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Thursday, March 22, 2012

On Prince Charles

Rod Dreher has just published an interesting article on Prince Charles in the American Conservative, "Philosopher Prince: The revolutionary anti-modernism of Britain’s heir apparent." The article is interesting both because it is a thoughtful profile that places the prince's Traditionalism within its wider context and because it provides food for thought about the political and ideological right. Dreher maintains that "Postwar American conservatism is a fusion of traditionalist and libertarian schools" (he is using 'traditionalist' in the general, little t sense, of course). I don't know to what extent this is true of American conservatism in particular (though the on-line comments on Dreher's article suggest that it is), but--more importantly--I suspect that it is true of the broad right as a whole.

The main topic, though, is Prince Charles, and my feeling is that Dreher has got that more or less right.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Coomaraswamy and the Beats

In a new article (see below), David Need draws attention to the importance of Coomaraswamy's The Transformation of Nature in Art and of Coomaraswamy's readings of the Upanishads for the music of the avant-garde musician and artist John Cage. According to Need, it was this and the idea of sabdabrahman--of brahman or being as sound--"led Cage to focus on the spaces between the notes." Hence 4′33″, the famous 1952 composition in which the assembled musicians do not actually play their instruments at all.

David Need, "Spontaneity, Immediacy, and Difference: Philosophy, Being in Time, and Creativity in the Aesthetics of Jack Kerouac, Charles Olson, and John Cage," in The Philosophy of the Beats, ed. Sherin N. Elkholy (Lexington: University Press of Kentucky), pp. 195-210. See especially pp. 204-06.