On our globe, two principles of life face each other, which cannot be separated with geographical boundaries. They also meet us as two kinds of natures in one and the same person.
Strategic thinking is dominant and always self-aggrandizing. Only leadership is an option for the alpha animal. Strategic management is already being talked about in SMEs. It works and the successes prove it right, as long as the collateral damage on the other side of the world is not taken into account. Only in a global perspective does it become fully visible what has gotten out of hand. Strategy excludes and focuses on self-interest - also with the consumer. Tax evasion, plastic waste, exploitation, deforestation, species extinction, climate change, child labor and wars describe the full extent of ruthlessness. Only those who skim off the positives and leave the damage to the rest of the world can speak of a model of success.
What brought us to the top of the food chain in the course of evolution turns against us once we have arrived there: lupus est homo homini - man is a wolf to man. Titus Maccius Plautus (c. 254-184 BC).
On the other hand, there is a tailor-made counterpart, it is just as well planned, but anti-strategic, cooperative, synergetic, peacemaking and sustainable. The good news: it works, the bad news: it often only attracts attention after the strategic approach has led to disaster. In the post-war period, the bad experiences are still firmly anchored and joint reconstruction work needs to be done.
The cultural heritage hidden and forgotten in the music - the ethical and symbolic content of occidental harmonic theory - embodies this counterpart in its purest form. Even the name, derived from a deity (old Greek Ἁρμονία, Harmonia, goddess of concord), indicates an ethical content that the Greeks already brought in, because without concord, synergetic interaction is unthinkable. Without a preceding tuning there is no music, which only unfolds its magic through harmony. Fundamental insights of Pythagoras (around 570 BC - after 510 BC) are contained in every piano or organ tuning.
The early Christians interpreted the observations monotheistically and enriched our tonal system to the point of overflowing with symbolism and concrete references to the Bible. In addition to the church tones, the following are included or interpreted: A and Ω, Jacob's ladder, the 7 gifts of the Holy Spirit, the 8 beatitudes, the John hymn, betrayal, death and resurrection, the Last Judgment and the heavenly Jerusalem. All of this waited more than 200 years to be rediscovered. This page is dedicated to the find and its contextualization.
At this point it is important to consider not only cultural history and theology but also the current relevance of the ethical content. Its magnitude can be roughly guessed if we try to quantify the expenditure on armaments, including the destruction and consequential damage caused by them, in the last 100 years alone. An approach for this can be found on Wikipedia. What could have been achieved elsewhere with this tax money? And how do we calculate human suffering and all the years of life stolen in such a calculation? Added to this is the current threat situation. How great is the destructive potential of nuclear weapons and how precarious is the condition of our planet? These are all consequences of strategic thinking.
So if there is anything that would be able to put humanity out of this misery, it would have to be given the same value. There is such a thing and it is called synergy. The older names for this were Harmonia or in a Christian reading: love of enemies. The descent from the divine both among the Greeks and among the Christians - MUSICA DONUM DEI - points to an appreciation that cannot be higher.
Actually, however, it should have been HARMONIA DONUM DEI because the goddess gave the thing her name. But this was impossible because Christians hated polytheism - which for its part was unable to prevent the atrocities in the arena. Already here intolerance and human inability are expressed. Peaceful coexistence is something that some people can hardly do, while others can do quite well, but for this they need no power. This has nothing to do with nationalities, religions, skin color or other pretended reasons. Mankind will have to recognize its most important task to carry out self-critical research into causes, to identify influencing factors and to strive for civilizational progress, because upgrading armament has not tackled the problem, only brought destruction efficiency up to date and disregarded nature. The threat situation requires a paradigm shift.
None of this will matter when our species is gone.
We are still present and have it in our hands.
See also blog C6: "Selection, education, selection. Society and its children"
© Aurelius Belz 2022
Note: The clavichord presented in the corner picture shows a painting of the naval battle of Lepanto, which ended 1571 with the victory of the Holy League over the Ottoman Empire. Against the background of the Christian theory of harmony and the 10 commandments, this is an expression of ethical failure. However, the client's intention was to use the painting to commemorate the "victory of Christianity" in order to be able to turn to the practice of music again in the peace of the post-war period - and thus to one's own world view - the acoustic Jacob's ladder. To this day, members of the noble families involved in the battle meet at the Vatican for the anniversary. Thus both the custom and the instrument - which can possibly be assigned to one of those families - reflect the two natures of man referred to above. Because of this human nature, the church was able to develop into an instrument of power regardless of the content of faith. Musee de la Musique, Paris