Thursday, 16 April 2015

What kind of genius would you want (what kind of genius do we most need?) - if you could choose?

For me, it would be a spiritual leader - in essence a religious leader - who could awaken the true spirits of the English people that are now enslaved and confined by the nihilistic mass choice to live according to mass media-enforced secular Leftism.

I don't think any kind of genius scientist, mathematician, engineer, artist, poet, economist, lawyer, politician (etc)- would (even if recognized and taken notice of, which seems unlikely) do more than perpetuate (and probably exacerbate - by their work being misapplied) current problems.

So what kind of person? Ideally some multi-faceted genius who is also a patriotic leader; someone like King Alfred the Great (849-899 AD). That is probably way too much to ask, since there are few if any other men in history who combine political, military, legal and scholarly ability as he did.

But that is the kind of person we need; and it is not clear to me that anybody much less wide-ranging than Alfred would suffice to inspire, encourage and mobilize a crushed and craven people with the right spirit, and get them aiming in the right direction.



George Goerlich said...

Indeed, he would also need unsurpassed bravery.

Luqman said...

Conversely, an evil (purported) spiritual leader would be a terrible disaster; able to exploit the spiritual void that exists for nefarious ends. After all, many religions tell us to expect just such an evil genius.

Bruce Charlton said...

@L - Indeed, tis is explicitly noted in the Bible - for example Matthew. We are to expect Antichrist - indeed multiple Antichrists (some of whom have already been, and some of which are currently active - at various levels of destructiveness). And we are in such a bad way that we might well not be able to discern the good from the bad. I think that we are too easily mislead by doctrines, and our best bet is the discernment of the heart - which does not work properly via the mass media. So we should probably not accept a major spiritual leader unless confirmed via some kind of direct, personal contact/ evaluation, or a cross-checked short chain of trusted personal evaluations.

Nicholas Fulford said...

Someone who is a genius of understanding the depths of being human. He or she should be a gifted writer and composer. He or she should have a sensitivity to nature, in the way that the great natural poets did.

Potent music with potent writing can change the state of the listener and reader. It can inspire the listener and reader to aspire beyond the limits that they have been sleep-walking within. Change should come in such a way as to be a fresh bloom that rises out of each person and supersedes the old addictive forms which bind a person to unfulfilling and harmful patterns of behaviour.

That is the type of genius I would like to see. There work is of such a quality and nature as to speak directly to each with its potent beauty and resonance.

Bruce Charlton said...

@NF - Could you give a specific example of what you mean; and how such a genius has previously transformed a culture or nation?

Nicholas Fulford said...

We have none that have reached that pinnacle or we would already have seen the fruits of their genius. There are some examples of note who continue to have an influence. Plato would be the one to whom I would point first and foremost. While he was not a composer per se, he had a very deep understanding of what it is to be human, and his writings continue to influence today.

Socrates speaking in Plato's "Phaedo" section 60d - 60d; translated by Harold North Fowler:

“Then tell him, Cebes,” said he, “the truth, that I composed these verses not because I wished to rival him or his poems, for I knew that would not be easy, but because I wished to test the meaning of certain dreams, and to make sure that I was neglecting no duty in case their repeated commands meant that I must cultivate the Muses in this way. They were something like this. The same dream came to me often in my past life, sometimes in one form and sometimes in another, but always saying the same thing: ‘Socrates,’ it said, ‘make music and work at it.‘ And I formerly thought it was urging and encouraging me to do what I was doing already and that just as people encourage runners by cheering, so the dream was encouraging me to do what I was doing, that is, to make music, because philosophy was the greatest kind of music and I was working at that. But now, after the trial and while the festival of the god delayed my execution, I thought, in case the repeated dream really meant to tell me to make this which is ordinarily called music, I ought to do so and not to disobey. For I thought it was safer not to go hence before making sure that I had done what I ought, by obeying the dream and composing verses. So first I composed a hymn to the god whose festival it was; and after the god, considering that a poet, if he is really to be a poet, must compose myths and not speeches, since I was not a maker of myths, I took the myths of Aesop, which I had at hand and knew, and turned into verse the first I came upon. So tell Evenus that, Cebes, and bid him farewell, and tell him, if he is wise, to come after me as quickly as he can.

And there is this from "Republic VII.xii

As the eyes, said I, seem formed for studying astronomy, so do the ears seem formed for harmonious motions: and these seem to be twin sciences to one another, as also the Pythagoreans say

There is an underlying music, a fugue expressed in through the universe. Let someone of great genius express with pure devotion those underlying patterns that shape us, that are the various synapses singing across all the various forms and types, so that a composition can be made, much as Tolkien does in words in his creation story in "The Music of the Ainur" from the Silmarillion.

If there be such a genius, surely he will cause a resonance within men - who longing for what they have not known - will swoon and walk in ways they scarcely could conceive before the hearing.

Bruce Charlton said...

@NF - I personally don't think this kind of genius would have the necessary effect. Since the advent of the Romantic era, it was hoped that a great artist would save the culture - that art would replace religion, in effect - but it didn't happen. Not even Goethe sufficed.

On this topic The Re-enchantment of the World: Art versus Religion by Gordon Graham (2010) was convincing to me.