The Eutopian Power of Music

 

The power of music has been lauded as essential not just to man but to the cosmos by diverse figures ranging from Plato to Martin Luther, who declared “next to the word of God, music deserves the highest praise.”[1] Pythagoras first spoke of the “music of the spheres” in an astronomical sense, as the same geometry found in humming strings could be found in the spacing of the planets; Aristotle argued against such “music of the spheres” (since no one could actually hear it), though two millennia (1619) later Johannes Kepler published De Harmonice Mundi (Harmony of the Spheres) arguing for just such a connection.[2]

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Orthodoxy I: Introduction in Defence of Everything Else

orth5“I have often had a fancy for writing a romance about an English yachtsman who slightly miscalculated his course and discovered England under the impression that it was a new island in the South Seas… There will probably be an impression that the man who landed (armed to the teeth and talking by signs) to plant the British flag on that barbaric temple which turned out to be the Pavilion at Brighton, felt rather a fool… What could be more glorious than to brace one’s self up to discover New South Wales and then realize, with a gush of happy tears, that it really was old South Wales. How can we contrive to be at once astonished at the world and yet at home in it? … how can this world give us at once the fascination of a strange town, and the comfort and honour of being our own town? … I wish to set forth my faith as particularly answering this double spiritual need, the need for that mixture of the familiar and the unfamiliar which Christianity has rightly named romance.”

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Orthodoxy II: The Maniac

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“Poets do not go mad; but chess-players do. Mathematicians go mad, and cashiers; but creative artists very seldom. I am not, as will be seen, in any sense attacking logic: I only say that this danger does lie in logic, not in imagination.”

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“The poet only asks to get his head into the heavens. It is the logician who seeks to get the heavens into his head. And it is his head that splits.”

Next: Orthodoxy III: The Suicide of Thought

Orthodoxy III: The Suicide of Thought

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“But the new rebel is a skeptic, and will not entirely trust anything. He has no loyalty; therefore he can never be really a revolutionist…” but before we get to this classic, lets build up to it a little bit:

“The modern world is not evil; in some ways the modern world is far too good. It is full of wild and wasted virtues.”

“The peril is that the human intellect is free to destroy itself. Just as one generation could prevent the very existence of the next generation, by all entering a monastery or jumping into the sea, so one set of thinkers can in some degree prevent further thinking by teaching the next generation that there is no validity in any human thought”

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Orthodoxy IV: The Ethics of Elfland

 

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The modern world as I found it was solid for Calvinism, for the necessity of things being as they are … All the towering materialism which dominates the modern mind rests ultimately on one assumption; false assumption. It is supposed that a if thing goes on repeating itself it is probably dead; a piece of clockwork. People feel that if the universe was personal it would vary; if the sun were alive, it would dance … Now, to put the matter in a popular phrase, it might be true that the sun rises regularly because he never gets tired of rising.

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