Reimagining the Canon to the Sounds of Cannon Fire

TRANSCEND MEMBERS, 18 Mar 2024

Anthony Judge | Laetus in Praesens - TRANSCEND Media Service

Challenging Hegemony Through the Pattern That Connects

Introduction

15 Mar 2024 – This is a further development of Eliciting a Pattern that Connects with AI? (2024) — written as an experimental exchange with ChatGPT in quest of memorable integrative configuration. That was introduced with reference to the annual Munich Security Conference and the publication of its introductory report Munich Security Report 2024 and the questionable coherence to which it gave rise. In that spirit reference can be appropriately made to the Ides of March, as recently evoked (Michel Chossudovsky, The Pentagon’s “Ides of March 2024”: Best Month to Go to War? Global Research, 1 March 2024; Michael Welch, et al, The Ides of March. The Month of War. Could Recent Developments in Ukraine Launch World War III? Global Research, 15 March 2024 ).

The question is where and in what form integrative perspectives are evoked in a war-mongering context. The main title recalls the composition of Beethoven’s iconic symphony at a time when he was totally deaf — and unable to hear the sounds of war. Global leadership can be caricatured in those terms (Group of 7 Dwarfs: Future-blind and Warning-deaf, 2018).

Beethoven’s choral symphony continues to be presented as indicative of integrative potential , most obviously as the Anthem of Europe — carefully ignoring other symbolism associated with its initial presentation, most obviously his role as conductor (Maria Popova, Trial, Triumph, and the Art of the Possible: the remarkable story behind Beethoven’s “Ode to Joy”, The Marginalian, 17 May 2022; Danny Riley, Interpreting Joy: a guide to Beethoven’s Ninth, Bachtrack, 20 December 2017). The focus on “joy” by global leadership is now reframed by the promise articulated by Klaus Schwab: You’ll own nothing. And you’ll be happy. As an anthem, especially for a Europe challenged by incoherence, there is even a case for its “reversal” (Reversing the Anthem of Europe to Signal Distress, 2016).

Little needs to be said of the coherence implied by the Ode to Joy. Beyond its passive appreciation, the difficulty lies in the seemingly absolute failure to consider its cognitive and strategic implications as a pattern. To a lesser degree, the same might now be said of key texts of Chinese culture composed during the so-called Warring States period (Rochelle Kaplan, Still Relevant after 2500 Years: The Art of War and Tao Te Ching, Association for Asian Studies, 10, 2005, 1). That the time of writing should be witness to the practice by the “West” of a form of strategic lobotomy, compounded with alienation of “East” and “South”, frames a historical tragedy (Severing the Russian Hemisphere as Problematic Global Lobotomy? 2022). That the “East” and the “West” should now be exemplifying processes of simplistic confrontation suggests that further exploration of the “pattern that connects” is appropriate — and timely, from a historical perspective.

As noted in the previous exploration with respect to any new form of “integrative perspective”, and as a focus of continuing comment, that framing derives from  Gregory Bateson in clarifying the nature of a meta-pattern in the following context:

The pattern which connects is a meta-pattern. It is a pattern of patterns. It is that meta-pattern which defines the vast generalization that, indeed, it is patterns which connect. (Mind and Nature: a necessary unity, 1979)

And it is from this perspective that Bateson warned: Break the pattern which connects the items of learning and you necessarily destroy all quality (1979, pp. 8-11).

The previous argument highlighted the potential of aesthetic insights into an integrative pattern of relevance to the times, highlighting the potential cognitive and strategic implications associated with patterns of tones in the light of an understanding of the numbers by which they could be distinguished and organized — as traditionally recognized

The concern in what follows is to identify the variety of indications of such an integrative pattern. The second part of this exploration focuses on the Biblical Song of Songs as an instance of particular significance for strategic cultivation of global division at this time (The Song of Songs as indicative of the Pattern that Connect, 2024). As instances of a quality or style of thinking, each indication can be called into question as a form of misplaced concreteness. The question is not whether an instance is relevant, but rather to what degree it might fruitfully be considered so — and by whom. There is therefore a case for distinguishing a wide variety of such indications as instances of an elusive underlying pattern — a “meta-pattern” in Bateson’s terms. The challenge would seem to lie in configuring the elements of any such pattern — as potentially enabled by insights from mathematics and discussed in a third part (Connecting the Elements of the Pattern that Connects, 2024).

A potentially useful framework from an aesthetic perspective is offered below by the orchestral canon — with the contrapuntal character of its articulation through multiple voices. The underlying question is then the number of voices considered appropriate to any such articulation, given the strategic implications of a requisite variety of perspectives — beyond assertions of the one right way and the systematic deprecation of alternatives (Interrelating Multiple Ways of Looking at a Crisis, 2021).

As suggested by the title, a “canon” invites a degree of irony through its homophonic relation to “cannon”. Other than its musical connotation, “canon” may also refer to an authoritative set of rules and standards, exemplified by canon law and its controversial restrictions. Whilst exploitation of the confusion for rhetorical purposes is readily deprecated, it is appropriate to recognize that the tragic fatalities from major conflicts at the time of writing — Gaza, Ukraine, etc — are effectively engendered by conflicts between canons indifferent to their implications. This justifies the derogatory expression of “canon fodder” as a speculative conflation with “cannon fodder” (Capital Punishment of Canon Fodder, 2018).

With distinctive “voices” understood as “languages”, the question here is reframed in terms of the minimal number of languages required in eliciting recognition of a meta-pattern that connects. This offers the implication that no one language is adequate and the assumption that this is the case is necessarily problematic in its own right.

As with the earlier presentations on this theme, the following argument makes extensive use of ChatGPT (version 4, or its Scholar.ai plugin) as an experimental “cognitive prosthetic” — anticipating future assistance from AI as it is developed. The responses have been placed in shaded areas for clarity — and to enable them to be readily skipped by the reader. However when the documents are presented as PDFs, this shading may be lost (as with hyperlinks). Relevant precautions and reservations were previously indicated, including concerns with so-called “hallucinations” and the reinforcement of confirmation bias through what could be described as leading questions. There is widespread concern regarding the potential dangers of AI — a collective concern which merits attention in its own right (George Lakoff, Women, Fire, and Dangerous Things: what categories reveal about the mind, 1987). Curiously there is little corresponding concern with the “dangers”, “hallucinations”, “bias” and “leading questions” which could be recognized as characteristic of conventional global governance and its summits.

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