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Re: American soil-Re:American Anthroposophy

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  • John Massengale
    ... John Massengale http://www.massengale.com John Montague Massengale AIA Architects & Town Planners Commoditas o Firmitas o Venustas
    Message 1 of 6 , Feb 8, 2000
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      > 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).

      BTW, this is what I was referring to:

      > Our very architecture in Europe and North America, the design of our lives
      > --buildings, streets, etc. are so straight or rectangular and rational, and
      > very dull and deadening. Where i teach, we are told to make the teaching of
      > writing a rational, systematized thing. That has its place, of course, but
      > it is also limited, and by itself, it will leave the soul dead!

      John Massengale


      http://www.massengale.com

      John Montague Massengale AIA
      Architects & Town Planners

      Commoditas o Firmitas o Venustas
    • elaine upton
      Dear John, I will not go into the details of your post, because it would not be productive, as i think you have already said, to say you said this; i said
      Message 2 of 6 , Feb 9, 2000
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        Dear John,

        I will not go into the details of your post, because it would not be
        productive, as i think you have already said, to say "you said this; i said
        that kind of thing". Rather, I would ask you to discontinue telling me what
        i mean, discontinue putting YOUR slant onto what i say. If you wish to
        accuse me of putting forth African things as superior, or of "coming close"
        to doing so, that is your problem. Don't make it mine.
        elaine


        >From: "John Massengale" <john@...>
        >Reply-To: anthroposophy@onelist.com
        >To: anthroposophy@onelist.com
        >Subject: Re: [anthroposophy] American soil-Re:American Anthroposophy
        >Date: Tue, 08 Feb 2000 16:23:13 -0500
        >
        >From: "John Massengale" <john@...>
        >
        > > 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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