The Kora

The Kora

The boundary between ancient and classical greece is often thought as the turning away from Mythos towards Logos. Mythos is characterized in terms of the bard, as poetic, metaphorical language, and Logos in terms of the philosopher as semantic (naming), apophantic (out of/according to the showing, or the as-structure). However, more primordially we should grasp the change from mythos to logos in terms of the splitting or fragmenting of the Kora. The Kora, or Chorus, is the song of being as aeon.

To grasp this we must first distinguish between two sorts of time, aeonic time, and chronic time (kronos). The human dwells initially and for the most part in Kronos, time is like a line, or like a circle, time is events happening after one another. It is this notion of time which phronesis (practical deliberation) for the most part utilizes. However, the human dwells also in the aeon, and this is reflected in our language by the terms “age” and “eon”, we might speak of the “middle age” and what we mean is not some specific sphere of dates (any such dating remains problematic, because the dating names something which does not strictly happen in chronic time), but rather a qualitative determination of how the human interacts with its world.

Whereas the human dwells initially and for the most part in Kronos, the Kora participates mostly in the aeon, and has phronesis (practical deliberation) through the aeon. This is because in Phronesis (practical deliberation), the chronic and the aeonic touch each other. To grasp this one must first grasp phronesis in its fullness.

Phronesis is practical deliberation. It works thusly: first the particular principles or goods to be obeyed in a some situation are determined (but left up for question). This is called prohairaisis. Then the deliberation, bouldesthai, applies those principles to the concrete situation. In the moment of vision when the right action is grasped, there is an aithesis (aesthetic sensation) which is not differentiated (krinein, Logos) but is pure nous. This aiesthesis is a nous of the law – agathon. Agathon does not exist in kronos but only in the aeon. Taking the agathon as directive, practical action takes out the doing under the light of the law, which is itself not pragma at all.

Thus, we see how in Phronesis the human dwelling initially and for the most part in kronos has undifferentiated aiesthesis of the agathon, which is in time as aeon. Conversely, the Kora (Chorus) dwells in the aeon and touches phronesis form the opposite side – from the side of the aeon, of the agathon (Good understood as Law).

The Kora is the singing song of being – in mythos the Kora is privledged, you hear in the song, the Kora.

With the turning away from Mythos to Logos, the Kora is split up. The side of the Kora which was concerned with poetry and crafstmanship becomes a techne (later the bards are split off from the craftsmen). The side of the Kora which was concerned with being and with politics becomes philosophy.

Splitting the Kora means the only route to sophia (knowledge of the agathon) is theory as phronesis. Before the Kora is split, all of human activity is related to the Kora, to the singing song of being. Sophia becomes known by the few, the law is appropriated by the state. Existence as slavery is reified.

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