Thursday, September 09, 2010

Significant Moments: Homospatiality and the President of the United States

Albert Rothenberg, M.D. first described or discovered a process he termed "homospatial thinking," which consists of actively conceiving two or more discrete entities occupying the same space, a conception leading to the articulation of new identities. Homospatial thinking has a salient role in the creative process in the following wide variety of fields: literature, the visual arts, music, science, and mathematics. This cognitive factor, along with "Janusian thinking," clarifies the nature of creative thinking as a highly adaptive and primarily nonregressive form of functioning.

There is a section of my book Significant Moments whose manifest content depicts a dinner party at the home of the composer Richard Wagner.

Superimposed on the manifest content is the metaphor of the President of the United States.  In the 1990s Pubic Television broadcast a series of BBC programs in the Great Composers series.  One show was devoted to the life and work of Richard Wagner.  The documentary included commentary by various experts including Barry Millington, Penn State professor Paul Lawrence Rose, and the conductor Roger Norrington.  Norrington compared Wagner's personality to that of a head of state -- or the president of an airline, such as Eastern Airlines' Frank Lorenzo.  Millington said: "I find it very difficult to see the man sitting down writing music.  I can see him running a country or at least an airline.  Or probably owning a few.  But I can't see him writing music."

In the following excerpt from my book Significant Moments I quote Doris Kearns Goodwin's psycho-biography LBJ and The American Dream.  Goodwin is also the author of a biography of President Franklin D. Roosevelt titled No Ordinary Time: Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt.  Incidentally, Doris Kearns Goodwin lived for a time in the early 1970s at the LBJ ranch in Texas where she gathered material for her later book.  Coincidentally, Akin Gump founding partner Robert S. Strauss worked with LBJ and his firm represented Eastern Airlines, run by Frank Lorenzo.  Small world!
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I’ve heard it said . . .
Richard Wagner, Gotterdammerung.
. . . that Wagner, . . .
Martin Gregor-Dellin, Wagner: His Life, His Work, His Century.
. . . an autodidact with a ferocious literary appetite,
Peter J. Boyer, The Jesus War: Mel Gibson’s Obsession.
. . . was always at his best in small select companies of this kind, where he could . . .
Ernest Newman, The Life of Richard Wagner.
. . . play the professor . . .
Thomas Mann, Disorder and Early Sorrow.
. . . do most of the talking and was listened to with respectful admiration, free from interruption by pestilent people, such as . . .
Ernest Newman, The Life of Richard Wagner.
. . . the academicians . . .
TIME, Lyndon B. Johnson: The Paradox of Power.
. . . and cynical commentators . . .

Rexford G. Tugwell, The Democratic Roosevelt.

. . . of this wicked world, who presumptuously advanced opinions of their own instead of humbly taking down the tables of the law as they came straight from Sinai.
Ernest Newman, The Life of Richard Wagner.

He was obviously, I believe, hiding the weaknesses in his nature, covering the areas which were most vulnerable to hurt, concealing . . .

Rexford G. Tugwell, The Democratic Roosevelt.

. . . above all . . .
David C. Large, “Wagner’s Bayreuth Disciples” in Wagnerism in European Culture and Politics.

. . . his need to be accepted by the very people he scorned.

Doris Kearns, Lyndon Johnson & The American Dream.

In the symphony of his public performance these discordances . . .

Rexford G. Tugwell, The Democratic Roosevelt.

. . . the contrarieties within, . . .
Margaret Brenman-Gibson, Clifford Odets: American Playwright.

. . . sometimes seemed to him intolerable, and control of his resentment was difficult.

Rexford G. Tugwell, The Democratic Roosevelt.


2 comments:

Gary Freedman said...

I wonder if Penn State history professor Claire Hirshfield knows Paul Lawrence Rose. Dr. Hirshfield taught two of my couses at Penn State: History 19 and History 171.

Gary Freedman said...

Coincidentally, Akin Gump partner Vernon Jordan is a friend of two presidents of the United States -- and of Doris Kearns Goodwin!