Carl von Clausewitz, On War: ‘Total War & total Genius’; Light reflections [On the nature of Genius].
The concept or phrase ‘Total War’ came to me through Carl von Clausewitz, and his book called; On War.
What is War?
I read (part) of his book a number of years ago. As excellent as it is, I must paraphrase any quotations from it.
It is my conjecture that On War must have been influenced in part by the sociological concept and history of renaissance artists and their total immersion into their work and life-style that came to be associated with the concept of Genius.
“Utmost exertion of powers.” (Title 5., book one): In the abstract manner, this may simply be stated as the simplicity of genius. The ‘utmost exertion of powers’, put succinctly can also be devastating for the Artist, the individual, or for the ‘self’ in general.
What I mean here is that the illusion of genius can be fabricated through the use of apparatus like politics and society. Noel Gallagher from Oasis infamy was regarded as a supreme creative force – but in reality and like all rock stars really, the illusion of their genius is fabricated by a small society of influential individuals and businesses to elicit wealth and fame.
The above is a example of the type of individuals which were influential for me, during my childhood and formative years.
Pertinently, the utmost exertion of powers of an individual [artist] is expected if they are to be regarded as total genius.
Or is this only one skewed notion of what a genius is?
If I only dabble in creative outcomes and works, I can never be a genius.
But, if I immerse myself in a way of life not forged out for me by others, and give this ‘way of life’ ‘the utmost exertion of [my] powers’ then I at least may approach genius in my efforts!
As wholeheartedly as I actually hold this view at the moment, it does seem a little contrived if it in turn is influenced by Clausewitz,; or any theorist for that matter.
For Clausewitz may just be a messenger for the devil in this regard.
Really, (if we are to seek the truth and the reality of the matter at hand) this is a genuinely important question for me as an individual. For, committing to something was never a problem for me, in the past I have though perhaps done wrong when committing to things perhaps not socially accepted or liked. This has made me think long and hard about what things I commit my life towards now. This does not mean I have a blase attitude towards committing, on the contrary I crave committal to-from things and people also.
Going through hardships in life and seeing them happen to loved ones, is hard. It changed your approach to life sometimes.
But, getting back to Clausewitz, total war, total art, total commitment to anything [in this life] is perhaps now unfashionable, i don’t know. But what I do know is that to achieve anything in society in general you must commit to it wholeheartedly. That’s my wisdom [for the time being].