RSS Feed

Category Archives: Germany

Picture of the Day- June 6, 2014

Posted on

Man of Roma:

606x345_map-beaches

Italian American Rosaria has written on Facebook today:

“To our veterans:

You were willing to pay the ultimate price to defend the principles your country stands on. We are glad you came back to your home and friends. We are glad your life was spared, so that we can hear your story, of combat, of living away from the familiar, of worrying each minute of each day if you, or your comrades were going to make it out alive, if the war was worth all the pain and resources and damages it caused.

It is that story of courage and fear and …”

ψ

I had replied in my usual dialectic-moronic way:
[paraprased, since I can’t find the original words in Facebook, MoR]:

Manius Papirius Lentulus

“Stai parlando dello sbarco in Normandia, oggi, credo. Anche io come italiano sono contento di quello sbarco anche se noi eravamo i nemici. In realtà gli italiani capirono molto prima dei tedeschi che Mussolini era diventato lo schiavo di un pazzo e fu per questo che se ne liberarono. Molti criticarono l’Italia per aver lasciato l’alleato germanico. Ma chi fu più etico, i tedeschi che obbedirono al male fino alle fine, o gli italiani, che rifiutarono il male?

Forse è un dilemma etico insolubile …[e poi un antico romano avrebbe fatto la stessa cosa dei tedeschi, ndr]”

Manius Papirius Lentulus

“Only one thing, Rosaria Williams, since the Romans are stubborn. I’ll speak in your maternal language.

Una volta nel mio blog parlai (it, eng) delle Torri Gemelle, the Twin Towers, viste dai tunisini e dagli arabi. Quacuno fu sorpreso? Non so. Ma tu dicesti:

“This post brings a new perspective to the problem of 9/11″

What is so new (I raise my voice for the sake of a discussion that will not occur, I shoot too many posts) dear Italian American woman?

For heaven’s sake, is it THAT hard to see things placing ourselves into the others’ boots?

Gli Americani pensano ai loro caduti, ok, ma perché non ai caduti (to name just a few) inglesi, canadesi, indiani, tedeschi, marocchini ecc. ? E RUSSI? The Russians? 20 milioni di morti! Non saranno loro, forse, ad aver sconfitto Hitler, mi domando? PLus, why don’t Americans care too about the deaths of the losers?  (Italians, most of the French, the Germans, the Japanese?) Because, as protestants, the losers are in hell? [changing the text altogether, MoR]

US President Barack Obama flanked by Italian President Giorgio Napolitano and Poland's President Bronislaw Komorowski attends the Ceremony at Sword Beach to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the Allied invasion at Normandy. Gettyimages, click for source

US President Barack Obama flanked by Italian President Giorgio Napolitano and Poland’s President Bronislaw Komorowski attends the Ceremony at Sword Beach to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the Allied invasion at Normandy. Gettyimages, click for source

Speaking of Italy, my country was accepted this year in Normandy for the first time.

Originally posted on Natalia Maks:

Commemoration of the D-Day
IMG_9266 copy

View original

Dionisiaco e Apollineo. Lettera a un compagno di scuola. Croce Roma Gramsci (e gli antichi)

Posted on

[The songs below are from our school-days; sotto, alcune canzoni degli anni '60]

ψ

Caro ****,

ti scrivo da un piccolo caffè da cui si intravede il Colosseo, tappando sullo smartphone. Qualche goccia d’acqua cade.

Outdoor cafe. Via dei Fori Imperiali. Colosseo

Outdoor cafe. Via dei Fori Imperiali, Colosseo

Pure tu se gajardo a more’ (che poi eri biondo), sennò te cassavo (come il mio povero papà ecc).

Bella scuola di vita, le difficoltà (sono ripetitivo).

ψ

Pensa che Benedetto Croce (Pescasseroli, 1866 – Napoli 1952) ….

[citato sempre da quella vecchia prof di filosofia coi senoni che se glieli fissavamo (specie tu, il più bello della scuola:  quando ti interrogava era turbata, era evidente) lei ti / ci dava un bel voto ... ]

… Croce, dicevo, della haute abruzzese, perse 17enne i genitori e la sorella sola che aveva, morti il 28 luglio 1883 nel terremoto di Casamicciola nell’isola d’Ischia dove i Croce si trovavano in vacanza … la casa, sdraiata dal terremoto, lasciò quest’adolescente con le ossa rotte che lo credevano morto anche lui, e invece era vivo, per miracolo.

Sciroccato, il 17enne fu portato a riprendersi in campagna in una villa vicino a Salerno, di proprietà della facoltosa famiglia ormai sterminata.

Non ricordo bene – quello che dico di Croce è frutto della mente vagante -, ma ho l’immagine di lui che se ne sta forse anni sdraiato su una panchina sotto gli alberi, preso dal dolore e dall’angoscia.

Poi andò a vivere in un bel palazzo forse a Roma, dallo zio Silvio Spaventa (che diffuse Hegel in Italia ecc.)

ψ

Passò il tempo.

Il dolore rimaneva ma la casa di Spaventa a Roma era un via vai di intellettuali. Croce però non stava forse ancora bene. Provò con l’università, giurisprudenza, dove apprese un po’ di marxismo da Labriola, ma credo fallì, non volle laurearsi.

 

Si stabilì pertanto a Napoli, ricco e solo, comprando la casa di G.B. Vico (altro filosofo sempre citato dalla prof mentre, una carezza a noi qua, una là, incedeva per l’aula (1967?) con le mani dietro infilate sotto il cappottone, per cui – le zinne protuberanti e le mani sollevate dietro – sembrava (e forse era, nell’intimo del suo cuore, una gallina, poveretta).

Finalmente Benedetto un bel giorno, toltisi i rospi dal cuore, cominciò a riparlare con la gente, frequentò, uscì, rientrò.

Napoli era vivace, meravigliosa. La casa di Vico si trovava forse nei quartieri spagnoli e mi piace immaginarla con il giardino interno – tipo casa romana che era volta dentro e non fuori perché i tempi antichi erano pericolosi: e forse pure al tempo del giovane i quartieri spagnoli erano tosti, come lo sono oggi, ma lui era un signore intoccabile.

E allora Benedetto si mise a scrivere scrivere pensare inviare ricevere lettere.

Forse i servitori a dì:

“Che cazzo scrive sto tonto”.

Beh, non sapevano che era diventato Benedetto Croce, il più olimpico e armonioso dei filosofi di qui, la cui prosa e pensiero danno pace, incantano (e istruiscono, potentemente).

Pensatore non accademico

Non accademico, con contatti sempre più estesi, il suo pensiero pian piano si irrobustì e per gradi divenne il più grande pensatore italiano della prima metà del 900, filosofo di influenza abbastanza mondiale (scrisse per es la voce ‘Estetica’ della Britannica (poi pubblicata in italiano come Aesthetica in nuce; inglesi, americani francesi lo amavano; gli italiani pure; lui ha sempre però preferito la Kultur tedesca, e quella italiana, alla culture francese: vedi qui). Per Croce vedi anche qui.

[En passant, il suo allievo Antonio Gramsci – sardo, legato anche alla Francia e mentor spirituale di chi scrive – fu la stessa cosa: intellettuale cioè mondiale massimo nostro – più di Croce – nella 2a metà del 900 e ben oltre.

Le sue opere scritte negli anni ’30 furono rese note dal finto amico Togliatti nell’immediato dopoguerra e fermentano ancora oggi 2014 e vanno oltre.

Gramsci paradossalmente è esploso dopo la caduta del muro, quando si è detto:

Il comunismo è morto, A. Gramsci sarà pure un comunista ma in realtà è un liberale, come Croce, ed è utilissimo per gli strumenti di antropologia che offre.

Capire la destra e la sinistra anglo-sassoni

Per esempio A.G. è stato utilizzato (per capire)

a. la destra reaganiana, i neocons e i Tea Parties (destra religiosa e protestante – ora cambia: si volge a tutti, è più secolare, meno bianca, sennò scompare).

Come sarà andata? Magari per combattere questo comunista sempre più noto (opere integralmente tradotte in innumerevoli lingue) i repubblicani USA hanno giocato con G come avrebbe potuto fare la Chiesa con Giordano Bruno facendo la machiavellica (invece l’ha fatto fuori).

Cioè la destra USA ha scoperto suo malgrado che l’anti-Cristo Gramsci gli era entrato nel sangue;

b. la destra thatcheriana per capire e combattere l’egemonia culturale della sinistra nei rispettivi paesi

c. USA e UK insieme per – gli USA – leccarsi le ferite del Vietnam, e (both) per imporre la deregulation come pratica e ideologia economica del liberismo anglo-sassone

“Diamo al diavolo quel che è del diavolo: this Gramsci is a genius!”…

… ha forse detto un predicatore del sud USA (area Bible belt). Non mi ricordo chi era (I will check all this article) ma dà un’idea di quello che è successo nelle culture wars.

I digress, my friend.

Apollineo e dionisiaco:
Quale è meglio?

Vediamo meglio come Croce si risollevò, alla luce della sapienza dei millenni.

  1. Croce immagino si sollevò l’anima scegliendo la via apollinea (Orfeo  –>Pitagora—> Platone —>Hegel): liberarsi cioè dai travagli dell’anima attraverso la conoscenza-scienza (sofìa: wisdom: conoscenza sapienziale: intrisa di matematica & e musica: uno sballo mentale senza droga).
  2. L’altra via, quella dionisiaca, decantata da Nietzsche (che ha rovinato i tedeschi e l’Europa con essi) id est purificare i travagli dell’anima attraverso vino e sesso, misticismo privo di ragione, droghe ecc., densa di tragicità (legata probabilmente alla nascita della tragedia greca) ha anche il suo fascino e può avere i suoi vantaggi, non lo nego.

Ma alla lunga ti distrugge: i Romani, popolo saggio (non folle come i Greci) proibirono Bacco Dioniso – Senatus consultum de Bacchanalibusche dilagò comunque con la vittoria romana su Cartagine: i giovani reclamavano il piacere, il lusso dei greci.

Dioniso-Bacco è il più rappresentato degli dei: mosaici statue dipinti graffiti ecc. Uno sballo mistico non solo col vino e sesso di gruppo ma includente cose che oggi fanno un poco ribrezzo ma soprattutto lasciano stupefatti se consideriamo che si trattava di riti sacri: gli antichi erano veramente diversi da noi: più rigidi – rigidissimi – e più aperti, allo stesso tempo.

E Croce e la Prof?

Tornando a B. Croce, forse anche lui, prima di scegliere la via della Filo-Sofia, si congiunse alla Prof allora giovanissima, che magari (senza magari) era una gran fresca pugliaccona.

A me sembrava brutta, dai.

Una donna veramente bella la vedi anche da anziana, come tua madre, donna sublime e forte. Forse la prof aveva la bellezza del somaro, che è meglio comunque di niente … ;-)

Autocensura …

… i vasi raccoglitori delle donne, del resto, essendo 3: numero non per caso importante nella numerologia pitagorico platonica cristiana tomista dantesca hegeliana: il triangolo, la regola aurea … censura…, le terzine, le tre cantiche, la trinità cristiana pitagorica platonica, il trio Venere Urania – spirituale – Venere carnale o demotica e Amore.

Dunque … prima di purificarsi con σοφία … autocensura … la prof e poi Sofia, la prof e poi Sofia, infine solo Sofia, Venere spirituale di Plato e non più la Venere carnale.

O la Madonna, amore meraviglioso e sognante, solo spirituale: ha addirittura concepito vergine (vedi questa bella canzone dei bei tempi nostri, di Charles Aznavour).

O la donna angelicata del dolce Stil Novo di Dante: Beatrice. Gli occhi di Beatrice descritti centinaia di volte in modo diverso nella Commedia sono la cosa più bella e dolce di questo capolavoro.

Inoltre, molte divinità antiche erano vergini, Diana, Minerva ecc ecc (qui espandi), ma Giunone no, amava molto, pur essendo gelosa di Giove, e aveva tanti amori unendosi a umani non umani.

Dal suo seno superabbondante – bellezza giunonica, si dice ancora – è nata la via Lattea, immagine poeticissima.

Dalla via Lattea noi proveniamo e poi ritorneremo. Vedi il Sogno di Scipione di Cicero.

Poesia amore sesso negli antichi vanno insieme in modo sublime: mi piace da morire il mondo antico.

[se vai qui e qui  esplori la knowledge base che sottende a tutta la e-mail]

ψ

Sto per smettere, ma prima …

Dobbiamo dedicarci all’apollineo (Ἀπόλλων), non al dionisiaco (Διόνυσος), il che implica un’etica, l’amore dedicato, non itinerante, per la nostra donna, l’amore disinteressato per i figli di sangue e non ecc., la conoscenza come gioco e passione visione scienza.

MA, siccome semel in anno licet in-savire [forse, oggi, bis, ter, quater in anno] un pizzico di dionisiaco ci può pure sta’, ma non più di tanto.

Tuo Jonny

Capitoline She-Wolf. Rome, Musei Capitolini. Public domain

“Why we still like the Germans (and will always like them).” 3

Posted on

Germany. Cologne Cathedral. Creative Commons License

Thus Ulrich Beck concludes his article published on the Roman Daily La Repubblica
[translation by MoR; abridged; draft; see previous installments at the article foot]

ψ

“The fight against global risks is undoubtedly a herculean effort. It can even create a new world-wide ethics of justice. Climate change is an unknown risk, historically, which threatens everyone and compels us to act.”

Another piece of advice, also by [cited] Alain Finkielkraut:

“If Europe wants to get over her cohabitation crisis she must find her own identity in the great masterpieces of her history, eg in those monuments and landscapes of civilization.

Brizio Montinaro and Yves Montand on the set of IL GENIO (1976)

Brizio Montinaro and Yves Montand on the set of IL GENIO (1976). Click for credits

[which, incidentally, relates to what Brizio Montinaro – read 1 & 2 – said in his foreword to his ‘Il tesoro delle parole morte. La poesia greca del Salento“, Argo 2009]

Paraphrase with additions:

Tourists go and see ‘monuments’ such as cathedrals, temples, museums etc. There are though other ‘monuments’: spiritual, intangible, less obvious.

B. Montinaro referred to the Greek language of Magna Graecia surviving in a few peasants of Mezzogiorno; here at the MoR we refer to both tangible and intangible elements of the Greco-Roman civilization surviving in customs, religion, laws etc., and in the minds of peoples not only Italian etc]

“Rereading Shakespeare, Descartes, Dante, Goethe; to be enchanted by Mozart or Verdi – it can not but do us good,” Beck continues.

I’d go so far as to say that Goethe’s notion of world literature is fascinating.

[we may here link Ulrich Beck to our post on Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan, The most unique is the most universal, MoR].

“By which notion Goethe refers to a process of world-wide ‘opening up’, eg to an openness to the world in which ‘otherness’, ‘strangers’, become a component of our own self-knowledge.”

[MoR: Autrui, that is, the Pythagorean strings in spirits opening up to other spirits who, together, vibrate harmoniously so that otherness and communion are enhanced by merging – as is the case with the different instruments of a symphony, MoR]

So, widening one’s horizon, nation, national language.

“In this regard – Beck observes – Thomas Mann speaks of ‘Germans in the world’, but one can also say ‘Italians in the world’, ‘French in the world’, ‘Spanish in the world’, ‘British in the world’, ‘Poles in the world’ etc., or speak of a Europe of cosmopolitan of nations.”

[Wow ... Wow ... ]

From the African coast Albert Camus, Nietzsche’s pupil, wrote :

“From where I was born is best seen the face of Europe, and, you know, it’s not nice.”

To Albert Camus beauty was a criterion of truth and of the good life.

“History – U. Beck concludes – has worn down many things: the idea of the nation, the cunning of reason, the hope in the liberating power of rationality, of market, even the idea of progress has turned into the origin of the apocalypse, poetry shines more intensely where it struggles with despair, disdain, perversity & lack of meaning. Better still, it shows its maximum power when it dispels man’s face.”

Ψ

Previous installments:

“Why we still like the Germans (and will always like them).” 1
“Why we still like the Germans (and will always like them).” 2

The Strange Story of Manius, the Last Roman Soldier in Britannia

Posted on

Man of Roma:

I had planned, for tonight, “Why we still like the Germans (and will always like them)” 3.

I’ve instead re-posted the first idea germinale of “Misce stultitiam consiliis“.

ψ

Extropian: “Why on earth?”

Lo Spartito. Via Cavour (ancient Subura). Roma

Lo Spartito. Via Cavour (ancient Subura.) Roma

Massimo: “Giovanni told me it’s because of the Germans.”
Extropian: “What??”
Massimo: “He met two extremely charming German ladies at Lo Spartito in via Cavour.”

“Plus he was in that store in order to buy a real gem: The Golberg Variations BWV 988 by Johann Sebastian Bach for guitar by Hungarian genius József Eötvös

Fulvia *rolling her eyes*: “Got it. He’s delighted by Bach & by the Germans (of the female kind, surtout.) So he went home and, still under the spell of ehm German Kultur, played the Variations and all …”

They all laugh.

 

Originally posted on Man of Roma:

Asterix Roman soldier. Click for credits and to enlarge

A silly story I wrote over at The Critical Line, where Richard, a witty lawyer from London, entertains his guests with his vast knowledge and adorable English humour.

Richard though has a problem.

He’s terribly profound in mathematics and so are many of his guests who seem to share the same horrible contagion.

But, it’d be fair to say, I amthe oneto have a big problem, and, what is this tale but a burst of frustration because of my mathematical ineptitude?

The Tale of Manius

English sheep. Photo by Bernard Durfee (2008). Click for credits and to enlarge

Britannia, 526 CE, in a parallel (and almost identical) universe.

The Western Roman Empire has collapsed. Angles, Saxons and Jutes are invading the Roman province of Britannia from the East. All continental Roman soldiers have gone – but the Romano-Celtic in the West are resisting bravely. Only Manius Papirius Lentulus from Roma has stayed. He lives with the barbarians but…

View original 605 more words

“Why we still like the Germans (and will always like them).” 2

Posted on

Ulrich Beck:
“Europe’s crisis is mental”

Ulrich Beck (born 1944). German sociologist

Ulrich Beck (born 1944) professor at the Ludwig-Maximilians-University Munich until 2009 now holds a professorship at Munich University and at the London School of Economics. Wikimedia (source)

 

Ulrich Beck, who coined the term risk society, is a professor of Sociology at Munich University and at the London School of Economics (read further.)

[full text of an article appeared (April 10, 2014) on the Roman daily La Repubblica. The said article is here paraphrased, translated and abridged by MoR]

Dante, Mozart
and the future of Europe

Dante & Mozart. Accordind to Beck, Europe's future restarts from them (many themes from our blog reverberate to this and other notions by Ulrich Beck (not many doubts about it)

Dante & Mozart. According to Beck, Europe’s future restarts from them (many themes from our blog reverberate to this and other notions by Ulrich Beck. Source from the Cisl Scuola web site

Europe’s crisis is not economical, it is mental. It is a lack of imagination as for the good life beyond consumerism.

Most critics of Europe are caught in nostalgic nationalism. French intellectual Alain Finkielkraut, for example, argues that Europe was created against the Nations.”

Such criticism – Beck observes– is based on a national illusion and presupposes a national horizon as for Europe’s present and future.

To these critics, Beck retorts:

“Open up your eyes! Europe and the whole world is going through a big transition.”

He then brings forth two paradoxical examples:

All British media are full of accusations against the EU. Eurosceptic Britain is nonetheless shaken by a wave of European public opinion unknown before.

China, as a result of its investment policy & economical dependence, has long been an informal member of the euro-zone. Should the Euro fail, China would get a hard blow.

Cosmopolitanism vs
citizens of the world

It is clear that advancing cosmopolitanism does not produce citizens of the world. On the contrary, the need for boundaries gets stronger as the world gets more cosmopolitan.

“Out of Euro, out of EU!”

Thus French Marine Le Pen‘ s extreme right-wing NF has won in France.

Putin, on the other hand, has collected the ‘need of boundaries of the Russians’ with his motto:

“Where there are Russians, there is Russia.”

However, such aggressive Russian nationalism – Beck continues – proves that one cannot project the past of the nations onto the future of Europe without destroying the future of Europe itself.

ψ

Ulrich Beck: “What if Putin’s ethno-nationalism were a salutary shock for Europe plagued by national selfishness?”
Alain Finkielkraut: “We Europeans are traumatized by Hitler!”
Ulrich Beck: “Yet, Hitler despised the Nation and desired to replace it with the Race. So it seems we want the nations to atone for Hitler’s folly. Due to their Holocaust trauma, should the Germans therefore erase nationalism entirely?
No, but we have a common premise here:

The catastrophe of the Holocaust, of Hitler and Nazi Germany (with the Nuremberg trials).

Such tragedy has helped us develop the notion of crimes against humanity. Hence a new dimension saw its birth, European law, which relativizes national law. At the same time a new world-wide scope of humanity was born : the ‘never again’ ethics.

Then Beck adds two arguments:

The world and us need more than ever a “European vision” for coping with the ills of globalization (climate change, poverty, inequality, 1% vs 99% etc. in the US, war, violence). The idea is that the mobilizing force of a forewarned disaster can found a European identity.

Also …. [to be continued]

Capitoline She-Wolf. Rome, Musei Capitolini. Public domain

Previous installment:

“Why we still like the Germans (and will always like them).” 1

“Why we still like the Germans (and will always like them).” 1

Cologne Cathedral and Hohenzollern Bridge. Germany

Cologne Cathedral and Hohenzollern bridge, Germany (Source . Courtesy of Bankoboev.ru)

[draft, in progress]

Note. This post regards the Germans and other folks from the point of view of South Europe and of Germany

The Mediterranean & the Germans

There may be problems with the Germans (the Euro crisis, the upcoming European elections, etc.)

Transient problems, in truth.

Since so many things unite us: 2000 years ago – when they began to merge with us – and today, when the merger goes further.

Where to?

To an increasingly united Europe.

Four friends
at the Caffè Capitolino

caffetteria_large

On the caffè Capitolino‘s spectacular terrace above the temple of Jupiter Optimus Maximus’s foundations (on the Capitoline Hill) four friends gather and chat, sipping their lemon granita.

ψ

Fulvia: “You make it simple. 2000 years ago and today: we’ve always been colliding.”
Old Man: “You’re wrong, Fulvia. Back then: fusion not collision. And today …”
Extropian: “… today fusion too. Despite your bursting breasts  – *winking at her*; Fulvia, 64, is still a beauty – OM is right. Just this: the collapse of the Italian economy would result in a (symmetrical) collapse of half of the German industry, since we provide many of the components for Germany’s manufacturing.”
The Tobacconist: *Nodding*

Roma-gourmet_CafCapTerraz

[The Tobacconist pops in here for the first time. His perfectly organized store gently flooded by classical (preferably German) music, TT is steeped in Hegel, Kant & the Nichiren Buddhism. Both the highbrow and the lowbrow from his rione ask for his consilium (or wisdom advice.)

Ulrich Beck:
“Europe’s crisis is mental”

Ulrich Beck (born 1944). German sociologist

Ulrich Beck (born 1944). German sociologist, professor at the Ludwig-Maximilians-University Munich until 2009, he holds a professorship at Munich University and at the London School of Economics [Wikimedia. Click for credits and to enlarge]

Ulrich Beck:

[full text; paraphrased, translated – draft – and abridged by MoR]

Europe’s crisis is not economical, it is mental. It is a lack of imagination as for the good life beyond consumerism.

Most critics of Europe are caught in nostalgic nationalism. French intellectual Alain Finkielkraut, for example, argues that Europe was created against the Nations.

Such criticism – Beck answers back – is based on the national illusion and presupposes a national horizon as for Europe’s present and future.

To these critics Beck retorts: open up your eyes! Europe and the whole world is going through a transition.

Two paradoxical examples:

  • All British media are full of accusations against the EU, but Eurosceptic Britain is also shaken by a wave of European public opinion never known before.
  • China, as a result of its investment policy and so on has long been an informal member of the euro-zone: should the Euro fail, China would get a hard blow.

[to be continued]

Capitoline She-Wolf. Rome, Musei Capitolini. Public domain

Next installment:

“Why we still like the Germans (and will always like them).” 2

Obesssion and balance in creativity. Greeks’ and Romans’ Golden Mean (& Paolo Buonvino’s, a Sicilian composer.) Dialectics (5b)

diary

Read the original non pruned post and discussion.

Draft. Pictures might be changed /added.

Notice. I’ll stop posting until April 23rd. Easter reflection (a notion you can expand chez Tarot psychologique.)

ψ

James Evershed Agate (1877 – 1947), British diarist and critic, once wrote:

“Now that I am finishing the damned thing I realise that diary-writing isn’t wholly good for one, that too much of it leads to living for one’s diary instead of living for the fun of living as ordinary people do.”

What is said above applies equally to blog-writing / writing tout court since, when dealing with passions the challenge is always the right measure.

The ancient Romans developed the fine art of cuisine so that the delights of life were augmented, but there was undeniably gluttony in some milieus.

I remember that, much younger, I stopped composing music since it had become an obsessive pastime that basically swallowed me up.

Life should be harmonious. A single part should not devour the rest (as Benedetto Croce, master of harmony, reminds us.)

Benedetto Croce

Benedetto Croce (1866 – 1952), filosofo italiano

Christopher: You wrote: “Life should be harmonious. A single part should not devour the rest”
If everyone lived according to this precept there would be no civilisation and we would all be living short and brutish lives.

MoR: “Hard to say, although my post regards happiness more than creativity in the arts & sciences. Besides, creativity seems related to both balance and unbalance (take Vincent van Gogh etc.).

You possibly suggest that big creators lived disharmony in their life. Frank Lloyd Wright devoted *most* of his time to architecture, Einstein to physics etc.

Ok, but one has to see how these people actually spent their days.

I remember a Roman top advertising agency, at the end of the 80′s, where extremely well-paid copywriters and art directors were walking around in robes and were sunbathing on an elegant terrace overlooking the Parioli district’s skyline (where the rich and famous live, or lived).

I was puzzled at first because these creativi seemed to do everything except what they were paid for. The agency’s output was though brilliant and rivalled Milan’s creativi (the best we’ve got in this country).

One often needs quiet and relaxation to produce ideas, which suggests ‘balance’.

Moving to bigger examples, Beethoven’s music conveys to me the image of ​​an unhappy person.

There are many elements of anger, of obsession, in his music. His life was almost certainly disharmonious: Beethoven’s father was an alcoholic; Karl, the composer’s nephew, whose custody Beethoven had obtained, attempted suicide. And so forth.

Johann Sebastian Bach aged 61 (1685 – 1750). Click for source

Johann Sebastian Bach aged 61 (1685 – 1750). Click for source

 

Bach’s music on the contrary (with its powerfully abstract architectures that unfold like a majestic river flowing) is much more enriching consoling, imo, and well fits the image of ​​the patient German artisan, whose methodical, quiet work was conceived as a service to God. Bach was a musician but also a good Christian, a good father, a good husband and a good teacher – which suggests harmony of life.

Which doesn’t mean many breakthroughs weren’t the product of unbalanced lives. The commonplace of the deranged genius is more than a commonplace imo, though it’s not my post’s point.

Cheri: “Your point is well taken. My grandfather always told me that moderation is the key to a balanced and contented life.”

MoR: “Hi Cheri! I like roots (as you probably like your Jewish or whatever roots), this blog being a search for roots from a past that, I believe, is still working on us Latins, though not only on us.

Enjoying the pleasures of life without excess, drinking without getting drunk, a life outside compulsions or obsessions – I am often obsessing / obsessed – is not only wise, it is part of a lifestyle, and an element of grace.

To me this is particularly evident in the French, the Latin people I possibly love most.

Neapolitan Benedetto Croce, ‘master of harmony’ …

Incidentally, the Olympian beauty seeping through his works is probably of Hellenic origin, and, like the Hellenic miracle arose from formidable difficulties (if we may compare a huge thing to a small one) Croce’s serene attitude and sharp mind came at a hard price: at 17, on vacation with his parents and his sole sister, their house being wiped out by an earthquake he barely survived and remained alone.

Claudia (my daughter): “Croce’s picture doesn’t exactly conjure up Hellenic beauty!?!?”

Potsoc: “I agree with Cheri. Many creators were, indeed, unhappy people but as many had a relatively simple and happy life. The examples given speak by themselves.”

MoR: “Someone must have already done it, Potsoc le Canadien, but it’d be interesting to systematically analyse the biographies of creators (in both arts & sciences) in search of a correlation between creative intelligence and lifestyles.

My post was more about the gratification from a life with nicely distributed, non compulsive, activities, but one can blabber a bit and wonder if Balzac, for example, was compulsive in his writing.

He may have been, but his work – so vital, energetic & rich with an immense number of vividly depicted characters – suggests a life not spent exclusively on a desk with a pen in his hand.

A correlation between scientists’ lifestyles and their innovation level seems much harder to establish. They (seem to me to) reveal less about themselves.

ALL this, in any case, is a-blowing in the wind, Paul.”

Potsoc: “I guess nobody wrote a Ph.D thesis on the subject and I will not write it.”

MoR: “Ah ah ah, right Paul :-) Getting stuffy, I know.”

Sledpress: “The need for quiet and mental space in which to be creative can’t be denied, but does that support an argument against being too obsessional as a creative person?

I can only write fiction (or songs, or music) when I’m in an obsessional fugue, and it is bitter for me, because I want to have at least something of a life otherwise — probably few people are willing to have their spouse or friend snarl “GO AWAY!” should they be so unfortunate as to come ask about dinner or the water bill when one is creating.

But if I put the chisel down, it’s cold when I pick it back up, and what I wrote mocks me. (Blog posts and so on don’t count; those are five finger exercises.) I can’t start the fire again if I’ve let myself be jollied into putting it out so as to make nice on the rest of the human race. And if I don’t create something, who cares if I lived? It won’t matter.

I’ve already lost the thread of so many good ideas (maybe not lightning genius, but worth something) that I could spend the rest of my life in mourning, and for what in the end? People who really were only bored or wanted me to do them something. I vote for the obsessed people, myself.”

MoR: “You say, Sled:

“I can only write fiction (songs, music) when I’m in an obsessional fugue, and it is bitter for me, because I want to have at least something of a life otherwise …”

“If I don’t create something, who cares if I lived? It won’t matter”

Well, if creation & obsession necessarily go together with us, and creativity is our top priority, let us embrace obsession, why not.

Besides, obsession, as far as I can tell, may produce compellingly emotional results etc.

As for my experience, the insignificant (though much important to me) things I have written or composed were produced in both situations: within a quiet, balanced routine of life; or via obsession, pain, sacrificing the rest.

I sometimes think that, had I more discipline, I’d be able to kill two birds with a stone and reach a synthesis.

Paolo Buonvino 001

What I mean, I’m witnessing an example of creative discipline in my neighborhood, where a certain Paolo Buonvino is leaving a couple of blocks away from my home (it, en wikies.)

Italian from Sicily, conductor, composer of film scores, Buonvino’s music is extremely good, Sicilian-sunny and much appreciated. I exchanged a few words with him. He gave me some inspired advice on related-to-music stuff. Flavia and I have visited him once at his home.

In short, he’s the classic example of one who, compelled to compose scores at appalling speed, is nonetheless able to enhance productivity by finding the right breaks, walking about the rione, enjoying something at a bar (an ice-cream, a coffee, a cake) or watching trees or the sky on a park bench.

You see him around, always relaxed, a mobile at his ear, talking quietly with loads of people (this amazing ease with human relationships being typical of many Italian from the Mezzogiorno.)

So Paolo Buonvino, despite high productivity rates, manages to live quite well. A gift from heaven? Hard to say but some creative discipline should be taught when very young, I believe.”

Sledpress: “There is a trapdoor when someone has asked a creative person to produce something. I say this from experience.
Somehow it frees you to be both creative and human. I don’t know how this works. Only that knowing someone *wants* what you can create substitutes for the energy that otherwise only comes from obsession and a sort of rage against the people who don’t understand why you are working so hard to produce a composition or poem or story, however minor.”

Potsoc: “I moderate a group called “Imaginations”, each week we meet around a theme, different each week, and we write a short piece on the week’s theme that we will read to the group the following week. It’s much fun…and work but we all enjoy it and it has been going for most of ten years with a core of 5 steady participants and another 5 or 6 that come and go.”

MoR: “Sledpress, Paul, you two imply that creating for someone ‘waiting’ for your production can release the pressure?

I agree, an act of communication, then, almost always good. When I was writing the Manius so-to-say novel my motivation were you, the bloggers of my circle, ‘waiting’ (so I felt) for each new installment and the resulting fun, as Paul says, the jokes that we shared etc.

When a publisher told me one day that he was interested, the magic vanished. I tried to continue, but felt only the obsession (plus depression for my failure, lack of discipline.) I quit writing.

Potsoc: “Being approached by a publisher is an altogether other proposition, I agree. Sharing with friends is just plain fun.”

Sledpress: “Yes! You are touching on something that I meant.
If a publisher dangled money in front of me I might still be motivated. Because money is something squeezed out of one’s bloodstream (unless one is one of the one-per-cent who wallow in it), so it is like enthusiasm.

However the biggest fun was an experience like yours, of people hanging on for the next installment to find out what happened!!!

Stephen King writes of something like this in his classic novella “The Body” which became the film Stand By Me.

The pathetically young kid with the gun in this clip — earlier the film shows him telling stories around a kids’ camp fire with everyone asking him what comes next, what comes next. King later called this “the *gotta.*” “I gotta find out what happens.”
I miss having people who cared about that, which happened to me for five minutes.”

MoR: “You’ve said, Sled:

“the biggest fun was an experience like yours, of people hanging on for the next installment to find out what happened!!!
I miss having people who cared about that, which happened to me for five minutes.”

When was that and where? Can we reach it?”

Sledpress: “Oh, that was my silly detective novel, an inner circle read every chapter as I wrote it — the way Dickens used to work, releasing installments before the story was all set down. Then as I wrote, with caricatures of everyone who is politically active around here, I looked forward to the public consternation it would cause, another incentive.

And oh yes, I made it look as if the author was a local newspaper editor who had been a real jerk to me a couple of times — it was easy to lift little quirks of style from his editorials. People pestered him about it for years.

It got one good review even. A lot of it is free.

Along the way it let me say and even discover a lot about my outlook on the whole “res publica”, the “public thing” that constitutes local political life, which both attracts and repels me — so many people trying to be important, yet actually doing important things despite their flaws. It is really the only thing I ever finished.

Everything else I ever did disappointed me and I threw it over or put it in the drawer, but I had people asking for this, so I had to finish it, amateurish as it may be. I wrote like hell for two months and was burned-out for two more but I wish I could do it again. Only I’m afraid to yell GO AWAY at the few friends I really have.”

MoR: “Wow. Quite a good review. I’ll read the book as soon as I can, or rather buy it (I also missed your poems over at your blog: my next comment)
In the meanwhile, a portion of the review, to the benefit of readers:

“Is this story (MURDER ACROSS THE BOARD by *******) of local interest? Sure. But the writing here is so good it is irrelevant. This is just as good a murder mystery as you will find anywhere, with a compelling story and clever writing to match. The story is truly twisted [...] and the murder-mystery here is fun and energetic. No one is who they seem in this fast read, and as the story unfolds, the plot rolls along like a freight-train. What may have started as a goof on some friends or a dig at local politics has turned into a clever, engaging page-turner.”

Sledpress: “Mind you, another reader said it was cliched and awful. Then again, the point was to throw every trope of gritty detective stories into a story about local politics. Looking back I thought it needed tightening, but I’ve always hugged that one rave review to my heart.
I’m editing the pseudonym in your comment just because it really did piss off a number of people, one of whom is a habitual troll, and I’d prefer they didn’t find this blog too easily.”

Sledpress: “Oops, I was on a dashboard when I wrote the above reply and thought we were talking on my page. Oh well — if you wouldn’t mind “asterisking” the author name. Trolls shouldn’t find you either. ”

MoR: “Well, there are good and there are bad reviews, always. Who the hell cares?
I have ‘asterisked’ the author’s name, as you asked me.
And, tell this troll I am ready here waiting.”

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 157 other followers