Monday, February 18, 2019
Sunday, February 3, 2019
I once attended a lecture by Ray Bradbury at Pasadena City College. He knew that most of those in attendance were aspiring writers and so what he talked about was writing. The lecture had a very profound effect on me.
One of the things that Bradbury said was that, if you wanted to be a writer, you should read and read and then it would start coming back out.
This was counterintuitive to the standard think about becoming a composer. I had even heard it voiced that, if you wanted to do anything original, you should shut yourself away from other music in case you ‘subconsciously’ stole from other composers.
What really happens, in the case of music, is you listen and listen and what comes back is a reflection of how you like to hear music. This is predicated on the idea that you are really honest with yourself about what you like and what you don’t.
Obviously I wouldn’t be writing this if I didn’t think that this was something quite unique in our society; people who know their selves well enough that they can be totally honest about what they like to hear.
Music, of course, is just one example of this thing I’m talking about but we will stick to talking about music.
I, of course, have met people that I thought could be very honest with their selves but I observe quite a lot of people that make me wonder if they know their selves at all.
Society provides us with compelling reasons to like a particular thing such as music. One of the most compelling is peer approval. There are many other reasons such as intellectual pride or political or religious considerations.
Personally, I think you should beware whenever what you like is prefaced with a reason or two, or three.
"An artist is someone who has learned to trust in himself" Ludwig Van Beethoven
Saturday, December 1, 2018
The question being, if you have the freedom to choose between a few things that are, for all practical purposes, the same, do you really have a freedom of choice? Once upon a time, there was but one Catholic Church and the service was in Latin and there was NO music.
No freedom of choice there. One couldn’t say ‘honey, let’s pop down to the new church on the corner and hear the service in German, so we’d know what the hell their saying, and maybe they’ll have some nice lute music.’
No, there was none of that. Of course, we’re talking about the Dark Ages.
Then Martin Luther thought he’d just translate the service into German, not change anything, mind you, and for that he was excommunicated.
So, as far as music went first you had the Church controlling things and then it sort of shifted over to Royalty and such, supporting music, so they had control and wanted mostly party music.
So, all the while the composers dreamt of being free and letting the public decide, so they began to publish the music and sell tickets to their concerts.
It wasn’t long before the music business reared its head and started deciding what the ‘public’ liked.
And today, the music business thinks it has this down to a science. They aren’t worried about what the public will like because that’s for them to decide.
They decide and call the tune. The media uses propaganda; thinly disguised as news to create whatever scene they choose.
This is why the music scene has not changed appreciably in the last forty years or so. I daresay this is probably why the classical tradition, which was barreling along, producing musical genius after musical genius came to a grinding halt not long after Beethoven. Some attribute it to the Age of Reason but a Beethoven surely could not function under the constraints of ‘popular demand,’ as defined by the business.
The composer Hector Berlioz literally ‘dumbed himself down’ enough to win a competition in France that would give him enough money to go off and write as he pleased.
So the ones that have been consistently bypassed in all of this is the public and the question remains; how do you like it?
Sunday, November 25, 2018
We can track all this talk of revolution way, way back really. At least as far back as ancient Egypt, when the Lodge split into two factions: those who wanted to hold on to knowledge and therefore power and those who wanted to make the knowledge available.
It can probably be traced back much further but this is good for the sake of today’s argument.
The problem can be seen clearly in retrospect. On one side, you have just one individual running things and making decisions for the common good.
This can and has worked well, if one has a good and beneficent ruler. On the other hand, if your ruler is a sociopath, things can get really bad very quickly.
At the other end of the spectrum we have everyone having a say in everything and this gets bad very quickly as well, the closest example being The Reign of Terror after the French Revolution.
When our founding fathers in America got a look at this, they said, well, maybe we can water it down a bit with a representative government. Thus we had all sorts of ideas for interim governments springing up by thinkers such as Karl Marx and so on.
For all this, things have not changed much since ancient Egypt. Imperialist empires still rule the scene that exhaust their resources and need to rely on slaves. They may be economic slaves or actual slaves but it’s the same difference.
As the lower classes move up, as they must in such a system, the empire begins to have too many ‘chiefs’ and not enough ‘Indians,’ so they must go a conquering.
We have the same civilization as ancient Rome, with more advanced technology, but things will not change until man changes. Each and every individual man.
No government or system will solve our problems for us. Revolution will always be a dead end or a road that leads back to where it started until it comes from within.
Saturday, November 10, 2018
Perhaps you’ve heard the story about the disciple who said to his master, “Master, I dreamt that I was a butterfly and it made me wonder if I was a man dreaming he was a butterfly or a butterfly dreaming he is a man?”
The answer to this riddle is,
If you are in a dream then that dream is your reality. It doesn’t become a dream until you wake up from it.
In the same way, one can ‘wake up’ from any reality, sleeping or not. We go through life being things. We can be doctors, lawyers, people, whatever, and one can suddenly have an awakening.
Just like the song by the Talking Heads, “Once In A Lifetime.”
"And you may find yourself living in a shotgun shack
And you may find yourself in another part of the world
And you may find yourself behind the wheel of a large automobile
And you may find yourself in a beautiful house, with a beautiful wife
And you may ask yourself, "Well... how did I get here?"
This is what David Byrne had to say about their song;
“We’re largely unconscious. You know, we operate half awake or on autopilot and end up, whatever, with a house and family and job and everything else. We haven’t really stopped to ask ourselves, ‘How did I get here?”
Once you step outside of it, you have awoken so the door between known and unknown is awakening but the known is what you have stepped outside of and now you have stepped into another unknown.
Nothing good or bad about this in particular and you may want to go on being what you were only now you are doing it with a knowing.
In this way you have the power of choice whereas on autopilot there is no power of choice.
Sunday, November 4, 2018
It’s official; I’ve begun my second childhood. Now, if I still had people I ‘hung with,’ especially any of those that I used to ‘hang with,’ they would be saying ‘well, it’s about time,’ or ‘I didn’t know he ever got out of his first one.’
Understand, however, I’m not talking about getting dementia and being incontinent. Let’s evolve a working definition of childhood here.
First of all, your average child has not been run down by life enough times yet and so they still have a native curiosity and enthusiasm for life. Simple things can excite and interest a child.
They are looking forward.
Looking forward to what?
Just looking forward to whatever new adventure life may bring.
They, of course have plans and ideas about things they want to do.
And age, what is age?
Age is simply an agreement with the rest of society that you’re done. You’re done doing things and you are simply looking forward to dying quietly in bed, if you are lucky. Age is an agreement to slow down, take it easy and be dignified.
There’s also a lot of baggage about loss that can be associated with age.
Well, I took a look at a lot of those relationships and things that I was trying so hard to hold onto and I realized that many of them were nowhere close to what I really wanted anyway.
So I set myself free of all of that and had a premature burial of The Old One.
So now there’s nothing stopping me from starting fresh and taking interest and having enthusiasm and looking forward to whatever is new and different.
And doing things.
Whatever strikes my fancy, thank you very much!
And if society disagrees with this, that’s their problem, not mine. I don’t want to hear about it.