The middle way is a very classical idea and it is found just as strongly in Aristotle’s ethics as the Golden Mean as it is in Confucius. We are not concerned with the “ethical action” as much as finding the middle term which we can then try and define according to its relationship with the extremes at either side of it which should be assimilated by the centre. Perhaps our idea is closer to Socrates’ that the essence of anything is in its opposite. We see it as useful for arriving at a more creative understanding of ideas in terms of harmony between extremes.
Our experiments began by taking a word and imagining its opposite in order to find two extremes. Once found we then look for a middle term between them. The definition of the middle term will be dependent on the opposites at either side of it, but the pure form of that definition will actually be an absence of their influence through complete assimilation. A middle term must be between two extremes but it must be the antithesis of both extremes, and it must be an absence of either. For example, if the opposite of CHAOS is LAW, what is the middle term? We propose it is FREEDOM and we can draw a diagram such as:
CHAOS ————— FREEDOM ——————LAW
If this is the case then FREEDOM will contain both chaos and law, although its most perfect state will have assimilated Chaos and Law into itself so that they never have to become manifest. The chaos and law in freedom are felt and manifested as freedom. The extremes are still there, but they are not apparent. The HARMONY of pure freedom absorbs its extremes. Freedom is always struggling between the two: freedom from chaos or freedom from law. But the true harmony of freedom lies in the importance of it NOT leaning from one side toward the other.
From Passion we get the antithesis Frigidity and the mean Control:
FRIGIDITY ————- CONTROL ——————- PASSION
Just as Freedom is an absence of Chaos as much as it is an absence of Law, Control is an absence of Frigidity as much as it is an absence of Passion. Perhaps it would be the normal thing to link Control and Frigidity as synonyms, but the beauty of the idea of the Middle Term is that middle term is never a synonym of the extremes it lies between. When it appears like a synonym the term is corrupt and needs to be rectified (here the theory can have practical application). Thus if freedom is seen as a synonym of chaos then the perspective is leaning toward the dictatorial side of law, and if it is seen as a synonym of law it is leaning towards anarchy. In this way we can judge the moral value of the middle term but also the moral values of the two extremes. The healthy condition is when the middle is recognisable in the middle because of its disassociation with both of the extremes.
CREATION ————————- PERMANENCE ——————— DESTRUCTION
This is a refutation of the Will to Power. Creation and Destruction are implicit in Permanence without having to be demonstrated.
Other middle terms could be:
SPIRIT —————————— INTELLECT —————————- MATTER
NON-ACTION ——————— BEING —————————- ACTION
Here God neither exists not doesn’t exist. The middle term can make everyone happy.
UGLINESS —————— PLAINNESS ———————- BEAUTY
Plainness here is seen to be a more harmonious aesthetical concept than Beauty, which might upset quite a few aestheticians.
But what if we look at beauty itself as a Middle Term between Perfection and Flawed:
FLAWED ———————- BEAUTY ——————— PERFECTION
In this way Beauty is saved and Perfection is pushed away from pure beauty.
Let’s finally return to Freedom again, this time in aesthetics:
CONSTRUCTION ————— FREEDOM —————— DECONSTRUCTION
GROTESQUE —————– FREEDOM ———————– BEAUTY
If we can grasp the sense in these constructions we can see how Freedom may be a Middle Term option between any artistic debate. Freedom in art manifested in this middle-term way demonstrates that the free artist does not have to concern him/herself with rigid canons, but the harmony in the work will seem that he/she had.
AXIOM: LAW AND CHAOS ARE ALWAYS HIDDEN IN THE FREEDOM OF THE ARTIST.
AXIOM: FREEDOM IS SACRED IN NECESSITY[i].
[i] Of course we must be careful with this second axiom. A liberal-capitalist may use the formula DESTRUCTION ——- FREEDOM ——– CONSTRUCTION to justify a demolition or the destruction of a forest in order to build a new estate. But for these actions to take place they must become very apparent. Firstly a very obvious destruction followed by a clear construction, and it is in the obviousness of these two that the freedom becomes subjected to the extremes and is therefore nullified precisely because there is no harmony. The builder does not have the same “freedom” as the artist. DESTRUCTION —- FREEDOM —- CONSTRUCTION of a forest is not the same as DESCONSTRUCTION —— FREEDOM —— CONSTRUCTION of a play.