“One day the last portrait of Rembrandt and the last bar of Mozart will have ceased to be — though possibly a colored canvas and a sheet of notes will remain — because the last eye and the last ear accessible to their message will have gone.”
― Oswald Spengler, The Decline of the West, Vol 1: Form and Actuality
What is the promise of Spengler’s prediction? It is not that Mozart or Rembrandt’s genius will fail, but that our capacity to appreciate them will have vanished. Already each of us know many people for whom Mozart is a meaningless annoyance, and Rembrandt a puzzlement (why not take a photograph?). Disturbingly, unbelievably, this non-appreciation for art itself is our expanding cultural timeline. Hard labouring quality values grow increasingly alien. We gradually lose our very ability to grasp concepts that excel the bounds of either egalitarianism or consumerism.
But is losing an art understanding truly an inevitable process of the civilizational decay? Western art concepts changed between the death of Rome and rebirth in Christian feudalism, but there was still an unbroken chain (if nothing else in the form of craft guilds) which was only shattered by the populist lies of Modernism and the victory of crass materialist values of late 19th to 20th century mercantile domination. However, if we then entertain that this inter-civilizational art linkage is merely a continuation of the same thread of tradition which nature deems must now rot and die (as Modernism has no regard for the past, or beauty values, and art is surely dying), then our sacred respect and spiritual need of these traditional arts is a kind of temporal illusion, and nature will force us to ‘let them go’ as part of the universal grand master plan over which we have no control. While this is possible, there is also no doubt this conclusion is both nihilistic, and promotes lethargy against what could be nothing more than an imposition by enemies. To even suggest our achievements are meaningless causes spiritual outrage. It is a sensed and extant truth that the unalterable greatness and honourable exaltation of our historic master artwork is an ultimate good beyond relativism and as eternally true in their own right as mathematical equations.
The idea that idealized human achievement might be a kind of fleeting illusion makes Mozart or Rembrandt’s existence to begin with a kind of temporary, immaterial accident. What will we have left when our high art appreciation is gone from us completely? When all of us gaze confusedly at a Turner landscape, feeling nothing, but throng to plastic commercial distractions and meaningless collective signalling. Is it possible in a long enough timeline we simply retrace our evolutionary steps until we return to a kind of ultimately egalitarian, unthinking protozoic ooze? I think it is not for nothing that the thought of this riles us with disgust, that devolving is a mistake and a disgrace and will not ultimately be tolerated. The manipulated technology-world is the true unnatural force, and so the loss of art can not be the plan of nature, but is our own twisted corruption. There is also no reason in a rightly, unfearing society that technology and true art can not be bedfellows, as was happening in the art deco period, before our converged media and academia began celebrating cretins and charlatans like Picasso and Duchamp.
The technology-daze we exist in is a marvel of sorts which could be sending us to the stars, but is instead turned inward to social herd-appeasement (video games, iphones, commercial trinkets). This illusion is increasingly temporary as the barbaric promises of the third world encroach upon our naive citizenry and our feckless elites, equally. The promises of not just a loss of high art, but of the means of maintaining high technology.
Supposedly creative work in today’s world is lifeless and derivative, it is dead repetition because it does not have true creativity as a goal, it’s goal is quantitative consumerist appeal.
High art already does not enter the lives of most people, and it seems very little does beyond base sensual appeals, stomach and libido. A remarkable slide, considering how high our standards were when basic survival was much more difficult. It seems ease itself is a major agent of corruption, a lesson that was once a staple of traditional virtue. Even when these increasingly animalistic, manipulated masses get a sense of their decline and peril, democratically corrupt ‘elites’ ensure they get back in line, with out right threats of ostracization and penalty of law.
Again, if Spengler is right and the unstoppable pre-programmed cosmic destinies strong arm us into relinquishing appreciation for art, then the only remaining hope is attaining all new higher goals from within the inevitabilities of changing currents. But in that case, how can we find anew the spirit of romance and virtuosity and a formerly limitless inventiveness, when we can so easily discard and forget the examples we already had? The answer is we can’t, and whatever creatures Modernity transforms us into will know nothing of true creativity. The gravity of the aesthetic conflict should be becoming clear. Our ONLY option is to wage war against the mass imbecility and regard perennial outcomes from a distance. Yes change is inevitable, and no we can not as conscious beings relinquish eternal truths, or lay down or lives and achievements.
The goal of an anti-Modernist art insurrection is an old one, to force our will upon the world. Either against nature, if she be for unstoppable decline, or more likely (as I believe) as the extended hand of nature, against the false, unnatural imposition that is Modernism and globalism. There is really no choice, fighting for transcendent goals is our remit regardless of life’s inevitabilities, and always has been. Two plus two will always equal four, you can say whatever you want about it (in your manipulative high verbal IQ). In every sense, across every aspect of decline (politically, technologically, culturally, etc.) it is of no small significance whatsoever that the rightful definition of art be reclaimed. This redefinition was the FIRST AND ULTIMATE trick from the globalist grab bag of egalitarian language tricks, ‘expressionism’ and ‘conceptualism’ being of the same vein as ‘racism’, ‘sexism’, ‘transphobia’, ‘hate crime’, etc..
If history is somehow inescapably cyclical, how far into the soil must we compost and combine and dissipate until we can fertilize the world to come?
Everybody who understands art and history must take up arms against virtually everything around you.
In the Great War, there is no room for the faint-hearted, the cowardly. A criminal or an anarchist will be better conditioned than a bourgeois, indecisive or cowardly man. They only need a push in the right direction. Only one who is born a hero or a warrior has a place in our order. Only the Lord of the Pure Will can march to the end, breaking in the gates of the City of Eternal Life. Because will, through its perseverance, creates the thing it contemplates. Only the Wild Hordes of Odin and Parsifal will achieve the Graal.