[Date Prev] [Date Next] [Thread Prev] [Thread Next]

Re: Mondrian

Feb 05, 1998 04:16 AM
by tosaki

Hi Thoa,

It took long time to reply you. Here now in summer holidays everything
is getting slow.

Thoa wrote:
> Hi Eiichi,
> Eiichi:
> >For Hegel, philosophy and religion are identical:  The content is the same,
> >the form is different.  He said that Philosophy "accomplishes" Christianity.
> >Rationalists' arguments are not necessarily based on the
> >"known things", nor just looking at materialistic side of the things.
> Philosophy and religion are identical in terms of Hegel's description of
> Plato's suprasensible world and Christianity's constant world of the
> beyond, a true and consistent world of laws.  However, according to Hegel,
> that is not so.

I read this part 20 times but still do not understand. "However,
according to Hegel,
that is not so.": where actually he mentioned this thread? I have not
found the lines in Hegel's works so far. My original comment above is
based on the citation written by Jefferey Grace in a review of the book
titled, "The Problem of God in Hegel" written by Georges Van Reit,
"Philosophy Today", Spring & Summer 1967. I do not argue philosophical
contents with speculations or impression, especially when mentioning the
name of philosophers. Please attach the resources on which your
arguments are based. I also will keep in mind this rule.

>This true world of laws is not tranquil, but constantly
> changing, because everything contains change.

I agree. However, as far as so-called 'law' is concerned, if the law is
implicitly changeable, it does not valorize the name.

>The Christian world of a God apart from humanity creates conflict.  This belief >causes people to separate themselves from reality and prevents solutions to problems.

Who said this? Hegel? Maybe not. He never said that, for example: "This
unity of humanity with itself, with God, and with nature is, in the
universal sense or as in-itself, in fact the substantial, essential
determination. Humanity is reason, is spirit; in virtue of the capacity
of reason, of the fact that humanity is spirit, it is implicitly what is
true." ("Hegel Lecture on the Philosophy of Religion: the Lectures of
1827", one-volume edition, ed. Peter C. Hodgson, University of
California Press, 1988, p. 213)

 > This is different from  Hegel's perception of the dynamic and
> "inverted" world.

You mean in Hegel's thought there is contradiction between his
understanding of God and humanity, and his perception of the dynamic and
interacting "inverted" world?  Or you mean Hegel's understanding of God
and Christianity in the state of affairs represented by churches?  If
so, you mistook the term 'Christianity' in the context. I am arguing
within the context of Hegel, not generalized meaning of Christianity.

> >For Mondrian as well religious and philosophy are the same thing (so
> >does in theosophy, I think).
> Mondrian did make an interesting mix of dialectism and Theosophy in his
> essays, although he is using apples and oranges to make his argument.
> Mondrian's objective of changing society through his utopian art is
> dialectic.  His constant using of relationships, of a utopian environment
> making a new man, is dialectic.  His idea of equilibrium through placement
> of opposing forces is similar to Hegel's using the opposition of forces and
> electricity to make his points.

I agree that Mondrian's argument in 'philosophy' of art is dialectic,
especially in the context of my former comment about this. Your phrase
"Hegel's using the opposition of forces and electricity to make his
points" is very interesting where did you find this?

>However, the substance of Hegel's
> dialectism and Theosophy are dissimilar and ultimately cannot go together.
> In Theosophy's world of Truth, the Real can be arrived at by stripping away
> all that is inessential.  Hence, Consciousness can exist in itself, A=A.
> In the law of dialectics, this is meaningless because separation will only
> cause alienation and because everything has to contain change.  Thus,
> reality and suprareality changes according to the laws of dialectic and
> "everything has a constant difference from everything else.".  For
> dialectics to exist, there has to be separatedness.  In Theosophy, this
> separatedness is only illusory, it is not the Real, the All.
> Interestingly, for Mondrian, dialectism is a mean of stripping away the
> inessentials, of exposing A.

In what context are you using the term 'dialectic'? In Plato's, Kant's,
Hegel's, or Marx's? If Hegelian's dialectic is in your mind, his is
different from what you described above. Danial Berthold-Bond wrote in
his book "Hegel's Grand Synthesis": "Dialectic is both a method of
demonstration and on ontological principle for Hegel. As method, it is
meant to show the necessity of development, or transition, from one
stage of consciousness or of history, or from one abstract category of
logic, to a higher stage or category." (Danial Berthold-Bond, "Hegel's
Grand Synthesis: A Study of Being, Thought, and History", State
University of New York Press, 1989, p.81)

> >We are now living in a no-truth world.
> >Truth cannot be authenticized now (such a naive era was gone, when
> >thinkers struggled to proof the truth).
> It may be a "no-truth" phenomenal world of maya, but in Theosophy's
> noumenal world, "(t)he 'Parent Space' is the eternal, ever present cause of
> all-the incomprehensible DEITY, whose 'invisible robes' are the mystic root
> of all matter, and of the Universe.  Space is the one eternal thing that we
> can most easily imagine, immovable in its abstraction and uninfluenced by
> either the presence or absence in it of an objective Universe.<snip>" (The
> Secret Doctrine I, p. 35, Stanza I)
> Compare that to Hegel's philosophy of opposites.  Mondrian cannot be a
> Theosophist and a Hegelian at the same time.  He may apply Hegelian
> philosophy in the phenomenal world, but the root of Theosophy and the root
> of Hegel's philosophy cannot go together.

"Hegel's philosophy of opposites" is not simple "opposites."
Berthold-Bond says "The understanding employs dialectic to rigidly
exclude the meditation of opposite. In this sense, dialectic sets up an
"equilibrium" of opposite determinations, so that every opposing
determination has equal value." (Ibid, p. 87) "The dialectical structure
of thought reflects the dialectical structure of the world that Hegel
argues that thought and being, consciousness and object, subject and
substance, do not contradict each other but mutually illuminate each
other." (Ibid, p. 91) In this sense Mondrian inherited one of his most
important hocus-pocus "equilibrium" from Hegel through two Dutch
Hegelian philosophers: M. H. J. Schoenmaekers and G.J.P.J. Bolland. As
far as 'dialectic' is concerned, in Mondrian Hegel and Theosophy go

> >Mondrian also seek for the 'reality' and the 'truth', but not just in a
> >naive way. He just can't. Because he was a practical painter and a very
> >serious one. For him every important theoria should be realized on
> >canvas, where there is no transcendental arguments - every entity of
> >elements of composition is exposed in front of you. My argument about
> >Mondrian's rationalist side is to show the limitation of the Hegelian's
> >logical thoughts, which Mondrian (and Adorno) inherited.
> Yes, since our divisive selves can only discern the phenomenal world, we
> need to deal with it in a practical way.  Mondrian may have inherited
> Hegelian thought in relation to the practical world, but he must have
> seen its limitation, too, since he is a theosophist.  Throughout his essay
> in "Natural Reality and Abstract Reality:  An Essay in Trialogue Form
> 1919-1920," (Publisher George Braziller, Inc., ISBN 0-8076-1372-X) he made
> many remarks regarding the need to not focus on the material and the
> practical.  In scene 6, he stated that the practical process of creating
> ultimately weakens the contact with the universal.

Your phrase "he made many remarks regarding the need to not focus on the
material and the practical" is true, but my use of the term "practical"
is different from what you comprehend. I said Mondrian was a 'practical'
painter, which means he was a painter in a practical sense, whose
thinking or understanding of art should be realized on the canvases.

I do not think Mondrian mentioned the phrase "the practical process of
creating ultimately weakens the contact with the universal." Where did
you find it? Please locate in the book "The New Art - The New Life",
which you recently purchased.

>To eliminate that, he thought that the exactness of machine-made materials to diminish individualism's effect, might be the answer.

He actually mentioned 'machine' in "Natural Reality and Abstract
Reality:  An Essay in Trialogue Form 1919-1920" in scene 6. But I am
not sure whether that might be answer or not. In many places he uses
'machine' as metaphor of ideal entity of exactness or modern self but he
himself never used industrial machine like material (except New York
period, when he used colored tapes). That why each edge of rectangle or
band is slightly wobbling. He normally used just conventional brushes
while painting, in a "rough work" or before settling the design of
canvas he is reported to have used some tapes or ruler though. I think
in this sense the following sentence in scene 6 can be understandable:
"He uses the machine, so far as possible, to perform the rough work so
that he can concentrate his self on the inward."

 > >Hegelian's logical thinking is just an occurrence in the 'head.'
> >side was seviourly criticized by the other philosophers championed by
> >Kierkegaard. Kierkegaard said that in Hegeliam logic there is no room
> >for argument of "movement": it's just a "mirage."
> Kierkegaard strongly champions subjective truth, as opposed to Hegel's
> dependence on relationships.  I tend to agree with Kierkegaard in that one
> should know what is best for oneself.  On the other hand, I believe in
> responsibility to others, and try to solve problems based on my thinking of
> others.  It's a fine line between loving oneself and loving others,
> selfishness and being used/controlled.  In an ideal world, loving others
> does not result in being controlled or used.  However, in this world, I
> find that is not so.  For example, in performing social services, people
> tend to use you as a personal chauffeur without consideration for your
> feelings and time.  When you give them money, they will keep on asking as
> if you're a money bag and will not enquire as to your welfare when they do
> not need money.  In personal relationships, acquiescence leads to no
> consideration for your time, dreams, or convictions.  Maybe what is best
> for oneself is knowing the boundaries.

Your observation is interesting but here your argument is a little
distracted from mine.

> >'Rhythm' is a strange thing: It's half thought, half experience. Earlier
> >stage of Neo-plasticism (1917-1927) Mondrian took the theory of 'rhythm'
> >based on Hegelian's dichotomy - 'subjectivity' vs. 'objectivity', on
> >which also many theosophical philosophers based in the beginning of this
> >century, especially such a scholar as Schoenmaekers, by whom Mondrian
> >got obviously influenced.
> >
> >In Mondrian Hegelian logicalism and Theosophist mysticism are
> >interestingly mixed up. I think he sensed the limitation of the Hegelian
> >logicalism (Mondrian thought rhythm is the property of the subject and
> >the substratum of composition, and in the process of attaining the
> >objective (or the universal) functions as an agent to attain
> >equilibrated point, which was, in the earlier stage, 'stasis'.
> In mystical thinking, each is part of a whole and yet is the whole.  In
> order to see the whole, we need to look at the part in its relationship to
> the whole, see that the part is also the whole, and that there is no
> differentiation.  Ultimately, there is no such thing as separation.  With
> that in mind, we can understand Mondrian's idea of multiplicity.  In Scene
> 2, p.36, Mondrian made the difference between materialistic rhythm and
> inner rhythm.

I cannot find any 'rhythm' mentioned in Scene 2. In Scene 3 he mentioned
'rhythm' a lot though (maybe you made a mistake to locate it). There
Mondrian allocates rhythm for the function of destruction: destruction
of "capriciousness of individual things" - this function makes natural
condition have some sense of rhythm; "destruction of the absoluteness of
this primary relationship" and "naturalistic rhythm"- inward rhythm and
the rhythm of the New Plastic. In this early stage of Neo-plasticism
Mondrian's theory of rhythm does not have concrete sense or
materialistic sense. So Mondrian's rhythm at this stage is not easy to
discriminate between materialistic and inner rhythm.

>In a Hegelian sense, rhythm is formed through relationships
> of separate things to each other.  Also, rhythm unifies them, that is,
> destroy their individuality and "capriciousness".  That is true in
> naturalistic painting.  In the New Plastic, the multiplicity of the
> "primordial relationship" creates an inward rhythm, and this destroys
> natural rhythm. This makes sense in that "rhythm, no matter how inward, is
> always present, and is even varied by the diversity of dimensions through
> which the primordial relationship, that of position, is expressed."  To me,
> that is yogic rhythm, the rhythm of stillness, the rhythm that passes
> through the various laya centers, the various dimensions. This
> "equilibrated duality" creates stillness.  This stillness is the inner
> rhythm.  This is "movement as purely equilibrated relationship expressing
> repose."(p.100)

This part is pretty interesting we should discuss this line more.

> >In Hegel 'absoluteness' and the 'universal' is the same thing and which
> >is brought by 'judgement.' Within this 'judgement-universal' sphere
> >rhythm is the epistemological evidence and not empirical one.
> What do you mean by 'judgment'?  Hegel's 'absoluteness' refers to the
> perfect, total, and practical concept of the world.  The perfect merging of
> theory with practice.  To him, this is an unattainable ideal.  Hegel's
> concept of the "universal" is unlike the theosophical concept of the
> universal, which cannot be affected by theory or practice.

"Judgement" occurs within individual (which shares the etymological
meaning with judgement) or subject. Objectivity can be attained by
'judgement" or putting in another way, unless "judgement"  is performed
by subject, there is no objectivity. In Hegel (and Mondrian as well)
the status of 'pure' objectivity is the same as that of universality. In
this sense I mean that even the attainment of universality in Hegelian
sense is possible inescapably within epistemological sense of subject or
individual. Here I do not talk about quality of "universality", but
about the state of it. Therefore in Hegelian's sense the realization of
rhythm is irrelevant of the actual realization on canvas. That is why
Mondrian had to quit Hegelian's castle of universality to focus on
actual realization of rhythm in later period of Neo-plasticism.

> >Then Mondrian gradually elevated the status of rhythm as a role within
> >the subjective, from the substratum of composition to the same level as
> >composition, which organizes the elements of painting, such as lines,
> >colour planes.
> As he became more aware of the role of rhythm in his thinking, he began to
> employ it more consciously in his painting, probably walking the fine line
> between naturalistic rhythm and plastic rhythm.  He also said that the
> practical distracts from the universal.

The same question: where does he mention "the practical distracts from
the universal."
 And in what sense of "practical"?

> >Here my interest in Hinduism (and Theosophy), which you evoked me a
> >lot,  is  that the theory of rhythm in Hinduism, I conjecture, is not
> >limited to the epistemological evidence, but applicable to the empirical
> >field. In order to attest this point, all you have to do is to listen
> >Hindu music. A great deal of Hindu music is very rhythmic and exactly
> >based on the theory called Raga.
> >
> >If Mondrian knew Yogic theory of rhythm like Bailey put it, it will be a
> >very interesting story. The scenario is like this: Mondrian quit the
> >theory of rhythm based on Hegelian logicalism, and in the process of his
> >deepening Theosophical-Hindu thoughts accompanied by his experience as a
> >practical painter, he constituted the theory in much empirical way,
> >which is still based on some logic; this time Hinduism. I hope this
> >scenario will work in a positive way. How do you think?
> It's a possibility.  It could also be that he merged rational thought and
> mystical thought from the very beginning.  Think of it this way.  No matter
> what we do, we have to acknowledge the material and use it to connect with
> the universal, even if it's by meditation or chanting.  To me, Mondrian
> used the concept of relationship between material means (color, lines,
> tones), expressed via Hegelian concepts, in order to reach the ultimate
> goal of inner rhythm that connects to the universal.

I agree.

> >Definitely your English is better than mine, but you also should watch
> >out: too much vocabulary and rhetoric might kill the clarity of the
> >argument. Your throwing stone cannot kill two birds at the same time - a
> >clumsy English speaking preacher birdie with a clear argument and a
> >smart English speaking preacher birdie with a clear rhetoric. Clumsy
> >talker sometimes enchants the listeners because of the contents. Anyway
> >I always love your witty joke, Thoa.
> A smart English speaking preacher with a clear argument creates poetry.  I
> could be Shakespeare, but you'll have to stick with Haiku, Eiichi.:o)

To be Shakespeare is to stay within literature, whereas to be Basho, who
was the Haiku master in 18c, is to go beyond the boundary of literature
and into both actual and vertical 'space', because he was a nomadic poet
and his Haiku alludes the mixture of actual space and imaginative space.

> >> >OK. My religious experiences are not theoretical ones, though.
> >>
> >> If not theoretical, what were they like?
> >>
> >
> >Maybe mysticism. This answer makes a tautology, doesn't it?
> Depending on whether it REALLY is theoretical.

Yes. It is THEORETICAL mysticism.

Maybe it is time for new balls.



[Back to Top]

Theosophy World: Dedicated to the Theosophical Philosophy and its Practical Application