Jordan Peterson: The artist ventures into the unknown and brings order out of chaos which gives us a glimpse of our transcendent nature.
Could it be that the tide is beginning to swing back to classical music? With the demise of network television and radio a new space is beginning to open up which could shift musical taste back to “long form."
Why You Need Art in Your Life
By Toronto psychologist Jordan Peterson
A recent development in the world of YouTube and podcasting is the rise of the IDW, the Intellectual Dark Web. I don’t want to get into who and what the IDW is but rather the how and the why of the IDW.
From what I can observe, “the why” of the IDW is that traditional media and academic structures are failing. Traditional media has been dissolved by the internet. It’s over.
Entities such as NBC, CNN, or Fox still exist but so do Roman aqueducts. They no longer function and have no relevance in the current context.
After 1200 years, traditional academic structures are failing. This can be attributed to a combination of elements but one of them is the internet.
With the demise of network media and academia at the hands of the internet what are we to do about informed discourse? We turn to the internet.
How the IDW operates is long-form discussion. Their discourses run between one and three hours without any commercial interruption. This is where I think classical music can benefit.
As millions of people watch three-hour conversations about epistemology or Jungian archetypes, the chances of them sitting through a 35-minute Beethoven symphony must be increasing. Right?
That’s pure conjecture on my part. However, a rising interest in intellectualism must certainly go hand in hand with a rise in the interest of intellectual music. Members of the IDW such as Jordan Peterson often make eloquent arguments for the importance of art and beauty from a point of view which surpasses the tired “high culture” approach.
The high culture argument usually goes something like this: the music of Beethoven and Mozart is the best of Western Culture so we should respect it and admire it. There is often a caveat regarding admiration for their genius and ability.
Never does the high culture approach essay what happens when we interact with Beethoven and Mozart. The existential value of art is never explored. We are limited to admiring “the best” — generally speaking.
A thinker such as Peterson is taking a mass audience beyond the elements of high culture and identifying the existential value of art to both the individual and society. According to Peterson, the artist ventures into the unknown and brings order out of chaos which gives us a glimpse of our transcendent nature.
This idea of bringing order out of chaos is lodged deeply into our species. Every hero movie is about a hero facing an unknown menace which is creating chaos. The hero defeats the enemy and restores order or balance.
Why does Gotham need Batman? Crime is creating chaos in the city and the authorities can’t handle it so a hero goes into the night and confronts the chaos on our behalf. This is the St. George and the Dragon Tale told over and over again.
This could be the key factor which explains why we fail to respond to contemporary art and music in the same way we do to the great masters of the past. Contemporary art appears to express chaos and skip the order part.
We don’t like that. It is a victim narrative that removes the heroic element.