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What is a Salon?
Why the gathering of intellectuals is an important design
The “salon” is an outdated term to describe the gathering of intellectuals and artists to discuss ideas, have debates, and exchange influence with one another for the next few hours. Every experience at a salon is an intellectual pleasure, whereas the real treat is talking to another similar or opposing intellectual like yourself. The salon also is related to and manifested under the terms of the “party,” “show,” “gig,” “poetry slam,” “event,” “gallery,” “reading,” “display,” “lecture,” “commune,” “collective,” “all-ages show,” and so on. All of these genre-splitting niches relate to one function: the salon.
Where the salon takes place could be anywhere. It could be someone’s house, a rooftop party, in a basement, outside, on a boat, in a store, in a nightclub, wherever the people can talk to one another and exchange ideas with that intended purpose. The host usually creates a public flyer for the salon or invites a private group of close associates, friends, or strangers. Salons may be freeform or have a guideline of rules to follow. If it is freeform, it usually is classified as a “party,” “event,” “gallery,” or “display,” and the gathering lasts for about six hours. If the salon has rules, it follows an orderly guideline or schedule. For a “show” or “gig,” about three to four bands play in succession, with break time in between, and an after-talk that follows. The same could be said about the “poetry slam,” “reading,” or “lecture,” as they also tend to follow rules. Likewise, any “performance” follows rules, and “socializing” has none.
Another name for the house concert is “the all-ages show,” which is a popular term among the hardcore punk scene as well as indie and experimental electronics. While the all-ages show is intended to be a D.I.Y. music concert at a small venue, it shares all the values and similarities of a salon. Thus, the all-ages show, like any other event with a “show” in its name, should be classified as a salon.
What is “socializing” then if it has no rules? One must know how to speak English and to conduct it with another English-speaking person. A subconscious level of mannerism (or etiquette) invades the individual’s freedom, and the restriction influences the conduction of speaking, body language, eye contact, conversation, and actions. It is assumed that the“professionals” are experienced in this level of social transaction, and can “read the air.” However, there are still no rules to follow when intellects gather in the same space together. The assumption is that an intellectual knows how to speak and what to say against strangers or friends, which takes the form of “politeness.” The real objective is for the intellectual to have a conversation and exchange an idea or a new thought or experience from it. There should be conversation rules, as it is an art, and drunken fools and coked-up dandies are victims of the intellectual’s rhetoric.
It isn’t to say that the intellectual is there at the salon to “sell” something to the innocent. And the intellectual isn’t there for word salads of emotional venting or hipster posturing. Those are forms of pleasure, but fail to see the salon’s actual objective. Rather, the intellectual has a mission to increase his intelligence, his conversation and debating skills, and to reach out to potential allies that politically can support his work. This requires a level of practicing “intellectual Jujutsu,” of maneuvering and somersaulting the opposition’s rhetoric to the ground, like in Judo. The salon may be dressed up as a brothel of equal and assumed “friends” in a space together when in reality, it provides the intellectual the power to destroy the hedonism and nihilism of teenage guilt.
According to Plato, Socrates was brought before the Athenian court on charges of impiety and corrupting the city's youth. He would go around asking his “Socratic method” in which he would listen to the opposition, clarify the opposition’s voice back, and then challenge the opposition by finding new key axioms in the conversation that weren’t there. The opposition would start questioning themselves, and learn something new in conversation from the teacher’s guidance. This caused chaos in Athenian society because it changed the minds of intellectuals.
The same Socratic method should be used in any salon. The corrupted salon may, in part, justify pleasure with drugs, alcohol, and date rape, but doesn’t realize it allowed the intellectual to enter its doors and save them from their doom. The objective isn’t the intellectual trying to win over people, but he is saving people by turning them into brighter intellects. Women, for example, are seen as commodities wherever they are because men see them as sexual objects. And the women acknowledge this and take pride in being the ideological “supply” against the needy “demand.” In the salon, drugs, alcohol, and women are the three sins that distort enlightenment. A careful curation is required to make sure that these three retardations don’t destroy the salon.
No intellectual at the salon wants to drink with rude or pointless strangers as a hobby. Some of the men call it “bantering” and play dumb when confronted with that evil behavior. The purpose of the salon is to find a spiritual connection with someone. With this goal in mind, the intellectual takes their new friend, branches off, and continues from there. The salon is supposed to fulfill the function of meeting new people who can achieve greatness together. People who like sitting around, drinking, and talking about their lives as emotional therapy delay all action. This is what the intellectual should acknowledge at the salon and be aware of these hazards, even under elite circumstances.
A great salon is made up of intellects who use the Socratic method at equal measures. And yet, the majority of salon attendees do not realize that the design of the salon is for and by the intellectual. The salon is about the promotion of the arts and intellectual enlightenment. No matter how decadent another New York City “party” may be, there is at least one intellect there to turn it into a new form; a salon.
What is interesting is that the gathering at first provides no rules to work with. A seasoned salon intellect will enforce the rules (think of it as a “game master”) around a single or group conversation. A group conversation can’t rely on the Socratic method because of its democratic nature. Many personalities will conflict and demand that their voice is in the center. A natural power conflict arises. The intellectual should never be intimidated by the dumbest brutes imaginable, as good skills in debate and conversation can make anyone a fool. The conversation will be redirected to the intellectual once the main point is spoken again as the agenda. Gossip and bantering are a result of trauma bonding and should immediately be redirected to self-reflection and persuasion of group enlightenment.
Women tend to only speak with each other, while men start the conflict in the room. It is also natural that women follow the men and learn from the leader. A man directs a woman into a constructive vision to show himself as sensitive, innocent, intelligent, and artistic, which are all values of virtue ethics. Without virtue ethics, women will feed into their self-destructive fantasy about the negging guy at the salon that will eventually rape her with the cartooney language of pick-up seduction. This is bad, especially for the women. It is a man’s duty at the salon to show the woman an act of chivalry, reminding her that the value of his deep intellect is the seduction and not the brute’s manhandling. The philistine is not welcomed at the salon, and it is the job of the intellectual at the salon to weed them out.
There is also the issue of women who control the salon because of their presence, and they downplay the active men in the room. Men worship the women, in that they may, in return, get love or possible sex from them. The women influencing the salon are usually the ones smuggling in the drugs or asking the men for them. In many ways, the woman sees the salon not as something for her growth, but as a simulacrum of how to have “fun” as an “adult.” It is a transitional phase from her high school clique or undergraduate outings to a new level of arrogance and the creation of a narcissistic-minded narrative that she is the protagonist of an art film nobody is watching. It is advised that intellectual men confront tardy women like this, and without fear of being called a sexist, criticize the doxy for her selfishness and bourgeois manipulation. This is a reminder that not all women are innocent, are most of them hate virtue ethics and ignore the true purpose of the salon.
A salon is interesting because it is somewhere between a public and a private affair. We could go to the “church,” the “agora,” or a “protest” out in public to exercise our intellectualism. Yet what makes the salon special is that it relies on the gathering to give it purpose. When the intellectual is called to the salon, he must learn, grow, and fight there. The exposure of the intellectual attending the salon is also the presence of virtue ethics in practice. He stays away from the arrogant who just want to have hedonistic “fun” as extroverted socialites and reaffirms there is higher meaning in the intellectual and artistic gathering.
Salons can be elitist meetings full of conspiracy. It is right for the uninvited to question the existence of the exclusive salons, as salons provide the political machinations of the elite’s will. Inflirtation is a natural occurrence at the salon, and journalistic exposure is a moral effort. What happens at Bohemian Grove is more sinister than anything happening daily. It is the intellectual’s responsibility to know about other salons and what they are doing to rule over others. On the sole principle that a salon is intended for elite intellectuals to gather together for uncertain pleasures, that should already be an alarming concern for anyone in the public space. An ethical intellectual should report such conspiracy to the public and enlighten the proletariat of these freemasons who are trying to destroy the people.
The true criticism of the salon is found within conspiracy theory. The entire career of Alex Jones is to expose the esoteric elite and give the people the truth about what is happening behind the curtains. Attending a salon is also gaining access to power knowledge, where power knowledge is secret information that the public cannot know. That is why there is a recent ethics frenzy over “doxxing,” or public revealing, in the salon because of the salon’s eventual decay into power knowledge. Any salon that the intellectual attends must know about power knowledge and the conspiracy of the Freemasons. Elites have their salons and make sure no one gets in. That doesn’t stop the intellectual from reaching that level and telling the public what is going on. Virtue ethics means telling the truth at all costs. That means an intellectual attending a salon has a virtuous right to expose the censors and tell the truth to the outside world. The truth is that elite salons are exactly like what happens on Jeffery Epstein’s island or in the movie, Eyes Wide Shut. Everyone should tread carefully.
The salon is something like a game. In other words, the salon is like attending board game night. Board game night is not a salon because people show up to play a particular or new game for the evening with strangers or friends. The “magic circle” begins (stated by Johan Huizinga) and the game is the only reality. While no board game is played at the salon, the intellects play into the game as the conversation begins. The conversation can go in any direction as long as the intellectual desires to do so.
It might even be required that a mask is worn at the salon, thus becoming a “masquerade.” Or even a uniform or suit and tie is required. Once these rules are in place, obviously something sinister is behind the rules.
The intellectual purpose of the salon can be best defined in Jürgen Habermas’ 1962 work, The Structural Transformation of the Public Sphere. The “public sphere” relates to individuals who come together to freely discuss social problems, and through discussion, influence political and artistic action. Habermas notes that the early pre-salon was made up of merchants talking with government authorities, and by using nepotism and acts of rhetoric, the merchants were able to get what they wanted. This evolved into the salon for the bourgeois class, which later influenced the literary and artistic spaces and created a fake audience-oriented subjectivity around it. Those who believe they are part of a bohemian “movement” or revolutionary subculture tend to conflate the bourgeois public space with artistic creation and virtue ethics itself. The collective nature of individuality morphed into the ideology of modernity, as such myths of “the Western canon,” with its supposed “merits” and egalitarian modes of thinking, come from the bourgeois public space and its ignorance of all classes and oppositions below them.
An "art colony," "art commune," "collective," "art house," "art space," or whatever name is used for insecure roommates in NYC that think they are living under a revolutionary or culturally significant Epicurean club, can't realize that it is a rich kid privilege to have it. This fad likely started with the beginning of modernity and continues in a liquid modern state of tradition without meaning or legacy. The February House or Fort Thunder might have taken off somewhere, but by 2040, the idea of the Epicurean house is failing because of the superiority of the salon’s purpose. The salon provides the space for the “commune” or the ideological “collective” than what a living space can offer under economic inflation.
Martin Heidegger once argued that it is only in “the private sphere,” as opposed to the public (and the salon), that one can find authenticity. The strangers and friends at the salon provide no benefit to the intellectual or the artist, as work is only accomplished through a private sphere of development. Just like the mundane act of bodybuilding, the bodybuilder cannot use his muscles in any sport because he does not know how to use them, as he only builds his body for image. An extroverted party-goer can only ventilate within the system because his existence is more important than virtue ethics. Protests or church attendance may also provide the same outlet for these types of shallow philistines. The greatest fallacy of all is associating “fun” with pleasure because pleasure is not singular, but rather sophisticated in its form against the hedonist. What should be “fun” at the salon is the intellectual’s grasp of rhetoric, lecture, and the duty of change.
The salon applies to any logic of intellects and artists gathering together for a purpose. It may be in someone’s house, it may be at a coffee house, and it may be at an artsy “happening” outside. The rules of conversation and dialogue apply, even though the event may be chaotic and noisy. There are men at the salon to snag drugs or to have immediate sex with easy or foolish women. There are women at the salon who think they are having a “girl’s night out” or having “the time of their life.” But it is the intellectuals and the artists that can transform this environment for their gain. This requires an understanding of virtue ethics, and a skill to be brave without facing the consequences. It demands a warrior’s spirit in a den full of barbarians.
In 2008, Robert Inhuman under the name Realicide wrote “The Audience Sucks.” Inhuman speaks of the injustice and immaturity of the creation of “the audience” and how it has destroyed the intellect’s passion. When we believe there is an active audience looking at us, we start to watch what we say, similar to that of a camera filming us on a reality TV show. By destroying the audience, we have true freedom from the philistine. And like what Heidegger has written about, we retreat to the private sphere for authenticity against the public, the “They,” that dominates society. When we enter the salon, there is no audience watching us. We exist against all odds. The intellect must destroy the audience and free the strangers from the shackles of peer pressure and ridicule. The platonic spirit arises, and intimacy breaks down the normative social control. This is our duty at the salon.
We have to understand the salon as a design. Structurally speaking, the salon is a science and can be understood with its cause and effect. When we enter the salon, we have to influence others and show that there is freedom outside the jail of society. Robert Inhuman has been successful with his brand of “Realicide” D.I.Y. shows, or salons, around Cincinnati for the last two decades. It’s time we continue the proper tradition and make something out of it too.
As Scottish electronic duo Boards of Canada wrote in their 1994 demo, “Wouldn't you like to be free?”