“sense without force”

October 30th, 2016 by hofkirchner

The Neue Oper Wien performed Ernst Krenek’s opera Pallas Athene weint at MuseumsQuartier Wien.

Pallas Athene is a representative of George Herbert Mead’s generalized other, she represents the relationships of an ideal social community. Socrates shows how self-reflection can pave the way to a meta-level on which such an ideal can be reflected.

however, both Pallas Athene and Socrates are doomed to failure. Athens is populated by self-concerning individuals that use the common good as instrument for their own well-being. by doing so, they unavoidably shift away from the state of freedom to the catastrophe of Sparta’s rule of force.

Socrates reflects upon that situation with Krenek’s words: “in freedom disunited, we are powerless, united by force we are senseless; sense without force – when does such a light shine through our night?” (my translation from german: “in Freiheit entzweit sind wir machtlos, in Zwang geeint sind wir sinnlos; Sinn ohne Zwang – wann schimmert solches Licht durch unsere Nacht?”).

that’s the question of unity through diversity.


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