Notes/Sorokin

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There’s a struggle between the previously creative but now outworn sensate order and the new emerging creative idealistic forces in all fields of social and cultural life.

Every important aspect of western social life is in crisis. Its body and mind are sick.

We are between two epochs: the dying sensate culture of a magnificient yesterday, and the coming idealistic culture of a creative tomorrow.

The rays of sun still illuminate the glory of the passing epoch.

But the light is fading, and in the deepening shadows it becomes more and more difficult to see clearly in the confusion of twilight.

The night of the transitory period stands before us, with its nightmares, shadows and horrors.

Beyond it the dawn of a great culture is waiting to greet the men of the future.

Any great culture instead of being a dumping ground for diverse cultural phenomena unrelated to one another, represents a unity whose parts are permeated by a fundamental principle and basic value.

In the sensate order, only what we can perceive with our senses is real. As long as the crisis lasts it will only create new super-Hitlers, Stalins and Churchills.

The arts are a sensitive mirror of the society and culture of which they play an important role.

Sensate art starts depicting farmers, workers, housewives, teachers and other humans. At the final stages, prostitutes, criminals, street urchins, the insane, hypocrites, rogues and other subsocial types are its heroes.

Because it must amuse and entertain, it makes wide use of caricature, satire, comedy, farce, debunking and ridicule.

It is an art of professional artists catering to a passive public.

In time of Greek idealism, women in art have few womanish traits. They are presented as athletes. They are calm and unperturbed like Gods. This art was deeply religious, moralizing, instructive, ennobling and patriotic.

Art had not turned into a professional activity, absorbed in itself as “art for art’s sake”. It was not liberated from its civic, moral and social duties.

Art was understood to serve a higher ideational purpose, not to serve the market, for profit, fame, popularity or sensual enjoyment.

Greek art reflects noble events, heroes are immortals and divine beings. It immortalizes the mortals.

Modern arts heroes and personages are common mortals and in later stages, the subsocial and pathological types.

This art doesn’t penetrate the depth to find the essence or reality laying below the surface.

Sensate art in its decadent stage tries to portray reality as it appears to our senses and becomes the art of thinner and more illusionary surfaces instead of reflecting the essence of sensory phenomena. Thus it is more destined to become superficial, puerile, empty and misleading.

In its quest for sensory and sensational ‘hits’, for stimulation and excitement as conditions for sensory enjoyment, it increasingly is deflected from positive to negative phenomena. From ordinary events to the pathological, from the fresh air to the social sewers, until it becomes a museum of pathology and negative aspects of sensory reality.

Its charming diversity, impels it to seek ever greater variety, until all harmony, unity and balance are gone in a sea of incoherence and chaos.

This diversity and the effort to stimulate, leads to more complicated technical means, which start to make themselves their own ends to the detriment of the arts itself.

Idealistic art uplifted man and his culture to celestial heights, immortalized the mortals, ennobled the commonplace, embellished the mediocre, and idealized the whole of human life.

Sensate art becomes more and more superficial. It only tries to reproduce the world as it appears to our senses. It doesn’t pose any supersensory values behind the sensory forms. This restricts it to mere surface phenomena. Artists dedicated to the sense of illusion rather than to the essence of a phenomena.

The main object of sensate art - to entertain, pleasure, excite or relax – does not permit it to remain in the early stages of development where it still discriminates for social, ethical and civic reasons, being concerned still with eternal values.

Through constant repetition, they lose their fascination and novelty, and become boring. Without novelty, the entertainment values starts to evaporate. The art is forced to rapidly alternate between styles, events, forms, and rapidly becomes more superficial.

Sensate art must impress (produce a sensation) to be successful.

Its quest for the sensational.

Housewives, farmers, labourers, businessmen, salesmen, politicians, doctors, lawyers, ministers, and especially detectives, criminals, gangsters, doublecrossers, the cruel, the disloyal, hypocrites, prostitutes, mistresses, the sexually abnormal, the insane, clowns, street urchins, or adventurers. These are the heroes of contemporary art. Gods, saints and real heroes are absent. They even try to debunk the hero, to degrade the concept (the anti-hero).

All branches of contemporary art are exaggerated in use of caricature and sarcasm – something little known in medieval ages. Everything and everybody, from god and satan is ridiculed and degraded.

Sensate art imitates and borrows from many styles. Contemporary art becomes cosmopolitan museum of incoherent borrowed styles. Itself a symptom of the disintegration of this form of art.

We construct tallest buildings and boast they are the best biggest they are the biggest. Everything is bigger and better. More book sales, more actors, bigger budget. Our films are filled with special effects.

Anyone can pile mass upon mass, quantity on quantity, but only a genius can achieve (often with little means) a masterpiece. Hence the inner emptiness of our biggest creations. Our universities produce few authentic geniuses.

There is no shakespeare, beethoven, just the latest hit which everyone is humming but next week there is a flood of new novel offerings. The malady of colossality sacrifices excellence and destroys the art it invades.

Techniques is a means not an end for creative work.

In the hands of a moron, technique produces nothing but the moronic.

Technique is mechanical in its nature.

In idealistic culture, art has an important cultural purpose. Art is not an expression of individual vageries or psuedo-values of individual fancy.

An artist who declares he is independent, becomes a slave to commercial dealers or bosses to meet their vulgar demands. (but not me haha)

The idea of truth, presupposes an omniescient mind above humanity. To “what is truth”, the relativistic negative answers become a despair where we can know nothing, a nihilism. We cannot live in pure skepticism.

All our aspirations are concentrated on sensory world, and technological inventions that serve our sensory needs.

General tendency of sensate mentality to regard the world – even man, his culture and consciousness itself – materially, mechanically and behaviourly. For example, the Turing test.

p80


Crisis → ordeal → catharsis → charisma → resurrection

Crisis of sensate decline. Loss of comfort, utility, security, safety and freedom. Endemic war, brutality, bloodshed and destruction. Sensate culture becomes hollow, a rotten foundation.

Defection from sensate culture and values, transfer allegiance to new idealistic order.

From the fiery ordeal to the catharsis, or purification.

Destructive phase followed by constructive grace or charisma. Spiritual values take the place of materialism.

Purified and ennobled, society erects a new house based on love, duty, sacrifice, grace. Fresh creative forces released. Ushers in the phase of resurrection of life.

Empires built on coercion are ephemeral. Yet men still attempt to construct eternal empires through coercion.

Mankind still obsessed with this quest for establishing paradise on earth.

We learn nothing and the crisis deepens as we try variety of shallow means without a fundamental re-orientation of values, change of mentality and conduct or any personal effort to realize man’s divine creative mission on earth.

Instead we continue to see man as a reflex organism, controlled by drives and reflexes. So the crisis is inevitable.

Hence the fiery ordeal is inevitable as the only means to teach the unteachable.

The fates lead the man who is willing, but drag along the one who is not.

The more unteachable we are, and the less freely and willingly we choose the sole course of salvation open to us, the more inexorable will be the coercion, the more pitiless the ordeal, the more terrible to dies irae, the days of wrath, of the transition.

Let us hope that the grace of understanding may be vouchsafed us and that we may choose, before it is too late, the right road – the road that leads not to death but to the further realization of man’s unique creative mission on this planet!