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Abstract Reasoning is What Makes Us Human

In movies, the good guys are always emotional acting “from their hearts” while the bad guy lives in his mind creating elaborate plans usually losing in the end because of some variation of “he doesn’t understand the power of love.” In the philosophy of movies, emotion and love is what makes us human.
In real life, the capability of abstract reasoning is what sets apart higher from lower humans and humans from other animals. The person who can ponder the root causes of poverty is more effective than someone who from blind compassion for a picture of a starving kid in a magazine donates to charity and helps pay the “non-profit” CEO’s salary.  The price of not having abstract understanding is to be parasitized and preyed upon.

Humans have moved towards abstract concepts for a long time and some breeds are more advanced than others.
Language itself is a system of symbolic abstractions and is part of the human species as swimming is to fish or burrowing to a mole.
But since civilization, levels of abstraction have gone far beyond what most humans are able to handle.
Consider the concept of interest on a loan, for instance.  A considerable percentage of humans max out their credit cards or mortgages and are then taken by surprise when the compound interest spins out of control.  Or let’s look at estimating probability, something people are really bad at.  In a society of rational humans the only gambling would be against other players, never with unfavorable odds against the house.
The difference is who can understand abstractions and who cannot.
In general, peoples who have lived in complex civilizations longer are better at it.  It comes as little surprise that Jews, Syrian Alawis and Christians, Lebanese Maronites, and Armenians do well wherever in the world they go.  They are all mercantile peoples who spent thousands of years living on top of some of the world’s major trade routes.
Meanwhile, peoples new to the abstractions of civilization struggle to deal with laws, commerce, and the concept of the state.  Unable to formulate long term plans and heavily selected for binging in times of plenty, they become impoverished and hopelessly addicted to drugs and junk food.  Whether we’re talking about the Pima, the Pygmies, the Samoans, the Sioux, or the Aborigines, the problems are always the same, the only variation is degree.

Plato grouped humans into three categories.

Bronze – Ordinary workers and merchants engaged in their work with little awareness beyond their own wants. In Enlightenment philosophy, whether by communism, capitalism, or even libertarianism and anarchism, these people are supposed to be the rulers. That’s why these ideas when unalloyed by common sense never work. Mob rule, tragedies of the commons predictably result.

Silver – Those with enough awareness to be granted some measure of power without selfishly abusing it.  They have enough foresight to understand at least part of the big picture and some ability to think of the longer term within the context of their role. They are the middle management of society, the officers of humanity. They don’t take bribes(they can understand how it damages the credibility of the entire system), they keep utilities cheap and reliable, the trains arrive on time.  They make sure things work.

Gold- Those with enough awareness to understand the complexities of the macroscale and reason beyond oneself.  Those who can best do this are those who should be managing societies.

To care about anything that occurs after one’s death, for example, is irrational in the most literal sense. A bronze-soul squeezes the world for all it’s worth as long as they’re alive. What should it matter if the nation were to fall after they’re buried, or the entire human race to meet its demise?
The difference between a higher man and the stampede is to grasp the highly abstract idea of a future beyond oneself in the endurance of one’s work, deeds, ideas, and seed—to perceive beauty in what we will never see, touch, or taste for it’s own sake.
There’s a Greek proverb: “A society grows great when old men plant trees whose shade they know they shall never sit in.”
Taking delight in what has not yet happened is pure abstraction, but for those capable of it, it is as real as any present and tangible pleasure. As real as are imaginary numbers and infinity to a mathematician.

People are only equipped so far by nature to deal with groups of up to 150.  Abstraction is the only way for limited human beings to work around the limit set by the Dunbar number and be able to reason out the workings of a mass society of millions of people.
A lower human given charge of a nation handles millions of people with the package of instincts appropriate to a small tribe.
What is a great famine that kills millions so long as you, your family, friends, and closest followers are safe?
It makes no sense to care about people we don’t know so long as it doesn’t affect us. It very much makes sense to sacrifice a million strangers we don’t care about in a war to get what we want. Why not abuse and neglect as it pleases us? They’re all just a statistic. To perceive beyond this, a human must use abstraction and imagination.

Ironically, the lower human ruler also projects his warm instinctual feelings for a small group onto many and preserves a million who are destroying everyone else out of crass sentimentality.
The higher being sees a rook is not worth a pawn and does what must be done.
Where the lower man is ruthless, the higher is merciful
And where the lower is generous, the higher crushes.

The gold soul has the same animal instincts as the bronze but it has the quality of consciousness that allows it to reflect on its nature while the bronze just follows its program like any other animal.
The high human can reflect on its own instinctual drives, figure out the purpose of each, and reason the best course to realize the “intended” goal.
The drive to socialize and observe social norms is there to further our survival in a group and to aid the survival of the group itself against other groups.
So if in charge of millions, we ought to use intellect to further the group as an appropriate instinct would, if it existed.
The drive to breed is there to spread our genes.
So we ought to understand that instinctual gratification with contraceptives is an illusion.
Where instinct is not enough, the greater human formulates strategies.
Faced with relentless change, human animals flounder in aimless despair like pandas with their bamboo forests burnt down.
High Humans change their survival strategy with the times.

Pop Music is Folk Music Elevated Beyond Its Proper Place

There has always been folk music, the everyday music of ordinary people.  This is lower music.  Folk music is spontaneous; its structure is informal but often guided by pre-existing traditions that can be quite rigid.  In implementation, it often relies on lyrics as much as melody.  Its purpose is to communicate sentiment and emotion.  Folk music is universally and eternally fixated on the fickle, youthful passions of falling in love, heartbreak, celebration, motivation, and protest.  In a previous age, it was just as much about coordinating while laboring or passing an evening before electricity and the distractions of modern “entertainment.”  It marks the passage of holidays, wedding days, and funerals.
Its players are typically musicians wedded to one instrument and they tend to play alone or in small bands of no more than 3-4 people with rigidly assigned roles.

For thousands of years there have been those who create higher music.  Today, we call them “composers” in the West.  These are the people who very deliberately craft works of music just as a skilled painter carefully applies multiple elements with a plan in mind.
There is a science to their art, it is not done on a whim drawing mostly on pre-established conventions.  Thus, while the composer’s work has more formal structure, it has far more potential for variation and originality.
Composers might dedicate some works to young love, but it is one small area of experience to which they can apply their talent.
The composer engineers the sound in advance, but is not necessarily one of the musicians nor is he associated with any single instrument.  He will write the parts of 100 different instruments if need be, they are artists’ tools, not an attribute of the artist.  He transcends the role of a single musician or small band of musicians and looks down on their movements from above, outside of time itself.
Composers are often inspired by folk music traditions.  Folk music serves as a deep wellspring of inspiration, it provides vision into the vastness of the cultural subconscious.  The composer is the rational neocortex who takes the raw passions of folk culture and uses the science of his craft to make something greater and higher than before.

Since the 1960s or so, there’s been a term thrown around to describe most music: Pop music.
What does this mean?
Pop music seems to be defined by bands and is focused on youthful passions, so it’s clearly folk music, but we have a sense that it’s different from folk music of the past.
What changed?

A big clue is how successful “pop” musicians are called “stars” or even “idols.”
This word choice shows that people understand on a gut level what the big change is.

Pop music is folk music that has risen above its proper place.

Pop music ceases to be the wellspring and usurps the social role that rightly belongs to higher music.  The result is the dilution and degradation of the culture we live in.
Pop music can’t inspire humanity to its heights, it speaks to our base instincts.    By its nature, its most successful forms never wander far beyond animal impulses such as “party all night long” and “everybody dance.”  It’s confined to the now just as higher music lives in the eternal.
Without the guidance and example of higher music, folk music runs rampant, becoming pop as it breaks down to its most basic elements.  The higher folk music rises above its proper place, the lower in form it becomes.

If Pop is Folk that has risen above its station, what happened then to higher music?

The briefest glance at art tells us that the world wars broke the spirit of the West.  Some of the high music of the late 19th and early 20th century was among the most sublime ever known.  In painting, this impressionism combined the best of abstract and literal representation.  You could clearly see a sunny meadow, but could also see the blurring of motion as grasses swayed in the wind.  In the shades of golden sun, you could feel the artist’s pleasure in simply being alive.
High music of that period created creeping and colorful impressions, the composers experimented with rhythms and scales taken from other cultures.
This culture reflected eager anticipation of the progress of humanity to greater and more beautiful forms.

The Great War and then World War II brutally crushed this old culture with its worship of beauty.
Art in all its forms was stripped down to its most basic elements robbed of purpose and meaning, and degraded into an obsession with harsh lines, stark contrasts, and jarring primary colors.
The 20th century was the high tide of centralization as the world was reduced to just a few major nation-states, each with just a handful of people who controlled mass media, systems of education, all access to information.  Uniform mass culture proliferated, until the greatest cultural success was defined by appeal to the lowest common denominator.

Defeated by the 20th century, high music abdicated its place.  Composers toyed with atonal, degraded, nonsensical music and monstrously, inhumanly chose to distance themselves from beauty and meaning.  By neglecting their sacred duty to culture, the sages of higher music left a yawning vacuum.  With the advent of mass media, this vacuum was rapidly filled by folk music—folk music that was hot-blooded as the new high music was dead and wan.  It picked up where the high music left off like it should, adopting the experimentation with new scales and rhythms and trying out new kinds of instruments in new combinations.  Without a firm guiding hand from the sages, though, the new folk music degenerated into pop music, joining the now defunct high music in its worship of ugliness and the lowest of instinct.

In the present day, the high music certainly remains underground, or rather in the background.  Composers continue to thrive in mediums such as movies and video games  but after a time, one begins to realize:
Dramatic movie music is  all descended from Wagner’s operas.
Sci-fi music comes straight from Holst’s the Planets.
It innovates and does wonderful and beautiful things, but in its very limited scope.  The high tradition lives on here, but like a goldfish, is stunted in growth by its small bowl.

If we are to look for composers who don’t just do music that’s considered “classical” or “orchestral” certain schools of electronic music stand out as possible heirs.
I notice that these kinds of music are composed, not played.  Using computers, hundreds of instruments can be used at once if need be, in any combination desired.  The science and philosophy of composition that leads to high music lives on here, but exists marginally.
High music won’t displace pop music in a culture that’s become mob rule in every sense.
Re-organizing culture will require re-organizing society itself.  To have a correctly aligned culture that effortlessly produces the highest of innovation and beauty at the top, the inherent breeds and strata of humanity must be restored to their rightful places.  First, mob rule of culture must end.
Until then, high music will remain mainly as a 18th-19th century style orchestra, a formidable ghost.  If folk music were the same way we’d never have seen banjoes replaced by electric guitars.

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