Matthew Arnold, Antonin Dvorak, and the mystery of America’s underperforming culture

Matthew Arnold’s Culture and Anarchy is an interesting book. The author identifies as a liberal, mostly because of being middle class, but largely argues for conservative ideas and against liberal ones. Back in the 19th century, the United States of America was held up by the progressive faction as a model of an intelligently ordered society. Arnold retorts that it is surprising then that America has produced so little impressive in the way of culture, the intellect’s distinctive output. This is part of his larger argument that a healthy culture needs a balance between what Arnold calls “Hebraism” (single-minded pursuit of moral purity) and “Hellenism” (pursuit of well-rounded excellence). Religious establishments serve the important role of bringing to the religious life of a nation an appreciation for the nation’s cultural and intellectual life. Religious dissenters and Americans, by contrast, display a one-sided Hebraism.

I’ve also found American cultural output anomalously unimpressive. The natural comparison to the USA would be Great Britain, the mother country, and it’s remarkable how, throughout the 19th and early 20th centuries, England enormously, overwhelmingly outperformed America in literature, science, and the intellectual life generally. It’s true that in the second half of the 20th century America wrested leadership from England and Germany in the physical sciences, music, philosophy, and other such cultural pursuits. Notice though that very soon after America gains leadership in a field, it becomes less interesting and less innovative; in sum, it undergoes a sort of sclerosis and rapidly declines.

About a month ago, I was in the mood to give myself a treat, so I bought an album on iTunes of Dvorak’s Slavonic Dances. (I guess in this post I’m continuing my theme on 19th century composers.) This primed me to be interested in an an article I ran across a week later on Dvorak’s “school” of American music. Dvorak’s own inspiration had been the Czech folk music of his homeland, so not surprisingly his suggestion to America was to cultivate a distinctive style of music inspired by the sub-cultures America has but Europeans don’t: blacks and Native Americans. The article’s author goes even farther, suggesting that refusing to take inspiration from African-American music has contributed greatly to classical music’s decline, a mistake which the more vital and world-popular musical types didn’t make. The author suggests that the way for classical music to save itself from disdain and obscurity is by highlighting the works of African Americans. Let me return to this topic later.

Once one realizes that it is not American creativity but lack of American creativity that needs explaining, that America is underperforming given its population and wealth, several explanations suggest themselves. I once read a perceptive article on some Leftist website that argued American corporatism and hierarchical big science explain why American led science and technology is less innovative, and I do think there is something to this. I also think there is something to the Leftist claim that American intellectual life is hamstrung by excluding large swaths of the population, although the excluded groups are not the ones the Leftists suppose.

Another notable difference between England and America is that Christians and Christianity have historically been less absent from English intellectual and political life than in America, a difference going all the way back to America’s Deist/Freemason-led War of Independence. When Arnold decided to give an example of an important cultural movement and its leader, he chose the Oxford Movement and John Henry Newman. Something like this would be unimaginable in the United States, which was dominated by Deists until the Jews joined the intellectual ruling class. (Adding the Jews had some benefits: American musical theatre, one of our culture’s only true bright spots, was an overwhelmingly Jewish creation.) America has never produced a scientist of the caliber of Michael Faraday (English) or James Clerk Maxwell (Scottish), but it would have been more unusual for two pious Protestants like Faraday and Maxwell to become prominent in American intellectual life.

My claim of Christian non-participation may sound surprising, given what we have all learned from Tocqueville about the importance of the Christian religion in the functioning of American democracy (although it is perhaps significant that we needed a French Catholic aristocrat to point it out to us), but that is at the lower, sociological level rather than at the high-cultural level.

If one considers only non-Christians to be Americans, America’s cultural output probably is proportionate to its population.

The reasons that the American Christian majority has remained culturally and intellectually passive is as hard to disentangle as the reasons for black underrepresentation in various fields. Maybe Christians are just much stupider than Deists and Jews, but how then do we account for the brilliance of European Christians which was not reproduced in the New World? Maybe Christians are discriminated against, but this was never done in a formal way. Maybe it’s a cultural thing, an American Christian anti-intellectualism, the Christian equivalent of some blacks’ desire to avoid “acting white”.

I think one key reason is status. Cultural products are judged as much by the status of their creator groups as by their intrinsic worth. The decline of prominence of classical music, noted in the linked Dvorak article, is an example of this. The prestige of what we call classical music rose and fell with that of the European peoples. The popularity of American black-derived music has more to do with the worldwide stratospherically-high status of African Americans than it does with any supposed intrinsic superiority of their music. (To be fair, we should then also not assume that the former popularity of European music necessarily reflected any innate superiority.) Regardless of formal or informal discrimination, Christianity is definitely low status and has been for a very long time. Any cultural products that too visibly come from a Christian sub-culture–especially a white Christian subculture!–will be tainted by this.

In Dvorak’s day, European culture was the default, and it made sense to look to other groups to inspire innovation. For the foreseeable future, black culture will be ascendent throughout the world due to the adulation for its creators. Perhaps some great art and literature will come out of it; clearly blacks are today the most vital and confident of the world’s races. Classical music will join the classics (ancient Greece and Rome) and medieval studies as backwater pursuits tainted by association with low-status white Christendom. These pursuits will try to avoid this fate by frantically signaling wokeness and recruiting nonwhites, but let us hope that these efforts will fail. Then someday the scorned remains of our lost culture may provide resources for the growth of a positive identity for white Christians. We have our own particular history, our own musical and literary styles, as worthy of remembrance and continuation as others’.

36 thoughts on “Matthew Arnold, Antonin Dvorak, and the mystery of America’s underperforming culture

  1. I’ve also found American cultural output anomalously unimpressive.

    I came into this article with a “preconceived notion” you might say of what American Cultural output is. It looks like you are taking a different spin on the notion–maybe even a more accurate spin, but a different one than the one i had in my head at the start.

    When you refer to cultural output, I understand you to be referring to intellectual contributions, an understanding I take from this quote:

    England enormously, overwhelmingly outperformed America in literature, science, and the intellectual life generally.

    Modern America has certainly not produced anything intellectually worthwhile in literature, science, music, or the intellectual life generally. But I would argue that America has outperformed every other country in the world in terms of quantity of output. America is pouring forth cultural product on all frequencies in all directions. This output reflects the dominant American culture which is irreligious and materialistic, regardless of considerations of race. This cultural output is being adopted all over the world to the moral degradation and decay of the rich and vibrant local cultures which are allowing the viral infection of American culture to spread.

    In fact, American cultural contributions to literature, science, music, etc seem to be post-modern monstrosities determined to subvert notions of what kind of contributions we consider worthwhile.

    I have argued here or elsewhere that “Western Civilization” really ought to be called “Christian civilization” because anything good that was produced by the west came from it’s Christian roots. I know there’s room to quibble on that point but I will plant the flag there for the sake of argument. Likewise Christian Culture is what has produced the great cultural features of the 18th and 19th centuries. America has the bones of a Christian culture but it has failed to consolidate–I would argue, due to persecution and the prevailing winds of American garbage. It’s hard to raise a sail in a storm. I think American Christianity is coming into its own “underground” and will not come above ground unless/until some new Constantine adopts this culture as his own.

    So my point is really that, if you argue that America’s culture is underperforming, it is either because you don’t recognize what is performing as culture, or you don’t consider it’s voluminous output of garbage as performance. I would have argued that American culture is dominant in a troubling way, because American culture is unmoored by conscience and is determined to export this error to the world.

  2. Throughout the West, for at least a century, “artists” and “intellectuals” themselves have intentionally debased aesthetic ideals. Even the most naturally gifted — Picasso was always cutting up his woman (in life and on canvas), Schoenberg derived the 12 tone scale intellectually to destroy his competitors with meaningless dissonance, Derrida cunningly perverted and destroyed the literature he could never himself create, etc. And people foolishly followed them (not I, nor many I know).

    At the same time, America went off the gold standard and debased the currency, our products getting flimsier and cheaper at the same time, while a highly compensated bureaucracy of the merely functionally literate made sure that common sense working men would not work in their own factories for their own families. And, of course, the generation of ’68 delighted to wallow in the pig-sty of self-aggrandizing nihilism and hype. Not only in the arts, we’ve experienced a century-long phenomenon of degradation (self-abnegation? passive aggressive destruction of self displaced at others?) that has washed over the West, creating innumerable holocausts.

    But my own sense is that, now, that the age of parasitism is coming to a close. The knowledge of these cultural holocausts has begun to spread — true, only green shoots popping up through the soil as yet. What beckons, in places, encourages me greatly. Only the creation of new works — knowing full well of the struggle ahead in introducing them (or, re-introducing their ideas in new forms) — will demonstrate to those who are sick and tired of the detritus of human existence proffered as an art, the Artist’s discovery of the transcendent. That achievement is exactly the function of the Artist, as it has been for a millenia or more, and for whom there is usually little recompense, except the hope that those ideas will lodge in the breasts of those who might be willing to be made aware of them.

  3. On the demand side, art requires patronage, and the best patrons are aristocrats and the Church. Most American patronage has come from industrialists and the state. The bourgeoise can act as patrons, but the European bourgeoise were better patrons because they mixed with aristocracy.

    On the supply side, art requires severely limited opportunities for gifted men. I would add that art requires cities in which artists are concentrated. We got some of this around Boston in the nineteenth century, and then later in NYC, but great artists require a milieu of second-rate artists and America seldom afforded these concentrations.

    I would put even more weight on your point that so may American artists have been aliens. T.S. Eliot made this point and so did the Agrarians. Mark Twain comes close to speaking with the voice of my people, but he was an infidel and he eventually grew into a snob. What does a Brooklyn Jew know about the soul of a Midwestern Baptist? Well, I know what he thinks because I’ve read his books and cannot say they are from my culture. Black music? They are welcome to it, but the only way it moves me is in the direction of a place where I can’t hear it.

    Art is the fruit of real nations rooted in real religions for a very long time. In America we’ve had no nation, no religion and no time.

    • Art is the fruit of real nations rooted in real religions for a very long time. In America we’ve had no nation, no religion and no time.

      A harsh but fair verdict. The US, as Gary North accused, is actually a Masonic nation. Which is to say an anti-nation.

  4. “America has never produced a scientist of the caliber of Michael Faraday (English) or James Clerk Maxwell (Scottish)…”

    Americans Richard Feynman and Julian Schwinger were to Quantum Electrodynamics roughly what Faraday and Maxwell were to (classical) Electromagnetic theory.

    • I guess, but classical electrodynamics was a greater advance than quantum electrodynamics. Faraday needed to make the conceptual leap from thinking about forces to thinking about fields. I can think of no comparable conceptual leap in QED–it’s a bunch of mathematical tricks for combining to existing theories (Maxwell’s electrodynamics and quantum mechanics). It shows Americans continuing along existing paths, sometimes with great cleverness and effort, which is the usual manner of American cultural contribution.

      • Here’s the problem I have with your judgment in this matter. The discoveries or conceptual breakthroughs made by Faraday and Maxwell could have only been made once. After them, no going back. Feynman, Schwinger, and everyone else born after about 1890 had to inherit the conceptual frameworks of classical physics and QM. A thinker’s eminence is as much a function of his milieu as of his ability; Faraday and Maxwell worked at a time of especially rapid change in conceptual understanding and of technological advancement that made much of the conceptual progress possible. It was an unrepeatable episode in the history of mankind.

        In terms of sheer intellectual horsepower, Feynman was probably superior to Faraday and Maxwell, and he was outstanding among the physicists of his day. One can hardly fault a man for failing to develop an entirely new way of thinking, if the established ways seem to be more or less correct.

  5. Art is downstream of culture, and culture is downstream of cult. Artists and intellectuals can’t reach for transcendence of the mundane and discovery or invocation of the sublime if they don’t believe in their guts that it is out there to begin with; otherwise they’ll have no reason even to try. They can’t do their jobs properly unless they feel sure that their cult is simply true. Unbelievers are morally and aesthetically at sea – not that they are bad or ugly, but that they are forced by their cultic rootlessness to be religious free lancers – to make things up as they go, from the bottom up. They then reject the canon, and all authority, all discipline, all mastery, all formal rigor.

    The religious indifferentism of the deist and freemasonic foundations of American civil life is an implicit and effectual – and in practice, quite effective – repudiation of cult per se. It vitiates all cults – including, in the end, the cult of humanist individualism that it leaves predominant in the culture. So it ruins the arts of high civilization.

    There being no credible top in view, to which men may aspire honestly and without shame or irony, all that remains is the subscendent race to the bottom, in an economic milieu of merely hedonist pragmaticism. The result is ugly, sordid, and insane.

    • I thought you were going to say “culture is downstream of genetics.”

      I can see the case for “cult.” I would agree wholeheartedly that the culture is deteriorating because the elite have abandoned religious belief (transcendence).

      If culture is downstream of genetics, we have a much bigger and more fundamental problem.

      • There is coevolution of genes with cultures, with the result that certain cultures – and civil orders – fit better with certain genotypes, and vice versa.

  6. High art is aristocratic: it is made by noblemen or artists supported by noblemen. It is consumed by the noble or others who want to cultivate superior tastes. In America, we have have not had noblemen and very few of us have wanted to cultivate superior tastes.

    The closest we can get is that American high art is esoteric: designed for a small elite who “get it,” and for no others. These are the American analogue of nobles, but they are not true nobles because they do not see themselves as part of the masses. European nobles are superior to the masses, but still a part of the nation that includes the masses. American “nobles” are a revolutionary elite who have little in common with the masses.

    • Is this always true? The obvious counterexample is Shakespeare.
      Homer was enjoyed by the people. Much of the great Renaissance art originally adorned churches, so was ‘consumed’ by the nobles and commoners alike. Etc.
      But, it is likely true that most high art is supported (i.e., funded) by the aristocracy.

  7. Classical music is only German not European as a whole. And the answer is television. Nobody has high cultural output in modernity because of televsion, the digital judaizer.

    • This is part of what I call the “Iron Dome” which blocks transcendence. I haven’t worked out the concept, but the hypothesis is modernity has erected an Iron Dome over mankind. I define modernity as secularism, technology and hubris.

  8. Comparing America to Europe can’t be done in total it has to be done over the same time period.

    American creativity is clearly enormous and on display and not just in “crap” (which the Europeans are more than capable of producing in abundance). Everything from the Internet to container shipping(that last one invented by a Southerner incidentally). Movies are “the” American art form in many ways and also our invention.

    Americans are capable of great architecture, I’ve seen it. If we’re talking the last century, Europe is a shadow of what it was in the arts and architecture as well.

    America has many problems but “underperforming” isn’t one of them compared to Europe, at least not for a long while. I’m not just defending my country I’m saying we need to take a broad view.

    • Everything from the Internet to container shipping(that last one invented by a Southerner incidentally). Movies are “the” American art form in many ways and also our invention. …
      Don’t these examples sorta prove Bonald’s point?

  9. I would say 2 reasons for Americas cultural poverty.
    Absence of a wealthy aristocracy to actually fund good art.
    And more importantly the supernatural aspect, artistic talent like anything else is a gift from god. What would he give to a people who have always refused to love him or worship?
    Also what did the author mean by saying that an increase in black influence would somehow revitalize music? Have you heard thier music?
    That’s literally the absolute last aesthetic influence this country needs.

    • Absence of a wealthy aristocracy to actually fund good art.

      On the contrary, America has more millionaires and billionaires than anywhere else. But their tastes seem awfully pedestrian. “Yachts” and “foundations” (doing nobody knows what) seem to be the peak of their aspirations.

  10. All excellent commentary. About 10 years ago, I used to think only I and one or two others were like-minded to me in this respect. If this website is any indication, together with my non-digital experiences here in Texas, there are many, many more like-minded people than I had thought possible.

    To clarify, when I write of Art (with a capital “A”), I mean the aesthetic expression in any form which demonstrates the discovery of ideals which transcend mundane human existence. When spelled with a small “a,” i.e. “art,” I use it to mean any of the fine arts — painting, sculpture, etc.

  11. I’m sure most here would agree with this, but I think one important point when discussing modern culture, so called is the following:
    There is no convenient term except culture to describe Coca-cola, McDonalds, Hollywood and all the rest of it, but all that stuff is in no real sense American culture; it’s what has hijacked it. Furthermore, modern popular culture is neither. It’s not popular, i.e., of the people, it’s imposed top down by means of mass communication systems and propaganda. Furthermore, it’s not culture. Culture means all aspects of life being passed down from one generation to the next, while at best this modern popular “culture” is merely entertainment, at worst, it’s trying to subvert the cultural legacy rather than pass it on.
    As far as the US’s underperformance, I would agree with JMSmith that time is important. America never had time to develop culture to the extent it could have. You can see many things (regional folk music, literature, practical technology, philosophy) that could have gone much further, but the destructive force of modernity prevented that and replaced real American culture with what is there now.
    For instance, the Wright Brothers were nominated for the Nobel Prize in physics 9 times (https://www.nobelprize.org/nomination/archive/show_people.php?id=10319, https://www.nobelprize.org/nomination/archive/show_people.php?id=10322), including by (of all people) a great theoretical mathematician like Henri Poincare.
    In other words, the US never had time enough to put down cultural roots before the industrial revolution and then especially modernity destroyed them.

    • “…but all that stuff is in no real sense American culture; it’s what has hijacked it. Furthermore, modern popular culture is neither. It’s not popular, i.e., of the people, it’s imposed top down by means of mass communication systems and propaganda. Furthermore, it’s not culture.”

      YES!

      But we Americans once had a popular culture with exacting standards whose creators attained to heights of aesthetic creation. Watch Dinner at Eight (1933) or listen to Ellington or watch Astaire — gosh, there are many thousands of examples I could name for you. These are American creations, intended for a wide audience in this country, which was then capable of understanding aesthetic quality.

    • Also, to continue with the aviation theme, there’s an interesting interview of Freeman Dyson (https://www.wired.com/1998/02/dyson/) where he says the following:

      “Interviewer:

      Say something about failure in experiments or businesses or anything else. What’s the value of failure?

      Dyson:

      You can’t possibly get a good technology going without an enormous number of failures. It’s a universal rule. If you look at bicycles, there were thousands of weird models built and tried before they found the one that really worked. You could never design a bicycle theoretically. Even now, after we’ve been building them for 100 years, it’s very difficult to understand just why a bicycle works – it’s even difficult to formulate it as a mathematical problem. But just by trial and error, we found out how to do it, and the error was essential. The same is true of airplanes.

      Interviewer:

      This brings up an interesting issue of where theory fits in. Presumably there was not a theory of planes before there were planes.

      Dyson:

      There was an attempt at a theory of airplanes, but it was completely misleading. The Wright brothers, in fact, did much better without it.”

      I can’t comment on the physics of bicycles or airplanes, but I do think Dyson is onto something here. And it’s not just trial and error, it’s a certain kind of practical understanding, that really is understanding despite not having a fully developed calculational theory.

      Edison as compared with Tesla, for instance. I’m sure there are other contributions Americans have made of this nature as well.

      • Dyson’s comment about the theory of airplanes reminds me of something. Shortly after man landed on the Moon my father bought me a Time-Life record album narrating the history of space travel. In it, one of the pioneers of rocketry (I don’t remember who) recounted an episode in which a professor of physics tried to prove to him that space travel was impossible. The rocket pioneer tried to protest, but the professor’s calculations were too “profound” for him. He lost the argument but was right all along.

  12. You guys may know this already but the new criterion is right leaning journal of cultural criticism which I recommend.

    • I’ve subscribed, but after reading them for a dozen issues, to me they seem totally fixated on Manhattan and NYC has been over for fifty years. The remnants are just that. What is developing elsewhere? They have no idea because they aren’t looking anywhere else in the US. Only in their backyard, which is full of deadly nightshade.

  13. A relative recently asked me who is considered the ‘greatest’ American philosopher. The immediate names that came to my mind were William James, John Dewey, and Charles Peirce. So yeah, I think that pretty much proves your point…

    My initial thought for why is that America was organized around enabling commercial prosperity over the life of the mind from the start: this was supposed to secure peace and freedom since there wouldn’t be any conflict over first things. This favors entrepreneurship and technology (even our most famous founding fathers were inventors), but not so much in the way of theoretical advancements. And that’s exactly the sort of creativity America is most known for: making money and engineering. (Although even with the latter, it’s interesting how often the initial breakthrough invention came from another country – usually Britain – and America’s role was then one of improving efficiency and enabling mass consumption of it).

    • Agreed about the first three to come to mind. Same with me. But then: Royce, Rawls, Hartshorne, DR Griffin, Nozick (to speak only of my own influences (not to mention the philosophical scientists, such as Shanon)) … philosophy after 1945 is a mélange of many great voices.

  14. To continue the theme of invention, here is something interesting I read recently from Pierre Duhem’s “The English School and Physical theories”:

    “The prudent mind of continental physicists is characterized above all by their hesitation in engaging certain questions situated on the borders of science: the innermost constitution of the material world, what existed millions of years ago, what will exist in millions of years. We cannot see these questions, so vast, so complex, so troubling resolved without a shiver of skepticism making us tremble. The English ignore these fears. The size and dimension of atoms, the constitution of matter, the nature of light and electricity, the dissipation of energy, the origin and duration of solar heat – here are the problems that attract W. Thompson, Maxwell [and] Tait. Their vigorous imagination deploys itself with there with ease in audacious leaps that make no obstacle of the bounds of logical rigor. [Their imagination] enjoys playing with numbers that are terrifying because of their large or small size, just as athletes enjoy the prodigious exercises that make them aware of their muscles’ power.

    In the leaders of the English school, in William Thompson, in Maxwell, this tendency to treat strange and troubling things knows some limits. It has no limits in their disciples. William Crookes, Oliver Lodge, and Tait treat convulsions of the modern imagination that reason no longer holds in equilibrium, such as communication of thoughts at a distance, spiritualism, and magic, with the same confidence, the same tranqullity, with which they treat a question in optics or electricity. For them the bizarre has every chance of being true.

    This boldness of the English mind presents great dangers for a science that is no longer on guard against extravagance. On the other hand, it has advantages. It favors invention to a high degree.

    Our need to admit nothing except what can clearly be deduced from accepted principles makes us mistrustful of any unexpected discovery. This need leads to the bureaucratic mind, hostile to novelties, for which continental scientists and their academies are so often reproached. Inventors find not only around them but also within them this fear of the unexpected, which is a born enemy of inventive genius. Their intellect itself refuses to admit the exactness of the new idea that grows within them to the extent that their intellectual faculties have not analyzed that idea and have not made it enter into a system of logically connected deductions. One can therefore understand that inventions hatched on the continent may be neither as numerous nor, above all, as audacious as the inventions born in England or America. Inventors in England or America would not be held back by the same difficulties, or exposed to the same hostilities, as those in France or Germany.

    In England, inventors find conditions within and around themselves that assure free development and a favorable reception of their ideas. The same is true for Thompson, our lecturer.”

    Now, one might speculate further and say that those who moved to America formed a self-selected popualtion with an even more extreme example of this “boldness of mind”. Hence, it would make perfect sense for Americans to work on something for which there was no full theory as yet, like the airplane.

    If American culture had not been disrupted by the modern age, I would guess that characteristically Americna science might have developed into something like that, a less theoretical, but highly practical and imaginative science.

    • And for more context about Duhem’s ideas of the English mind, here is another long, but interesting passage:

      “If one examines with care the most salient features of English physics, which distinguish it most clearly from French or German science, one soon recognizes that all these features flow from a very deep, very pronounced aspect of the English mind, an aspect that relates some features to others and at the same time explains them.
      To a degree one encounters in no other people of Europe, the English possess an imaginative faculty which permits them to represent to themselves a very complex set of concrete things, seeing each in its place, with its motion and its life. On reading a typical English novelist – Dickens, for example – who has not been struck by the abundance and minuteness of the details that overload the least description?
      To begin with, French readers feel their curiosity piqued by the vivid depiction of each object. But they are unable to see the whole, and the futile effort that they make to reconstruct the innumerable fragments of the picture, scattered before their eyes, soon causes a tiredness that often repels them. The English, however, see the arrangement of all these things without difficulty. Without difficulty their imagination puts each one back in its place, grasps the link that unites them, and finds charming what we find tiring.
      This extraordinary power, this abnormal development of the faculty of imagining concrete objects, has its counterpart. Among the English, the faculty of creating abstract concepts, of analyzing them, of relating them by rigorously constructed arguments, seems not to have the strength or the sharpness of that the same faculty acquires among Germanic peoples and in our Latin races. English philosophers are almost wholly concerned with applications of philosophy: psychology, ethics, social science. They have little liking for more abstract research and do it poorly. They proceed less by abstract argument than by the accumulation of examples. Instead of connecting deductions, they accumulate facts. Darwin and Spencer do not engage in the learned fencing of discussion with their adversaries; they crush them by stoning them.
      This extraordinary power to visualize the concrete, an extreme weakness in grasping the abstract, appears to be the distinguishing feature of the English intellect. It excels at combining things and at creating [fictional] people. It can make the former move and the latter live. Bit it seems to be unable to give birth to an idea and develop it. Such appears to be the genius that produced [a] Shakespeare but did not produce a metaphysician.
      We will find these two essential traits, these two distinctive marks, again and again while analyzing the form in which the English school has conceived physics.”

      He also wrote an essay on German science called “Some reflections on German science”

  15. Classical music declined primarily due to the creation by Arnold Schoenberg of the 12-tone method, which explicitly denied the way in which humans hear pitched sound. When, in the decades following WWII, prominent composers wrote according to this method, and performers pushed the results on audiences as “modern music,” interest in the continuation of classical music as an art disappeared. As of 1970 or so, symphony orchestras, string quartets and the like became merely the curators of sonic museums. I doubt there is a coming-back from this disaster. My book, “The Sound of Ontology: Music as a Model for Metaphysics” (Lexington Books, 2017) explores the subject.

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