torsdag 20 augusti 2020

Cars: Some Faustian Remarks


Hereby some lines about stuff. Automotive stuff.



In the video to Gary Numan’s Cars there are no cars. 

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The car is a strong Faustian symbol. 

The car is a vital necessity to Western man. To Asians it’s not the same thing. Japanese and Chinese may build decent cars but they haven’t got it in their blood.

 

But we of the Faustian ilk live and die for our cars.

 

We have it in our blood. Can you otherwise explain why European cars are the strongest brands in the car world – still, after the 70s-and-on onslaught of oh-so efficiently built and decently priced Japanese cars...?

 

Japanese brands have a fair share of the market. But they can’t build top-of-the-line, crème-de-la-crème cars. They can have a shot at it (Lexus) but they can’t win (Mercedes).

 

The model premium car is European. And it always will be. Mercedes, BMW, Audi, Range Rover, Rolls Royce, Volvo, Citroën...

 

There is still some vitality in the Faustian culture. As we said in this post: the Faustian era won’t end just now, it’s got a thousand years more to shine in.

 

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“If I can for six horses pay, their strength is mine – I dash away // a proper man, as if I’d known, all four-and-twenty legs my own.”

 

Thus we read in Faust, the Goethe play. This summarizes in nuce the Faustian spirit – the power, the glory, the sound, the fury, the speed, the movement; in short, the joy of driving a vehicle. Faust spoke about a horse carriage but the gist of driving a car is the same. Spengler knew what he was doing when naming our culture after this guy, Faust. With his striving to dominate nature, to know everything, to master all sciences, to go beyond the beyond, to go for the infinite, the vanishing point, in horse carriage or by any means, Faust is the symbol of our culture.

 

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Elon Musk built an electric car. Christian Koenigsegg built a supercar [link to Swedish post]. – The Faustian spirit is still alive; still men can dream about building cutting edge cars, still the vision can become reality. One man, one vision – then the willpower to effect it. I lift my hat to these guys. 

 

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Cars and trucks etc. I’ve driven:

 

Mercedes Benz 200

Mercedes Sprinter

Saab 99

Saab 900

Opel Ascona

Renault 5

Renault Megane

Renault Trafic

Volvo 240

Volvo V40 Cross Country

Volvo F611

Volvo F407

Bandvagn 206

 

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I’ve just been told that Russell Kirk regarded cars as “mechanical Jacobins,” that is, as modernizing forces separating us from tradition. – I’ve no sympathy at all for this attitude. It reeks of the complete abstention from modernity otherwise displayed by men like Frithiof Schuon and C. S. Lewis. 

 

The car is here to stay and it’s central for everything Faustian; it’s an undying symbol, it’s a necessity. It’s like riding a horse. Was the invention of horseback riding a mistake too? Would solely resorting to your walking feet lead us back to paradise? 

 

This I ask the likes of Mr Kirk.

 

The riding of a horse, the riding of a car creates a certain mindset. And this isn’t just Faustian, it’s human. Like horseback riding being invented already in the previous era, around 700 BCE, at the dawn of the Greco-Roman era. And it spread all over the Old World, not just over the West.

 

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I once had a dream, a dream of a song. It went: “If you’ve got a car, got a trailer or a jeep”...

 

That was the line. I even heard a melody.

 

I wanted to make a complete poem of it. So, after some labor while awake I came up with this, a little ditty about cars, about a guy saying that he will gladly drive any of the cars his lady might have:


If you’ve got a car, got a trailer or a jeep,

Mercury Cougar, make sure it ain’t cheap.

Chevy Corvette, Metropolitan Met,

a Dodge or a Fudge – 

then baby I can drive your car... 





Related          

Faustian Era

Good Reads September 2019

Wagner and Popular Culture

In Swedish: Koenigsegg

Pic: Me next to a Renault 5, 1989

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