Chapter Eleven: Desecrating the Arts

The specter of communism did not disappear with the disintegration of the Communist Party in Eastern Europe
August 16, 2018 Updated: November 6, 2019

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Table of Contents

1. Art: A Gift From the Divine

2. Art’s Immense Influence on Humanity

3. Communism’s Sabotage and Abuse of Art
a. Art in Communist Countries
b. Communist Elements Behind the Avant-Garde
c. The Inversion of Traditional Aesthetics: The Ugly as Art
d. The Perversion of Literature

Conclusion

References

1. Art: A Gift From the Divine

Human civilization has produced countless books on what constitutes true beauty. Theists know that all the wonders in the world come from Heaven. Profound art is an attempt to emulate and display the beauty of Heaven in the human world. An artist’s inspiration comes from the gods.

If artists receive the enlightenment and blessings from gods, they can become outstanding figures in their fields.

With strong faith and devotion to the divine, great artists during the Renaissance plumbed their ingenuity to create works in praise of gods. Their righteous thoughts and benevolent acts received divine affirmation and blessing. Artists in the mid-Renaissance period, including Da Vinci, Michelangelo, and Raphael, grasped techniques that far exceeded those of their predecessors and their peers, as if by a miracle. Their works — including paintings, statues, and architecture — became the timeless classics of the art world.

For centuries, these works set a noble example for humanity. By appreciating these works, not only can the artists of later generations study pure artistic technique, but members of the public are also able to truly feel and see the divine presence. When these works, the techniques that created them, and the spirit that infused the artists are all preserved, human society is able to maintain a connection with the divine. Then, even as human society goes through its period of decadence and decline, there will be hope for a return to tradition and a path to salvation.

The same principles prevail in the sphere of music. As the saying, reportedly from a German opera house, goes: “Bach gave us God’s word. Mozart gave us God’s laughter. Beethoven gave us God’s fire. God gave us music that we might pray without words.” For his entire life, Johann Sebastian Bach considered the praise and worship of and devotion to God to be the highest principle in the creation of his music. On all of his important musical scores, the letters SDG can be seen — an abbreviation of “Soli Deo gloria,” meaning “glory to God alone.”

This is the highest realm an artist can attain — the materialization of heavenly objects in the human realm through revelation from God. The great paintings and statues, and the most sublime scores in the early, baroque, and classical canon, were all the works of religious believers and represent the pinnacle of artistic work man can attain.

The three most important elements in artistic creation are representation, creation, and communication. All artistic creations contain a theme, that is, the message the author seeks to communicate regardless of the art form, whether poem, painting, statue, photography, novel, play, dance, or film. The artist delivers the theme into the hearts of the reader, listener, or viewer. This process is the communication — the transmission to the recipient of the artist’s mind.

To achieve the goal of communication, artists must possess a superb ability to imitate and re-present — with the object of imitation being the world of gods or of man, or even the underworld. On the basis of their target of representation, artists began their creation — a process of refining the deeper or more essential elements of the object, and the strengthening of their own expressiveness or ability to communicate and reach into the heart of their audience. If the artist possesses a righteous faith in the divine and in morality, the divine will endow him with the inspiration of creation. Such works will then be divine, pure, and benevolent — beneficial to both the artist and society.

On the other hand, when the artist abandons moral standards, negative elements hijack the creative process, with evil forces exerting influence and using the artist to depict hideous creations and grotesqueries from the underworld. Works of this kind harm their author and the wider society.

The value of the orthodox, traditional arts thus becomes clear. Divine culture and art in the East and the West were connections woven between the gods and human civilization, and were meant to bring them into contact. The ideas and messages transmitted through this art are beauty, benevolence, light, and hope. On the other hand, corrupt arts are created by those under the control of evil elements. They drive a wedge between man and God and drag man closer to evil.

2. Art’s Immense Influence on Humanity

Great works of art transmit heritage, disseminate knowledge and wisdom, and fortify character. They hold exalted positions in the great civilizations of the East and West.

The ancient Greek mathematician and philosopher Pythagoras believed that the secret of music is in its imitation of the harmony of the heavenly bodies, which itself reflects the harmony of the universe. The Chinese held similar views. The Chinese classics “Records of the Grand Historian” and the “Classic of Music” both discuss music’s correspondence with the five elements, and how musical instruments ought to represent and emulate the patterns of heaven and earth. Only in this way can “music of the grandest style” exhibit “the same harmony that prevails between heaven and earth. [1] In ancient Chinese stories, this music is able to attract the crane and phoenix, and even summon celestial beings.

Confucius once said: “The Zhou dynasty has before it the two Ages. How rich in culture! I follow the Zhou.” [2] He admired how the Zhou emperor ruled with ritual and music: “The Sage-Emperor Shun invented a five-stringed musical instrument, which he called qin, sang to its tune about the gentle summer breeze from the south, and lo and behold, his empire was well-regulated [under the benign influence of his music].” [3]

The “Music of Prince of Qin Breaking Up the Enemy’s Front,” composed by the first emperor of the Tang Dynasty, Li Shimin, was respected by the surrounding ethnic minorities. The “New Book of Tang” recorded that on the journey to seek Buddhist scriptures from the West, monk Xuanzang was told by a king in one of the principalities, “Your Emperor must be a saint, for he composed Music of Prince of Qin Breaking Up the Enemy’s Front.” [4]

During the reign of Louis XIV, the French royal court displayed high elegance through dance and art. Dance contains not only the techniques of movement, but also social etiquette and norms. Louis XIV inspired Europe through the art and culture of his court and was emulated by other courts and the population at large in Europe.

Not only was Frederick the Great of Prussia an outstanding king, but he was also an accomplished musician, composer, and flutist. He ordered the construction of the Berlin Opera House, personally supervised the opera, and opened it to a wider set of social classes. To this day, opera remains an important part of German culture. These few examples make clear the long-lasting influence that orthodox art can exert on society.

Orthodox art conforms to natural law, imitates divine wisdom, and brings with it special energy and effects. It has a beneficial impact on people, both physically and spiritually. Orthodox artists work not only at the physical, technical level, but also, more importantly, at the spiritual level, in their communion with the theme of the work. Such artists sometimes express a sense of experiencing a higher force beyond this physical world. The effect is similar to that of singing an ode to God — a solemn and divine experience that transcends human language.

For those who appreciate fine art, it is a special vehicle for communion with the divine. Behind art lies the accumulated wisdom of a people, their creativity, and inspiration. There are often profound meanings that go far beyond what is seen on the surface. Some works transmit a special kind of spiritual energy. All of this has an effect on viewers at a deep, spiritual level. The effect is singular and irreplaceable by any other means.

A good artist can influence the morality of society by instilling values into people’s hearts through touching stories and images. Even those without deep learning or education can gain insight, inspiration, and the moral lessons that traditional art conveys. In traditional societies, consider how many learned right from wrong, good from evil, through the medium of folk tales such as “The Little Mermaid” and “Snow White.” How many Chinese learned from the four masterpiece novels of Chinese history and from the traditional arts of storytelling and drama? Such works display heavenly principles to man, allow man to feel divine greatness, and make him yearn to assimilate to heavenly principles.

Degenerate values also exert an invisible influence through art. Professor Robert McKee wrote in his book Story: “Every effective story sends a charged idea out to us, in effect compelling the idea into us, so that we must believe. In fact, the persuasive power of a story is so great that we may believe its meaning even if we find it morally repellent.” [5]

In both positive and negative terms, art can have a tremendous impact on human morality, thought, and behavior. This is no exaggeration. Modern society bears many examples for study.

“The Mozart effect,” for instance, has attracted worldwide attention. The scientific community has conducted a number of studies on the positive influence of Mozart’s music on people and animals. In 2016, a more in-depth study of the Mozart effect found that Mozart’s music has a positive effect on human cognitive function and behavior. Surprisingly, playing Mozart’s music in reverse has the complete opposite effect. Austrian composer Arnold Schoenberg’s modern atonal music has a similar effect to playing Mozart backward, demonstrating its damaging character. [6]

Compared with atonal music, rock music has an even more negative effect. A researcher compiled data from two similar cities: The city in which the radio and television broadcast a large number of rock songs saw 50 percent more cases of pregnancy out of wedlock, dropouts, youth deaths, crimes, and so on. [7] Some rock music even makes suicide seem reasonable. “Its dark rhythms and depressing lyrics certainly can be taken as an encouragement for suicide, and it is an irrefutable fact that young people have snuffed out their lives while listening to it repeatedly. [8] It is not uncommon for teens who commit suicide to do as described in the rock lyrics, and numerous rock musicians have descended into depression, drug abuse, and suicide themselves.

Another well-known negative example is the nationalist Nazi movie Triumph of the Will. Despite director Leni Riefenstahl’s argument that she had created a documentary, the propaganda movie exhibited superb artistic mastery. The grand scenes and displays of strength made audiences resonate with the energy and power behind it. A number of the methods in camerawork and editing influenced film for decades to come.

Yet the work also became a crucial piece of propaganda for Hitler and Nazi Germany, and is known as one of the most successful propaganda films in history. The British newspaper The Independent wrote in 2003, “‘Triumph of the Will’ seduced many wise men and women, persuaded them to admire rather than to despise, and undoubtedly won the Nazis friends and allies all over the world.” [9]

Understanding the great power of art can help us better understand the importance of traditional art and why evil elements want to undermine and sabotage human art and cause it to degenerate.

3. Communism’s Sabotage and Abuse of Art

Since art has such a tremendous effect on changing society, it’s not surprising that communism uses art in its aim of socially engineering man.

a. Art in Communist Countries

Communist parties know the power of art and use it to brainwash people and turn all art forms into tools for advancing their brainwashing. Many people have ridiculed the CCP for having singers and actors as military generals. They wonder how civilians who have neither undergone military training nor been trained in arms or warfare could be qualified to be generals. The CCP believes that the people in such roles are just as important as trained military men in promoting and upholding the communist cult — perhaps they are even more crucial. In this sense, their military rank is perfectly in conformance with Party principle. As Mao Zedong said, “We must also have a cultural army, which is absolutely indispensable for uniting our own ranks and defeating the enemy.” [10] 

Artistic performances in communist countries are designed to have people forget the miseries they suffer under communist rule, and to cultivate their loyalty to the party through art. This propaganda effect — called “thought work” — cannot be achieved by mere martial power.

Compare the CCP’s grand opening ceremony of the Beijing Olympics, which was put on at enormous taxpayer cost, North Korea’s large-scale song and dance festival Arirang, and the former Soviet Union’s ballet troupes. All serve the needs of the party. In September 2011, when the CCP’s Ministry of Culture held a so-called Chinese culture festival, China: A Nation’s Art series, at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., it performed the CCP’s classic “model” ballet Red Detachment of Women, which promotes class hatred and communist violence.

If orthodox art that was close to the divine and promoted traditional values were to exist simultaneously with party-controlled art used for brainwashing the public, then the latter would lose its monopoly and have no effect. This is why all communist countries have a strict censorship system for the arts and the publishing industry.

b. Communist Elements Behind the Avant-Garde

For centuries, classical art has been passed down from generation to generation. This tradition continued until the 20th century, when it came to an abrupt end. The transmission and inheritance of art was replaced by a radical avant-garde and began quickly degenerating. As artist Robert Florczak says: “The profound, the inspiring and the beautiful were replaced by the new, the different, and the ugly. … Standards declined until there were no standards. All that was left was personal expression.” [11] Humanity thus lost its universal sense of the aesthetic.

The source of this battery of new artistic movements is closely connected to ideological trends influenced by communism. Many of these artists are either straight communists or para-communists of one kind or another, or they have been subject to the sway of these ideologies.

Georg Lukacs, the Hungarian cultural commissioner of the Communist International and founder of Western Marxism, founded the Frankfurt School. One of its tasks was to establish a “new cultural form” by abandoning traditional culture. This new cultural form set about excluding art that sought to represent the divine. As Herbert Marcuse, a German socialist and a representative of the Frankfurt School wrote: “Art both protests these [given social] relations, and at the same time transcends them. Thereby art subverts the dominant consciousness, the ordinary experience.” [12]

That is, they enlist art in the revolt against the divine and the subversion of morality. Views of this sort dominate the direction of modern art.

Gustave Courbet, the founder of the French realist school, was one of the participants in the Paris Commune. He was elected as a committee member of the Commune and the chairman of the radical Federation of Artists. Courbet devoted himself to transforming the old system and establishing new artistic directions. He ordered the Federation to demolish a neoclassical building, the Vendôme Column (which was later rebuilt). Courbet denied that human beings were created by God, and was determined to use art to express the worldview of the proletariat, as well as materialism. He is known for remarking, “I have never seen either angels or goddesses, so I am not interested in painting them.” [13]

Courbet believed reform of the arts was really a revolution. In the name of painting what he called reality, he replaced beauty with ugliness. His nude paintings, for instance, focused in particular on depicting the female genitalia, a supposed revolutionary act, as a way of rebelling and transgressing against tradition and somehow further inciting communist activism. The thinking and life of Courbet is an illustration of the close link between the communist ideology of revolution and modern art.

Under the influence of modernist thought, the revolutionary fervor of artists from the late 19th century brought about a series of movements in the art world. Unlike traditional schools of artistic expression, these were avant-garde movements that explicitly sought to rupture tradition. The term “avant-garde” was first used by socialist scholars to describe artistic movements that matched their own political aspirations.

In the late 19th century, these influences brought about impressionism. Ever since, modern artists have abandoned the demands of traditional oil painting, including the need for precision, proportion, structure, perspective, and transitions between light and shade. Neoimpressionism (pointillism) and postimpressionism then came along, centering their works on the exploration of the personal feelings of the artist. Representative figures in this school include Georges-Pierre Seurat and Vincent van Gogh, both of whom were involved in socialism. [14] Van Gogh abused absinthe and suffered mental illness, and his paintings seem to reflect these tendencies.

Works of art contain the messages their creators want to convey and are the media by which their authors communicate to their audiences. The artists during the high Renaissance conveyed compassion and beauty to their audiences. Compare this to contemporary artists, who exude negative and dark messages. Modern artists abandon their own thoughts and allow themselves to come under the control of low-level and ghostly entities. They themselves are often incoherent and confused, and their works are similar — dark, negative, hazy, gray, depressed, decadent, and disordered.

After impressionism came expressionism and fauvism, followed by Picasso’s cubism. In 1944, Picasso joined the French Communist Party. In his letter “Why I Became a Communist,” he wrote: “My joining the Communist Party is a logical step in my life, my work and gives them their meaning. … But during the oppression and the insurrection, I felt that that was not enough, that I had to fight not only with painting but with my whole being.” [15]

Picasso encouraged a break with the classical methods of painting. For him, everything was a piece of dough to be picked up and shaped as he pleased. The more eerie his works became, the happier he was. The process of creating monstrous images is the process of destroying an image, to the point where no one can understand it. Even Georges Braque, the modern artist who co-founded cubism with Picasso, didn’t like his “Les Demoiselles d’Avignon” and claimed that Picasso must have taken a swig of petroleum and spat fire on the canvas. [16]

Marcel Duchamp, the founder of the dada art movement, also sought to subvert and rebel against tradition with his display and use of readymade objects. He repurposed found or factory-made items and turned them into so-called art installations. Duchamp was called the father of conceptual art, and advocated the idea that anything could be called art. The dadaist movement is itself a communistic project, as evidenced by the manifesto of the Berlin dadaists, who called for an “international revolutionary union of all creative and intellectual men and women on the basis of radical Communism,” as well as “the immediate expropriation of property” and “immediate regulation of all sexual relations according to the views of international Dadaism through establishment of a Dadaist sexual center.” [17]

Dada’s criticism of tradition evolved into surrealism in France, as represented by the communist André Breton, who advocated revolution. He was against the supposed suppression brought by reason, culture, and society — typical perspectives for modern artists in Europe at the time. The artistic movements that extended these principles include abstractism, minimalism, and pop art. Abstractism is about the emotional expression of rebellion, disorder, emptiness, and escapism. All of these schools are a kind of postmodernism, which sets out to overturn all rules, reasoning, and morality. [18] At their most outrageous, these artists create works that openly desecrate the image of Mary, the mother of Jesus. [19]

Not all modern artists support left-wing politics, but there is a clear ideological commonality with communist thought — that is, the rejection of the divine, and the attempt to replace God as the starting point for understanding human life. These isms came to exert increasing influence in the public sphere and have ultimately come to completely marginalize classical art.

c. The Inversion of Traditional Aesthetics: The Ugly as Art

The numerous schools of modern art that have appeared and developed share several things in common: They invert conventional aesthetics, they take ugliness as beauty, and they aim to shock, even to the point of being as ghastly as the artist’s imagination allows.

Marcel Duchamp signed his name on a urinal and named it “Fountain,” to be put on display for the public in New York. Though display of the object was refused, the gesture was considered a clever joke among Duchamp’s peers in the art world, and later artists and academics have thought it the height of creativity. This is the environment in the art world whereby classical easel painting has been marginalized, and installation art has risen to prominence. In 1958, Yves Klein held his exhibition “The Void” at the Iris Clert Gallery in Paris. The displayed works turned out to be empty, white walls.  

A major figure of the postwar German avant-garde, Joseph Beuys, covered his head with honey and gold leaf and murmured nonstop for three hours to a dead hare in his arms, in the 1965 work “How to Explain Pictures to a Dead Hare.” In Beuys’s view, anyone could be an artist. One anecdote goes that a dubious onlooker could not help but question him, saying, “You talk about everything under the sun, except art!” Beuys’s reported response: “Everything under the sun is art!” [20]

In 1961, Piero Manzoni, a key figure of the avant-garde, put his own feces in 90 cans, called them artwork, and put them up for sale under the name “Merda d’artista” (“Artist’s Shit”). In 2015, one of the cans was sold in London for a record price of 182,500 pounds, or about $US240,000, hundreds of times the price of the same weight in gold. He also signed his name to the buttocks of a nude woman, calling the piece “Sculture viventi” (“Living Sculpture”).

In China, there was a nude “artist” who coated his body with honey and fish oil to attract flies. Desecration of the body seems intended to communicate the idea that life is cheap, ugly, and disgusting.

In the BBC documentary Beijing Swings about “extreme artists” in China, so-called performance art included the performative consumption of the corpse of a dead fetus. Art critic Waldemar Januszczak, the host of the documentary, commented, “China is producing the most outrageous and darkest art, of anywhere in the world.” [21] In fact, this is a result of the pursuit of demon nature. Some of these so-called modern works of art are so filthy and shameless that they exceed the mental endurance of normal people. Such behavior of the avant-garde is the Cultural Revolution of the art world.

Those who support modernism have taken to the trend like a duck to water, but painters truly proficient in the technical skill of painting have a tough time. Painters and sculptors who adhere to strict tradition, who master their craft through painstaking practice, have been squeezed out of the art world. John William Godward, the English Victorian neoclassicist painter associated with the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood, felt that he was discriminated against given that his style of realistic classical painting fell out of favor with the rise of Picasso’s modernist works. In 1922, he committed suicide, and was said to have written in his suicide note, “The world is not big enough for myself and a Picasso.” [22]

Similar methods were adopted to ruin music. Authentic music conforms with musical theory and order. Musical tuning and the keys and modes it produces all derive from harmonious natural patterns. The universe created by the divine is harmonious. Humans are able to appreciate and participate in the harmony of the universe, and thus create beauty, since humans are also created by the divine.

Modern atonal music rejects ideas like tonality, chords, and melody, and lacks order in its structure. Such music is a revolt against divinely imparted classical music. Atonal music violates the harmony in the universe, which is why many audiences find it unpleasant. Modernist musicians argue, based on their warped theories of aesthetics, that audience members must train their ears to get used to such music, so they, too, will enjoy it.

Schoenberg, one of the founders of modern music, introduced the “twelve-tone system,” a fundamentally atonal structure that marked the creation of anti-classical musical technique. Schoenberg’s music was considered the negation of all German musical culture until then, the betrayal of taste, feeling, tradition, and all aesthetic principles. His music was called “cocaine” by Germans at the time: “To perform Schoenberg means the same as to open a cocaine bar for the people. Cocaine is poison. Schoenberg’s music is cocaine.” [23] In later generations, a music critic assessed him thus: “It is a measure of the immensity of the man’s achievement that, fifty years after his death, he can still empty any hall on earth.” [24]

What led to the widespread acceptance of Schoenberg was the musical theories of Theodor W. Adorno, an important figure in the Frankfurt School. In Adorno’s 1949 work “Philosophy of Modern Music,” he attempted to use theory to demonstrate that Schoenberg’s twelve-tone method was the peak of musical composition. This set the stage for the widespread acceptance of Schoenberg’s system by later generations of composers and music critics. [25] Since then, numerous musicians have emulated Schoenberg, and his avant-garde style has had a major impact on the postwar music world.

After destroying tradition with modern music, avant-garde art used rock-and-roll to supplant the role of classical music in people’s lives. Sidney Finkelstein, the leading music theorist of the Communist Party USA, openly declared that the boundaries between classical and popular should be eliminated. [26] At around the same time, strongly rhythmic rock music was gaining an increasing foothold in the United States, as classical and traditional music was squeezed out and marginalized. [27]

The characteristics of rock-and-roll include inharmonious sounds, unstructured melody, strong rhythmic beats, and emotional conflicts and contradictions — quite similar to the communist idea of struggle. According to the “Records of the Grand Historian” by China’s foremost ancient historian Sima Qian, only when sound conforms to morality can it be called music. Typically, the lives of rock-and-roll musicians are full of sex, violence, and drugs.

After rock-and-roll, other forms of music, like rap, appeared in the United States and gained popularity. Rap lyrics are replete with swear words and obscenities, and make plain their rebellion against tradition and society through depictions of drug use, violence, and promiscuity. [28] As the morality of society as a whole declines, such “art forms,” previously regarded as subcultures, have made their way into the wider society and are even sought after by mainstream performance venues.

We have so far focused on the current circumstances in the worlds of art and music. In fact, the entire artistic world has been greatly impacted, and the influence of the modern art movement can be seen in the deviation from traditional ideas, methods, and skills in areas like sculpture, architecture, dance, decoration, design, photography, movies, and more. Many people who are engaged in modern art are strongly influenced by communist ideology. For example, the founder of modern dance, Isadora Duncan, was bisexual and atheist. She objected to ballet, calling it ugly and unnatural. She and one hundred students performed in Moscow for Lenin and used “The Internationale” as the main dance theme. [29]

As for why these deviations exist, become a trend, or even become mainstream, it is closely related to communism’s corruption of traditional arts that were divinely inspired. On the surface, of course, this is not apparent, and the situation seems to be a form of self-deception that has been widely accepted — the notion that if there’s a theory behind it, it’s art.

If people look closely at the differences between avant-garde art and traditional art, they will find that the artists of the Renaissance not only used art to praise God, but also to an even greater extent presented beauty in a manner that engendered feelings of truth and goodness in the human heart, and in so doing, maintained the morality of society.

On the other hand, the various mutated forms of avant-garde art try to reverse all the achievements of the Renaissance. They lead people to be attracted to ugliness, which brings forth demonic nature in people: Dark, decadent, depraved, violent, evil, and other negative thoughts gain ascendancy. The modern slander of the divine has led people today to be alienated not only from God but also from their own inner divinity, community, traditional values, and morality. [30]

d. The Perversion of Literature

Literature is a special art form. It uses language to pass on wisdom that the divine has bestowed to mankind, and also records mankind’s precious living experiences. The two great epics of the ancient Greek world, “The Iliad” and “The Odyssey,” both portrayed the complex historical story around the time of the Trojan War, vividly portraying gods and men and painting a grand canvas of history. The virtues of courage, generosity, wisdom, justice, and temperance praised in the epics became an important source of the value system of the Greek and the entire Western civilization.

Due to the great influence that literature has on people, evil elements control people, especially lost humans who seek fame and fortune, to cook up and promote works of literature that impart the ideology of communism; slander traditional culture; destroy people’s morality; and spread pessimism and an attitude of passivity and meaninglessness toward life. Literature has become one of the key tools communist elements use to control the world.

Some influential works directly promote communist ideology. After the Paris Commune was suppressed, commune member Eugene Pottier wrote “The Internationale,” which said, “There has never been any saviour of the world, nor deities, nor emperors on which to depend.” It threatened, “The old world shall be destroyed!” “The Internationale” became the official song of the First and Second International and became the official song of the Chinese Communist Party. It is widely used during gatherings and in works of literature in communist countries around the world.

During the history of the Soviet Union and the CCP, in order to brainwash the general public, the respective communist parties instructed their intellectuals to portray, using traditional techniques, the life of the proletariat and the concept of class consciousness in order to explain the ideology and policies of the Communist Party. This gave rise to a large number of literary works, including the Soviet novels “The Iron Flood” and “How the Steel Was Tempered,” and the CCP works “The Song of Youth,” “The Sun Shines on the Sanggan River,” and the like, all of which had enormous propaganda impact. The Communist Party calls this style of work “socialist realism.” Mao Zedong generalized the function of this type of literature as “serving the workers, farmers, and soldiers” and “serving the proletariat.” [31] The ability of this type of literature to instill ideology is obvious and well-understood. However, the methods by which communism uses literature to destroy humanity is not limited to this.

The following summarizes some of the major effects of communist-influenced literature.

Using Literature to Destroy Tradition. A major step in the destruction of humanity has been to slander the traditional civilization that the divine bestowed on mankind. Whether in China or the West, communist elements use intellectuals with modern thoughts to create and promote works that distort or slander traditional culture.

During China’s New Culture Movement, the author Lu Xun became famous for viciously attacking tradition and denouncing Chinese antiquity. In his first novel, “A Madman’s Diary,” he utilized the protagonist to declare that the entire Chinese history could be summed up in two characters: “man eating.” Lu Xun was praised by Mao Zedong as “the greatest and most courageous ensign of the new culture army” and “commander of China’s cultural revolution.” Mao also said, “The road he took was the very road of China’s new national culture.” [32]

In Europe in 1909, Italian poet Marinetti published “Futurist Manifesto,” calling for the total rejection of tradition and celebrating machinery, technology, speed, violence, and competition. Russian poet and communist Vladimir Mayakovsky published “A Slap in the Face of Public Taste” in 1913, also expressing his resolve to break off from Russian traditional literature.

Defending Hideous Portrayals as ‘Reality.’ Today, intellectuals and artists use literature and the arts to portray things or scenes that are ugly, strange, and terrifying, using the excuse that they are merely showing things as they are.

Traditional art conveys harmony, grace, clarity, restraint, propriety, balance, universality, and ideals, which require selection and choice. In the view of modern artists, such works cannot be considered real. Such views actually originate from a misunderstanding of the origin and function of art. Art originates from everyday life, but it should transcend everyday life so as to both delight and instruct. Because of this, artists must select, refine, and process what they want to portray during the creative process. Blindly focusing on “realism” artificially restricts the boundaries of life and art. If this type of absolute realism is art, then what everyone sees and hears is all art — in which case, why spend time and money training artists?

Using Literature to Corrupt Moral Values. Pretexts such as “expressing one’s true self,” “stream of consciousness,” and the like have led people to abandon traditional moral standards and indulge in the demonic side of human nature. An example is what the French communist and poet André Breton wrote in “Surrealist Manifesto,” defining his new literature: “Psychic automatism in its pure state, by which one proposes to express — verbally, by means of the written word, or in any other manner — the actual functioning of thought. Dictated by thought, in the absence of any control exercised by reason, exempt from any aesthetic or moral concern.” [33]

The “stream of consciousness” writing and surrealist “automatic writing” are closely related. Influenced by Sigmund Freud’s psychopathology, some writers in the West started to experiment with the stream of consciousness writing style from the beginning of the 20th century. Such writings usually have simple storylines and focus on the inner and private thought processes of insignificant characters (anti-heros) through narratives composed of free thoughts.

Human beings simultaneously contain the potential for both kindness and evil. A life should be dedicated to the constant elevation of moral standards and cultivation of virtue through self-restraint. In modern society, many people experience ill thoughts and desires. Simply putting them on display for public consumption is equivalent to polluting society.

Unleashing Man’s Dark Side as ‘Criticism’ and ‘Protest.’ Writers and artists in the Western free world, under the influence of anti-traditionalist sentiment, consider all laws, regulations, and moral codes to be restrictions and suppression. They see problems with modern society and the weaknesses of human nature, but instead of dealing with them rationally, they promote extreme individualism via criticism and protest, indulging in their personal desires. They use degenerate means to express so-called resistance, while strengthening the dark side of their nature, indulging in hatred, laziness, desire, lust, aggression, and pursuit of fame. The lack of moral self-restraint won’t solve any social issues but instead will worsen them.

During the counterculture movement of the 1960s, the American poet Allen Ginsberg became the representative of the Beat Generation and is still worshiped today by those who wish to rebel against society. His poem “Howl” depicts extreme lifestyles and mental states, including alcoholism, sexual promiscuity, drugs, sodomy, self-mutilation, prostitution, streaking, violent assault, theft,  vagabonding, and madness. As the counterculture movement became institutionalized, “Howl” came to be regarded as a literary classic and was included in numerous literature collections. Ginsberg admitted that he was a communist in his early years and that he had no regrets. [34] He idolized Fidel Castro and other communist dictators and widely promoted homosexuality and pedophilia. Ginsberg is a clear manifestation of the common ground between communism and extreme individualism.   

Spreading Pornography Through Literature. Since the beginning of the 20th century, explicitly sexual content began to appear in literary works, some of which were filled with such content, yet were still praised as classics. Many commentators and scholars abandoned their social responsibilities and praised such pornographic works as real, artistic masterpieces. We know that many traditional moral values function via abstinence. Breaking such restrictions, with whatever noble-sounding justification, undermines and destroys morality.

Dehumanizing People Through Literature. In the past several decades, as the culture became more and more confused, a great deal of genre fiction surfaced, including thrillers and works of horror, the supernatural, and fantasy. Through such works, low-level elements can control people’s minds and bodies, resulting in the dehumanization of human beings.

People say that “ice that is three feet thick is not the result of one day of coldness.” It also takes a long period of time and the involvement of many fields for literature to degrade so far that it becomes used as a tool for evil. Romanticism widened literature’s coverage of people’s lives, while some ugly and bizarre phenomena, including extreme and insane human mental states, were presented for public consumption. Several British Romantic poets were dubbed “The Satanic School” because of the immoral content of their poems.

Realism uses the excuse of presenting reality to express the degenerate side of human nature. Certain works emphasize warped thoughts and immoral conduct. One critic called realism “romanticism going on all fours.” [35] The philosophy of naturalism, as promoted by Jean-Jacques Rousseau, for instance, attributed the decline in human morality to the social environment and family genetics, thus removing the individual’s moral responsibility. Aestheticism calls for “art for art’s sake,” claiming that art is meant to simply provide sensory stimulus and carries no moral imperative.

In fact, all art has subtle, profound, and long-lasting effects on the moral sense. Denying art’s moral responsibility is to open the door for immoral things to come in. We can’t deny the fact that different schools of literature generated some high-quality works, but awful works are mixed in. Although we can’t say that communist elements directly manipulated these trends in literature, the negative elements are obviously the result of declining moral standards. They paved the road for communist ideology to destroy mankind via literature.

When a person writes, his moral standard and mental state are reflected in his work. With the overall decline of human morality, the negative mindset of writers takes a dominant stance. This has created numerous works that, instead of seeking to bring out the kindness in people, pull people down toward hell.

Conclusion

The power of art is enormous. Good art can rectify the human heart, elevate morality, harmonize the yin and yang, and even enable humans to be connected to heaven, earth, and divine beings.

In the past century, the specter of communism took advantage of man’s demon nature and malice, prompting the creation of an enormous variety of “art.” People were led to revolt against and blaspheme God, oppose tradition, and overturn morality. This had the ultimate effect of turning large parts of society demonic, which would be deeply shocking to anyone living in a previous era.

Compared to the beauty of traditional arts, modern arts are extremely ugly. Human aesthetic standards have been destroyed. Avant-garde art has become mainstream and commands vast sums of money. Traditional, noble arts have become a laughing stock. Arts have been manipulated into a vehicle for people to indulge in their desires and vent their demon nature. The boundary between beauty and ugliness, grace and vulgarity, kindness and evil, has been blurred or even erased. Grotesqueness, chaos, and darkness have taken the place of universal values. Human society is filled with demonic messages, and human beings are being steered on a path of decadence and destruction.  

Only by elevating morality and returning to faith and tradition will humankind be able to see another renaissance in the arts. Only then will we all see the beauty, nobility, and splendidness of what art can be, and what it was meant to be.

Read Chapter Twelve here.

 

References

[1] Record of Music,” Classic of Rites, Chinese Text Project,   https://ctext.org/liji/yue-ji?filter=435370&searchmode=showall#result

[2] Confucius, Lunyu, 3.14

[3] Sima Qian, “A Treatise on Music,” Records of the Grand Historian, Vol. 24.

[4] Ouyang Xiu and Song Qi, New Book of Tang, Vol. 237.

[5] Robert McKee, Story: Style, Structure, Substance, and the Principles of Screenwriting (New York: Harper-Collins Publishers, 1997), 129–130.

[6] Yingshou Xing, et al., “Mozart, Mozart Rhythm and Retrograde Mozart Effects: Evidences from Behaviours and Neurobiology Bases,” Scientific Reports Vol. 6, Article #: 18744 (2016), https://www.nature.com/articles/srep18744.

[7] David A. Noebel, The Marxist Minstrels: A Handbook on Communist Subversion of Music, (Tulsa, Okla.: American Christian College Press, 1974), 58–59.

[8] David Cloud, “Rock Music and Suicide,” Way of Life Literature, December 20, 2000, https://www.wayoflife.org/reports/rock_music_and_suicide.html.

[9] Val Williams, “Leni Riefenstahl: Film-maker Who Became Notorious as Hitler’s Propagandist,” The Independent, September 10, 2003, https://web.archive.org/web/20090830045819/http://www.independent.co.uk/news/obituaries/leni-riefenstahl-548728.html.

[10] Mao Tse-tung, n.d., “Talks at the Yenan Forum on Literature and Art,” accessed July 10, 2018, https://www.marxists.org/reference/archive/mao/selected-works/volume-3/mswv3_08.htm.

[11] Robert Florczak, Why Is Modern Art So Bad? PragerU, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lNI07egoefc

[12] Herbert Marcuse, The Aesthetic Dimension: Toward a Critique of Marxist Aesthetics (Boston: Beacon Press, 1978), ix.

[13] “Gustave Courbet Quotes,” http://www.azquotes.com/author/3333-Gustave_Courbet.

[14] Tony McKenna, “Vincent van Gogh,”  Taylor & Francis Online, Critique: Journal of Socialist Theory, 2011, “Vincent van Gogh,” Critique Vol. 39 (2), 2011: 295–303, https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/03017605.2011.561634.

[15] Pablo Picasso, “Why I Became a Communist,” https://blogs.cul.columbia.edu/schapiro/2010/02/24/picasso-and-communism/. See also “Picasso, the FBI, and Why He Became a Communist | On Archiving Schapiro,” accessed July 11, 2018, https://blogs.cul.columbia.edu/schapiro/2010/02/24/picasso-and-communism/

[16] Robert Hughes, The Shock of the New: The Hundred-Year History of Modern Art—Its Rise, Its Dazzling Achievement, Its Fall (London: Knopf, 1991), 24. See also https://www.moma.org/learn/moma_learning/pablo-picasso-les-demoiselles-davignon-paris-june-july-1907

[17] Richard Huelsenbeck and Raoul Hausmann, “What Is Dadaism and What Does It Want in Germany?” in Robert Motherwell, ed., The Dada Painters and Poets: An Anthology, 2nd ed., (Cambridge, Mass.: Belknap Press, 1989).

[18] Michael Wing, “Of ‘-isms,’ Institutions, and Radicals: A Commentary on the Origins of Modern Art and the Importance of Tradition,” The Epoch Times, March 16, 2017, https://www.theepochtimes.com/of-isms-institutions-and-radicals_2231016.html.

[19] Katherine Brooks, “One of The World’s Most Controversial Artworks Is Making Catholics Angry Once Again,” Huffington Post, May 13, 2014, https://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/05/13/piss-christ-sale_n_5317545.html.

[20] “Joseph Beuys: The Revolution Is Us,” Tate, https://www.tate.org.uk/whats-on/tate-liverpool/exhibition/joseph-beuys-revolution-us.

[21] Ben Cade, n.d., “Zhu Yu: China’s Baby-Eating Shock Artist Goes Hyperreal,” Culture Trip, accessed July 26, 2018, https://theculturetrip.com/asia/china/articles/zhu-yu-china-s-baby-eating-shock-artist-goes-hyperreal/.

[22] Brad Smithfield, “‘The World Is Not Big Enough for Me and a Picasso’: The life and Artwork of John William Godward,” The Vintage News, January 10, 2017, https://www.thevintagenews.com/2017/01/10/world-not-big-enough-picasso-life-artwork-john-william-godward/.

[23] Walter Frisch, ed., Schoenberg and His World (Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1999), 94.

[24] Norman Lebrecht, “Why We Are Still Afraid of Schoenberg,” The Lebrecht Weekly, July 8, 2001, http://www.scena.org/columns/lebrecht/010708-NL-Schoenberg.html.

[25] Golan Gur, “Arnold Schoenberg and the Ideology of Progress in Twentieth-Century Musical Thinking,” Search: Journal for New Music and Culture 5 (Summer 2009), http://www.searchnewmusic.org/gur.pdf.

[26] Ibid.

[27] David A. Noebel, The Marxist Minstrels: A Handbook on Communist Subversion of Music, 44–47.

[28] Jon Caramanica, “The Rowdy World of Rap’s New Underground,” New York Times, June 22, 2017, https://www.nytimes.com/2017/06/22/arts/music/soundcloud-rap-lil-pump-smokepurrp-xxxtentacion.html.

[29] “Politics and the Dancing Body,” Library of Congress, https://www.loc.gov/exhibits/politics-and-dance/finding-a-political-voice.html.

[30] Michael Minnicino, “The New Dark Age: The Frankfurt School and ‘Political Correctness,’” reprinted from Fidelio Magazine (Winter 1992), accessed Aug. 13, 2018, http://archive.schillerinstitute.org/fid_91-96/921_frankfurt.html.

[31] Mao Zedong, “Talks at the Yenan Forum on Literature and Art,” 1942, Selected Works of Mao Tse-Tung, (Marxists.org), https://www.marxists.org/reference/archive/mao/selected-works/volume-3/mswv3_08.htm.

[32] Mao Zedong, “On New Democracy,” 1940, Selected Works of Mao Tse-Tung (Marxists.org), accessed August 13, 2018, https://www.marxists.org/reference/archive/mao/selected-works/volume-2/mswv2_26.htm.

[33] André Breton, “Manifesto of Surrealism,” https://www.tcf.ua.edu/Classes/Jbutler/T340/SurManifesto/ManifestoOfSurrealism.htm.

[34] Allen Ginsberg, “America,” https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems/49305/america-56d22b41f119f.

[35] Irving Babbitt, Rousseau and Romanticism (Boston: Houghton Mifflin,1919), 104.

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