much worth knowing from their own past experience in voting.
To sum up these points of illustration, add the following.
The typical American will swallow one kind of poison, or another, compulsively, daily, if he, or she believes that experience has taught confidence in that particular brand-name. Indeed, today, we have entered a schizophrenic age of popular illiteracy, in which people wear brand names, in that very large print best suited to the needs of illiterates, on their backs and shirt-fronts, and they mouth brand-names and slogans as if their attention were focussed upon the sensation of fondling those mere phrases with their wet mouths.
In point of fact, in these lunatic times of such mean-spirited pranks as rampant mergers and acquisitions, privatization, and out-sourcing, today’s product bearing yesterday’s name, may turn out to be, not a horse of a different color, but perhaps an object better suited for use by some yet unknown species, a product selected not for what it is, but for the way the mere brand-name it bears, tastes in the sucker’s mouth.
That brings us directly into the provinces of Classical artistic composition. Given the evidence of how widespread the popular forms of lying have become, how do we know what the truth is, and where the evidence may be found on which truthful knowledge depends? Knowledge of how to vote, for example.
Having thus illustrated a point, let me present you now with a generalization whose accuracy I shall unveil to you, step by step, as we proceed together with the following sections of this present report.
Unmaking the World’s Worst Mistakes
The principle underlying all competent composition and performance of what is known as Classical tragedy, is based upon the historical evidence it reflects. That principle is, that, in real life off stage, entire cultures, excepting those destroyed by natural causes beyond man’s present ability to control, have been usually destroyed by the fatal defects inhering within that prevailing popular culture itself, as the U.S., as a nation, is being destroyed, like the ancient pagan Rome of the popular arena games, by no single factor as weighty as the effect of what is called “popular entertainment” today.
One of the most important lessons of the history of European civilization, is that, throughout that history, the entertainment associated with the theater, has been among the most influential forces, for good, or for evil, in shaping the evolution and consequent fate of that culture as a whole. In this report, I show why that is the case.
In all great Classical tragedy, for example, from Aeschylus and Sophocles, through Shakespeare and Schiller, the tragic failure of the relevant leading figure, such as Shakespeare’s Hamlet, or the notorious Oedipus, has been his or her failure to change, willfully and radically, that destiny of a people which custom and related existing institutions of popular influence have brought upon it. So speaks the voice of Shakespeare, through one of his surviving characters, in the closing moments of Hamlet (see box).
The greatest crimes of political leaders, and comparable figures, are usually not their violation of custom, but their failure to violate custom in the manner specifically needed to prevent a people from plunging themselves, and their posterity alike, into some terrible calamity. Thus, the chief cause of the tragedy of nations and cultures, is not that they violated custom or popular opinion, but that they continued to bow to the authority of these precedents and other habits much too long.
So, the United States today, is being destroyed politically from within, chiefly by a trend in custom and popular opinion which has been induced by the impact of the combined introduction of the Nixon “Southern Strategy,” and Nixon’s embrace of the dogma of simple-minded Professor Milton Friedman, about three and a half decades ago.
All great Classical tragedy is based on a case either from actual history, or from popular mythology, in which the destruction of a nation or culture has been brought about by its own accustomed ways.4 To address this danger from within, the European civilization which emerged in Greece about 2,500 or more years ago, adopted the theatrical performances of the Classical form of tragedy, as an indispensable instrument for examining the dangers inhering in currently accepted customs. Thus, the Homeric epics supplied themes for what emerged as the Classical Greek tragedy of such as Aeschylus and Sophocles. The Classical Greek theater emerged as a more effective way of uplifting the conscience of the citizenry of Athens for this purpose.
The modern Classical tragedy, as it evolved upwards through the efficiently connected work of Marlowe, Shakespeare, Lessing, and Schiller, was a higher form than modern Europe found in those precedents, as from ancient Athens, upon whose foundation the modern form was built.
The method, developed for that purpose, as expressed, and required by the composition and performance of Classical tragedy, is a very definite, readily described, and fairly readily demonstrated one. If the principle could not be demonstrated so, then the theater-goer would never have been moved by well-performed Classical tragedy, as Schiller, for example, the central intellectual figure of the Prussian reformers’ national liberation insurgency, moved the German people of his time in a more powerful and revolutionary way than any nation’s audiences then or later, through, chiefly, his poetry and plays. Every successful performance of a great Classical tragedy, moves an audience, not because that audience has been deceived, as by a tempting illusion, but, rather, precisely because the audience is led to recognize the efficient principle by means of which they are moved.
People who have failed to understand the basic principle of composing and performing Classical drama, nonetheless tend to suffer the delusion, that the secret of that medium’s success lies in the creation of illusion. Unfortunately, just such illiterate nonsense, is the basis for most of what is commonly classed as “Hollywood productions” today. As we might observe by studying the declaration of the actor playing Chorus, directly to the assembled audience, in the opening of Shakespeare’s King Henry V, no illusion is intended. Rather, the principle of the stage encountered in the tragedies, for example, of Shakespeare and Schiller, is the Socratic principle of truth, as that principle was first explicitly and rigorously defined for science by Plato, in his dialogues.
I explain the difference.
The art of illusion, or “magic,” is to play a trick on the audience’s senses, to no other immediate purpose, than to make things appear to sense-certainty as what they are not. For example: cheap-shot sensationalism, as typified by such experiences as Hollywood-style “science fiction” nonsense, and some recent campaigns of leading Presidential candidates.
In contrast to that, the Classical stage copies Classical poetry, and the Homeric epics, in crafting an image of what the audience comes to recognize as the efficient factors, intangible to the senses as such, which are shaping the real outcome of the events presented. To accomplish this, the playwright and performers rely on methods on which that ability depends, to reconstruct the image of such factors on a certain kind of stage which is erected only inside the mind of each member of the audience, that done without the aid of any of the tricks consistent with the definition of illusion.
Thus, Chorus tells the audience to use their imagination, as I shall explain, a bit later, what the term “imagination” should be understood to mean. The play does nothing to lure the members of the audience into the grip of illusions.
For example, Chorus explicitly warns them against being lured into illusions not intended by their vision and hearing of the performance of that play. Shakespeare does not pretend to put the actual events on stage, as an illusionist would pretend to do. Shakespeare uses the stage to focus the audience’s attention on what is happening to the minds, and in the interactions among, the characters abstracted from the real-life, off-stage reality to which the drama makes reference.
This method of Shakespeare’s and Schiller’s stage, as implied by Chorus’ address to the audience, is derived from the allegory of Plato’s Cave. Once this point is made clear to you, you will have overcome the biggest hurdle which you must overcome to understand what your exposure to entertainment does, or does not do, to and for you. That explanation finds its root, not in the classroom’s course in literary criticism, but in the hard reality of physical science.
As all literate adults know, the difference between the relationship to nature by mankind, and that of any lower animal species, lies in the ability, unique to the individual human mind, of discovering experimentally validatable discoveries of universal physical principles. By means of these discoveries, and of the technologies derived from them, the individual human mind is enabled to cause a willful and qualitative increase in the so-called “ecological potential” which is characteristic of the entire human species, something which no animal species can duplicate.
That said, we zero-in on the core of the matter at hand. Now ask yourself the question, can you see a universal physical principle with your eyes? Can you identify such a principle itself as in any way an object of the senses?
By a validated discovery of a universal physical principle, we mean something which can not be seen, heard, smelled, or touched by organs of the senses, but, an idea, as Plato defines ideas, by means of which, man’s power to exist, in and over the universe, is measurably increased. Thus, such principles are physically efficient causes of definite, tangible kinds of changes in our relationship to nature. These changes are measurable effects, and, thus, to be regarded as “hard and tangible” realities, but the efficient causes for those changes, the principles themselves, those ideas, are not the kinds of objects which, as themselves, can be detected directly by the senses.
This is the leading point made by the allegory of Plato’s Cave. That, as I shall make the point clearer below, is the conception of ideas, on which all successful composition and performance of Classical tragedy depends, absolutely, for its successful effect upon the audience. The point to which this report as a whole is addressed, is to show you that that same principle of composition and performance of Classical tragedy, should be the basis for the way in which you organize your mind for your discussion of not only the experimentally validated discovery of universal physical principles, but also any other serious issue of policy-making, with the person with whom you chance to discuss such a matter, even in a relatively brief exchange at a street-corner.
At this point, from this point in the present report, onwards, I shall now walk you, first, through the steps by which a validatable form of discovery of a universal physical principle is made. After that, I shall show you how that same principle of scientific thinking, governs the way in which the relationship between Classical drama and the living audience functions. In either science, or Classical art, what I shall thus describe to you, is exactly what transpires in every case such a validatable discovery in science has occurred.
This principle I now, once again, set before you, is the principle of what is known as “geometry of position,” as it is not only the fact in known cases; more important, it is the only way in which such a discovery could be made. Once we have examined the evidence for the case of the discovery of universal physical principles, we shall examine other kinds of universal principles which are generated, as known and provable ideas, by the same kinds of mental activity, and discourse among persons, used for the successful discovery and communication of validated universal physical principles.
Our practical aim in focussing your attention on those principles of mental life which are indispensable, both to scientific progress, and for overcoming the cultural failures of certain cultures, is to demonstrate to you those methods which history has shown to be indispensable for unmaking the present world’s worst mistakes.
2. What Are Ideas?
The relevant, functional relationship between the Classical drama on stage and the individual mind of the member of the audience, is the immediate topic on which to focus attention now. Once that connection is made clear, one might hope that the reader would recognize that the relationship of a speaker to his friend or acquaintance, in the proper art of truthful conversation, as in discussing any serious topic, even on a street-corner, is a replication of the same kind of situation existing between the drama and the audience in a Classical theatrical performance.
In this course of completing this report, I shall come to the point that I am prepared to show, that the person speaking on that street-corner, is adopting the role of the playwright or actor, and, for that instant, the hearer is playing the part of the member of the audience. If the other responds in kind, the ensuing conversation is embarked on the beginning of what we might hope will become a real-life re-enactment of the principle of Plato’s Socratic dialogues.
Such a relationship among persons discussing what I have identified as ideas—Platonic ideas, and facts pertaining to them, is the method of discourse indispensable for reaching those forms of agreement which may be rightly regarded and used as being truthful. It is in that specific sense, that we may rightly speak of truth as a quality most naturally specific to the media of Classical art-forms. Granted, there is truthfulness required of physical science, but that quality of truthfulness, when it is found there, as the opposite is met in the currently prevalent popular practice of lying in the U.S. today, is a matter of social relations. The quality of truthfulness shared with scientific knowledge, is realized through those same social processes which are the immediate subject-matter of Classical art-forms as such.
Truthfulness is a quality of ideas, as Plato’s Socratic method demonstrates the reality of ideas. Classical art’s source of authority for statecraft, is that it is specifically the medium most appropriate for adducing the relative truthfulness of the ideas by which a nation or culture chooses to rule its affairs.
In the alternative, there is no truthfulness in any other place than the domain of ideas so defined. Any literal interpretation of mere sense-impressions as such, is, by nature, an illusion, a deception, and therefore a lie. The question of truthfulness, is not a matter of sense-certainty; it lies entirely within the bounds of the value we place upon ideas, as the allegory of Plato’s Cave distinguishes between the falseness of the mere shadows cast upon the wall of a firelit cave, and the beings and actions which are naturally misrepresented by a literal reading of those mere shadows which we call sense-certainties.
Once that equivalence of Classical theater and ordinary modes of serious discussion of ideas, is recognized, then, I expect the reader to recognize the fact, that we should regard Classical theater as Friedrich Schiller did, as the medium through which a people can understand the way in which audiences can learn to discuss important issues in the course of everyday life. This kind of attitude and practice within the population as a citizenry, is what we must now establish as the method of deliberation on which the citizens of our republic must rely, more and more, in choosing the ideas and related policies by which that republic shall be self-governed.
On that account, the pivot of the pertinent argument which I must summarize for you at this point, is also supplied in a somewhat different context, in a just recently published report, “The Lesson of the Cole Incident,” published in the November 10, 2000 edition of the English-language, political intelligence news-weekly, the Executive Intelligence Review. The argument is presented there in the portion of that feature located on pages 43-48, under the included subheadings of “The Scientific Basis for Recovery” and “Geometry of Position.”
My purpose here and now, is to identify a principle, a principle called by such names as “Analysis Situs” or “geometry of position,” as the common basis for all scientific discovery and for the relationship between the Classical tragedy on stage and the mind of the audience. The object of that clarification, is to point out to you how the presently almost unknown, virtually lost art of competent practice of politics, actually works. My purpose in that, is to make clear to you that this is something which you as a citizen, can master with a reasonable amount of effort, as aided by the acquired habit of practice of relevant discussion among selected representatives of your circles of friends and acquaintances.
The matter to be addressed, is introduced most readily by reference to the characteristic folly of that classroom, in which today’s still conventional view of so-called Euclidean geometry is accepted, wrongly, as a standard of truthfulness.
The specific lie which permeates blind faith in such a classroom geometry, is the assumption, premised on always deceptive sense-certainty, both that space, in three assumed directions of forward-backward, sideways, and up-down, is simply extended infinitely, and that time is simply extended, similarly, in a forward-backward sense of direction. This lie is expressed typically by the notion that relations of matter in space and time are to be defined, in their most elementary terms, by the notion of action at a distance, as that fraudulent view is associated with such names as Galileo, Descartes, and Newton.
The system traditionally taught in classrooms as “Euclidean geometry,” expressed these ivory-tower delusions of infantile sense-certainty. It thus insisted, respecting space, time, and matter, on mimicking an Aristotelean form, and interpretation of definitions, axioms, and postulates. These assumptions, which I have just broadly described, respecting space, time, and matter, were falsely asserted to be the standpoint from which the apparent physical evidence of our senses was to be described, and interpreted. Such is what is fairly described as “the ivory-tower mentality” commonly polluting, still today, the generally accepted, classroom teaching of, and credulous students’ underlying beliefs concerning mathematical physics.
This was the issue on which the founder of modern astrophysics, Johannes Kepler, demonstrated the intrinsic incompetence of the methods previously employed for astronomy, by Claudius Ptolemy, Copernicus, and Tycho Brahe—and, later, by Galileo. Two discoveries dated chiefly to the beginning of the Seventeenth Century, illustrate a point which is of crucial importance for knowing how the Classical theater’s relationship to the audience functions.
The first such example, is the case of Kepler’s tracking the evidence that the Mars orbit is elliptical, to define a universal lawfulness of the organization of the Solar System as a whole.5 The second, is the demonstration, first by the great Fermat, of the evidence showing that least time, rather than shortest distance, was the efficient principle governing the propagation of light.6
In both of the latter instances, the method employed was typical of most of the so-called crucial demonstrations of a discovered scientific principle of physical science. It is the implications of that method of demonstration, on which I ask you to focus your attention in connection with the matter of Classical drama.
The way in which these discoveries were defined, was, in the first approximation, by showing that the interpretation of the observed phenomena led to an obvious absurdity, as long as the attempt persisted, to represent these patterns according to what today’s generally accepted classroom teaching of elementary mathematical physics, insists is the required method of representation of the evidence.
In other words, imagine a case, in which mathematical statement “A,” is both a truthful representation of the apparent empirical evidence, and also one consistent with such “Euclidean” mathematical schemes. Then, compare that with a case, in which the same collection of empirical evidence produces a second statement, “B,” also in the same form, which, in effect, is violently in contradiction with the conclusions implied by the first statement, “A.” The result is, that since both statements are consistent, in origin, with the system, and, yet, both imply results which violate that system, the conjunction of the two statements creates a condition which is a negation of the system from which the two statements are ostensibly derived. In other words, what is called an ontological paradox. Hereinafter, I employ the term “negation” in no different sense than that.
In the case of situating the added evidence, respecting the elliptical form of the Mars orbit, Kepler recognized that this led to contradictions within the previously interpreted empirical evidence. These contradictions warned Kepler, that we must step outside the attempt to explain orbits by simply connecting the dots among observed positions, and seek out a physical principle, outside the assumptions of Euclidean geometry. The evidence today, shows that Kepler was right, and that all of those upholding the commonly accepted empiricist and related views, are false to reality.
The same kind of approach was employed by Fermat, to show that the refraction of light was governed by a principle described, in first approximation, as “least time,” rather than “shortest distance.” The continuation of that investigation by Huyghens, Leibniz, et al., led into the modern, relativistic hyper-geometries of Carl Gauss and Bernhard Riemann, from which all “Euclidean” and other “ivory tower” sets of definitions, axioms, and postulates are excluded, and only, as Riemann was first to specify publicly, experimentally validated discoveries of universal physical principles are accepted as having the authority formerly, wrongfully, attributed to arbitrary, aprioristic axioms.
This method in modern physical science can be shown, conclusively, to be anticipated in the work of Plato and others. It is also inherent in the method of modern experimental science, as that body of science was founded by Cardinal Nicholas of Cusa during the mid-Fifteenth Century, and by such prominent students and followers of Cusa as Leonardo da Vinci. Kepler, for example, relied heavily, and explicitly, upon such aspects of the work of Cusa and Leonardo, and also Plato, in his discovery and initial development of modern astrophysics. However, it is from the starting-point of the crisis in the Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries’ physical science, which crisis Kepler’s work introduced to those centuries, that the sweep of development of modern physical science has unfolded to date.
The differences between the ancient Greek forms of Classical tragedy, and the development by Marlowe, Shakespeare, Lessing, and Schiller, has a specific quality of distinction which belongs to the period of crisis, erupting during the Sixteenth Century, following the revolution in ideas which had erupted during the previous, Fifteenth-Century Renaissance. The specific form in which modern Classical art, and modern science developed, have that common history, and correspondingly distinct, common characteristics.
However, those references to scientific matters here, are introduced here for the limited purpose of showing how the same principles of discovery, function as the essentially determining characteristic of Classical art-forms in general, and the Classical tragedy’s relationship to its audiences, in particular.
The common feature of science and art, on which our attention is focussed, is the implications of the notion called “geometry of position.” To bridge that relationship between science and art, I turn to the case of Classical musical composition, which, as I shall show, is based on exactly those principles which connect the Classical drama to the mind of the member of the audience.
The Art of The Fugue
In his The Art of the Fugue, the founder of the method of modern Classical musical composition, Johann Sebastian Bach, presented an ordered series of pedagogical exercises, which, in fact, summarize the process of development visibly traceable in his life’s work up to the close of his life in 1750. This principle so presented there, is otherwise typified earlier by his A Musical Offering.7 It was the latter composition, intensively studied, ostensibly from a time beginning about 1782, by Wolfgang Mozart, which led Mozart to combine what he had learned from both Josef Haydn8 and Bach, to effect that revolution in the method of composing Classical polyphony, which became known by such names as the Classical thorough-composition of such composers as Mozart, the later Haydn, Beethoven, Schubert, Mendelssohn, Schumann, and Brahms. It is that notion of thorough-composition, which I reference here, to demonstrate the relationship between an adequate performance of Classical tragedy and the audience.
This principle, as identified explicitly by Bach in his The Art of the Fugue, is a direct reflection of the method exhibited by the referenced work of Kepler and Fermat, et al. Accordingly, to compose such Classical music, or to derive a corresponding quality of song from such a musical idea, the following elementary steps must be completed.
State an interval, or a series of intervals of three tones in a well-tempered ordering of the musical scale, referenced at virtually C=256. Next, add a complementary statement, inverting some of the order in the series of intervals of the first statement. Do this in such a way, that, in an example of first approximation, each statement is derived from the same implied key, but the juxtaposition of this leads inevitably, through development, through a series of quasi-dissonances of a type associated with the notion of Lydian intervals (Figure 1).
Bach’s A Musical Offering is a model example of this. Mozart’s recapitulation of that work of Bach, in his K. 475 keyboard Fantasy, summarily identifies that revolutionary step by Mozart, on which all Classical thorough-composition thereafter depended for its precedent (Figure 2).
See this as echoing the examples of the previously referenced, similar conception by Kepler and Fermat earlier. The generation of a musical dissonance, in that fashion, produces an effect which is identical in form and implication to the cases of the paradoxes posed by Kepler and Fermat, respectively, in the physical-science examples. In musical terms, inversions crafted to produce that effect, are recognized as dissonances, because, on the condition that the dissonances are resolved within the completed composition, they create transcendental qualities of musical keys, beyond the 24-key major-minor domain, just as discovered universal physical principles lie beyond and above the bounds of the axiomatic system into which such paradoxes are introduced.
In that sense, such paradoxical juxtapositions, such as those generated by musical, contrapuntal inversion, negate the system into which they are introduced, just as Kepler’s and Fermat’s discoveries negate the system of assumptions into which they are introduced. It is in this sense, and only this sense, that, as I have said above, I employ the term negation hereinafter. Negation signifies a paradox which obliges us to find reality in principles which exist outside a referenced system of axiomatic-like assumptions. Such paradoxes thus negate the referenced system of axiomatic-like assumptions.
Now, turn directly, to view the famous Act Three soliloquy of the character Hamlet from the standpoint of negation. The statement and its inversion, for this case, are “To be,” conjoined to “or, not to be.” Try hearing someone recite that soliloquy, even some celebrated recorded performance by a famous actor, and then explain to the person next to you, exactly, why the usual actor who delivered that recitation does not know what he is talking about!
Read the soliloquy. Identify the way in which the actor Shakespeare would have intended to play Hamlet, and would have delivered that soliloquy. I shall give you a hint as to how to discover what that would be. Turn to the closing scene of that entire play, and contrast the lines spoken by Fortinbras, to the alternative: the proposed prompt re-enactment of the tragedy before taking further action, posed in the same location (see box).
For an easy comparison, reference the dialogue on principles of law, among Socrates, Thrasymachus, and Glaucon, in Plato’s Republic.9 There, Socrates’ use of the same principle of agape set forth in Paul’s I Corinthians 13, appears as a higher standpoint from which the negation posed among Socrates, Thrasymachus, and Glaucon, is overcome through the discovery of a relevant higher principle. In Shakespeare’s Hamlet, by contrast, it is the negation of Hamlet’s folly, as Hamlet states his intent to doom both himself and the Kingdom of Denmark, by his refusal to abandon his customary, “macho’s” mode of swashbuckling conduct, which is the higher principle adduced by the audience. In Classical thorough-composition, as in the conclusion of the fourth song of Brahms’ Four Serious Songs, it is Brahms’ concluding treatment of the agape of I Corinthians 13, which is the subject of the kind of higher resolution typical of the poetic settings typical of Mozart, Beethoven, Schubert, Brahms et al.
So, we have thus now touched here upon the essence of the subject of the modern Classical tragedy. However, there is a second principle to be examined, without which the art of successful forms of composition and performance of Classical music, poetry, and tragedy, could not be competently accomplished, or understood. The issue is typified by considering the function of musicality in composing that poem without words, otherwise called a “song without words,” on which the greatest writings in poetry, are to be understood, as Friedrich Schiller insisted to a Goethe who was reluctant to acknowledge that higher plane of musicality in poetry, shown in the song compositions of Mozart, Beethoven, Schubert, and, implicitly, also, the later cases of Schumann and Brahms.
3. Songs Without Words
Relatively illiterate people, who have yet to gain a competent sense of artistry, usually make the terrible blunder, of assuming, falsely, that the meaning of a Classical poem is to be found primarily, and originally, in the literal text of the poem. Unfortunately, such misguided fellows often recite and threaten to ruin the reputation of such poetry, in just that awful, putting-off, unbeautiful, often bombastic way.
On this account, I find most useful a statement by the now famous baritone, Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau, sometime youthful collaborator of the famous director Wilhelm Furtwängler, and early hailed by some, including me, during the early 1950s, as the prospective successor to Heinrich Schlusnus. I refer to a statement which Fischer-Dieskau has made in a recently broadcast observation on the subject of language, music, and poetry, to which I attach extraordinary importance on account of the issue which I have just posed.10 It were a proper undertaking of our best musical artists today, the Classical singers most notably, to look at Fischer-Dieskau’s observation as I do. The same quality is exhibited in the related work, in the German repertoire in particular, of a recently deceased dear friend, Gertrude Pitzinger,11 as in the best among others. There is, for reasons I shall indicate, a great profit for art specifically, and for humanity in general, in pursuing that line of investigation.
As I shall now indicate, this matter of musicality of a Classical poem, as that principle of poetry must, contrary to the awful mannerisms of the late Sir Lawrence Olivier, inform the playwright and performing artist, is crucial for recognizing the manner in which a successful performance of Shakespeare, for example, reaches into the deepest, most intimate region of both the cognitive powers and passions of the mind of the audience. It is also, in the same way, the key to recognition of the principle underlying the composition of the greatest Classical instrumental compositions, and to the relationship between the singers and the chorus of instrumental voices in Classical musical compositions generally.
Return to the observations which I made, above, on the function of the principle of inversion expressed in the referenced compositions by Bach and Mozart.
Among the rules for development of a long-lasting and beautiful development of the human singing voice, is obedience to the combined, and, actually, interdependent standards set by both the Florentine species of so-called bel canto development and use of the human singing voice, and the strictly well-tempered set of singing-voice (Keplerian, astrophysical-like) orbits (tonalities) defined by J.S. Bach’s method in polyphonic counterpoint. Although such capabilities of the best singers require a cultivation of natural gifts, the gifts so cultivated, are a pre-existing disposition of not only the human singing-voice, and, also, speaking voice, apparatus, but are, as is often, most unfortunately, overlooked, also innate qualities of the human mental processes, the impassioned attributes of cognition most notably.
It is upon these considerations that the principles of Classical forms of poetic composition depend, both for their expression, and for the comprehension of the hearer.
The consequence of those considerations which has the most direct bearing upon the subject-matter of this report as a whole, is the following.
In the case of the Classical song, as in the musical setting of Classical poem, we are confronted with two functionally distinct kinds of musical orderings. One ordering, is that determined by the bel canto-specific vocalization of the poetry itself. The other ordering, is that determined according to the principles of composition defined by well-tempered contrapuntal thorough-composition.
That is to say, on the first account, that, in each language, or its dialectal variant, a distinct relative intonation is associated with the distinction of one vowel from another. This is coupled with the impact of the consonants. And, so on and so forth. In the attempt at a literal rendering of a poem by a speaker, the tendency of literate speakers, of which admittedly few emerge from our secondary and university education of recent decades, is to follow the musical line of the language’s or dialect’s so-called natural prosody, its seemingly natural musical expression. That is to say, the poem is read by the literate speaker of that language, as a musical score.
This was, speaking in relative terms, the view expressed by Goethe and his factional ally Reichardt, respecting the musical setting of Goethe’s own poetry. Hearing the settings of poetry by Reichardt, illustrates Goethe’s standpoint in this matter. Schiller disagreed, as did Wolfgang Mozart, Beethoven, and Franz Schubert. The differences between the treatment of Goethe’s poetry, the one by Reichardt, the other by Mozart, Beethoven, and Schubert, confronts us with the relevant illustration of the issue to be considered here.
Simply stated, the correct approach to the musicality of Classical poetry, is that of Schiller, as Schiller’s argument against Goethe and Reichardt is demonstrated so elegantly in practice by the Goethe settings, and other songs, of Mozart, Beethoven, and Schubert, as also by the songs composed by Schumann and Brahms later. In the examples provided by such composers, it is the standpoint of Bach’s well-tempered contrapuntal polyphony which dominates the musical reading of the prosody. The difference in result, is that the latter approach produces a work in the mode of well-tempered thorough-composition.
The difference imposed by the application of the contrapuntal idea upon the relatively naive prosodic reading of the poem, is that the musical departures from the simply prosodic reading of the poetic line, must never be arbitrary impositions of the speakers’ or singers’ opinion, but must have a lawful reason. The point is, that in art, nothing must ever be arbitrary, never as the Romantics and so forth insist upon arbitrary, irrational whims, whims whose claims to art are limited to the presumption that that which is utterly irrational, such as the works of Richard Wagner, is unfathomably mysterious, and therefore incredibly artistic and sexy as well. There must be governing necessity, as there is in science. That governing principle of reason, must be supplied by the governing, underlying role of contrapuntal development, the contrapuntal development derived from the spark of well-tempered thorough-composition.
This latter view of the challenge posed by the musical settings of poetry, forces us to recognize, in the relatively clearest possible way, the kernel of the method by which the noblest compositions and performances in Classical tragedy, such as those of Shakespeare and Schiller, impart a cognitive passion within the audience, like no other works of similar kinds.
This takes us directly to the highest level of the art of politics. It focusses our attention on the way in which a well-performed Classical tragedy generates a certain condition within the mind of the sensitive members of the audience. This effect is essentially of the same character as the effect upon a musically literate audience of a well-delivered Classical musical song, or, for example, a Verdi aria such as the famous monologue from Simon Boccanegra, or the aria of the dying Posa in Don Carlos, or a well-performed delivery of the hateful soliloquy of Iago, which Verdi added to his earlier setting of Shakespeare’s Othello. The best singers love such parts from the repertoire, because of the way in which appropriate performance enables the singer to reach deeply into the mind of the individual member of the audience. The audiences love such performances, and regard them as beautiful, on the same account. This is the crucial consideration, thorough-compositional musicality and all, in the effective performance of a great Classical tragedy, such as those of Shakespeare and Schiller.
My intention here, is that you, the reader, should develop at least the rudiments of the ability to touch the inside of the mind of your conversation-partners, in ways consistent with that same principle. This is the quality you should recognize as underlying Plato’s composition of his dialogues. This is the principle expressed in practice by the greatest poets, and by, yet once again, the Classical tragedies of Shakespeare and Schiller.
Classical beauty, is not an object at which to look in admiration, or, perhaps, lust. Such beauty is a relationship among persons, a relationship between the cognitive processes of the artist, on the one side, and the cognitive process of the audience, on the other. Only in what humanity has developed as Classical modes of artistry, is such communication efficiently accomplished.
Such art never descends to the banality of mere entertainment. It has a sacred spiritual quality, expressing a quality of the human cognitive processes, by means of which they celebrate and impose that law, that each man and woman is made in the image of the Creator of this universe. Here lies the superior moral authority of great Classical artistic composition and its performance. Here lies the wellspring of that moral authority which, as Shelley has reported, presents poets to us as the true legislators of mankind. Here lies that power in Classical artistic composition, which is never equalled in social authority by any other form of communication.
That said, now focus upon what might be described as the mechanisms, by means of which the Classical tragedy reaches deep into the cognitive processes of the mind of the member of the audience. How is the apparent stress between the two notions of musicality, those of prosody and well-tempering, to be resolved?
How To Compose a Poem
At this point, I must confess. I once did compose Classical poetry, many decades ago. It was a passable product, but that nasty Zeitgeist whose satanic grip had claimed to grip my times, forbade such products from disturbing the complacency of rampant current custom. I consoled myself, that I had done enough to grasp the rudiments of such composition, and had gained thereby some of the essential insight which fed into the possibility of the discoveries which I have contributed to the science of physical economy. Among the benefits of that experience, as combined with my apprentice’s insight into some of the greatest Classical compositions, I present you now, with what is a reliable summary of the method by which a modern piece of Classical poetry is to be composed. This is an approximation of course, but it is exact and accurate as to matter of the most elementary principles involved.
To compose a Classical poem, one should put the matter of text to one side, at least for a while, and concentrate fully on the most elementary principles of Bach’s counterpoint.
On that account, let us assume that you have developed a fertile musical mind, at least to the degree that your thoughts are haunted by an ever-proliferating abundance of those kinds of musical ideas to which I have referred above: statement and inversion, as in the kind of counterpoint which leads potentially to Classical thorough-composition. It is out of what the printer calls the “hell box” of such stereotypical musical elements, that the proper poet, such as a John Keats for English, chooses a musical idea which he or she decides has an ingenious potential relationship to the musicality of a certain fragment of prosodic text.
If that poet has grasped the lesson which my references to the poetic musicality of Schiller, Mozart, and so on, imply, then the contrapuntal idea so chosen, serves as a driving force for the developmental elaboration and resolution of the prosodic element in question. This principle is demonstrated by such an example as Mozart’s setting of Das Veilchen, and by the alterations in a Goethe poem typical of the musical settings of Mozart, Beethoven, and Schubert, and the sundry song-compositions of Schumann and Brahms. A most intriguing and fruitful connection, is shown by comparing the Heine settings by Schubert with the Heine settings of Schumann.
Under the governance of that kind of partnership between counterpoint and prosody, a good poet, whether adequately aware of this connection or not, will find himself, or herself carried, as on empyreal waves, to the full exposition of the germ-idea of his composition, unfolding as what becomes a satisfactory, completed development of the poem as a whole. To understand this most efficiently, it were sufficient to focus upon the role of a series of Lydian intervals in a short composition such as the Mozart Ave Verum Corpus, or his earlier Abendempfindung. In effect, the song-setting as performed, is driven by the energy, the passion, of the contrapuntal process, toward its goal of the completion of a perfectly coherent single idea, an idea whose expression requires neither more nor less than what has been composed and performed.
So far, up to this point, I have described the most essential formalities of the business. That much said, turn to the kernel of the matter. How does this all work within the mind of the member of the audience?
Perhaps more than routine familiarity with the Classical song-form is required for this, but, with work, the principle involved can be adduced in an empirical way. In the case of songs in the form of Classical thorough-composition, the idea of “songs without words” comes to the fore in a manner and degree which is, at first, not only astonishing, but stunningly so. Without words, such music, indeed, all Classical thorough-composition, represents a distinct idea, an idea without words. On this account, it seems at least as sensible to put words to music, as music to words. Every truly gifted Classical instrumental performer readily recognizes this certain quality which lies between the notes, the quality which guides the artistically successful performer, and which dooms some technically well-trained others.
The success of such performing between the notes, should be treated as a form of empirical evidence, showing that those qualities of the composer’s and performer’s minds which enable the Classical performance to reach into the virtual soul of the mind of the audience, are successful precisely because there is a resonance between those aspects of the creative, cognitive processes of both parties.
This should suggest to us, and it can be shown conclusively on solid ground, that the musicality which underlies well-tempered thorough-composition, and such uses of prosody as poetry and the great compositions of Classical tragedy, are essential, or, in other words, indispensable qualities of the power of individual human cognition itself.
In that sense and degree, the person who is unresponsive to Classical modes of composition and performance of poetry, music generally, and tragedy, is an emotional and cognitive illiterate, lacking in the development of an otherwise inborn, natural ability of the human individual, to think and communicate in cognitive, rather than merely deductive modes. Thus, these overtones of such principles of musicality, are inextricably linked to the arts of irony function, metaphor most emphatically. Without a certain literacy of the cognitive powers, on this account, the ability of the individual to see a remedy for a seemingly insoluble paradox, such as that of the Hamlet soliloquy, were impossible. On that account, and exactly that account, an entire people, an entire nation, an entire culture might be doomed to a catastrophe inflicted by its own hand.
The object of the leading personalities of society, must therefore be to awaken and to address those cognitive qualities of the individual mind, in which the passion required to induce cognitive solutions to paradoxes is aroused by musicality. To make this point transparent, return to the matter of geometry of position.
Closing In On Ideas
In Classical art, ideas have the same geometry as those ideas generated as validated discoveries of universal physical principle. As the case of the elementary idea in well-tempered contrapuntal statement and inversion illustrates the connection, all ideas arise within the human mind, solely by Socratic forms of negation.
That is to emphasize, that the type of idea posed by negation does not exist in the explicit elements of the respective parts of the conjunction. It exists, apparently, solely in the gap, the discontinuity which the contradictory feature of the conjunction situates. The idea occurs as a demonstrably efficient solution, existing outside either of the conjoined elements, for the paradox posed by the conjunction. The discovery of an empirically validated universal physical principle, is the archetype of such solutions to such forms of paradox. The point to be emphasized, is that all artistic ideas are of exactly the same form as the discovery of an experimentally validated universal physical principle.
Thus, the conjunction which I have made in the opening paragraph of this report, typifies the way in which a writer or speaker seeks to break through formalities to address the cognitive processes of the mind of the member of the audience. It is right to laugh together with Senator Eugene McCarthy in the matter of his readings of poetry. It is right not to laugh at Lincoln’s readings of Shakespeare to the members of his cabinet. It is therefore silly, to deprecate the role of Classical art in shaping history. Why is this so? That poses a paradox. What is the answer to that paradox?
The purpose of all serious communication, even an exchange on a street-corner, is to bring into play the inner, cognitive processes of the person to whom one is speaking. It is only through the provocation of those cognitive processes, that real paradoxes of real life practice, can be transformed into cognitively generated knowledge of solutions to those problems. No other kinds of solutions to genuine, real-life paradoxes, exist.
The function of the Classical tragedy is to capture the audience’s attention from the start, by posing a paradoxical situation, a dramatic form of geometry of position, which admits of no discoverable solution except the generation of a cognitive form of discovery within the mind of the individual member of the audience.
If this address to the audience is successful in achieving that immediate goal, the result is to put the unfolding drama onto the stage of the imagination of the individual member of the audience. The object is to circumvent the potentially fatal error, of the empiricist’s or materialist’s blundering misapprehension of the shadows projected upon the wall of Plato’s fire-lit Cave. The problem so defined by the theater, is the need to get the mind of the audience to shift its focus from a literal interpretation of the physical stage as such, the walls of the cave, to see, with the mind’s eye, the figures and actions which have generated the images on the wall of that cavern which is the stage.
Once the mind of the audience’s member has accepted that shift of the drama, from the stage as a cavern wall, to the stage to be found within the imaginative, cognitive processes of the mind of the individual member of the audience, a performance of a work of Classical art has begun.
To bring this effect about, that by itself is not sufficient. Deductive solutions as such, do not exist in such matters. There must be passion. It is the musicality of the drama which supplies the indispensable medium of passion. For this purpose, the modern Classical stage must learn to sing. It must proceed from emphasis on the principles of Classical prosody. To achieve the effects of thorough-composition, it must condition its musicality through the influence of education in the art of Classical thorough-composition.
In such matters, what you think you are saying, and the manner in which you say it, may not agree. That should worry you. Therefore, you should refresh yourself, bathe your soul in Classical poetry and song, that your mind might become better attuned and habituated to communicating in that relatively well-performed mode which Classical art-forms exemplify for your guidance. On this account, there is a precious lesson to be learned by all citizens and other residents of the United States, especially those oppressed by the ruinous policy-trends of the past thirty-five years, from, among relevant other sources, the polished form of what is called the Negro Spiritual.
1. “Apostolic Letter of Pope John Paul II, Proclaiming St. Thomas More as Patron of Statesmen and Politicians.” This was issued, and presented by the Pope, to the Nov. 4-5, 2000 “Jubilee” Conference of Parliamentarians, which drew 5,000 elected officials from 96 nations to Rome.
2. Shakespeare’s Richard III is premised on the in-depth account of that turning-point in English history, supplied by Thomas More’s guardian’s first-hand and related accounts of the actual history of those events. It was through the work of Sir Thomas More himself that Shakespeare acquired the relevant knowledge of that part of English history.
3. Based on the true-life account of the imprisonment and freeing of that Marquis de Lafayette who had been endungeoned at Olmütz on the orders of British Prime Minister Pitt (Beethoven’s “Pizzaro”), by courtesy of the Austro-Hungarian Chancellor, and Mozart adversary, von Kaunitz.
4. In other words, that dangerous, confessed lunatic, irrational custom, called in German by such Kantian and Hegelian names as Weltgeist, Zeitgeist, and Volksgeist.
5. Tennenbaum, Director, et al. “,” Fidelio, Summer, 1998.
6. The reference is to two letters in which Pierre Fermat announced (in 1662) his discovery that light always propagates itself by a principle of least time. The letters, to de la Chambre, are found in French in Oeuvres de Fermat, Vol. II, p. 354 and p. 457.
7. See , June 23, 2000, pp. 5-53, for two-days’ presentations of this principle of Bach’s A Musical Offering and related works, at a conference of the Schiller Institute in Bad Schwalbach, Germany, May 27-28, 2000.
8. Compare Haydn’s “Russian Quartets,” Opus 33, with Mozart’s “Haydn Quartets,” K. 387, 421, 428, 458, 464, and 465. See reprint of Lyndon H. LaRouche, Jr., “,” EIR, Vol. 44, No. 4, Jan. 27, 2017.
9. In Plato’s dialogue, “The Republic—(On Justice),” Book 1, Plato, Loeb Classical Library (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1975).
10. Baritone Fischer-Dieskau’s remarks on language, poetry, and Lied were seen originally on German and French television, in a documentary film entitled, “Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau: La Voix de l’âme. Geburtstag” (“Birthday Tribute to Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau: The Voice of the Soul”).
11. Her performance of the Schumann Frauenliebe und -leben and of the Brahms Vier ernste Gesänge, are notable examples.