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469Re: American soil-Re:American Anthroposophy

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  • John Massengale
    Feb 8, 2000
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      > This is not an issue of superiority, and never has been for me. So, no, I am
      > not even close to saying that. I wonder why it is that when someone speaks
      > enthusiastically about the gifts of some group, then that is judged to be
      > any thing other than what is expressed --namely, just that: enthusiasm for
      > the gifts of that group.

      Because you specifically contrasted the superiority of some African gifts
      with some European qualities you liked less, and you would probably be mad
      if I were as critical of African culture as you can be of European culture.
      If I had that post on the computer, I would quote it. But I'm not interested
      in a "yes, you did, no I didn't" discussion because I fundamentally agree
      with what you said. And as I also said, America is and should be a place of
      different cultures and different perspectives. My point is that you and
      Starman both have a tendency to present a particular viewpoint as the best
      viewpoint.

      It's obvious why you talk about the Eurocentric world we live in. But 1)
      it's natural for many Americans to be Eurocentric, and properly done, it is
      no worse than IF (emphasize "if") you were to be Afrocentric; 2) America is
      the most liberal society in the history of the world -- to give but one
      small example, Martin Luther King's non-violent policies depended on a
      receptive establishment, and if you look at the authors and supporters of
      the Civil Rights Act, you will find that most of them were white males; 3)
      Political Correctness, another creation of white European males, in practice
      usually says that the minority is superior to the majority, which must shut
      up and take its medicine. This is the modern, neurotic side of Liberal
      society, a la Walter Benjamin, trickle-down Marxism and Deconstruction. It
      looks on mankind as inherently weak and bad, and the individual as even
      worse. It likes to punish itself and make itself feel bad. It has very
      little to do with the anthroposophical view of life and divinity.

      > Even the reference to and the term "classical music" has a Eurocentric bias.
      > Handel and Mozart and Bach and Beethoven and Mahler are "classical"?-??--
      > Yes, in Europe and with Eurocentric Americans they are "classical." But to
      > me "classical" American is just as important (not superior, but certainly
      > important, and since I live here, on this soil, of great importance). Thus,
      > classical American is blues, "negro spirituals", native american drumming,
      > native american flute, country western music, and the like. These are
      > important, and not forms inferior to Mozart or Vivaldi.
      >
      > (Of course, nothing is purely "American" or purely "European". Country music
      > has great Irish influences, or Scots-Irish, and jazz and blues have great
      > African influences, and even Irish influences...Yet, still these forms
      > emerge as distinctly American. Even the "native american" is related to
      > certain Asian streams...)

      This is Modernism's misinterpretation of "Classical" -- it does not mean
      "the best and the highest" but is actually the earthly expression of a
      divine archetype. And, one should add, an archetype which is somehow
      connected to Europe and America rather than Africa and Asia.

      Neo-classicism is a style, but Classicism is what Thomas Jefferson or
      Palladio or Vitruvius would call an expression of Nature. When you criticize
      the Euclidean nature of Classical architecture and urbanism, you are
      expressing your personal or cultural preference for other types of design,
      although you explicity said in a different form that Euclidean design is bad
      (when you said something about how we need to get away from grids and
      straight lines).

      Similarly, Feng Shui expresses divine archetypes connected to China, and it
      tells us something about China versus Europe that quite a few Feng Shui
      principles directly contradict Classical principles, even though both are an
      expression of Nature. We are all connected, but where we choose to
      reincarnate affects how we experience life and the universe.

      Musically, Mozart is the highest earthly expression of Classicism that
      mankind has produced. That does not mean that there has not been an Asian or
      African composer who has been his equal.

      John Massengale
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