It's the Little Things: Remembering Western Civilization
Classical music is a pinnacle of Western civilization that always evokes in me a feeling of prideful human achievement. Now, seeing Western civilization seeming to scramble in disarray, I sometimes feel a bit mournful when I listen to the great composers. As ISIS tries to drag us into the dark days of bloody beheadings and jihad, and the globalists push us toward a social justice that would have us all grubbing in the Ganges equally, I struggle to hold onto the beautiful things that used to define us.
Mendelssohn is a classical composer who lifts me to another realm – a kind of escapism resulting from the composer's passion and the symbiotic relationship it forms with my cerebral ear.
Recently, however, while listening to the Hebrides Overture (Fingal's Cave), I rejected the mournful contemplation of our current cultural demise and mused instead on those small, seemingly inconsequential moments that affected Western advancement.
Closing my eyes, I could see Vincent van Gogh's hand as it made circular swirling motions while composing "The Starry Night."
I could hear Ludwig van Beethoven working out the beginning strains of Für Elise, defiantly creating though nearly deaf.
I watched as Albert Einstein had the "happiest thought" of his life while sitting in a patent office in Bern, Switzerland, pondering how a falling person would feel weightless...and setting his mind to unraveling the profound force of gravity.
I could see Coney Island in 1904, as 90,000 visitors per day filed into Luna Park, anxiously anticipating how the world would change after seeing the "Electric Eden" illuminated by a million incandescent light bulbs.
In a blur of sunlight, I could see John Keats sitting under a plum tree in the spring of 1819, hearing the song from the nightingale's nest above him, moving him to set pen to paper.
Over in Stratford-upon-Avon, I could see Thomas Jefferson and James Madison, touring Shakespeare's home together and forming a bond that, though tested, would last a lifetime and help forge a country.
Farther back in time, the Roman emperor Constantine stands with mouth agape as he sees a cross of light in the heavens, changing the course of Christendom.
Johannes Gutenberg is slapping his hand on an old wooden table in a "by golly, I'm gonna do it" moment, deciding to use his mechanical moveable type creation to print the Bible.
There was Michelangelo in 1512, sighing with exhausted arms, as he made has last brushstrokes for "The Creation of Adam" in the Sistine Chapel.
Farther on in my journey I saw Martin Luther looking for a nail to hammer his 95 Theses to the door of Castle Church in Wittenberg.
Alas, the music did not last any longer than to accommodate those few thoughts.
The music stops, and I am back in a harsh reality. I see anarchy on the roads, crime in our streets, drugged and drunken masses. I see foul-mouthed, vulgar young adults who have no larger concept of where they came from or where they're going. Indeed, they mistakenly think Western civilization, America in particular, is waiting breathlessly to embrace their falsely fresh concepts of failed utopias. They believe that everything that came before them was a terrible mistake; it's up to them to expose and destroy the hypocrisy of Democrat ideals, capitalism, and Judeo-Christian morality.
It makes one wonder how so many people can be so easily misguided. It's like riding 50 miles on a horse and then being persuaded to shoot him because it's better to walk.
As far back as 1997, an experimental audience was asked to listen to a musical piece and concluded that it was written by J.S. Bach when in reality it had been composed by a computer. A computer program called EMI (Experiments in Musical Technology) had the "ability to scan pieces by famous composers, automatically distill some of their essence and then churn out imitations of the work." Today, artificial neural networks (imitating how the brain works) and algorithms can generate their own music – creating new compositions or predicting the outcome of an existing one based on minimal input. That's right: you no longer need Beethoven to create the Ode to Joy.
Along the same lines, you don't need van Gogh or Rembrandt anymore, either. ING, Microsoft, and several other businesses recently debuted a new Rembrandt painting created by an A.I. (artificial intelligence) while recreating brush strokes using a 3D printer.
Will neural networks and algorithms be able to analyze Einstein's theories and progress to a new discovery that he himself could have made had his mortal coil not disintegrated at 75? Will A.I. be able to create a new Shakespeare sonnet that the bard himself would be proud of?
It is Western civilization that has advanced the world and continues to do so – so why are we disintegrating culturally? Can we not advance our spirit, our souls? Could it be that the indomitable human spirit that has been the cornerstone of Western civilization has rendered itself obsolete due to its own advances?
If so, the teeming masses must be cared for as wards of the state as they willingly give up original thought and creativity. As they do so, it becomes easier for them to dismiss cultural achievements of the past, as well as the impetus for those achievements. Once artificial intelligence takes over our smartphones, will our creativity and comprehension continue to fall as we ourselves become robots, simple vessels for thumb-punched data in/data out?
Will we not beg the government to care for us as we lose the ability to think independently? Could that be the goal?
One has to wonder, being so advanced, why we can't load America's founding documents into an artificial neural network and project the outcome and evolution of their ideals. By the same token, could we not load data from Socialist, Communist, or Fascist countries and predict the outcome for similar emerging states?
Better yet, maybe some artificial intelligence could tell us why predominantly Muslim countries and areas governed by sharia law are perpetually truculent, misogynistic, dangerous hell-holes.
If we're so damned smart that we can outwit Beethoven and Rembrandt, why can't we convince our increasingly dumbed down, brainwashed populace that we need to preserve Western civilization and not embrace and accept cultures that not only refuse to assimilate, but are intent on destroying us?
We've battled our way through the world wars, but nothing can compare to thousands of years of man's inhumanity to man and the ongoing parade of suffering and slaughter in the East.
Why then, when we've reached our greatest peak of academic, technological, scientific, and economic prosperity, must we commit suicide to honor a globalist agenda and be forced to absorb cultures that have done nothing but salivate for the death of the West?
Susan D. Harris can be reached at www.susandharris.com.