Saturday 10 September 2016

Life-draining, soul-destroying things are bad (how to evaluate remote abstractions)

Aside from arguments - things that I experience to be life-draining and soul-destroying are things that are bad - always turn-out to be bad things sooner or later.

Of course many things like The European Union are abstractions and mainly experienced via the mass media - but even such things do impinge upon us concretely, from time to time.

So the EU has impinged on me in the way that other people use the EU in arguments and instructions; experiences with colleagues who have been involved in dealings with the organisation such as applying for 'research' grants and engaging in projects and producing reports.

And once I visited Strasbourg and went on a river boat trip that included passing near to the EU parliament building, which I experienced as very obviously a concrete embodiment of the iron hand of arrogant and destructive bureaucracy - deliberately designed to overawe and crush dissent into despair.

Such life-draining and soul-destroying buildings are always the product of evil motivations - and unless repented and repudiated they have a continued corrupting effect on those who work there and live nearby.

But it is experiences like these which enable us to evaluate the abstract and remote institutions - the experience of filling-in a form, or dealing with an official, reading publicity material... things like that.

When you feel your life force being sucked-out-from-you, when you feel your soul being confined and crushed... then you know that you are dealing with something that is bad - overall and in effect.


knifecatcher said...

Contrast this with the Gothic cathedrals of Medieval Europe.

Wm Jas Tychonievich said...

The EU Parliament building is supposed to be an uglified version of Pieter Brueghel's "Tower of Babel."

Anonymous said...

This has probably been pointed out many times before, but the resemblance to Bruegel the Elder's painting 'The Tower of Babel' is striking. And fitting.

knifecatcher said...

Ruskin said: "Great nations write their autobiographys in three manuscripts, the book of their deeds the book of their words and the book of their art. Not one of these books can be understood unless we read the two others, but of the three the only trustworthy one is the last"

Bruce Charlton said...

@k - I was reading Ruskin last year after visiting his house in Coniston - and some of his early writings are full of gems like that one. He had a deep understanding of genius.

Nathaniel said...

I the new "African American History" monument in D.C. is of this genre. It clearly has no concern for or relation to African-descendants, or their history, but is a testament to evil's success, their domination of public life, imposing and ugly, over-arching all the surrounding monuments to veterans, presidents, etc.