The Degradation of Art
This article is Part One of two parts and is an elucidation of the following observation:
ANY GOLDEN AGE IS PRECEDED BY A RESURGENCE OF THE ARTS, JUST AS ANY DARK AGE IS PRECEDED BY A DEGRADATION OF THE ARTS.
The first real Golden Age on Earth was the Golden Age of Greece, also known as “The Age of Pericles”, the leader at the time. We all know there was a huge resurgence of art in many genres. But it was also a time of peace and abundance for the inhabitants of Greece. Pericles was a benevolent leader and government served its proper purpose, unperverted by corruption and greed (to a large degree one must presume).
The Roman Empire followed on its heels and was the longest surviving civilization on earth to this day. But Rome crumbled and collapsed under criminal and perverted leadership at the top tiers of government.
In the latter days of the Roman Empire, the restless population was quelled with free “Corn and Games”, i.e. free food for the audience there to be entertained by death battles in the arena. Next time you watch “Gladiator”, notice the scene where a food-laden cart is moved through the arena as the food is being tossed up into the crowd.
I’m not a historian, so correct me if you will, but these are broad strokes to make an observation that probably isn’t in the history books…
The Arts have always been the preferred communication medium of the people–long before there were governments. Then came politics, a new communication medium. But due to the inevitable infiltration of those who seek only money, power and control, politics would quickly get a bad name and take a back seat to the arts.
It’s one thing to pervert government (which has a vital and proper function) through chicanery; it’s quite another to actually win over the will of the people when they are not actually in favor of what you actually stand for as evidenced by what you DO and not what you SAY.
Dear, dear, what to do?
First, let’s step back to that Golden Age. In such an age, the ethics level is high. Unethical action which deters or disrupts the survival path of the group is frowned upon or punished in an effort to save the group against the bad or evil actions of those who would thwart its forward progress. This is the natural action of an ethical group. The Moral Code or Laws which the group adopts are a summary of those actions found to be good or right and those found to be bad or wrong in terms of survival and progress.
So how do we get “bad government”?
Assuming bad government means “mal-intended individuals running it”, it’s a long process over a period of decades of slowly but surely undermining and re-defining the moral code that made the civilization great in the first place and replacing it with a new “moral code” that normalizes all aberrant behavior, eradicates the difference between right and wrong, and worse, starts to defame and penalize those who still manifest the highest ethical standards. And that can only be done through the Arts.
Few youth today would know that the Arts, and most noticeably the Music Industry and the Movie Industry were pretty much owned and run by lovers of music and film back in the middle of last century. I’m sure the same extends to the other arts including literature, fine art and the performing arts.
But in the last couple decades or so of the last century, these institutions were taken over by Media Conglomerates. Yep, the same guys who owned the rest of the mass media and the marketing companies who work for them.
So, if you’ll notice (those with a long enough memory), over this time all that was once thought to be immoral, evil or bad (criminality, drugs, prostitution, and even profanity) has now finally moved into the mainstream into music, TV and motion pictures. It took some 30 years, but it’s a done deal. Now the gates are down and anything goes.
But it’s even more pervasive than that. The education, justice system and political have been perverted and this too finds its way into all forms of media and art. Then we have other coinciding movements such as “political correctness”, the vilification of the institutions and people who made this country (the US) great: freedom of religion, marriage and family, free enterprise and so on.
Propaganda is a re-definition of words and events from their actual meaning.
Check out the school books of our young people these days.
And check out their video games.
And the movies they watch and the songs they listen to.
I know that’s a generality that doesn’t apply to EVERYONE, but there’s no quibbling with the fact that ENOUGH of the younger population (the present and future VOTERS) have grown up in a world where all that was once considered to be wrong, unethical or immoral, is now considered NORMAL.
And that’s how, primarily through the arts, the decline of any civilization happens.
That’s not to say that current leaders were necessarily a knowing part of this evil plot. It just takes a small percentage of evil people climbing into positions of power and decision-making that starts the process. I dare say some of the current kids in the White House are victims of the very re-definition and degradation of art and society discussed here, while a small percentage throughout government in this country and others are the truly evil ones with a happy bunch of brainless do-gooders propping them up in exchange for the privilege of power and a few tasty morsels tossed their way. Some of those particularly zealous and brainless do-gooders even get promoted to high positions of power. Let them take the heat.
Remember, in the latter days of the Roman Empire in the 4th Century, it was “free food and games”. And crowds roaring for death in the arena.
Then came the Dark Ages, a period where communication was so suppressed relatively little is known of that period.
It ended a thousand years later with the Renaissance–another resurgence of the arts; a period which eventually gave us Shakespeare, countless other great writers and poets, all the great composers, new movements in music, dance, choreography, fine art, film making, architecture, and even fashion, where living and life-style became an art form reaching a peak in the 1940s only to be interrupted by a couple lunatics in a couple of countries that tried to bypass the whole tried-and-true” rise and fall of civilizations thing” by trying to enforce their collective will on the rest of the world through the use of overwhelming force.
And when the dust of WWII settled, the world stumbled into the 50s trying to get back into the groove, but too many other insidious factors had already been worming their way into the woodwork of society–the very sorts of thing that could even let a world war happen in the first place. The 60s marked, perhaps, a last desperate attempt to protest the imminent decline of civilization, but by the 70s the Arts had sold their collective soul to the Merchant of Chaos, more charitably known as the Mass Media.
And now another 40 years have passed.
Get the picture?