“Hereward, isn’t what you have described, the basic tenets of the Frankfurt School of Thought? Something that Corbyn, Abbott, Livingstone, et al, have been actively promoting, and silently having them implemented into law, for years, while we, in our ignorance and apathy, have allowed them to do so.” [Penseivat]
Nothing exists in isolation though and as a companion post, please use the comments section here for further perspectives as to why these things were done.
Despite the horrors [of brutalist icons], the Bauhaus movement did spawn a few of London’s best and most exciting buildings, like the Festival Hall (Leslie Martin), the National Theatre (Denys Lasdun) and the Commonwealth Institute (now the Design Museum, Robert Matthew), and good even came from the ‘unmagnificent’ seven featured above. The fight to save old buildings from their various schemes kick-started today’s building conservation movement.
However, that is getting away from the main point, which is here:
But brutalism had ‘a flawed recognition of the human element’, a ‘mechanical view of human nature’ and it inflicted miseries which far outweighed its successes. A study of Sunni–Shia relations in Iraq found that the two opposing groups got on best in the old city of Basra because of the intricate medieval street plan, which depended on odd-shaped houses and encouraged continual human interaction. In new Basra and in Baghdad’s brutalist boulevards, Sunni and Shia ghettoes war with each other.
So, armed with this article, plus the comments section of the OoL article, plus this post on atonalism, that’s about all anyone needs to see a pattern going on here. And it would be as well to also refresh the memory on this series, which looks at some of the Ashkenazi perpetrators.
To finish by quoting again from the atonalism post, Winter 1992 Fidelio:
The ugliness we see around us has been consciously fostered and organized in such a way, that a majority of the population is losing the cognitive ability to transmit to the next generation, the ideas and methods upon which our civilization was built.
Thus, for the Frankfurt School, the goal of a cultural elite in the modern, “capitalist” era must be to strip away the belief that art derives from the self-conscious emulation of God the Creator; “religious illumination,” says Benjamin, must be shown to “reside in a profane illumination, a materialistic, anthropological inspiration, to which hashish, opium, or whatever else can give an introductory lesson.”
Now if that is not sick, what is?
At the same time, new cultural forms must be found to increase the alienation of the population, in order for it to understand how truly alienated it is to live without socialism. “Do not build on the good old days, but on the bad new ones,” said Benjamin.
The proper direction in painting, therefore, is that taken by the late Van Gogh, who began to paint objects in disintegration, with the equivalent of a hashish-smoker’s eye that “loosens and entices things out of their familiar world.”
In music, “it is not suggested that one can compose better today” than Mozart or Beethoven, said Adorno, but one must compose atonally, for atonalism is sick, and “the sickness, dialectically, is at the same time the cure….The extraordinarily violent reaction protest which such music confronts in the present society … appears nonetheless to suggest that the dialectical function of this music can already be felt … negatively, as ‘destruction.’ ”
The purpose of modern art, literature, and music must be to destroy the uplifting — therefore, bourgeois — potential of art, literature, and music, so that man, bereft of his connection to the divine, sees his only creative option to be political revolt.
And lastly for now:
“To organize pessimism means nothing other than to expel the moral metaphor from politics and to discover in political action a sphere reserved one hundred percent for images.”
Thus, Benjamin collaborated with Brecht to work these theories into practical form, and their joint effort culminated in the Verfremdungseffekt (“estrangement effect”), Brecht’s attempt to write his plays so as to make the audience leave the theatre demoralized and aimlessly angry.
This is direct assault on the human spirit and for what? For what good purpose in terms of the human condition?
Ladies and gentlemen, if I used the word ‘sick’ earlier, this did not go far enough. Allow me now to use the words ‘banal evil’, for I feel they can be justified:
In 1924, Adorno moved to Vienna, to study with the atonalist composers Alban Berg and Arnold Schönberg, and became connected to the avant-garde and occult circle around the old Marxist Karl Kraus. Here, he not only met his future collaborator, Hans Eisler, but also came into contact with the theories of Freudian extremist Otto Gross.
Gross, a long-time cocaine addict, had died in a Berlin gutter in 1920, while on his way to help the revolution in Budapest; he had developed the theory that mental health could only be achieved through the revival of the ancient cult of Astarte, which would sweep away monotheism and the “bourgeois family.”
Ladies and gentlemen, there it is – the whole bloody thing has been political from its inception. We are not just up against communism or communitarianism or left-liberalism or PCism – we are up against unadulterated, banal evil, perpetrated by people very sick in the head.
And they are legion.