To Kindle a Light in the Darkness of Mere Being: The Straussian Plato and the value of art.

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The visceral realities of the purpose and mission of art have primordial figuration in the history of human consciousness. Art at its core is a powerful entity and plays a role in not just aesthetic appeal but in the contemplative aspects of being. Philosophy and art in many ways share a kinship of sorts, both willing to reconfigure our patterns of thinking, and to deliver us to a state of wisdom and transformative self-knowledge. However, beyond the value that artists and philosophers perceive in great works of art, Plato in the Republic not only understood the power of art, but took it on as a negative in the development of ones soul and the ideal state of existence in a philosophic society/city. Plato had no idealism about the power of art, but saw gradations between what constitutes good or ‘useful’ art, and the base, passion laden deceptive nature of art and the artist, especially the Homeric epic Poet. These are questions we still struggle with today, what constitutes ‘good’ or ‘bad’ art, the role of art and education, etc.. In contemporary times, Allen bloom in “The Closing of the American Mind,” took up Plato’s challenge towards art; especially in music and in poetry. Both Bloom and Plato held a deep and transformative view of pedagogy; education being the linchpin for a contemplative life. It is what turns the young mind towards a flourishing and ideal state of existence. Bloom expressed this in his magnum opus by showing how modern culture and higher education is abandoning the critical thinking and virtues of the classics. To him, and Plato, art plays a role in the subversion of the ideal education and contemplative life of a philosopher by its unique ability to mimic, transform and abstract reality. However this is a limited view, and bloom especially did not see the potential for art to express such philosophic opinions in both his and Plato’s time. That is why by showing how The Republic can be taken up as a drama; examine the arguments on art by both Bloom and Plato, and by using a sample of modern music and art that has the potential of uniquely expressing what platonic and philosophic art looks like. By this we can conclude that both bloom and Plato miscalculated the role of art and philosophy, and both can share a special harmony with each other that can present the modern lover of art with uncanny philosophic ideas on reality, existence and the nature of society.

Part 1: Bloom and Plato: at odds with Music.

To Plato, art is not a good companion to the philosopher precisely because it plays with and distorts the nature of reality, and supplants the reality of the Eidos or forms the true nature of being with an emotive and affective realty, where perceptions and illusions artists create have the power to turn people away from the Eidos. Right from book 2, Plato discusses the comparative attributes of each city, and concludes the inflamed, luxurious and pleasure ridden city would have a place for artists, for poets and makers of the false realities of figures and colors, to which Glaucon agrees1. Furthermore Plato goes on to outline the strict educational program of the guardians. Here Plato reverse years of Homeric education in the classical Greek sense, using the Epics and instrumental tools in forming the Greek citizen; Plato thinks that these myths, such as the conquests and sexual deeds attributed to Zeus would pollute the virtues and lessons instilled in the guardians, and would subvert their notions of the divine since anthropomorphic and base characteristics are impressed upon their conception of the Gods, in other words if the Gods act in such a vile and rapacious way, then nothing would prevent the guardians from acting the same out of their sense of Divine veneration towards the Gods2.

It is important to trace the logical arguments put forth by both Plato and by Bloom. Bloom takes this sentiment into the modern world in the Closing of the American Mind via his discussion on music and the impressionable minds of today’s university youth. We will return to this point later on, but for now Bloom considers modern music, especially Rock to be the same negative influence as the Homeric epics were to Plato, filled with false I impressions and a vulgar lack of social value3,. To Bloom, the serious student, the physics major or philosopher, saw little or tangential meaning in music; they use to pass it off as having little to no relevance on philosophy or politics, and merely a form of aesthetics and entertainment. Bloom also echoes Plato and the teachings in the Republic about the nature of poetry and music in this passage, for he substantiates the ‘good’ students as listening to finer music and enjoying finer art, and the ‘neglectful’ students as being captivated by Rock or popular music4. Here bloom makes the age old aesthetic distinction between higher and lower arts; a distinction Plato makes in discussing the myth of Er, or rather artists and poets that can pass the test of serving the ideal city and the flourishing of the soul, and those that mislead them5. As quoted:

Plato’s teachings about music are, put simply, that rhythm and melody, accompanied by dance, are the barbarous expressions of the soul. Barbarous, not animal. Music is the medium of the human soul in its most ecstatic condition of wonder and terror. Nietzsche… in the birth of tragedy… Says that a mixture of cruelty and coarse sensuality characterizes this state, which of coarse was religious, in the service of the gods. Music is the soul primitive and primary speech… It is hostile to reason”6.

Later on Bloom goes on to express the classical view of education, especially to the ancient Greeks, that the main driving purpose of pedagogy was to harmonize the appetitive, or passionate and irrational parts of the soul with the reasoned and retained parts. Music is an aid to education if it is done properly, and within the ‘right kind’ of music, such as the harmony and discipline of classical music, which takes human passion and primordial spirited religious fervor and transmutes it into a symphony of logical harmonious rhythms. Music provides justification for the union of passion and reason, motivating soldiers, students, etc.. and reinforcing the domestication of the soul in creating productive enlightened members of society that serve democratic ends7.

Bloom then goes on to lambast rock music and its influence on the youth. He states there is no intellectual merit to it, and on the “ashes’ of classical music there is no intellectual resistance to the popularity of rock music and its ability to subvert and dismantle the order of parents, society, and traditional values8. Bloom is appalled at the carnality, rebellious and anarchic spirit of this new and strange form of music, and its inherent Dionysian nature, which to him embodies licentious sexuality, gender bending, loud and aggressive behavior, and an overall decline in the standards of western education and parental ethos9. Here too Bloom takes cues from the Republic when Plato talks more in depth of the education of the guardians. They should be restrained, know authority and respect elders, and have fully subdued their passions in service of the city, and further more in regards to music: “they should beware of new forms of music, which are likely to affect the whole system of education. Changes in the style of music are always politically revolutionary. That’s what Damon says, and I believe him”10. Well it is certainly true that since (more or less) the beginning of rock, and later metal, in the late 60s and early 70s, it had morphed into a force in society that was meant to be feared, loathed by parents, and hated by censoring politicians and moral crusaders. Rock, and its harder, faster, more violent and aggressive child heavy metal (or whichever sub genre you wish to label) embodied the anarchistic (often left-leaning) and revolutionary spirit that Bloom and Plato warned about. A whole lifestyle and community, which persists to this day in the legions of metal heads worldwide, has evolved from strange and humble beginnings in the likes of early hard rock bands, to the moral terror of thrash bands in the 80s, till now a days in this more violent, brutal and lightening fast forms in death and black metal and core11, forces which Bloom foresaw as nothing less then a complete effacement of western liberal society.

Bloom then goes on to outline the current trends in politicized youth culture that largely revolves around music as an identity and social currency of interaction. The classless, sexual idealism, the ‘cultural Marxism’ that bloom points too, which took hold of American academia in the various thinkers of the Frankfurt school, most notably Herbert Marcus and Theodor Adorno. The various affective drives of civilization are in perpetual conflict to the new left. The “late era capitalism” has struck a cord among the directionless, cynical youths who do not find a voice in society as easily as the previous generations, hence free love, anarchism, collectivism, abstract expressionism, and a general tapping into the Dionysian unconscious on a societal scale is represented in its purest form in rock and metal music to Bloom12.

An important point in Bloom’s assessment of modern music is as follows: “the issue here is the effect on education, and I believe it ruins the imagination of young people and makes it very difficult for them to have a passionate relationship to the art and thought that are the substance of a liberal education”13. Bloom’s main concern is a platonic one, the corruption of the youth by undue passionate influences. He reiterates the points made to Glaoucon about education, that it should subdue the passions of its students, and that spiritual realities and philosophic ecstasy should come about through a process of maturation, and rock gives the young mind passion, animistic primordial ecstasy, too young, not at the right time, and all at once. Bloom even feels that the young do not work at their chosen art the way the masters of old use to, thus a great mediocrity, and pantomime of real art is the norm in blooms view now a days14.

The root of the Straussian assertions on the nature of education, to which bloom is a big part of, is that in the modern world there has been what can be called a fall-of-man complex, a psychological undercurrent which alienates the authenticity humanity once possessed. Hence the turn back towards the classics, or rather the conservative mentality of many traditionalists, perennials, and even reactionary groups. We can be sympathetic to Bloom in this regard; he posits that Plato clearly has shown the alternative to the eroticization of love, but the real love of philosophy, and of higher virtue. That we live in a world where love is not only universalized, but also weakened and ideological. To Bloom and Plato we are caught up in the obsession of Eros, one which makes the world in “mans artifice”, or rather we impose our vacuous relativism upon the world, and have long abandoned the search for eternal truth and virtue. Now all of our principles and identities are relative, and it is dictated to us in our modern conceptions of education that all valuations should be non-imposing and completely open and mediocre. To Bloom, humanity has suffered a great disease of sorts, one that eats away at culture, and is perpetuated in academia, and one that is the antithesis to the platonic view of the world outlined in the republic, this disease is what some may call post-modernity1516.

Bloom is a speaker of a certain voice in this regard. The longing many more conservative or traditionalist minded feel in the loss of meaning and objective or objectifying truth in the modern world is a powerful discussion, and one which Bloom feels is absent from modern academia. We shall continue in this train of thought from a different perspective: the fluidity and profundity of meaning in a work like the Republic, with its complex questions and near infinite interpretations, cements its place in the western canon as a near revealed text. We shall examine the various mythic and poetic passages in the Republic, and show how Bloom and Plato mistook the role of art as revealing the profound meaning of the philosophers. As a sample (since it would take lifetimes to plunder the depths of western and eastern art forms in regards to philosophic ideas) we shall use what bloom discouraged us from listening to the most: modern rock and metal music, and the lyrical prowess of some of their most philosophically inclined musicians.

Part 2: the poetic mythos of the Republic.

One would be inclined to agree with the straightforward interpretation of The Republic being a treatise on the evils and corruptions of music and the arts, and its archaic passions it produces in the soul, however a closer looks yields Plato having an interesting relation to art in the Republic.

The most poignant example to observe the Poiesis of Platonic ideas is the Allegory of the Cave. Here the rational part of the soul is idealized in very vivid pictures, in a very physical manner making his decent outside of the realm of illusions and shadows. The highest light illuminating the truth compels the soul to descend back into the cave to unchain and free the others, hence the philosophic duty of the highest part of ourselves perpetually escaping the darkness of corporeality and illusion. But here Plato is not engaging Theoria in an analytic manner, but rather using the devices and the emotions of a Homeric epic, subverting the ancient poetics for philosophic ends, and creating a rich tapestry of meaning with a plethora of interpretations rather than the clear and highly deductive logic of earlier Platonic analogies and lines of thinking, which embodies the artistic seduction towards the truth, the spectacle of reason, and the mythic journey of the philosophic life on route to the forms17. Plato clear expresses the ideas of the republic through metaphor and through symbolic devices often found in the dramatic and emotive arts. The “journey” of the philosopher returning back from the realm of the forms to assist the other, lesser souls in their realization of the truth is at par with the great mythological poetic stories of the archetypal Hero’s journey. Like many accounts of the epic Hero, the philosopher is only truly free, hence he as no desire to be corrupted by any of the worldly trappings of lesser existence, hence the philosopher guardians cannot touch money in the ideal city, this is a metaphor for them not being “touched” by the machinations of the corporeal and worldly in their own souls18.

Plato further elaborates the uniqueness of the philosophic soul in relation to the darkness and ignorance of the everyday life/world in the realm of shadows. Plato reintegrates the philosophic project of book 7 by describing the sovereignty of the sun to illuminate the truth away from the false light of the fire in the cave, and that only a few may posses this “art” or technical skill as he describes to make valuations on the nature of truth and reality. The ignorant and the foolish are acclimatized to the surroundings of darkness and do not have the education or the art of discourse to latch onto the eagerness of the soul to go back to its original place in the realm of the forms19. The power of sight and discourse is lost upon the uneducated, and Plato gives this special faculty of the philosophers above reason or education, that being thinking itself. It is apparent that the sharp dichotomies between truth and appearance, light and dark, are all method employed by the artist and the poet, specifically to reflect their time period of particular moral and philosophic ignorance and decadence. For example, to quote the Montreal band Gorguts:

Flesh the feeble flesh confines the pain and soul, Vault in which the earthly way, I bear
Earth Love my denial…The meaningless heat of flesh, I ignore…Flows of ecstasies within the succubus The carnal healings of the soul, Earthly form of illusion…
The carnal addictions of the soul, Concrete form of sorrow Impure… In my dreams, earthly love seems so bright In my nights, earthly love I deny”

Here we can see the platonic influence on of metal’s seminal albums of technical progression and complex lyrical themes, ranging from Buddhism (to which the album art is adorned with the band members in yogic poses, and the lyrics reflect the Buddhist state of non-attachment and Anatman) to the ideas expressed in the Phaedo, and to much greater depth in the Republic; or in other words the lyrics express this dramatic choice of the soul to give into the entrapment of the world or be in a suspensive state of philosophic purity from them. Or perhaps the Death lyrics :”Passion is a poison laced with pleasure bitter sweet, one of many faces that hides deep beneath…behold the flesh and the power it holds”21. Clearly the supposed hedonistic and nihilistic realm of metal (well often having a basis in reality for such a stereotype) has a few philosophic souls willing to speak out in the ancient burden of coming to terms with the insidious and seductive nature of the flesh and the world as a whole. Even the Cave itself is a popular metaphor in metal music, expressed in the same vigorous and dramatic imagery that Plato utilizes in the Republic, for instance seminal band Meshuggah, whom hold a highly acclaimed place in the metal community : “ Blooded hands lead the waltz, We’re trapped in the out of tune swirl, Still we set the show on continue mode, And dance to a discordant system… Committed to a lie we cannot see, cannot know nor comprehend We’re all asinine drones kept in the dark, kept in line”22. This is a description of the poetic device of the cave and its impact upon the salves chained to the wall and subjugated to the play of shadows and unreality foisted upon them. Drama, Dionysian chaos and primordial artistic expression can defend the ideas of the philosopher just as much as reasoned discourse and proper mediums of higher mindedness can, and in this Bloom and Plato suffer from a limitation of their own ideals of what ‘proper’ art is meant to be. Only here the near-platonic vision of the loss of human freedom in meshuggah is a transhuman one, a virtual cave entrapping synthetic subjects in a state of perpetual subjugation.

Even the plight and dilemma of the philosopher, the only one to Plato that can achieve real and authentic freedom, in wondering off to strange lands as a classic Greek Theoros, and finding it impossible to come back to the civil life of society with the ignorant herd is expressed in popular music. Nightingale, like Bloom, see that Socrates (Plato) is drawing a distinction between the life of contemplation and practical matters or rather completion coupled with the action of virtues. It is imperative that once the philosopher has achieved the divine vision of truth, they do not want to go back into the life of civic engagement, or rather needs to be compelled to in the ideal utopian city23. There is no middle ground when it comes to the relation between the philosopher and civil society, as bloom points out, he either rules absolutely or faces persecution by the crowd, and reason is always at the blunt end of society, always the first to be corrupted by political engagement of the most reason-infused characters, IE. The Philosophers24. From this view on the relation between politics and the philosophers, one could view the odd vividness of the cave as not a treatise on politics as such ,or what philosophers labour towards from the citizens of the ideal city, but rather a parable, a mythic statement on the dangers of coming out of unknowing, and facing the hostility of the herd. Here we are inclined to agree with Bloom about the significance of the Republic as a way of existential authenticity, and not a straightforward political document, since there is no direct connection between ruling the city and the cultivated soul of the philosopher, since the contemplative actions of the soul is different from political deliberations, and Plato seemingly shifts from the question of political rule and justice to more metaphysical questions of the soul from book 7 onward 25. Thus the sentiment of the hostility between philosophy and politics is echoed in one of the most philosophic, and political (or anti-political bands) Nevermore, who is well known for their scathing treatment of modern day political realities, and the in-authenticity of the herd, often evoking the metaphor of the Cave in subtle ways such as: “ The sun in my hand becomes my despair, For I still want the truth. Play the fool so ignorant in the shadow of disdain, Breeding your deception without eyes… Bleeding hearts and soiled mind, reflects the state of our being”26. Or for instance: “We are the enemies of reality, in a world that’s unforgiving. Waiting to sanitize bastard tongues, To purify the ignorance that hides the sun, the less you understand the more you’re driven, Packaged and processed the masses are force fed, The standards they judge us on swallow the rot we shed”27. Here we can see the dramatic plight of the enlightened in a world of ignorance and disdain for truth and reason. The “light in my hand” a metaphor for the philosopher outside the cave, and thus Bloom is correct to highlight this curiosity in Plato when it comes to the dichotomy between philosophy and politics, and perhaps the ideal city is a dramatic device for finding philosophic agency In the world of ignorant civil society, as Bloom views the unwillingness of the philosopher in ruling, which would be a stark lowering of the statues of the philosopher in the realm of civil engagement28. Modern music represents this metaphysical assertion on the nature of reality, and the gradations of activates which contribute to the greater authenticity and cultivation of the soul, or between the political and contemplative paths of existence.

The Myth Of Er And Perennial Art.

In the end of the Republic is a very unique and even strange account of the afterlife by the soul travel of Er in the underworld. It is strange in that Plato saved with mythic parable for the end of the republic; before we can venture into the myth, Bloom provides the ground for analyzing the Republic (and especially Er) from an artistic and metaphoric basis. The reason Plato makes the transition from logical philosophic discourse to myth and symbolic parable is due to the fact Platonic philosophy as a whole is more dramatic then dialectical to Bloom. In this light, Bloom considers the Republic to be deeply poetic in nature, since philosophy and poetry share a kinship, as well as art in general. The love of the philosopher, the ‘Eros’ that the higher mind feels in relation to the forms is to bloom what distinguishes the republic as a way of artistic seduction, rather than logical discourse, with its primary mission in educating the masses in the dramatic sentiments they are accustom to, rather than the mental exercises and abstractions of pure logical dialectics29. This is true in the sense that Plato switches his approach to the artists and the poets in the last book of the republic, a dramatic shift in tone from derision to acceptance as the poets are last group of people that shall gain access to the ideal city, only if they can pass the platonic test of serving the virtues and ideas of the philosophers and their higher purpose of educating the citizenry, and the forms with which they are acquainted with30.

Without dwelling too much into the details of the account of Er in the afterlife, there are stark parallels between various other schools of thought throughout the world, and the philosophic and mythological ideas present in Er. The archetypal nature of the Republic and Er especially is shown in hos various cultures from the ancient Hindus, and Sufis, to the Taoist monks, all utilize the power of poetry to evoke the existential programs and contemplative tenants of living that the philosopher possesses. Bloom and Plato both caution the use of art and poetry in terms of its ability to corrupt the masses, in the wrong minds they can envelop people with strange passions, like “shadow” paintings that elude the deceived hence why Plato describes art as “twice removed” from the reality of the forms, since they rely on representation and appearance31. This is not Plato condemning art as such, but rather warning of its misuse, of taking it and appropriating its primordial power for philosophic ends, since in the end art is inherently discursive; there is no separation between logos (IE. Discourse) and mythos in the republic, Plato merely is using this derisive language about poetics and art to disarm the reader, or rather seduce the reader into thinking this is the cold and sterile work of dialectical philosophy, and not the impassioned speech of the Epic Homeric poet. When Er makes the case fro the final ‘argument’ on the rewards and punishments based on ones character and action in the afterlife, this is a piece of conversation, of the ability art possesses to go beyond the mere dialectical and logical (which was domain in the first half of the book) and to gradually transition the reader into the more pronounced philosophic exploration of ideas through a dramatic tone (which embodies the second and final half of the Republic)32.

The fusion of cosmological and moral truths are uncanny in the end of the Republic, and cement in a mythological and poetic sense the justice that Plato is pursuing in the monumental work of philosophy. The souls immortality and eschatological journey of the soul and the reincarnation of myth of Er sets up a dramatic and poetic dilemma for the philosopher and for the uneducated; you can face the tragedy of reincarnation, of the realization of eternal truth that the language of Er points out is a “journey” is “awesome” in scope, or face death as an eternal dreamless sleep. The gradations Er points to as well, from noble souls without the training in philosophy reverting back to lesser bodies, or the humanly attributes of the people in the afterlife serve to teak the commonly held myths in Greece and recapitulate them to serve the philosophic and virtuous purposes of the Republic. The burden of choosing ones destiny in the after life is also a present freedom that contradicts certain other aspects of the Republic, all in all the myth serves the Gnostic principle of ‘as above, so below’, in other words, our present actions and the state of our souls serve us in the afterlife, and the precious gift of philosophy expressed in such a poetic manner gives us a visceral picture of eternal justice and the purpose of philosophy; choose well, or suffer the fate of necessity33.

We can see that it is not poetry or art per say that can mislead and be the bane of philosophy, but can be transcended into a higher form that serves philosophy, and in fact promotes its aims of bettering the soul and maintaining a virtuous and resolute stature as a philosopher. No better musicians can highlight the ideas found in Er better then the forerunners of spirituality in metal music: Tool and Cynic; both bands are well acquainted with eastern and western philosophic ideas, for instance the tool album Laturalus and AEnima are homages to Jung, perennial philosophy, sacred geometry (to which Plato is said to be aware of in certain dialogues on geometry and math) and the higher being of humanity, for instance: “ barely remember who or what came before this precious moment, We are choosing to be here right now. Hold on, stay inside, this holy reality, this holy experience…this body holding me. Be my reminder here that I am not alone in, this body… feeling eternal, all this pain is an illusion”34. Or for example: “As full and bright as I am, this light is not my own and, A million light reflections pass over me, Its source is bright and endless… I must crucify the ego, before tis far too late, I hope the light lifts me out”35. These are stunning and vivid examples of platonic ideas in contemporary art. The ego, much like the character of the tyrant in book 9, must be rid of its power in order to see the true cosmic beauty in the afterlife, and one must realize this body is of meaningless facticity, only, an illusion with which we operate in the phenomenal world, and true self is beyond pain, beyond the machinations of the wordily. Cynic for instance has a lot of lyrics dealing with themes from the Platonic myths in the republic:

As one I’ll meet the mortal memories, Reliving seeking silence
And know that I as just a shell outside, Have sacred joys inside me.
No fear, nor fight, comforting silent side, So free, through flight, comforting silence
So I call on Sri cosmic sea, all is within you, As in a dream, I’m but a wave to…infinity, within thy consciousness”

The inner essence of man is not defined by the world ,but by the immortal state of the soul dwelling in the higher realm of the forms, the “forgotten realm” as it is put in the argument from recollection in the Phaedo.

In conclusion we have shown that the concerns of Bloom and Plato in regards to contemporary arts of their day, and art in general, through the sample of modern metal music, is unfounded, and that the capacity of art to convey philosophic ideas is powerful, satiating, and just as warranted as logical/dialectical conversation and discursive academic activities. Art can go to wisdom and serves its ends in ways standard philosophic practices cannot, and Plato inherently recognized the power of art, myth and metaphor in the republic despite the early rhetoric about its corrupting and impassioned influence in the ignorant minds of the uneducated.

1Plato. The Republic. Ed. Ferrari, G.R.F. Cambridge University Press. 2000. Pg. 55-56, 373a-374e.

2Plato. Pg. 64-67, 378e-381d.

3Bloom, Allan. The Closing Of The American Mind, How Higher Education Has Failed Democracy And Impoverished The Souls Of Today’s Youth. Simon And Shuster Publishing. 1987. Pg. 68-69.

4Bloom, Pg. 70.

5Plato, Pg. 313-314, 595c-596e.

6Bloom, Pg. 71.

7Bloom, Pg. 71-72.

8Bloom, Pg. 74.

9Bloom, Pg. 74-76.

10Plato, Pg. 117-119. 424c- 426d.

11Spheeris, Penelope. The Decline Of Western Civilization Part 11: The Metal Years. Doc. Prod. Dayton, Jonathon. New Line Cinema. June 17, 1988.

12Bloom, Pg. 78.

13Bloom, Pg. 79.

14Bloom, Pg. 80-82.

15Bloom. Pg. 237-239.

16The purpose of this essay is to neither argue for or against blooms assessments of the modern world, but to merely show his taking up of the platonic view of art is misguided in several respects, and that even Plato intentionally or unintentionally made assertions about the nature of art that can be taken literally, or in jest, as another attempt at Socratic irony, to highlight the power of art Plato realized.

17Nightingale, Andrew, Wilson. Spectacles Of Truth In Classic Greek Philosophy: Theoria In Its Cultural Context. Cambridge University Press, July 30, 2009. Pg. 94-96

18Nightingale, Pg. 126-128.

19Plato, Pg. 223-225. 516c-519d.

20Lemay, Luc, Gorguts. Earthly Love. Album: Obscura. Olypic Records. June 23, 1998.

21Schuldiner, Chuck. Death. Flesh And The Power It Holds. Album: The Sound Of Perseverance. Nuclear Blast Records. September 15, 1998.

22Tomas, Haake. Meshuggah. Dancers To A Discordant System. Album: Obzen. Nuclear Blast records. March 11, 2008.

23Nightingale, Pg. 131-133.

24Bloom, Pg. 278.

25Bloom, Allan. Response To Hall. Political Theory. Vol. 5, No. 3. Aug., 1977 .Pg. 320-321.

26Dane, Warrel. Nevermore. Ambivalent. Album: Enemies Of Reality. Century Media Group, July 21, 2003.

27Dane, Warrel. Nevermore. Enemies Of Reality. Album: Enemies Of Reality. Century Media Group. July 21, 2003.

28Bloom, Response to hall, Pg. 322.

29Bloom, Response to hall. Pg. 323-325.

30Plato, Pg. 313-314. 595c-596c.

31Plato, Pg. 305, 586 a-d. Pg. 317, 597d-598d.

32Halliwell, Stephen. The Life-And-Death Journey Of The Soul, Interpreting The Myth Of Er. The Cambridge Companion To Plato’s Republic. Ed. Ferrari, G.R.F. June 18, 2007. Pg. 452-454.

33Halliwell, Pg. 457-460.

34Kennan, Maynard James. Tool. Parabola. Album: Laturalus. Volcano Entertainment. May 15, 2001.

35Kennan, Maynard James. Tool. Reflection. Album: Laturalus. Volcano Entertainment. May 15, 2001.

36Masvidal, Paul. Cynic. I’m But A Wave To. Album: Focus. Roadrunner Records. September 14, 1993.


One Reply to “To Kindle a Light in the Darkness of Mere Being: The Straussian Plato and the value of art.”

  1. Awesome. It draws attention to an important difference between the old and new Right. The old Right had a huge Puritan streak in it; it despised youth and the common people, confused *popular* culture with *decadent* culture, and confused the natural and healthy exuberance and effervescence of youth- which tends to a little disorder and tumultuousness, as well it should, and indeed must, if differentiated social hierarchies are to be maintained and society capable of functioning. You don’t have to look very hard to see the egalitarianism and totalitarianism in a mentality that rejects traditional wisdom that “boys will be boys”, and that expects young teenagers and working men to have the same tastes and manners as professors in their fifties- and you also don’t have to look very hard to see the potential for catastrophe that would obtain if they did. Who fights wars exactly: senior professors, or young working-class guys interested in physical aggression and aggressive art forms? Finally, had the old Right bothered to look into it, they would have seen the high-moral teachings that are naturally expressed in Metal lyrics even where the bands and fans believe themselves to be atheist or anti-Christian (again, the latter is natural and not all that harmful as long as people grow out if as they mature).

    Liked by 1 person

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