Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Ergo Sum's "Leitmotif" Rational Egoism in India

Jerry J., who goes by the web name Ergo Sum, is one of India's bright young urban professionals with a positive sense of life and a pro-reason, pro-Western, pro-happiness attitude. A Mumbai (Bombay) resident, it is his chosen lifestyle that certain subhumans chose to attack recently. It is sad and ironic when terrorist barbarians know better than "civilized" Westerners what India has to be proud of.

He has invited me to reprint one of his posts from his blog and website,
Leitmotif (http://ergosum.wordpress.com/) . Leitmotif is a humanist website, not just an Indian one. Jerry's interests are wide ranging, and his clarity and writing style are exemplary. There are many things of interest, and I recommend you stop by and check him out. Here is a favorite post of mine "Flamenco Passion":

Flamenco Passion

Flamenco DancerThe flamenco dance is like an Ayn Rand novel in rhythmic action: hard-hitting, sharp, precise, thunderous, passionate, Flamenco Dancergripping, poised, and proud. Since the day I first witnessed a flamenco dance performance in concert, I have never forgotten the visceral experience of exaltation I had nor have I come to regard any other dance form as rivaling this one. The flamenco portrays man at his best, proudest, and most passionate stature. It depicts a committment to clarity and precision in movement. Its expressions are fierce and its colors, vivid.

The flamenco can be a fiery celebration of life, or love, or lust, or power, or some intense emotion. Its artistic selectivity is focused on the stark elements of human actions and emotions: the expressions are not vapid or one of ambivalence. The dancer’s expressions are focused, sharp, intense, often proudly disdainful, also exuberant, and radiant. The dancer moves with a loud, deliberate THUD, as if readying for battle. The subtleties of its movements are expertly weaved into the stark contrasts in its execution.

For me, after having watched a flamenco concert, I feel a new, revitalized, surge of energy–a nourishment of my soul, a renewed committment to the pursuit of my happiness in this life. I begin to walk upright with my neck slightly raised; my poise exudes more confidence; my stance implies purposeful action; my gaze reveals some worthy goal.

This is what Romantic art does. In The Romantic Manifesto, Ayn Rand aptly describes this important function of art:

Since a rational man’s ambition is unlimited, since his pursuit and achievement of values is a lifelong process… he needs a moment, an hour or some period of time in which he can experience the sense of his completed task, the sense of living in a universe where his values have been successfully achieved. It is like a moment of rest, a moment to gain fuel to move farther. Art gives him that fuel; the pleasure of contemplating the objectified reality of one’s own sense of life is the pleasure of feeling what it would be like to live in one’s ideal world. The fuel is not a theoretical principle but the fact of experiencing a moment of metaphysical joy – a moment of love for existence.

[The image of the dancer is copyrighted to Tim Kahane and was obtained by me from this Flickr link.]

Stop by Leitmotif today.

1 comment:

Michael said...

I'd like to thank Ted and Jerry both for their heartwarming and positively constructive generosity. What you wrote about Jerry's post and what Jerry wrote about Flamenco are words of wisdom, the kind the world needs so much more of today. The words Jerry uses to describe the flamenco art form are almost as powerful as the music and dance itself; despite T.C. Boyle's phrase "Never underestimate the power of the written word" in his fabulous Watermusic, and with all due respect, the heights that music and dance can take us to will never be equaled. Then again, are not all arts equal as such, being distinct forms of communication with the common goal to share thoughts and emotions?

I would be very proud to have you, Ted, or Jerry, write some words about a Flamenco performance I had the honor of recording from 2001 to 2004 and editing in 2004 and 2005 – I'm convinced this is for you: the DVD Petenera – a Flamenco Drama in Music and Dance (links to excerpt) should take you right to the magical place Jerry so well described.

Please visit www.musicfilmfactor.com to discover Petenera and please write back to me at michael[at]musicfilmfactor.com. I look forward to hearing from you.

All the best from Michael, Hamburg (director & co-producer).