On the research background
Taken by itself, cultural-historical research makes an unproblematic impression. If the academic processing tool is available, the decision is made regarding the subject of the work and after reading the available literature, the source situation and the research subject determine the direction.
With regard to the tonal system, the fact that nothing has changed in the physics of string vibration over the centuries and only the names vary helps with the tonal system. A sequential numbering is clearly recognizable as such, as is an alphabetical structure. Against this background, deviations are particularly striking, e.g.:
- C major as the unsigned starting key
- from C - not from A! - it goes "down" in the bass clef, "up" in the treble clef
Schaum Key finder (detail)
- the name octave for an interval consisting of 5 whole steps and two semitones - in another reading of 12 semitones. Mathematically, you would get 6 in both variants! See also Video VII: "How the Oktav got its name".
- the designation Prim with the value zero.
There must be reasons for such discrepancies.
The same applies to analogies that point to a different context, e.g. the idea of high and low tones - which in reality do not exist - as well as the term scale. The cultural-historical context makes it clear that we are dealing with an analogy to Jacob's ladder. The findings are supported by written sources, also by those of the Enlighteners, who defended themselves against any influence of the church. Musical requirements and theological interpretation become distinguishable in this way - also creed (e.g. J.S. Bach, see Blog 45) and indoctrination. The majority of the blog posts and video presentations on this page are dedicated to the different facets and contextualization of these phenomena.
The results are now available and reaching political decision-makers. Articles 37 and 38 and the buttons: Objectives and News report on this - and on the debate regarding the acceptance of religious symbols in classrooms. With the recognition of the results, it is therefore problematic - especially in the legal sense.
Who is entitled to decide on historical facts and at the same time on the basis of understanding a school subject - with simultaneous awarding of grades?
What about the curricula? Can a generation withhold knowledge from others?
What conflicts are migrant children exposed to, their parents and teachers?
The ecclesiastical traditions of Switzerland
The historical Christian anchoring of Switzerland is particularly obvious in two points: in the life guards assigned to protect the pope since 1506 - each guard takes an oath to stand up for his safety by risking his life if necessary,
Swearing-in of the Pontifical Swiss Guard
also in the architecture of the parliament building with the cross-shaped floor plan of the domed hall, which is based on sacred buildings, and the gilded cross on the roof lantern.
Roof lantern of the parliament building in Bern
Switzerland's self-image includes its neutrality and its commitment to solving political conflicts, and since religious beliefs can be seen as a provocation, it seemed appropriate to reinterpret the historically existing symbols.
In their explanation, the following pictograms make a "plus" out of the Christian cross - i.e. one strives for a positive connotation of the tool of suffering - and replaces the dove of the Holy Spirit with the dove of peace.
Federal Department of Foreign Affairs FDFA
Pablo Picasso, Dove of Peace 1961
Lorenzo Bernini, Dove of the Holy Spirit, St. Peter's Basilica, Rome
Aurelius Augustine considered the 7 gifts of the Holy Spirit to be: fear of God, piety, charity, bravery, mercy, love of enemies and wisdom. A dove with an olive branch meets us as a herald of good news - namely about the receding of the tide - in the story of Noah (Genesis 8:11). In ancient times, the dove was dedicated to the goddess of love, Aphrodite. It is therefore not a recent creation and the ethical standards are no higher today. There is no shortage of other examples and variants.
Ceiling mosaic in the Baptistery of Albenga, Liguria, 5th century
Triple monogram of Christ ☧ Chi Rho in 3 concentric circles with triple alpha and omega representing the Trinity surrounded by 12 doves.
A chance for peace
The theory of harmony - whose ethical content is now available again - in no way requires the concealment of one's own cultural background out of consideration. What would be the reason for research in this area then? Rather, it educates to recognize the differentness of a foreign identity as equal to one's own and therefore also to accept the medieval worldview in our tonal system. Pupils - from whatever cultural background - can learn how indoctrination* works, visible in the manipulative intervention in a situation that is mathematically and physically different. Since music is close to the emotional world, such interventions are particularly effective, especially in the earlier, pronounced hierarchical structures (cf. Blog 37, 40). Understanding this once gives access to the world of thought and the educational environment of our ancestors.
At the same time, they get to know the religion-neutral point of view of science, which always separates the factual from the personal and is therefore particularly beneficial for intercultural dialogue. This makes it possible to read critically and with a certain distance in the footsteps of history, which is a human history. In order to be able to guarantee this, science remains in the mode of description and does not permit any interventions in cultural assets within its own ranks that aim at a reinterpretation in the sense of a falsification of the original intention. In their eyes, that would be tantamount to forging documents or certificates. This in turn does not mean that people are denied the right to cultural change, but those who have committed themselves to documentation must not make things up on their own.
The interpretation of the cross presented above as a "plus" can serve as evidence that political environments are making adjustments to their own objectives. The motivation in the present case was Switzerland's candidacy for the UN Security Council. Other forms of government would deal with the existing monument stock in different ways. Therefore, a considerable part of the cultural-historical work must be invested in securing the research object against the respective spirit of time whose interests lie elsewhere. But at some point the time is ripe for society to turn to things with a regained objectivity.
Working against the spirit of time and protecting cultural assets from neglect and thus also from destruction is a significant additional effort in connection with cultural studies research, because there is always a desire to discard the traditional.
Strategic thinking in particular strives to nip the theory of harmony in already the bud, since it is regarded as a pronounced weakness, since the focus is on the goal-oriented assertion of one's own interests. It is therefore regularly the painful experiences of wars - as is currently the case in the Ukraine - which restore the importance of harmonic theory. Neutrality in the political context offers the best possible conditions for taking sides for peace, in order to work with persistence to find a consensus in advance of armed conflicts. This activity is not dissimilar to tuning an instrument, for the point at which consonances and dissonances are brought together in synergy marks a wondrous special case in acoustic chaos. It is not for nothing that the concert tuner Emil Olbrich (see Blog 49) repeatedly described his work as "loosing the Gordian knot by peaceful means". Concert-goers who consider an orderly sound system to be the norm are usually unaware that it is exactly not that, but rather an acoustic catastrophe that has been avoided with great effort and expertise.
An instructive parable
The architecture of a perfect tuning is an extremely fragile structure that suggests that the sounds know about each other and are considerate of each other. Pure intervals merge in the spectrum of the partials and create connections even over large distances. Beats line up in a well-ordered manner and unite where there were differences before. Their pulsation has the greatest share in the emotional effect and gives the performance strength and impact. Vibration cascades arise, symmetries in high-tension and low-tension areas, followed by moments of surprise of perfect clarity. With this sound material, sadness, horror, joy and happiness can be evoked. The different compositions reveal a wealth of variants that far surpasses that of chess. In addition, differentiated graded instrument characters interact with each other in equally differentiated volumes. An example can be found in the following menu: Cultural environment
As a reflection of fate and emotions, music touches the souls, but such beauty, like life itself, is only short-lived. Out of the awareness of one's own being at the mercy and out of deprivation, music is perceived exaggeratedly and evokes longing - and because they appear equally unearthly, love, harmony and peace are associated with the divine: MUSICA DONUM DEI.
Hence the term harmony derives from Ἁρμονία, the Greek goddess of harmony. As the daughter of Ares (god of war) and Aphrodite (goddess of love), she embodies in personam the compatibility of differences. Therefore, for the reasons mentioned above, it made sense to transfer this ability to music. However, their original task and ability can be described as interpersonal and diplomatic. In Roman mythology, she has a counterpart in the goddess Concordia.
Due to the fact that we are dealing with a global ethic, it is proving to be highly overdue to include the more than 2500-year-old occidental theory of harmony in the UNESCO list of intangible world cultural heritage, because progress in civilization is unthinkable without synergy.
Both in terms of striving for political supremacy and in terms of dealing with nature, the strategic approach is losing its status as a model for success these days.
Why do we look to the past?
Because that is where the answers for the future lie
Reference to the present: The attack on Ukraine
Both in terms of striving for political supremacy and in terms of dealing with nature, the strategic approach is struggling for its status as a model for success these days - and will clearly lose it in both cases. Its by-products include: historical distortion, fake news, and repression. Even the sweeping assertion that a love of peace characterizes the weak proves to be polemic, because civil courage requires brave going it alone in the face of a threat with unforeseeable consequences. The action by Marina Owsjannikova on Russian state television on March 14, 2022 may also serve as an example because she - with a Ukrainian father and a Russian mother - like Ἁρμονία - represents a connecting element in personam and therefore has a special people-unifying qualification.
Marina Ovsyannikova's action on Russian state television. Her poster, which shows the flags of Ukraine and Russia, is captioned with the words: "No war / Stop this war / Don't believe the propaganda / Here you will be lied to / Russians against war".
The much-heard general criticism of humanity as a whole - expressed here by the Swiss ambassador Claude Wild after leaving the Ukraine - does not get to the heart of the matter, since people with a great affinity for intercultural and synergetic action live in all cultures, including outspoken bridge-builders. It is not uncommon for their efforts to be underestimated or, as can be observed in many places in sports and science, instrumentalized. In addition, this civilian group of people - which includes the majority of the refugees, helpers, donors and peace demonstrators - have no pronounced interests in power. As such, control of power is crucial, which makes direct democracy possible in an ideal manner.
Switzerland's special relationship to Western harmonic theory is primarily due to the political implementation of the underlying insights. In no other country in the world does the power for individual decisions rest so clearly with the people. Here, people are allowed to take their living conditions into their own hands. In and of itself a daily reason to celebrate, provided that a globalization of the principle were even remotely conceivable.
It is understood that self-appointed rulers are hostile to democracy. Conversely, with the rejection, their self-service mentality towards their own population is already acknowledged and is confirmed by the influence on education and opinion-forming. Therefore, the dissent remains in the global perspective and untouchable due to the nuclear balance of power, unless there is a change within one's own country.
As an integral part of general education, the bourgeois export of the cultural asset theory of harmony would make sense, regardless of all differences, to promote synergetic action. This makes it possible to draw attention to content of the same importance in other cultures. The focus is therefore not on eliminating, but rather, as is the case within democracy, on accepting what is different.
What still comes across as an aesthetic idealization has long since become a systemically relevant and vital requirement for all of humanity, the daily disregard of which costs a high price. It is true that we do not yet have to completely give up hope that technical progress can be followed by civilizational progress in the long term. However, António Guterres found clear words both in relation to military conflicts and in relation to dealing with nature and concluded that everything has now been said and that only the actions count. Mankind is being challenged at the point where it has so far proven itself the least:
The only way to peace
and to preserve our habitat
The different faces of neutrality
Since neutrality is always in relation to something else - more precisely: between something else - its meaning depends on the framework conditions.
- As a rule, political neutrality means refraining from taking sides in order to be able to play a mediator role at the negotiating table. The location of this form of neutrality is - as can be seen from the term mediator - figuratively speaking in the middle.
- However, this presupposes not being attacked oneself, because then not taking sides would be equivalent to suicide in terms of the result, even if it is the attacker who carries out the process unhindered. Only armament protects against attacks.
- If a form of government to which one feels committed is attacked in another state, insisting on neutrality is tantamount to not providing assistance and means condoning the shattering of one's own values.
- Confronted with injustice towards a weak pers on, not taking sides becomes indifference. Desmond Tutu went further by stating,"If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor."
- That Switzerland was reminded on its neutrality in connection with EU sanctions - which meant staying out - shows a conflict of goals that lies in the structure of the matter, because you have to take sides for peace.
- Neutrality also includes demonstrably not deriving any benefit from conflicts. Switzerland has been criticized more than once in this regard.
- The distance that science maintains in relation to its study object by strictly separating personal and factual matters cannot be achieved in the political sector, since "in fact" it is about personal human interests and sensitivities.
- For anyone who is a human himself, neutrality towards being human is only an abstract quantity. By neutralizing a person is meant their elimination because then they are definitely unable to intervene.
- Neutrality is not a goal, since the framework cannot be determined in advance, and the intention to stay out of everything is simply passive. Synergy orientation, on the other hand, is compatible with democracy and strives for peaceful cooperation internally and externally despite existing differences of opinion. Peace work requires activity. Where it takes place, the term neutrality is inappropriate - in analogy to the musical tuning.
Conflict prevention, prior consensus or neutrality?
Anti-bullying contract for school class 5b at Niederrohrdorf primary school. Please click on the picture to enlarge.
- Since evolution requires the constant adaptation of each species to the current conditions, there can be no neutrality towards it either. The term "climate neutral" ignores the fact that man is an active, cooperative part of a system into which he was born.
- The concept of "cooperative neutrality" presented by Federal President Ignazio Cassis in Davos in 2022 leads to further complication, unnecessarily increases the need for discussion in democracies and leads away from problem-solving work. The heart of the matter is about fairness in global play. In analogy to football, those who play cannot be impartial at the same time. This task lies with the UNO, in which 193 states have joined forces to ensure world peace. Particular interests cancel each other out there, which ensures an approximation of neutrality. Every state can provide support by professing the humanistic ideal of harmony, because if you keep an eye on the whole and are interested in the suffering of the other, you cannot see any benefit in particular strategic actions.
- For a country with a world reputation for precision instruments as Switzerland, it would be time to choose a precise term in such an important matter that fits the inner structure of a direct democracy. Neutrality in itself means nothing - synergy orientation, on the other hand, is actually a plus for peace.
- The civilizational quantum leap could only take place from a direct democracy, but not from a dictatorship. It is a process of collective ethical insight, not primarily of arming - even if it should not be missing.
Against the background of the above statements, it seems appropriate to speak of synergy-, harmony- or peace orientation instead of neutrality.
Realistic or unrealistic:
Switzerland - a peace activist?
In any case, the idea of a female armed bringer of peace and protector of the arts would not be new. Please click on the images to enlarge.
Minerva as bringer of peace with owl of wisdom. 1615/1620, Peter Candid (workshop), Bavarian State Painting Collections, Alte Pinakothek Munich.
Minerva defends the 7 liberal arts against Mars, the god of war. In the background a burning city. Mercury, the messenger of the gods, is already approaching from the clouds with a palm branch and laurel wreath. Harpsichord painting by Hieronymus Franken III (*1611-†after 1661), Düsseldorf private collection. The meaning of this instrument-painting can only be understood with knowledge of the rediscovered ethical content of Western teory of harmony which is directed against any form of strategic thinking.
An undeniably Minerva-inspired Helvetia wielding a shield and spear. Coin design on the two-franc piece based on a design by Albert Walch (1816-1882). The stars symbolized the number of cantons at that time.
Helvetia with a bazooka and a shield with the head of Medusa, detail from the above depiction of Minerva
How far can an armed defense of peace go? It requires the freedom to make a decision that is adapted to the situation, in which neutrality may have to be abandoned. The armament distinguishes both Minerva and Helvetia from a helpless pacifist. The uncertainty that arises in the attacker with regard to the expected resistance increases the deterrent effect. A Medusa head on the shield is no longer sufficient.
The situation today
Federal Councilor Viola Amherd, Head of the Federal Department of Defence, Civil Protection and Sport
Lockheed Martin F35 fighter jet
© Aurelius Belz 2021/22