The Song of Songs as Indicative of the Pattern That Connects

TRANSCEND MEMBERS, 25 Mar 2024

Anthony Judge | Laetus in Praesens - TRANSCEND Media Service

Implications for Strategic Cultivation of Global Division?

Introduction

24 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 evoked by Michel Chossudovsky (The Pentagon’s “Ides of March 2024”: Best Month to Go to War? Global Research, 1 March 2024).

The earlier study is followed by a three-part exploration of which this is the second. The first, titled Reimagining the Canon to the Sounds of Cannon Fire (2024), focuses on the aesthetics of the “pattern that connects” as a challenge to hegemony. More specifically, this second part highlights the framing offered by the biblical Song of Songs, both historically and at the present time — as a form of spiritual driver for conflict, and a fundamental justification for divisiveness in society. The third part explores comprehension of complexity as enabled by graph theory and polyhedra (Connecting the Elements of the Pattern that Connects, 2024). The underlying paradox is where and in what form integrative perspectives are evoked in a war-mongering context.

With its setting in the Old Testament and the Hebrew bible, the Song of Songs (Song of Solomon, or Canticle of Canticles) has long been interpreted as reinforcing unquestionable justification for Jewish claims as a chosen people for whom Israel is a divinely “promised land“. Christianity has cultivated a contrasting interpretation as symbolizing Christ’s love for the Church. Both cultivate its implications as an expression of the love of the divine for humanity — however exclusively that may be understood. As a third Abrahamic religion, Islam has a contrasting claim regarding the Song of Songs — much disputed as might be expected.

The interpretation by Judaism can currently be recognized as subtly underlying and celebrating the righteous commitment to Israel in geopolitical and symbolic terms — at any cost, as is currently evident with respect to Palestine and Gaza. The interpretation by Christianity is suggested by the role of the Song of Songs in justifying the crusades — historically exemplified by the engagement of the Knights Templar (Wendy Heilman, The Paradox of Violence as Christian Discipleship; Bernard of Clairvaux, the Knights Templar and the Second Crusade, Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago, 2021).

The question has been raised as to whether the French chansons de gestes were inspired by, or even partially based upon, the biblical Song of Songs — as a love poem that could well have inspired some of the famous French chivalric notions (Solomon and Charlemagne, Australian Marian Academy of the Immaculate Conception, 4 May 2017; Haley Kaye, The Troubadours and the Song of the Crusades, 2016). Killing for love as a problematic conflation — with excesses evident in the practices of the Inquisition?

The righteous framing of “crusade” has been evident in the humanitarian intervention in Iraq, as part of a broader geopolitical strategy centered on the Middle East (Saumyajit Ray, A Crusade Gone Wrong: George W. Bush and the War on Terror in Asia, International Studies, 52, 2017, 1-4). The Song of Songs could then be recognized as subtly framing Christian justification of the role of martial Christianity — the Church Militant — at a time when the vulnerability of “the Church” to schism has become only too evident.

As noted in the previous exploration with respect to any new form of “integrative perspective”, and as a focus of continuing comment, the framing of the “pattern that connects” 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 variety of indications of such an integrative pattern was noted in the previous part. Reference there to the Song of Songs suggests the merit of distinguishing a wide variety of such indications as instances of an elusive underlying pattern — a “meta-pattern” in Bateson’s terms. As instances of a quality or style of thinking, each 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.

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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