A Sense of The Nation

 

What is its essence?

by Rolf A. F. Witzsche


Antonn Dvořk in 1868

 

What is a Nation in the Anti-Entropic World?

There exist three types of energy systems in the Universe, the entropic, the non-entropic, and the anti-entropic. 

#1 - The entropic system. It is a closed system where a given energy is self-consumed and dissipated towards a zero-state of useless equilibrium. A wind-up toy is a perfect example. Once its mechanical energy is spent, it stops.

#2 The non-entropic system. It is likewise a closed energetic system. But in this case it is not winding down. But, neither is it winding up. It is essentially a perpetual-motion system. Every atom in the Universe is example of this kind of system. It is a dynamic system of swirling electrons that essentially never stop.

#3 The anti-entropic system. It is an unbounded dynamic-energy system that is constantly 'winding up' in every sense of developmental expression. The nature of the human world, and the Universe as a whole, is an example of this system. 

The human species came out of the last Ice Age with an extremely small population in the order of a few million people. Today we are approaching seven billion with the capability to stand on the moon and reach for the stars. We didn't get to this point by the #1 system, or the #2 system, but by the #3 system. The 'miracle' of what we call the human civilization was not a gift presented on a silver platter, but is the ever-changing expression of the dynamic development of human culture, science, and industry, or as of late, the loss of this development with the consequent loss of civilization.

In many respects the whole of mankind has a common culture reflected in qualities that make us uniquely human. As human beings we are creators, discoverers, artists, scientists, engineers, producers, farmers, builders, and servants of one-another in meeting the human need and caring for one another. But where does the sense of a nation come into play here, when we share so much in common with our universal humanity?

Evidently a nation is not the world. But what is it? Is it a territory, a cultural heritage, an artificial identity, a political bond? What defines a nation? This is an important question in today's international world, and it is a question that is rarely explored. It appears that the Czech composer Antonn Dvořk, who was very much concerned throughout his life with the subject of national identity and culture and tradition, had sensed a need to celebrate these roots in his music. But what happens when a nation doesn't have these uniquely defined cultural roots, as in the case of the founding of the USA as a nation, creating a brand new world for itself? 

The USA and Canada became each a new world within the larger world, composed of people of nearly all parts of the world. Should societies so diversely composed, therefore not be able to recognize themselves as nations? It appears that the composer Antonn Dvořk had asked himself the question as to what really defines a nation, when he composed his symphony "From the New World" to capture in music the spirit of America's search for a particular national identity. But what was there in American music, particularly its folk music? Dvořk created somewhat of a paradox for himself with his search, because around his time in the late 19th Century many Eastern European composers had turned to traditional folk music to gleam from it a sense of  national identity modulated into sound. But America was unsure of itself in this respect. Its musical style reflected largely the style of European music. Thus Dvork explored the unique folk music of America: the music of Native Americans and the developing African American spiritual. After his arrival in America in 1892, Dvořk wrote a series of newspaper articles in support of the concept that African American and Native American music should be used as a foundation for American music to grow from and develop outward into something uniquely American.

History suggests that he succeeded perhaps more than he had hoped for. His New World Symphony, which he composed in the spring of 1893, in the very next year after his arrival in America, became one of the most widely known and accessible symphonic works in the classical repertoire, and remains that to the present day.

But did he really capture the essence of the New World? 

It appears that he did succeed in capturing the essence of the America that he saw, a rich and maturing nation living in the present, because the real essence of a nation is not entirely located in its locking backwards, though this forms a foundation, but is found in looking forward, reflecting the dynamism of its growing up, its power to grow, and its grandest achievements derived from pushing at the leading edge for grasping new potential freedoms. While a nation lives with its roots in the past, its dynamism unfolds at its leading edge which defines its now and its future. In this sense Antonn Dvořk succeed beautifully in no only capturing the essence of America as it stood at the end on the 19th Century, but also in capturing what is the essence of a new world itself, a new dawn, a new era - an essence that has sadly become lost.

Here is the links to the New World Symphony: a recording by the Columbia University Orchestra:
Click on the above link to play, or right-click to download.
  (source: http://www.columbia.edu/cu/cuo/audio.html and http://www.classiccat.net/.)

The New World symphony is a proudly American symphony. It describes the state of the nation before its regression began with the assassination of President William McKinely in 1901, after which it became increasingly an appendage to the world of empire and its root in imperial Europe.

When the dynamism vanishes that characterizes an expanding, advancing, unfolding nation, the nation's deep past actually becomes meaningless as the remaining corpse remembers it no more. This simply means that the key-aspect that defines a nation is its dynamism that uniquely defines its character as an unbounded, self-developing society of a type that stands as an example for something great and uniquely human, and thereby something powerful and precious, expressed in a commitment in society towards its common welfare from which its development proceeds. When this anti-entropic aspect is lost, the name of a nation stands for nothing more than a geographically bounded piece of land, and even this remains then no longer secure.

The world is far today, from being an arena of anti-entropic nation-states.

The USA has become a defeated nation with a president who acts as viceroy of a foreign empire, and who is charged with destroying it from within by demolishing every vital supporting structure is has created for itself in the past - its education infrastructure, industries, farming, culture, science, finance, legislature, housing security, food security, energy, healthcare, and transportation infrastructures, governments and legislatures =- these are all increasingly being destroyed, so nothing really works anymore in a dynamically expanding fashion. The same can be said of the European nations of the Euro-bond, who by this bond created a legal barrier against their self-development. The sense of the nation has been lost on both sides of the Atlantic. With that having been lost, little remains by which the very existence of the nation itself is assured.

Without the sense of the nation as an essentially anti-entropic system that forever develops itself, a nation is dead and the corps becomes entropic, moving towards its zero state. This is the inevitable outcome when the anti-entropic system is blocked. For America, the blocking factors are many. 


Lyndon H. LaRouche

The American economist, scientist, and statesman, Lyndon LaRouche, defined America's current president, who doesn't know what a nation is, as one of the major blocking factors. The population evidently agrees, which is reflected in the Congressional Primary election in Texas. We see this agreement reflected in the victory of Kesha Rogers, a LaRouche Democrat, who had campaigned for saving NASA and impeaching the president who had ordered it to be all but shut down. It appears that a faint sense of what a nation is, is beginning to dawn. Whether this dawn will become a sunrise, and the sunrise will unfold into the brilliance of the noon-day remains yet to be seen. The impeachment itself, is therefore not the most significant item for removing the blocking factor. The most significant item is the dynamics of the dawn, and its unfolding power to become a sunrise followed by the noon-day, and this soon, which alone can assure the removal of the president as a means for assuring the survival of the nation. 

It is the dynamism in this process that assures the removal of the blocking factors, of which there are many. A great leader is the spark that lights the fire and points the way. But the dynamism has to unfold within the nation. Against this background, without the dawn unfolding into a noon-day, the impeachment of a traitor-president would actually have little meaning and would probably accomplish little by itself. That is why impeachments are extremely rare, and why for example Richard Nixon saw no option but to resign. The dynamism in the background - a sense of the nation - left him no option open, and the world was better for it. Without this anti-entropic dynamism that unfolds as growing innate sense of what a nation is, that builds it and protects it, protests are but complaints.

The following is a comment by Lyndon LaRouche's on the question of "entropy versus anti-entropy" i(March 9, 2010):

The universe is anti-entropic, but the anti-entropy of society is the responsibility of the human will. Since the day after FDR (President Frankin Delanor Roosevelt) had died, the prevalent trend of policy-shaping of the U.S.A. in particular, and most of the world otherwise, has been entropic.

For example, the replenishment of the basic economic infrastructure on which the progress of the entire economy depends has reached zero-level, and has been falling ever since.

But how can the dynamism that is reflected in the sense of a nation be enriched? How can the shift from entropy to anti-entropy be advanced? This advance is evidently not produced by the act of removing presidents who have become traitors, or legislative assemblies who do the traitors' bidding as has become the case in far too many nations that have become corrupt from within. 

It is the task of the leadership of the ablest pioneers within society to increase in society a sense of the nation. This can take many forms, as in promoting policies that advance the general welfare in leaps and bounds, and then to fight for these policies for the good of the nation, and to protect the nation against the foes lurking in the shadow plotting its destruction,  often by means of its self-destruction and cultivated follies. But it also society's task to see itself in terms of a nation with the collective goal to expand the power of its living in its countless arenas of creative endeavors. The deeply rooted sense of a nation that aims for the common welfare of its people, and beyond that for the common welfare of mankind, the best leadership finds no responsive chord. And this takes work to rebuild in a society that has become so diminished that it lost sight of its root together with a hope for the future. LaRouche's goal is, and has been that for over 40 years to help society to recover itself from this loss. One example of this type can be found in his many international webcasts where issue is always focused on leading edges issues in protecting the nation -- any nation -- and advancing its welfare and its creative and productive power. Here is a link to one example.

LaRouche Webcast March 13, 2010

If the sense of a nation is missing - which is the sense of building for the general welfare that powers a nation - then corruption always results in the void. This corruption becomes glaringly evident when the intolerable suddenly becomes tolerated. When our poverty as a society has become so great that the most precious resource that a society has, which is its human potential, is being senselessly squandered at the altar of the greed-god of monetarism in whose name people loose their homes by the millions, their employment income by the tens of  millions, equitable and otherwise, and are becoming forced to live on the street or in slum conditions, then the sense of a nation has receded so far from sight that the physical support structures on which society's existence depends are increasingly crumbling away beneath its feet.

If a society looses its caring for one-another, its sense of enriching one another's existence, of nourishing the unfolding of the human potential, then what has such a society got with which to define itself as a nation? The horrendous economic collapse crisis that has begun ripping through the world when its corruption burst into the open in the summer of 2007, has its roots in this void. And to getting out of this void won't be possible without society rebuilding its innermost sense of what a human being is as a creator, a builder, a discoverer, and a producer.

We are facing a cultural crisis in this sense. Fortunately, cultural development can move a society into the direction of rebuilding itself. This isn't new wisdom. I have seen this happening successfully in times of a great crisis. I was astonished at the time I saw it. It made no sense at the time. I was astonished that the first major construction effort that was undertaken after World War II in the City of Leipzig in Germany, where I lived, was the building of a new opera house. 


Leipzig opera house constructed 1956-1960, opening concert, Wagner's Meistersingers

 

It had laid the foundation for creating a new optimism in society. This project had been given priority even over finishing the rebuilding of the railway station (completed December 1965). The cultural optimism may have been needed to muster the resources for completion of the huge rebuilding effort.


Leipzig Railway station one of 6 halls during re-glassing

A similar kind of optimism, though on a much larger scale, had uplifted the entire world in the 1960s with the technological orchestration of landing a man on the moon and repeating the feat routinely half a dozen times, even bringing a car along for collecting samples from a wider range of locations. And this too was intertwined with major thrusts in cultural developments, such as became facilitated by Lincoln Center renewal in New York City into a center for the performing arts.


Lincoln Center photo by  Nils Olander from Panoramio
Avery Fisher Hall completed 1962 (right)
The
Metropolitan Opera House Completed 1966 (left) 

It is being said that the Apollo Moon Landing project of the 1960s-1971 gave America a 14-fold economic return for its investment in the mission, in terms of advanced processes, knowledge, and materials. However, it appears that the cultural benefit from it generating a profound optimism right around the world, was a far greater return than that, and that all of this was intertwined with major cultural unfolding.


Apollo 4 - NASA (Nov. 1967)

In the USA too, the development of culture is intertwined with the great national projects. For example, John F. Kennedy Memorial Center for the Performing Arts reflects a growing commitment to support the arts that has its roots in the early FDR days. The idea for a national arts center dates back to 1933 when First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt discussed ideas for the Emergency Relief and Civil Works Administration to create employment for unemployed actors during the Great Depression. In 1935, Congress held hearings on plans to establish a new Department of Science, Art and Literature and to build a monumental theater and arts building on Capitol Hill. This never materialized. In 1950, the idea for a national theater resurfaced when U.S. Representative Arthur George Klein of New York introduced a bill to authorize funds to plan and build a cultural center as a memorial to President Franklin D. Roosevelt. The bill included provisions that the center would prohibit any discrimination of cast or audience. From 1955 on the idea was debated in Congress. In the summer of 1958, a bill was finally passed in Congress that President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed into law on September 4, 1958, as the National Cultural Center Act which provided momentum for the project.


Kennedy Center in Washington DC - photo by Estoymuybueno

President John F. Kennedy was interested in bringing culture to the nation's capital, and provided leadership and support for the project. After President Kennedy's assassination, President Lyndon B. Johnson dug the ceremonial first-shovel of earth at the groundbreaking for the Kennedy Center on December 2, 1964, which was renamed in Kennedy's honor and completed in Sept. 1971. 

The center was built during the years of the Apollo Moon Landing project. Among donations from other government, evidently in response to the optimistic momentum that was developing, the Italian government provided a gift of 3,700 tons of Carrara marble from Italy for the construction of the national arts project. 

This principle for inspiring cultural optimism is still valid today and will always be valid, and became reflected in many places around the world, and not only in the 1950s and 60s (Vancouver's Queen Elizabeth Theatre was completed in 1959, and the Liederhalle in Stuttgart, Germany in 1956), but also in later years. I sensed the same inspiring and uplifting optimism in a radio broadcast of the opening concert for a brand new hall for music in Edmonton, in Canada, in 1995. 


Winspear Center photo by Rob McAlear (talk | contribs

Not only was the hall brand new, but so was most of the music for the opening concert. Also the music was entirely, proudly, by Canadian composers. The composers were not only alive at the time. They were in the hall. The opening concert created a sense of dynamism that wasn't drawn from the past, but reflected the present, a sense of moving forward to an unbounded future. It created a profound sense of a nation beginning to stand tall by its own power, building with its not-so-small human resources. 

Since the concert was financed by the attending public, and the broadcasting was publicly financed, it appears to be appropriate to present a tape-recording of the radio broadcast of this  public celebration in conjunction with the above exploration (slightly incomplete for technical reasons, presented as - mp3, 80mb). Unfortunately, permission to post the broadcast could not be obtained. The concert and its broadcast 15 years ago, though publicly financed, is claimed to be the intellectual property of a group that aims to own it under copyright protection. Thus, culture is, like everything else, reduced to a profit mill and exists no longer as a resource for the benefit of the nation.

 

 

 

Published by Cygni Communications Ltd. North Vancouver, BC, Canada -  2010  Rolf A. F. Witzsche

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