Why the Baroque? Why Now?

Because the baroque order is historically the only alternative to our clearly dysfunctional bourgeois society. The bourgeois society that followed the Renaissance is responsible for ideologies, all of them rejected by the Baroque. The baroque still exists in many ways. We have to recognize and revitalize  it.

In fact, when it comes to solving the current problems  (we will discuss that) people almost always turn to the ideologies of the bourgeois world. It is a mistake; it is a world whose days are numbered and it is not ours. A Guatemalan , an Argentine or Filipino lives in a country whose social and historical cultural background is Baroque. A Spanish or Portuguese person lives in a country whose modern form is inseparable from the baroque order,  of which it was once the most influential part.

The answer to today's problems is not to try to return to another version of the current political system, for example to the slightly stronger national state of fifty years ago which was the most common situation in many countries. We must open our eyes and accept that we are different and superior  civilisation to that of the bourgeois world led by countries like the U.S. and Germany.

During the Baroque by our peoples were at peace . The constant social division and internal conflicts today are due to the bourgeois system. After more than two hundred years it is clear that our copy of bourgeois society will not work . The Baroque as a social, cultural and political stance in our country and internationally is not for everyone of course. However  the Baroque Order has to be visible again, as realities always should be.

But I'm from the United States, I'm from Germany etc.

This does not mean one must simply support the type of society one lives in, or that there is nothing one can do. All countries suffer bourgeois civilisation to a greater or lesser degree, often called globalisation today.  On this blog we want to remind readers that the first globalisation was the Baroque, the undying enemy of today's dominant order.

Anglo-Americans, or Germans, or English can do a lot. First they can stop supporting the conservatives of all types who claim to represent traditional society in their countries, but are actually bourgeois and therefore are committed to the ideologies and philosophies which followed the Renaissance. Secondly, they can discover what their societies were like before the triumph of bourgeois values, before the Renaissance. It is true that England (and the societies derived from it) and Germany (and even France to a degree) are at a greater disadvantage than countries which, with the Baroque order, defeated the Renaissance and were able to follow a very different kind of modernity until they too were forcefully subjected to bourgois values.

This is a question for discussion. The problem is how to revitalise a non-bourgeois modern society but without simply being medievalists, which would be a losing stance for any political or social movement because it implies a return to an almost mythical past. For the good English, Germans, Americans, even French, the question is how to pick up again the thread of their history before it was highjacked by bourgeois civilisation which has made them very comfortable and very close to their end. Among people that speak Castillian, Portuguese or Italian, the Baroque order is still tangible enough to be understood by its friends and hated by its enemies.

Of course, for those living in what is now the South West of the United States, there is also another solution; one that is very simple but requires humility. The rectification of past injustices against Mexico would not mean that those who speak English have to leave these states. Baroque society by its very nature contained peoples of many kinds and unlike bourgeois states, never insisted on ethnic or liguistic uniformity. However, there must be a rejection of bourgeois values and philosophy.

10 features of Baroque society

1 - The Baroque order is the defeat of the Renaissance. The Baroque was not something left over from the Middle Ages or a blind reaction to the Renaissance. It was Catholic and as a society believed in God before everything. It was a social and political order that used its hegemony to heal the wounds and doubts and divisions caused by the Renaissance, confining that movement to certain parts of Europe for almost two centuries. Politically and socially, the Renaissance was a crisis and the start of a movement which would produce bourgeois society and values and which led to the Enlightenment, capitalism, and all the ideologies: absolutism, state power, fascism and conservatism, marxism and nationalism. The Renaissance was the start of an alternative bourgeois modernity which ultimately militarily (but not culturally) defeated the Baroque. Bourgeois modernity has been dominant for 300 years but it is clear that today it is ending one way or another and it is necessary to take up again the Baroque project. The West of 2014 is an unfinished argument between the Baroque and the Renaissance.

2- It is the first global, international and modern society. For the first century of the modern era at least, it was the only such society. It led the way in cultural, scientific and social advancement. Its wide variety of countries and peoples are free from conflict among themselves, but not because they are part of a centralised empire or even a confederation. They mostly share the same monarch, one closely related to him, or are states in a close relationship with the monarchy.

3 – It is an order from which ideology is absent. During its hegemony no name descibes it and with the victory of its rival, the bourgeois order and national state issuing from the Renaissance, it is confused with later social forms that are not its own, or is simply ignored. For the order which we can now recognise as Baroque did not substitute religion with ideologies or politics; its general principles and moral code are Christian. For the rest it is based on history and the reality of things themselves. When confronted with the political ideologies of the post-Renaissance (Machiavelli, Bodin, etc.) Baroque thinkers wrote of how better to order the society which actually existed. Countries were historical in origin. They were not creations of ideology and they were not ethnostates.

4 – It has unity, like Europe in late antiquity and the Middle Ages, but it is also a civilization which is conscious of and often exists in close physical proximity to antagonistic alternative cultures. It abhors this division and marshals its social, artistic and political strength according to its universalist view of the world.

5 – It employs the technical developments associated with modernity. Its armed forces are the most powerful in the world for this reason. Sixteenth-century Castillians are the first to make full use of hand-held firearms and fire and movement tactics on the battlefield. The Spanish Hapsburgs established the first standing army - in Flanders, where it remained for more than a century.

6 - There is no absolute state according to the bourgeois model dominant today. Political power is personalised, according to the instutions historically prevalent in each country. The personification of political power does not absorb or replace society but allows it to act corporately in history. It employs technically advanced administrative and ministerial methods, without destroying corporate society or adhering to the theory of division of powers.

7 - Society is composed of an array of corporately organised institutions which reflect its own makeup and prevent tyranny or the emergence of an absolute state. Society at all levels is socially, culturally, economically and politically autonomous. In this civilization, societies and cultures are not in danger of being absorbed either by globalist culture or dominant national cultures. Economy and society are organised corporately. These corporations take many forms and can transcend borders of all kinds.

8 - The economy is largely self-sufficient at the local level. Commerce exists to satisfy real needs and does not determine society and politics.

9 - Music and art. In Baroque civilization they become an international medium (history's first to flourish on five continents) with strong local variants. Elements from antiquity were incorporated, but only in a material sense as in the late, Christian, Roman Empire. It was not the uncritical use of Classical elements along with neo-paganism typical of the Renaissance, which it artistically “corrected”. In the Baroque, as in Christian antiquity, religion dictated the meaning of art, not vice versa. Urban environment and architecture reflect all these characteristics. Baroque civilization is not a private affair. The Baroque order was very rich and at the same time not very economical in its priorities. Popular culture (music and dance etc.) still preserve its typically Baroque character in countries which constitute the Baroque world today (primarily but not only, Spain, Portugal, Italy, Hispanic America and the Philippines).

10 – The Catholicism of the Baroque Order became that of the Church in general. Its weakening in the Church today is a reflection of the entry of bourgeois values and attitudes into the Church. The Renaissance ideas that caused the spiritual crisis healed by Baroque religious expression are even more prevalent today and therefore there is even more need to continue with Baroque style Catholicism. We still live in a modernity characterised by the struggle between these two civilisations.

The Baroque Order

The Baroque Order; the first modern and global civilization. Baroque music, art and architecture are well known. Less known is the fact that the first two or three centuries of the modern era from 1500 onwards, were dominated by the Baroque as a social and political order.
The Baroque world was a modernity that worked. But the current crisis of modernity, evident to all, is the result of the triumph of a modernity that was the main alternative to the Baroque and was indeed, its enemy: the society that first took root in northern Europe, and dominates the present form of globalization.
This discussion aims to produce practical measures to preserve, restore and develop the Baroque civilization that exists today as a major cultural factor in much of the world, mainly but not only, Iberian America (and those parts of the United States that belong to it ), the Philippines, Spain, Portugal, Italy, Austria and southern Germany.
The roots of culture in these countries are to be found in the distant European past but its modern form was established during the Baroque era. In fact the Baroque order gave rise to the modern world and continues to form the tissue at the base of society in so many countries.
The Baroque Order is more relevant than ever because the world is changing, returning to the situation prior to 1648. After this date the national state gradually became supreme, accompanied by secularism and relativism of religion and even culture. We now have a European Community without real unity of culture or civilization.
Medieval Europe may have been a united civilization, a desirable thing in itself. However we are not living in the Middle Ages. The reality of Europe in modern times is that of a continent divided into different civilizations. This reality was masked by the birth of the nation state, ideologies and secularism, but the end of the Cold War and the weakening of the nation state and of ideology in general, has exposed this reality. Europe is returning, not to the Middle Ages, but to the situation existing during the early modern period, the period dominated by the Baroque Order.
It was a period that saw Europe divided into three areas: firstly the Baroque Order, covering the Mediterranean states, Austria, southern Germany and the southern Netherlands and other countries; secondly, in opposition to this, a number of states dominated by bourgeois society – primarily Britain, the United Provinces (Holland) and other countries in northern Europe – between these two areas was France, a divided state, incorporating bourgeois and baroque elements; thirdly, Islam had a strong presence on the European continent.
This reality is still with us. Countries of Baroque culture are suffering from the effort to conform to a socio-economic model ( bourgeois) that is not theirs and now this situation can not continue. Secondly, Islam is back in its role as a major player, as it was in the seventeenth-century. Europe today is therefore more a microcosm of the world and its civilizations than a unity in itself. As we shall see, the Baroque is a global and international order, like its bourgeois antithesis. However, it is also part of Europe. “Euroscepticism” in this context has no sense. The European Union has created a space that will be filled, not by the emptiness of market forces, but by the development of unresolved cultural issues. Our task here does not consist in “leaving” Europe, and even less in trying to turn the clock back fifty years, to a “stronger” nation state .
The crisis in Europe, in international society and the nation state is that of the bourgeois world itself. We need to restore at every level the social structures, the institutional and economic forms that incorporate our very different civilization. There is no question of culture war but we must insist – our society and civilization is different from that of a bourgeois, secular country like the Netherlands or Sweden – nor are we an Islamic society such as that represented by the Bosnians, or the Muslim populations present in various cities in Europe.
In this blog we will talk about things that distinguish our Baroque civilization: autonomy at local, regional, cultural, economic and political levels; a small state, with the ability to act within its defined area; rebirth of architecture, music and dance based on traditional forms and the reconstruction of healthy urban and rural landscapes, etc. Action will be encouraged.
The image of Europe and the world presented here is not that offered by the media, but it is reality. The first step towards positive action is to define and establish the bases of our own civilization. This civilization exists. It is enormous, but politically and institutionally invisible at the same time. Achieving visibility is the first step.

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