I’m going to tell you why I don’t like electronic music, and, no, I won’t define what I mean by “electronic music.” I’m going to illustrate for you, yes, dear reader, why I’ve formulated and fixed a chasm between “real music” and dubstep, dubtronica, trance, downtempo ambient psi, hardstyle, disco-beat, acid house, glitch, drum and bass, whatever.
I’m picturing a musical staff, a method of conveying information. I’m imagining its rigid lines and the stern, pointed notes that pepper the structure with meaning. I imagine its horizontal flow, stretching out from the time signature, the treble clef, the key, reaching into culmination and dynamic fluidity. The Rules, meant to be known and broken, are the basis for creativity.
That sound, that aching, throbbing, hammering repetition, cracking with each t-t-t, blurring into a ch-ch-ch, kh-kh, that tangle of consonants and the all-encompassing pulse that throbs throughout the body after attaining a bleeding wound. You can’t hear anything else, can’t see straight, after a gash like that, because that untz-untz-kh-kh-ch-ch-t-t-t clouds your senses.
The beats hammer at that staff, cracking and fracturing and splintering that staff, tearing and unraveling its fibers. The unvarying consonants, gaining momentum, crack the staff and the Rules. It caves in, I say! The entire time-tested structure caves in! Notes spill forth and fall down, bouncing from line to line, and froth together somewhere below the base clef. A harmony, you argue? A subtlety? Oppressed by the screaming of that pulsing gash!
No, close your eyes, feel the music, let it move your limbs so you may dance, naked, around this ceremonial flame. Paint yourself and nod your head like a wind-up toy. Embrace its visceral rawness.
Why do humans have the spectial ability to create art? All animals can express themselves and many articulate their wants and needs. We have the unique capacity to structure, to categorize, to discipline ourselves, (to squeeze the universe into a ball). Now, consciousness takes over. Knowledgeable of these rules, we may control our methods of evoking emotion. We can master others’ thoughts through art through our understanding of The Template and The Bases. There, creativity takes over (to roll it towards some overwhelming question).
No, I don’t want to sit around and categorize consonants into infinite sub-genres. I don’t want to pump my fist and mechanically bob my head like a hypnotized animal. I don’t want to “stop thinking about it and just listen.” I am no animal, just as I am no electronica enthusiast.
I don’t meant to offend those who are interested in this music. When I am cased in a room of people enjoying it, I have no social right to speak my mind. Why do I not like dubstep? No, stop it, just listen and let it take over. This Rant opposes the primitive joy of it all.
"It is important above all to bring about a radical change in this state of affairs which today comdemns the philosopher to be crammed with scientific truths, and almost the whole of the rest of human beings to remain what they were for five or ten centuries ago,— that is to say, in the state of slaves and machines, incapable of mastering established truths. And the day when you are imbued with wide, deep, humane, and profoundly scientific truth, that day will you lose your taste for pure science."
I don’t really dig my Communism and After class, but sometimes, I read this one thing that really gets me excited.
"Physical space and time are the absolutely stupid aspects of the universe… Speed, which is made up of space and time, is no less stupid than its constituents, but it serves to nullify them. One stupidity can only be overcome by another. It was a question of honour for man to triumph over cosmic space and time, which are entirely devoid of meaning, and there is no reason for surprise at the fact that we get a childish pleasure out of the indulgence in mere speed, by means of which we kill space and strangle time. By annulling them, we give them life."
For three weeks, I’ve been looking for the original source of The Problem of Evil commonly attributed to Epicurus. I found it, finally! An early Christian author and advisor to Constantine, Lactantius, wrote a piece called De Ira Dei (On the Anger of God), during which he attempts to refute Epicurus’ argument that the gods exist in perfect peace, detached from and uninterested in human affairs. Epicurus argues that the gods are ideals that we should attempt to emulate and understand through ceremony, but we should not attempt to interact with them, for they live in a harmony untouched by human vice. It’s easy to see why people commonly believed the Epicureans to be atheists, but they weren’t. Perhaps the passage that best inspires that misconception is Epicurus’ Problem of Evil:
Deus, inquit [Epicurus], aut vult tollere mala et non potest; aut et vult et potest. Si vult et non potest, imbecillis est; quod in Deum non cadit. Si potest et non vult, invidus; quod aeque alienum a Deo. Si neque vult, neque potest, et invidus et imbecillis est; ideoque neque Deus. Si vult et potest, quod solum Deo convenit, unde ergo sunt mala? Aut curilla non tollit?
God, Epicurus says, is either willing to take away evil and cannot; or he is both willing and able. If he is willing and not able, he is powerless, which does not fall into [our notion] of God. If he is able and not willing, he is malevolent; which is equally foreign of a God. If he is neither willing nor able, he is both powerless and malevolent; therefore he is not God. If he is willing and able, which alone is in accordance with God, whence, therefore, are there evils? Or why does he not lift them? (Lact.ID.XIII)
Epicurus basically argues that a powerless and malevolent God would not make sense with the common conception of divinity. If he allows evil, he cannot be God, for we were placed under His providence and forcing us to suffer would be inconsistent. Thus, God is far off, apathetic, and happy. Of course, the major hole is this: Evil isn’t necessarily bad!
Sed hoc non vidit Epicurus, nec alius quisquam; si tollantur mala, tolli pariter sapientiam, nec ulla in homine virtutis remanere vestigia, cuius ratio in sistinenda et superanda malorum acerbitate consistit.
But this man Epicurus did not see this, and nor did anyone else. If evils are lifted, wisdom is equally lifted, and not any vestiges of virtue shall remain in humanity, whose reason consists of a standing up to and an overcoming of evil through hardship. (Lact.ID.XIII)
I believe that Epicurus recognized this, since he believed in withstanding temporary evil for long-term pleasure informed by virtue. I’m gonna look up a bit more on this after I get started on this Anthropology essay… But, hey! At least I found the source!
“odi et amo. quare id faciam, fortasse requiris?
nescio, sed fieri sentio et excrucior.
I hate and I love. Why do I do it, perchance you might ask?
I don’t know, but I feel it happening to me and I’m burning up.”—Catullus, Carmen 85 (via locaantiqua)
This is a 1,905 page suicide note written by a man who took his own life on Harvard’s campus. I’ve been reading it for a while and it’s a really interesting piece. It argues for the liberation of death and the equality of living and dying. Parts of it mirror Stoic philosophy, others nihilism, and others biology. I suggest you give it a look.
"Never until now had the human creature even imagined that the mind of man would be capable of creating the means for destroying the human race. And only visionaries ever foresaw that man would finally extricate himself from the terrestrial conditions out of which he first arose. These achievements- that power of self-destruction and that bursting of earth’s bonds- have simultaneously shown the ways and means that will free at least a part of the human race, at least some nations, from existential peril and at the same time will spread out men’s discord and creativity into cosmic space. Man is discovering that he is a being of cosmic possibilities, but that his mind is capable, at the same time, of destroying his own race.
Yet man will never rule the cosmos, nor will he unleash the forces necessary to commit suicide. Man and nations will go on as they have until now, merely less confined in their destroying and creating, their knowledge and belief.”
Milovan Djilas, “Of Prisons and Ideas”
This was in the reading for my Anthropology class, Communism: An Ethnography. I’m so lucky to have professors trusting enough to assign readings saturated with such abstract concepts to mere students!
"These ambiguities, redundancies, and deficiencies recall those attributed by Dr. Franz Kuhn to a certain Chinese encyclopedia called the Heavenly Emporium of Benevolent Knowledge. In its distant pages it is written that animals are divided into (a) those that belong to the emperor; (b) embalmed ones; (c) those that are trained; (d) suckling pigs; (e) mermaids; (f) fabulous ones; (g) stray dogs; (h) those that are included in this classification; (i) those that tremble as if they were mad; (j) innumerable ones; (k) those drawn with a very fine camel’s-hair brush; (l) etcetera; (m) those that have just broken the flower vase; (n) those that at a distance resemble flies.”
-Jorge Luis Borges in “The Analytical Language of John Wilkins”
“At one stupendous evolutionary moment in pre-history, one of nature’s creatures separated himself from the unconscious flowing and burgeoning of nature and became conscious of himself. Prometheus stole fire. Atom ate the apple. Man sundered his bond with nature and set himself on a course of conscious individuation. In his mythologies, man has forever after felt guilt about that sundering. For when he became conscious of himself, man was able to choose between good and evil, and he realized that he was flawed, striving for good but prone to evil. He had taken a momentous step forward, but something in him, and in his myths, still longed for the half-remembered union with unconscious nature, that innocence lost long ago.”—Owen Lee, author of Wagner’s Ring: Turning the Sky Round
I’ve become so obsessed with this anime, Gankutsuou. It’s an anime version of The Count of Monte Cristo, but that’s not it’s selling point. The show samples real-life patterns overtop its animations, creating multiple planes of movement. It’s so beautiful!