Kandinsky describes a ‘spiritual triangle’ as one which is divided into unequal horizontal segments. The bottom segment is the widest and, as one approaches the apex, they get more and more narrow, with spirituality increasing with successively higher levels. Within the triangle is the world’s population.
“Because the inhabitants of this great [lower] segment of the triangle have never solved any problem independently, but are dragged as it were in a cart by those the noblest of their fellowmen who have sacrificed themselves, they know nothing of the vital impulse of life which they regard always vaguely from a great distance.“ (Concerning the Spiritual in Art by Wassily Kandinsky based on eText #5321, http://www.gutenberg.org page 11)
The lower levels, are chock full of atheists and those who, without thought, follow their compatriots within the same level. At the highest level is one person and one person only, whom nobody understands. At one point in time, Beethoven occupied the highest level, according to Kandinsky. He noted that Beethoven was reviled by other composers at the time: “Weber, composer of Der Freischutz, said of Beethoven’s Seventh Symphony: ‘The extravagances of genius have reached the limit; Beethoven is now ripe for an asylum.'” (Ibid. footnote 1 page 7)
The triangle is moving forward with time. Gradually, those at the lower levels assume the greater insights of the next higher segment. Wisdom of the higher levels somehow becomes the new standard of the lower levels. In other words, eventually more and more people understand Beethoven.
Perhaps after another couple of readings, Kandinsky’s spiritual theory will reveal to me itself with more clarity.
Today’s watercolor experiment:
I drew my version of Kandinsky’s spiritual triangle. I had fun with some of the icons, particularly the thought bubbles. From the empty thoughts of the masses at the base of the triangle, to the meaning of life at the very pinnacle. My father told me once that (e raised to the (i) times (pi) power) was the meaning of life. Maybe with time, I’ll understand that as well.
Interesting side note: Kandinsky’s theory, on its face, has a lot in common with the thoughts of the mathematician G.H. Hardy as he wrote in A Mathematician’s Apology. In this lament for his loss of creativity, Hardy aggrandized his chosen field and had harsh words for the masses. In his assessment, he states that 90-95% of the population ‘can do nothing at all well’.
It would be interesting to make further comparisons between the philosophies of these two giants of their respective fields.