A Carpet of Sound

In almost every public place today the ears are assailed by the sound of pop music. In shopping malls, public houses, restaurants, hotels and elevators the ambient sound is not human conversation but the music disgorged into the air by speakers – usually invisible and inaccessible speakers that cannot be punished for their impertinence. For the most part, the prevailing music is of an astounding banality – it is there in order not to be really there. It is a background to the business of consuming things, a surrounding nothingness on which we scribble the graffiti of our desires. Whole areas of civic space in our society are now policed by this sound, which drives anybody with the slightest feeling for music to distraction, and ensures that for many of us a visit to the pub or a meal in a restaurant have lost their residual meaning. These are no longer social events, but experiments in endurance, as you shout at each other over the deadly noise. There are two reasons why this vacuous music has flown into every public space. One is the vast change in the human ear brought about by the mass production of sound. The other is the failure of the law to protect us from the result. For our ancestors music was something that you sat down to listen to, or which you made for yourself. It was a ceremonial event, in which you participated, either as a passive listener or as an active performer. With the advent of the gramophone, the radio and now the iPod, music is no longer something that you must make for yourself, nor is it something that you sit down to listen to. It follows you about wherever you go, and you switch it on as a background. It is not so much listened to as overheard. The banal melodies and mechanical rhythms, the stock harmonies recycled in song after song, these things signify the eclipse of the musical ear. For many people music is no longer a language shaped by our deepest feelings, no longer a place of refuge from the tawdriness and distraction of everyday life, no longer an art in which gripping ideas are followed to their distant conclusions. It is simply a carpet of sound, designed to bring all thought and feeling down to its own level lest something serious might be felt or said. And there is no law against it. You are rightly prevented from polluting the air of a restaurant with smoke; but nothing prevents the owner from inflicting this far worse pollution on his customers – pollution that poisons not the body but the soul. Background music is the default position. It is no longer silence to which we return when we cease to speak, but the empty chatter of the music-box. Silence must be excluded at all cost, since it awakens you to the emptiness that looms on the edge of modern life, threatening to confront you with the dreadful truth, that you have nothing whatever to say. [A Point of View: Why it’s time to turn the music off by Roger Scruton (2015)]

The European Mental Framework

Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, UAE Minister of Foreign Affairs (2017)

Europeans and Westerners were not prepared for a world increasingly influenced by ideas and ideologies that originated in traditionalist non-Western cultures. Supposedly such cultures would already be modern and secular like the West, if the prophecy of the universal progress of humanity had been fully fulfilled. The European mental framework has already been overcome by reality, but its intellectual persistence is a huge obstacle to understanding the trends that are emerging in the contemporary world. Nowadays it is easy to see that the democratic and pluralist legal-constitutional edifice that was created in Europe was not thinking, nor was it prepared, to face a cultural-social and religious-political contest arising from non-Western ideas and ideologies. The Islamic attacks in recent weeks in France, which targeted both the teacher of a secular republican school (on the outskirts of Paris), and the sacristan and the faithful of a church (in Nice), leave no doubt about the frontal collision route between Islam and the French Republic. The terrain is particularly favorable to Islamists. On the one hand, they exploit the poor knowledge of what is not European and Western, as well as the guilt complexes in Europe due to the recent colonial past, whose wounds have not yet ended. On the other hand, they take advantage of the enormous demographic dynamism and youth of the people from the southern Mediterranean and other parts of the Islamic world. We do not know whether current generations of Europeans, out of indifference, neglect or misperception, will be willing to wage the long cultural, social and political struggles necessary to preserve what has been achieved at the cost of enormous sacrifices and loss of life in the past. (José Pedro Teixeira Fernandes, 2020)

Egyptian President Gamal Adbel Nasser (1966)

Lugares

Os rituais são actos simbólicos. Transmitem e representam os valores e os regimes que tornam coesa uma comunidade. Geram uma comunidade sem comunicação, enquanto o que predomina hoje, é uma comunicação sem comunidade. Antoine de Saint-Exupéry descreve os rituais como técnicas temporais de instalação num lugar: “Os ritos são no tempo o que a morada é no espaço. Pois é bom que o tempo que transcorre não nos dê a sensação de que nos gasta e nos perde, como ao punhado de areia, mas nos realiza. É bom que o tempo seja uma construção. Assim vou de festa em festa de aniversário em aniversário, de vindima em vindima. Ao tempo falta hoje a estrutura sólida. Não é uma casa, mas um fluxo inconsistente. Esvai-se na mera sucessão dum presente pontual. Esfuma-se. Nada o detém. O tempo que foge não é habitável. [Byung-Chul Han (2019), Do Desaparecimento dos Rituais]

Samuel Paty died. For what?

French president Emmanuel Macron paid his respects at the coffin of History teacher Samuel Paty, who was beheaded for having shown cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad in a civics class discussion on free speech at the junior high school where he taught in the suburb of Conflans-Sainte-Honorine, near Paris. He was killed on his way home from work after school by  Abdullakh Anzorov, who published an image of the teacher’s severed head on Twitter before he was himself shot dead by police. The president said Paty was slain “because he incarnated the French Republic.” Macron gave the country’s highest civilian award, the Legion of Honour, to Samuel Paty.

Samuel Paty is a martyr. A martyr of the secular French Republic. He died because he believed in his country and civilization. A civilization that is disappearing. What Samuel Pathy didn’t understand is that France is becoming an Islamic nation, with Islamic peoples and Islamic ethos. His mistake will be repeated by many men and women from the West in the coming years. They will fight and maybe even die for a Civilization that is rotting and dying. The White, Christian, Secular, Enlighten West is finished. The old Civilizations from Asia, Africa and Middle East are taking over Western Europe, the US, Canada, Australia… Samuel Paty didn’t understand this fate and heroically died for his France, a France that no longer exists.

Trajectory

How it starts…
The British countryside is racist according to Ellie Harrison, a White presenter on the BBC show Countryfile. She said that ethnic minority people do face discrimination in the countryside, and there is “work to do”. The presenter also said she felt she needed to change her behaviour in the wake of the Black Lives Matter movement, doing more to confront racism instead of simply listening to people of colour. The Campaign to Protect Rural England has also vowed to remove barriers to the countryside for non-white people.
How it ends…
South African president Cyril Ramaphosa has insisted that farm murders are not “ethnic cleansing” after a grisly torture-murder in Free State led to ‘Boer Lives Matter’ protesters marching on a courthouse to get at the suspects. “The claim that violent crime on farms is part of an orchestrated campaign by blacks to drive white farmers off their land is simply not borne out by fact,” claimed the president, who is himself pursuing a policy of land grabs against landowners. Hundreds of white farmers had marched on rural Senekal magistrates’ court as two Black suspects appeared to face charges for the murder of 21-year-old White farm manager Brendin Horner. Horner had been found strung up on a pole by his neck, having been beaten, stabbed repeatedly, and apparently tortured.

Complexity

A complex system that works is invariably found to have evolved from a simple system that worked. A complex system designed from scratch never works and cannot be patched up to make it work. You have to start over with a working simple system. [John Gall (1975), Systemantics: How Systems Work and Especially How They Fail]

Deixe o Barro Secar

Certa vez, uma menina recebeu um brinquedo novo no dia do seu aniversário. Na manhã seguinte, uma amiga foi até a sua casa para brincar. Mas a menina não podia ficar com a amiga, pois tinha que sair com a mãe. A amiga pediu que a menina a deixasse ficar a brincar com seu brinquedo novo até que ela voltasse. Ela assim o fez. No entanto, quando voltou a casa, a amiga já não estava lá e o brinquedo estava partido! Ela ficou furiosa e quis ir à casa da amiga pedir explicações! Mas a mãe ponderou: “Lembras-te quando o teu sapato ficou sujo com lama? Querias o limpar imediatamente, mas a tua avó não deixou. Ela avisou para primeiro deixar o barro secar pois  depois ficaria mais fácil limpar. Ora, com a raiva é a mesma coisa. Deixe primeiro a raiva secar, depois resolva a situação.” Mais tarde a campainha tocou: era a amiga, que pediu desculpa e tinha comprado um brinquedo novo para oferecer. A menina agradeceu e respondeu: Não faz mal, a minha raiva já secou!