Schopenhauer reviews Daft Punk’s ‘Random Access Memories’
by Arthur Schopenhauer
from The World as Will & Representation
It has always been said that music is the language of feeling & of passion, as words are the language of reason.
Now the nature of man consists in this, that his will strives, is satisfied & strives anew, and so on forever. Indeed, his happiness & well-being consist simply in the quick transition from wish to satisfaction, and from satisfaction to a new wish. For the absence of satisfaction is suffering, the empty longing for a new wish, languor, ennui.
And corresponding to this, the nature of melody is a constant digression & deviation from the keynote in a thousand ways, not only to the harmonious intervals to the third & dominant, but to every tone, to the dissonant sevenths & to the superfluous degrees; yet there always follows a constant return to the keynote.
In all these deviations melody expresses the multifarious efforts of will, but always its satisfaction also by the final return to an harmonious interval, and still more, to the keynote. The composition of melody, the disclosure in it of all the deepest secrets of human willing & feeling is the work of genius, whose action, which is more apparent here than anywhere else, lies far from all reflection & conscious intention, and may be called an inspiration…
… The inexhaustibleness of possible melodies corresponds to the inexhaustibleness of nature in difference of individuals, physiognomies, and courses of life.
The transition from one key to an entirely different one, since it altogether breaks the connection with what went before, is like death, for the individual ends in it; but the will which appeared in this individual lives after him as before him, appearing in other individuals, whose consciousness, however, has no connection with his.
But it must never be forgotten, in the investigation of all these analogies I have pointed out, that music has no direct, but merely an indirect relation to them, for it never expresses the [specific] phenomenon but only the inner nature, the in-itself of all phenomena, the will itself.
It does not therefore express this or that particular & definite joy, this or that sorrow, or pain, or horror, or delight, or merriment, or peace of mind; but joy, sorrow, pain, horror, delight, merriment, peace of mind themselves, to a certain extent in the abstract, their essential nature, without accessories…
… Yet we completely understand them in this extracted quintessence. Hence it arises that our imagination is so easily excited by music, and now seeks to give form to that invisible yet actively moved spirit world which speaks to us directly, and clothe it with flesh & blood, i.e., to embody it in an analogous example…
… for music always expresses only the quintessence of life & its events, never these themselves, and therefore their differences do not always affect it.
It is precisely this universality, which belongs exclusively to it, together with the greatest determinateness, that gives music the high worth which it has as the panacea for all our woes. Thus, if music is too closely united to the words, and tries to form itself according to the events, it is striving to speak a language which is not its own.
north Texas, day of the Oklahoma City tornado
Boys playing football in the courtyard of housing projects in Festac, Lagos, Nigeria.
➜ RapGenius dissects Eric Holder's letter on drone policy
In this May 22, 2013 letter to Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy, Attorney General Eric Holder admits for the first time that the U.S. has killed 4 Americans in drone strikes abroad - 1 intentionally (Anwar Al-Awlaki) and 3 unintentionally. He further attempts to give the legal justification for such strikes
This is so good on so many levels.
If you should have the desire to study Zen under a teacher & see into your own nature, you should first investigate the word “shi” [death]. If you want to know how to investigate this word, then at all times while walking, standing, sitting, or reclining, without despising activity, without being caught up in quietude, merely investigate the koan:
After you are dead & cremated, where has the main character [the chief actor] gone?
Then in a night or two or at most a few days, you will obtain the decisive & ultimate joy.
The solution to mainstream rap music
by Sebastien Elkouby
In recent months, rappers Rick Ross, Lil Wayne and Chief Keef have made national news for their controversial and negative lyrics. As a result, the music industry as well as other corporations who support these artists have been attacked for carelessly promoting artists who glorify dangerous and criminal behavior. Petitions, protests, boycotts and national movements have been organized to hold all guilty parties accountable for letting rap music get out of control. These actions have led to a few victories including Reebok dropping Rick Ross and PepsiCo dropping Lil Wayne.
“Hip Hop activists”, myself included, understand this to be an uphill battle as rappers aggressively defend their freedom of speech, no matter how irresponsible it may be. Meanwhile the music industry makes millions from these rappers, no matter how much sex, drugs and violence they promote. Ironically, we’ve been so busy fighting the good fight, we overlooked our greatest weapon yet. PROMOTING GOOD MUSIC!
We’ve spent so much time promoting our efforts to end this “dark” period in rap that we’ve neglected to shine light on what’s good about Hip Hop. We’ve spent so much energy tweeting, posting, debating and writing about our plight that we’ve forgotten to tweet, post, talk and write about what’s right with rap music. We’ve placed so much emphasis on telling the world about the “evils” of Rick Ross, 2 Chainz, Tyga and other similar clowns that we’ve neglected to share the new Public Enemy and De La Soul. We’ve pointed our collective finger at companies like Def Jam and Interscope but looked past independent outlets like Mello Music Group who consistently release incredible music.
Don’t get me wrong, our fight is worthwhile and necessary. Nevertheless, we need to invest an equal amount of time into promoting an alternative to what the industry has been pushing on us. Doing so is one of our most effective method to counter the kind of rap we claim to be against. Our youth only hear what’s shoved in their ears. If we don’t do some of the shoving ourselves, we can’t expect them to know what else is available to them. There are countless incredible Hip Hop artists, new and old, releasing new music that deserves to be heard. Some of it is political and socially conscious. Some of it is humorous and witty. Some of it is aggressive and experimental. But all of it is creative, thought provoking and what Hip Hop is truly about. At this point, we can’t depend on the mainstream music industry to promote these artists but we should be able to do so ourselves if we’re serious about change.
Without further ado, here’s a short list of artists to help you restore your faith in great Hip Hop music!
2. Homeboy Sandman
3. EVITAN (Dres from Black Sheep & Jarobi from A Tribe Called Quest)
5. Wise Intelligent (From Poor Righteous Teachers)
9. Trek Life
10. Narubi Selah
12. Gensu Dean
13. Ill Camille
Why I refused to fight in Afghanistan’s brutal occupation
by Joe Glenton
Recent attacks in Kabul confirm the occupation is falling to pieces. Claims about “decisive years” and “turned corners” are little more than cant. Instead for all their lack of air power, drones and high-tech equipment, the Taliban are gaining ascendancy.
The ability to attack up to seven different locations, to hold one for 20 hours, and to attack the fortified compounds of the occupiers and local supporters cannot sensibly be read as a sign that the insurgency is losing ground. Fighting in Afghanistan is seasonal and the Kabul attacks were the season’s opening game.
No insurgency can survive without broad support from the local population. The insurgent relies upon the people for intelligence, support, safety and more. The fact that insurgents now control great swaths of the country virtually unchallenged tells us the people have been lost, partially due to the occupiers’ bumbling efforts. The argument that Afghans are rejecting the Taliban falls flat.
Let’s not forget there is no mandate in law for aggression nor any mention of – or authority for – brutally occupying Afghanistan in the UN resolutions regarding it. Which is why I refused to serve a second tour in Afghanistan. I was sentenced to five months in military prison for it but other soldiers too have refused and are refusing to serve in Afghanistan – as is their right.
The Daily Mail published an excellent article about an anonymous British major’s despair at being deployed into what he – and many soldiers I know – consider a lost cause. They are increasingly unwilling, as the officer said, to die for “a war of choice already lost halfway across the world” For all the clarity of the article, it ends in jingoism: dutifully, he will fight on, the writer asserts.
Yet conscientious objection is a legal and contractual right. In fact, it is more than that – it is a legal and moral obligation. This is why we must not accept the debate about serving in Afghanistan to be to narrowed down to an exchange about a soldier’s heroism or cowardice. Instead, I would encourage servicemen to explore their right to refuse, be aware of it and to act upon their conscience. You will find you are not obliged to go; contracts, remember, bind multiple parties, not just one.
Naturally, the military and government will make it hard. Their oft-repeated fear is that if refusing to serve is allowed, “the floodgates will open”. They are correct and that is all the more reason to inform servicemen and servicewomen of their rights.
At the same time as the Taliban attacks there has been a rise in atrocities. We have recently seen British soldiers arrested on suspicion of abusing children, as well as the stabbing by a squaddie of a 10-year-old Afghan boy. A multinational operation in all respects, the US has done its share; kill teams, SS flag-waving, photographing bodies, urinating on corpses and the Panjwai massacre carried out, according to the witnesses, by 15 to 20 US troops. When young men are shaped for war and sent to fight there are consequences – even in “just” wars. The training involves two-way dehumanisation – both of our soldiers and of the enemy – as Giles Fraser highlighted lately. These acts are coming thick and fast at the end of a long, dehumanising, failed war. Conscientious objection was a hard road for me, but while I was in military prison I received 200 letters a day, which helped. As did the support of my fellow soldiers.
Those sending our young men and women to die or be mutilated for nothing have no authority to say what is honourable, courageous, heroic, or cowardly. You can volunteer, and you can un-volunteer. It’s in the contract. Then perhaps our cynical, diamante-poppy-wearing political class will stop using the last dead kid to justify the next dead kid – insisting we must fight on so they have not died in vain. By refusing, I clawed back some honour from an honourless war.