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Elias Lopez
Elias Lopez

801 Things You Should Know: From Greek Philosop...

Mitigated speech, a way of talking that shows respect to a superior or downplays meaning to prevent embarrassment or offense, offers one example of cultural legacy. Gladwell explains the seeming irony that planes are safer when the pilot with lesser experience is in charge. A less-experienced flier will use mitigated speech to defer to a pilot of higher rank. If the more experienced pilot is the one communicating, he or she is not afraid to speak up. Gladwell suggests that a strict hierarchy can be dangerous if those lower in the pecking order feel uncomfortable speaking up. This danger can be mitigated if everyone is understood to be working toward the same end, but if there are cultural concerns that keep someone from being able to speak the truth, terrible things can happen. He notes that the Avianca cockpit was too intimidated to speak up even though they knew they were running low on fuel. Ratwatte notes in his interview that an American pilot would have insisted on landing without worrying about offending anyone. Gladwell emphases the extremely polite conversation in contrast to the immediate danger on the Avianca flight. Gladwell shares bits of the flight transcript from Korean Air Flight 801, highlighting the extreme deference a member of the flight crew would show to a pilot through actions and words. In these cases, mitigated speech was not polite, but a dangerous result of cultural legacy.

801 Things You Should Know: From Greek Philosop...


In face of the political world of the Hellenes, I will not hide thosephenomena of the present in which I believe I discern dangerousatrophies of the political sphere equally critical for art and society.If there should exist men, who as it were through birth are placedoutside the national-and State-instincts, who consequently have toesteem the State only in so far as they conceive that it coincideswith their own interest, then such men will necessarily imagine as theultimate political aim the most undisturbed collateral existence ofgreat political communities possible, which they might be permittedto pursue their own purposes without restriction. With this idea intheir heads they will promote that policy which will offer thegreatest security to these purposes; whereas it is unthinkable, thatthey, against their intentions, guided perhaps by an unconsciousinstinct, should sacrifice themselves for the State-tendency,unthinkable because they lack that very instinct. All other citizensof the State are in the dark about what Nature intends with herState-instinct within them, and they follow blindly; only those whostand outside this instinct know what they want from the State andwhat the State is to grant them. Therefore it is almost unavoidablethat such men should gain great influence in the State because theyare allowed to consider it as a means, whereas all the others underthe sway of those unconscious purposes of the State are themselvesonly means for the fulfilment of the State-purpose. In order now toattain, through the medium of the State,[Pg 14] the highest furtheranceof their selfish aims, it is above all necessary, that the State bewholly freed from those awfully incalculable war-convulsions so thatit may be used rationally; and thereby they strive with all theirmight for a condition of things in which war is an impossibility. Forthat purpose the thing to do is first to curtail and to enfeeble thepolitical separatisms and factions and through the establishment oflarge equipoised State-bodies and the mutual safeguarding of themto make the successful result of an aggressive war and consequentlywar itself the greatest improbability; as on the other hand they willendeavour to wrest the question of war and peace from the decision ofindividual lords, in order to be able rather to appeal to the egoismof the masses or their representatives; for which purpose they againneed slowly to dissolve the monarchic instincts of the nations. Thispurpose they attain best through the most general promulgation ofthe liberal optimistic view of the world, which has its roots in thedoctrines of French Rationalism and the French Revolution, i.e., ina wholly un-Germanic, genuinely neo-Latin shallow and unmetaphysicalphilosophy. I cannot help seeing in the prevailing internationalmovements of the present day, and the simultaneous promulgation ofuniversal suffrage, the effects of the fear of war above everythingelse, yea I behold behind these movements, those truly internationalhomeless money-hermits, as the really alarmed, who, with theirnatural lack of the State-instinct, have learnt to abuse politics asa means of the Exchange, and State and Society as an apparatus fortheir own[Pg 15] enrichment. Against the deviation of the State-tendencyinto a money-tendency, to be feared from this side, the only remedyis war and once again war, in the emotions of which this at leastbecomes obvious, that the State is not founded upon the fear of thewar-demon, as a protective institution for egoistic individuals, butin love to fatherland and prince, it produces an ethical impulse,indicative of a much higher destiny. If I therefore designate as adangerous and characteristic sign of the present political situationthe application of revolutionary thought in the service of a selfishState-less money-aristocracy, if at the same time I conceive of theenormous dissemination of liberal optimism as the result of modernfinancial affairs fallen into strange hands, and if I imagine all evilsof social conditions together with the necessary decay of the arts tohave either germinated from that root or grown together with it, onewill have to pardon my occasionally chanting a Pæan on war. Horriblyclangs its silvery bow; and although it comes along like the night,war is nevertheless Apollo, the true divinity for consecrating andpurifying the State. First of all, however, as is said in the beginningof the "Iliad," he lets fly his arrow on the mules and dogs. Then hestrikes the men themselves, and everywhere pyres break into flames.Be it then pronounced that war is just as much a necessity for theState as the slave is for society, and who can avoid this verdict ifhe honestly asks himself about the causes of the never-equalled Greekart-perfection?

[Pg 21]Just as Plato from disguises and obscurities brought to light theinnermost purpose of the State, so also he conceived the chief causeof the position of the Hellenic Woman with regard to the State; inboth cases he saw in what existed around him the image of the ideasmanifested to him, and of these ideas of course the actual was only ahazy picture and phantasmagoria. He who according to the usual customconsiders the position of the Hellenic Woman to be altogether unworthyand repugnant to humanity, must also turn with this reproach againstthe Platonic conception of this position; for, as it were, the existingforms were only precisely set forth in this latter conception. Heretherefore our question repeats itself: should not the nature and theposition of the Hellenic Woman have a necessary relation to the goalsof the Hellenic Will?

But what will the opera mean as "dramatic" music, in its possiblyfarthest distance from pure music, efficient in itself, and purelyDionysean? Let us imagine a passionate drama full of incidents whichcarries away the spectator, and which is already sure of successby its plot: what will "dramatic" music be able to add, if it doesnot take away something? Firstly, it will take away much: for inevery moment where for once the Dionysean power of music strikesthe listener, the eye is dimmed that sees the action, the eye thatbecame absorbed in the individuals appearing before it: the listenernow forgets the drama and becomes alive again to it only when theDionysean spell over him has been broken. In so far, however, as musicmakes the listener forget the drama, it is not yet "dramatic" music:but what kind of music is that which is not allowed to exerciseany Dionysean power over the listener? And how is it possible? It ispossible[Pg 45] as purely conventional symbolism, out of which conventionhas sucked all natural strength: as music which has diminished tosymbols of remembrance: and its effect aims at reminding the spectatorof something, which at the sight of the drama must not escape him lesthe should misunderstand it: as a trumpet signal is an invitation forthe horse to trot. Lastly, before the drama commenced and in interludesor during tedious passages, doubtful as to dramatic effect, yea,even in its highest moments, there would still be permitted anotherspecies of remembrance-music, no longer purely conventional, namelyemotional-music, music, as a stimulant to dull or wearied nerves.I am able to distinguish in the so-called dramatic music these twoelements only: a conventional rhetoric and remembrance-music, and asensational music with an effect essentially physical: and thus itvacillates between the noise of the drum and the signal-horn, likethe mood of the warrior who goes into the battle. But now the mind,regaling itself on pure music and educated through comparison, demandsa masquerade for those two wrong tendencies of music; "Remembrance"and "Emotion" are to be played, but in good music, which must bein itself enjoyable, yea, valuable; what despair for the dramaticmusician, who must mask the big drum by good music, which, however,must nevertheless have no purely musical, but only a stimulatingeffect! And now comes the great Philistine public nodding its thousandheads and enjoys this "dramatic music" which is ever ashamed of itself,enjoys it to the very last morsel, without perceiving anything of itsshame and embarrassment.[Pg 46] Rather the public feels its skin agreeablytickled, for indeed homage is being rendered in all forms and ways tothe public! To the pleasure-hunting, dull-eyed sensualist, who needsexcitement, to the conceited "educated person" who has accustomedhimself to good drama and good music as to good food, without after allmaking much out of it, to the forgetful and absent-minded egoist, whomust be led back to the work of art with force and with signal-hornsbecause selfish plans continually pass through his mind aiming atgain or pleasure. Woe-begone dramatic musicians! "Draw near and viewyour Patrons' faces! The half are coarse, the half are cold." "Whyshould you rack, poor foolish Bards, for ends like these the graciousMuses?"[2] And that the muses are tormented, even tortured and flayed,these veracious miserable ones do not themselves deny! 041b061a72


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