Metaphor, its importance, abuse, and relation to the notion of a 'fall'.
marleylmason

The Question of Metaphor: What is it, and how can it be used and abused in society in terms of the likening of different states to the notion of a physical ‘fall’?

Human society, by its very definition must rely upon the metaphor. We are social animals, and appear to have gained the ability to exceed the thought of those we have shared common ancestors with genetically. For example the Neanderthals, who populated Europe from about 300,000 to 25,000 years ago never showed any sign of change in society, or significant intellectual advancements. There was little art to speak of, and they may well have ‘fallen’ due to inability to adapt. Brian Fagan in a documentary explains that as conditions in the world changed, the Neanderthals were unable to match the Cro-Magnon - with a capacity for speech apparently exceeding that of the Neanderthals – who were apt to adaptation. A likely reason for our ancestors possessing this ability lies with the widening of the scope of emotions, through which rationality was born. It had always existed to an extent in animals, yet expressing abstract concepts through the shared feeling of ‘embodiment’ common to the metaphor allowed us to attach meaning to words.

his would have increased our ability to think through the sharing of such concepts by an order of magnitude, as we were emancipated from intellectual solitude and given the chance to contradict one another, comparing our emotions and trains of logic in a way that before the birth of ‘metaphor’ and language would have been impossible. Here Nietzsche affirms the idea of the power of the objective, associated commonplaces  

Our serious endeavour, though, is to understand everything as becoming, to deny our status as individuals, to see the world through the greatest possible number of eyes…(Nietzsche, GOA XII, I, 21; Kofman: 134).

Before going any further, it is vital to examine some of the theories of metaphor, beginning with that of I.A Richards. A metaphor requires two ideas, distinguished as the tenor, and then the vehicle. The tenor is the principal subject of the metaphor, and the vehicle is what the tenor means to say. So in the case of the Neanderthal, falling into and out of humanity, the vehicle is ‘falling’ coupled with the tenor ‘humanity’. Falling implies a period of stability prior to the fall, a loss of balance, followed by fear, shock and the possibility of injury or even death – for the Neanderthal – at the end. Humanity, through this vehicle can be seen as one entity, bringing the focus of our stability as a species to the forefront which is vital to the success of the metaphor, and its level of intelligibility. With this in mind, we can observe how Max Black developed Richards’ ideas further. For Black, the ‘vehicle’ of Richards is replaced by the focus word, that which takes on a new meaning. The ‘tenor’ is akin to Black’s frame which is the principle subject.

Suppose I look at the night sky through a piece of heavily smoked glass on which certain lines have been left clear. Then I shall see only the stars that can be made to lie on the lines previously prepared on the screen, and the stars I do see will be seen as organized by the screen's structure.  We can think of a metaphor as such a screen and the system of 'associated commonplaces' of the focal word as the network of lines upon the screen.  We can say that the principal subject is 'seen through' the metaphorical expression - or, if we prefer, that the principal subject is 'projected upon' the field of the subsidiary subject.  (In the latter analogy, the implication-system of the focal expression must be taken to determine the 'law of projection.') (Black: 41)

So the ‘screen’ here acts as a filter, highlighting the ‘associated commonplaces’ between frame and focus. The higher the number of ‘associated commonplaces’ stronger and more resilient the metaphor is. This filter only allows certain truths to pass through, and the residue of thought is the birth of a new idea.

Metaphor lets us express concepts, but we must be wary since we are able to interpret what we see through our senses, pulling us from the absolute truth of the rational. We know that certain concepts are merely illusory, and Nietzsche was concerned with the fact that often metaphor goes unchallenged and can become part of a cultural canon, blindly accepted leaving the meaning lost to the ages.

…there is no 'real' expression and no real knowing apart from metaphor.  But deception on this point remains, i.e., the belief in a truth of sense impressions.  The most accustomed metaphors, the usual ones, now pass for truths and as standards for measuring the rare ones.  The only intrinsic difference here is the difference between custom and novelty, frequency and rarity. (Nietzsche, 70)

Metaphor, which language rests on has to be linked into the basis of reason, since it is how we communicate. At this point, it is useful to look at the implications of the metaphor ‘falling in to and out of rationality’, as could be applied to those deemed by society to be ‘insane’. Where two epistemes – distinct forms of thought between which there is no continuity – exist, the shared concept of one mode of thought considers its binary counterpart hostile. Foucault, in his work Madness & Civilisation: a history of insanity in the age of reason discusses these issues in depth. In the times of Shakespeare, and before that, the insane were seen as ‘fools’, different yet accepted as part of society.

By a strange act of force, the classical age was to reduce to silence the madness whose voice the Renaissance had just liberated, but whose violence it had already tamed. (Foucault, 1972)

For Foucault, the classical age leading into the enlightenment represented a dramatic shift in attitudes towards the ‘mad’. They were removed from society, incarcerated and shunned. One episteme was at war with the other

We must describe, from the start of its trajectory, that “other form” which relegates Reason and Madness to one side or the other of its action as things henceforth external, deaf to all exchange, and as though dead to one another. (Foucault, xi,1972)

Considering what is offered by Nietzsche, Richards and Black, we can look at the metaphor ‘falling in to and out of rationality’. The frame here, or vehicle is ‘falling’, our focus, or tenor is ‘rationality’. Knowing that reason stems from our animal nature - albeit in a far more abstract form – we can appreciate the universality of it through our common embodiment. The frame of a ‘fall’ associates the shared emotions all humans can relate to falling, so our focus on rationality is modified by the copula ‘in to and out of’, which means the meaning shifts. A fall is characterised by debilitation, shock, confusion, loss of balance, helplessness and indeed the feeling of falling does not necessarily imply there will be an end. Those who are mad in our society are torn from the order and structure of the rational world, cast from a position of standing. This metaphor works yet Foucault’s observation of the liberation of madness during the Renaissance brings to light that the metaphor may not have worked as well during that time, if at all. This returns us to Nietzsche’s worry of the truth of metaphor being misinterpreted, as in our current society this metaphor indeed rings true – this view of madness has led to the ostracising of those without a voice, representing an unfamiliar episteme. Foucault writes ‘The language of psychiatry, which is a monologue of reason about madness, has been established only on the basis of such silence’ (Foucault, xii-xiii, 1972).  

It could also be said that we fall into rationality, considering the same feelings of embodiment present when falling out of rationality. Socrates felt he knew, precisely because he did not, learning is a constant fall into a rational state, where the ‘freedoms’ opposing the Apollonian values are lost – or consider the contented prisoners in Plato’s cave, the ascent to knowledge oddly enough becomes a fall in which all of the freed man’s comforts drop away, everything he believed is revealed as a lie. There is pain involved in this fall, and the slow build up as he scrambles up in to the light of the sun.

In conclusion, metaphor is a way in which we can pull together the shared ideas of humanity, giving us the possibility to explain abstract terms and explore the unknown. This lets us fall into education, and the metaphor itself seems to be involved in a constant fall, losing its footing every now and again due to the surging tides of cultural bodies, the nature of the abstract – that which cannot be defined – yet falling as the rain falls. Sometimes drowning us and suffocating the serene and mad of society, but more often germinating thought and concepts through which we progress as a species. Due to this fact, metaphor can be utilised and misused in a variety of ways, but reaches into the heart of language, and what it is to be a human.

References

Fagen, B. (2010) Cro-Magnon: how the ice age gave birth to modern humans New York: Bloomsbury

http://fyreflybooks.wordpress.com/2010/04/30/brian-m-fagan-cro-magnon/

http://vimeo.com/39512306

Kofman, S. (1993) Nietzsche and Metaphor London: Athlone Press.

Nietzsche, F. (1993 [1886]) The Birth of Tragedy London: Penguin

Black, M. (1972) Models and Metaphors, Ithaca, Cornell University Press.

Michel Foucault ( 1971) Madness and Civilisation : a history of insanity in the age of reason London: Tavistock


Examination of the relationship between education, and doubt.
marleylmason

A discussion of the relation between Education and Doubt

Education is about knowing what one does not yet know, learning as we doubt the knowledge we have in a particular subject. This raises a number of issues, as we must learn to possess that which we do not throughout life from infancy all the way to the end of it. Education is fundamental in and out of an academic context, and thinkers have dedicated much time seeking to explain its relation to doubt.

Firstly, it is difficult to start education since an individual must come to learn in their own time. ‘For the student seeks to learn things whose meaning and importance she cannot grasp ahead of time. She is caught in the paradox Plato describes so vividly in his dialogue the Meno’ (Schön, 1987, 83). This demonstrates the length of time this has been a problem in human societies, stretching back into the philosophical throes of antiquity. Secondly, Carl Rodgers – seen as a Socratic figure of the 20th century – gave a damning view on the effects of a didactic, force-feeding approach to teaching at Harvard in 1952. Much like the philosophers of antiquity he felt that ‘My experience has been that I cannot teach another person how to teach. To attempt it is for me, in the long run, futile’ (Schön, 1987, 89). Rodgers goes on to say that,

When I try to teach, as I do sometimes, I am appalled by the results, which seem a little more than inconsequential, because sometimes the teaching appears to succeed. When this happens, I find that the results are damaging. It seems to cause the individual to distrust his own experience and to stifle significant learning. Hence I have come to feel that the outcomes of teaching are either unimportant or harmful (Schön, 1987, 90).

If the student cannot grasp a concept ahead of time – and the teacher cannot teach the student – then what is required to learn? In Schön’s work we see that ‘disbelief must be suspended until the reader (or student) has access to the information on which to base a good decision. But in order to get that information, he must commit to the enterprise that yields the experience’ (Schön, 1987, 94). It is with this commitment that doubt is given voice in the mind of student, because for Schön ‘what makes this situation into a predicament for the student is that he or she is likely to find the costs of commitment greater than its expected rewards’ (Schön, 1987, 94). Even this early into examination, the intertwining relationship between education and doubt surfaces, but it is important to recognise the usefulness and necessity of doubt in learning.

Socrates, at a far earlier time focuses according to Plato’s The Apology on the importance of doubt – of not knowing.

So I withdrew and thought to myself: “I am wiser than this man; it is likely that neither of us knows anything worthwhile, but he thinks he knows something when he does not, whereas when I do not know, neither do I think I know; so I am likely to be wiser than he to this small extent, that I do not think I know what I do not know” (Plato, 1987, 25).

The danger, or peril of not doubting – in a sense shutting oneself off from the ability to absorb knowledge – was something that even confronted with death Socrates would not abandon, for him, education was paramount and gave meaning to his existence. ‘To fear death, gentlemen, is no other than to think oneself wise when one is not, to think one knows what one does not know’ (Plato, 1987, 32). Socrates goes further to say, on his acquittal of the charge of death if he abandons philosophy that,

As long as I draw breath and am able, I shall not cease to practice philosophy, to exhort you and in my usual way point out to any one of you whom I happen to meet: Good Sir, you are Athenian, a citizen of the greatest city with the greatest reputation for both wisdom and power; are you not ashamed of your eagerness to possess as much wealth, reputations and honours as possible, while you do not care for nor give thought to wisdom or truth, or the best possible state of your soul? (Plato, 1987, 32)

So having established the view of doubt held by those of antiquity, we can observe how doubt may be used to establish the indubitable. Here we can look at Rene Descartes, and his famous cogito. In order to reach his truth ‘I think therefore I am’ – using his existence as evidence for his being and his flawed nature as evidence for the existence of a creator more perfect than he to give him whatever conscious he did possess – Descartes explains,

I thought it necessary to do the very opposite and reject as if absolutely false everything in which I could imagine the least doubt, in order to see if I was left believing anything that was entirely indubitable. Thus, because our senses sometimes deceive us, I decided to suppose that nothing was such as they led us to imagine (Cottingham et al, 1985, 126-127).

For Descartes, the subjective ‘I’ of the soul was distinct from the body, from a rationalist view, since all empirical evidence of having a body could be illusory.

‘I observed that there is nothing at all in the proposition ‘I am thinking, therefore I exist’ to assure me that I am speaking the truth, except that I see very clearly that in order to think it is necessary to exist’(Cottingham et al, 1985, 127).

Through this method of thinking, he arrived at the conclusion that,

I was doubting and that consequently my being was not wholly perfect (for I saw clearly that it is a greater perfection to know than to doubt), I decided to inquire into the source of my ability to think of something more perfect than I was; and I recognized very clearly that this had to come from some nature that was in fact more perfect (Cottingham et al, 1985, 127).

Descartes believed this explained his existence as the being that held the perfect qualities was God. Immanuel Kant’s Critique of Pure Reason sought to debunk the assumption of existence being a real predicate for proof for one’s existence. Kant believed in the transcendental synthesis of the manifold of representations – which are presupposed and necessary to experience – and his version of the ‘I’ or Descartes ‘Soul’ was slightly different.

Synthetic original unity of apperception, I am conscious of myself not as I appear to myself, nor as I am in myself, but only that I am. This representation is a thought, not an intuition (Kant, 1968, 168).

For Kant the intuition or inner sense was unreliable to a large extent.

According to Kant, Descartes falls prey to the “subreption of the hypostasized consciousness”: he wrongly concludes that, in the empty “I think” which accompanies ever representation of an object. We get hold of a positive phenomenal entity, res cogitans (a “small piece of the world,” as Husserl put it), which thinks and is transparent to itself in its capacity to think. In other words, self-conscious renders self-present and self-transparent the “thing” in me which thinks (Zizek, 1993, 13).

So through knowledge, and trying to establish the indubitable Kant appears and undermines the foundational truth posited by Descartes. At this point, the stark truth of how little we can really know is apparent. It is worth mentioning Dawkins’ concept of the ‘gene machine’, since he favours a scientific approach based upon scientific evidence we have. In essence our existence is accountable to the fact that we think, therefore, we have evolved. For Dawkins there is no soul, and that learning – which is an on-going part of everyday life – is due to the fact we are ‘survival machines’ simulating situations in our minds constantly since we learn through trial and error. Of course, as Dawkins says ‘the trouble with overt error is that it is often fatal’ (Dawkins, 1976, 59). Eventually this ‘gene machine’ evolved a subjective consciousness, perhaps through simulation after simulation. Self-awareness was unsatisfactory for Dawkins, as Kant and Descartes showed how existence and self-awareness was a philosophical carousel for the human mind. Even the establishment of such an irreducible first principle immerses us further in the swamp of doubt.

Whatever the philosophical problems raised by consciousness, for the purpose of the story it can be thought of as the culmination of an evolutionary trend towards the emancipation of survival machines as executive decision-takers from their ultimate masters, the genes. Not only are brains in charge of the day-to-day running of survival-machine affairs, they have also acquired the ability to predict the future and act accordingly (Dawkins, 1976, 59).

The idea that we learn through trial and error can be linked to the dichotomy between the confidence of education and the prostration of doubt. Without the possession – or occurrence – of both, it could be that it is impossible for the human, soul, or ‘survival machine’ to learn and advance. With error, pain is suffered, but with success confidence is gained and a lasting lesson is learnt. If this is the case, is the doubt in education necessary to overcome to reach self-actualisation and enlightenment? Bliss is often opposed to this, and is best demonstrated Plato’s metaphor of the cave. He likens

Our nature in its education and want of education to a condition which I may thus describe. Picture men in an underground cave-dwelling, with a long entrance reaching up towards the light along the while width of the cave; in this they lie from their childhood, their legs and necks in chains, so that they stay where they are and look only in front of them, as the chain prevents their turning their heads round. Some way off, and higher up, a fire is burning behind them, and between the fire and the prisoners is a road on higher ground. Imagine a wall built along this road, like the screen which showmen have in front of the audience, over which they show the puppets (Plato, 1992, 200).

Essentially the key factors are the shadows on the wall, merely shadows of mannequins – so far removed from the truth are the prisoners – and all they know of life is the shadow. The metaphor deepens when one man is freed, symbolising an ascent into education through his ascent from the cave into its blinding light. At first this pains him – such is the struggle of education and doubt – although it hurts him initially, as all previous truths disintegrate under its rays. Doubt is a constant, and could imply that for some it is impossible to learn. We do not begin to learn, rather, we are always learning. The ability to ‘put knowledge in the soul where no knowledge has been, as if men put sight to blind eyes’ (Plato, 1992, 204) for Plato is not what education is, he feels the possibility resides in every ‘soul’.

Its aim will not be to implant vision in the instrument of sight. It will regard it as already possessing that, but as being turned in a wrong direction, and not looking where it ought, and it will try to set this right (Plato, 1992, 204).

The road to enlightenment then is not travelled without the incurrence of pain and the occurrence of struggle. This therefore requires elements of faith, and courage. Kant writes that ‘Enlightenment is man’s release from his self-incurred tutelage’ (Kant, 1991, 83), so the sole reliance on the dictation and spoon-feeding of others. Its cause ‘lies not in lack of reason but in lack of resolution and courage to use it without direction from another’ (Kant, 1991, 83). In Huxley’s Brave New World he describes a system in which children are moulded for the purpose they serve in society, those of a lower caste destined to be unquestioning and cattle-like so there is no discontent in their minds. The brutality through which this ignorance – or bliss – is crafted is justified by the fact that,

A love of nature keeps no factories busy. It was decided to abolish the love of nature, at any rate among the lower classes, but not the tendency to consume transport (Huxley, 1977, 37).

Kant would likely feel as Huxley may have, as he says the ‘guardians’ or educators ‘show them the danger which threatens them if they try to go [towards enlightenment] alone. Actually, however, this danger is not so great, for by falling a few times they would finally learn to walk alone’ (Kant, 1991, 83). In Brave New World, the Savage says ‘but I don’t want comfort. I want God, I want poetry, I want real danger, I want freedom, I want goodness. I want sin’ (Huxley, 1977, 237). 

Education and doubt are in their nature inseparable. Like the savage, we must claim the ‘right to be unhappy’ to embark on the long quest to enlightenment. Surely, this unhappiness is not a negative thing for it drives us towards wondrous new ideas and concepts. Perhaps one thing uniting humanity here is Einstein’s ‘cosmic religious feeling’; the strong desire to know, and learn despite its pains and struggles. It imbues a faith not derived from a deity, but from learning itself which is a faith vital to learning.

It is the most important function of art and science to awaken this feeling and keep it alive in those who are receptive to it’ (Einstein, 2, 1930). 

Or else we stew in a daze as our vacuous eyes trace the dances of shadows, stemming the spring of curiosity, defying our very nature.

References

Schön, D. (1987) Educating the Reflective Practitioner, San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, pp. 82-95.

Plato, (1987) The Trial and Death of Socrates, Indianapolis: Hackett Publishing Company, trans. G.M.A. Grube

Descartes, R. (1985) Discourse on Method in The Philosophical Writings of Descartes, vol 1, (Cottingham et al.), Discourse 4, pp. 126-131.

Dawkins, R. (1976/2006) The Selfish Gene, Oxford, Oxford University Press, p. 59.

Zizek, S. (1993) Tarrying with the Negative, Durham, Duke University, 9-13.

Kant, I. (1968) Critique of Pure Reason, London, Macmillan, 168-9.

Plato, (1992) The Republic, London: Dent.

Kant, I. (1991) ‘What is Enlightenment?’ in Foundations of the Metaphysics of Morals, New York: Macmillan Press.

Huxley, A. (2004) Brave New World, London: Flamingo Books

Einstein, ‘Religion and Science’ http://www.sacred-texts.com/aor/einstein/einsci.htm


Music and the Soul
marleylmason

Music has been a part of humanity as long as we have uttered sounds. It offers escape, education, joy, and sorrow through a direct link which appears to stem from our souls. Its power is not a thing to be questioned, yet such a force must be handled with wisdom and delicacy. We must ask to what extent the poetry, rhythm and harmony of music can change us, and furthermore the extent to which it is used with relation to humanity’s young as they, in the fertile soil of their minds, are most susceptible to the emotional sculpting and subversion it offers.

This essay will examine such questions, and whether a man who truly professes to be wise or educated can be, when his tastes in music bring doubt to his claim. Of course, many would argue the ‘good’ in music is subjective, raised to respect the preferences of other regardless of their own feelings. For Plato (428-348 BC), this is not the case. He believed music expressing virtue is better than that which expressed depravity, and it should be judged accordingly.

Yet most men do maintain that the power of music to give pleasure to the soul is the standard by which it should be judged. But this is an unsupportable doctrine, and it is absolute blasphemy to speak like that (Plato, 1997, 1346).

Plato, delving further into the issue exposes the mixture of expression and imitation present in the formation of music. So a character merged of the two is created in a process.

That is why, when they find that the speaking or singing or any other element in the performance of a chorus appeals to their natural or acquired habits, or both, they can’t help applauding with delight and using the term ‘good’ (Plato, 1997, 1347).

So why should this affect the rights of one to enjoy the pleasure, shared emotions and concepts through song? It may be that if one falls prey to the depraved, he, in a fit of indignity becomes becomes blind to his reason, listening to what according to Bloom ‘is the soul’s primitive and primary speech and it is alogon, without articulate speech or reason. It is not only not reasonable, it is hostile to reason (Bloom, 1987, 71).

What is hostile to reason must therefore be hostile to education. During the 20th century, reaching into the current lay a trail of dead musicians (and artists). Some of them members of the infamous ‘twenty-seven’ club, passing at a young age often due to drug abuse following the ‘rock ‘n’ roll’ lifestyle. They seemed to be fuelled by the Dionysian – which itself is opposed by the rational Apollonian – and Nietzsche in The Birth of Tragedy suggests we ‘think of them first of all as the opposed worlds of dream and intoxication (Nietzsche, 2000, 19). Jimi Hendrix (1942-1970) was considered one of the greatest guitarists and talents of his time, brining crowds of young people to cyclonic sensory heights like a vessel of the Dionysian, whilst submerged in a sea of drug-induced intoxication.

This tug-of-war between opposing forces is something each person must juggle, yet it is clear lack of respect for one’s health, life and those of others is not a wise or reasoned thing. So is it fair to say music can be mishandled as a dangerous weapon? ‘Out of music emerge the gods that suit it, and they educate men by their example and commandments (Bloom, 1987, 72). Currently, gigantic musical corporations pump out popular music like paper from the press, existing as a machine to make money, targeting the fertile minds of the young. How, in the 21st century with historical wisdom abound let this happen? Perhaps greed is a motive, ‘Gold and Silver, the gods of wealth, ought to have neither home nor temple in this state (Plato, 1997, 1469). The state we live in, however, is far removed from that which Plato envisioned. Another factor in the development of music as a commodity occurred during the enlightenment, where the considerations of classical philosophy were ignored. This was in attempts to, as Bloom puts it ‘cultivate the enthusiastic states of the soul and to re-experience the Corybantic possession deemed a pathology by Plato’ (Bloom, 1987, 73).

It is as if those minds yearned to be stirred, but the human capacity for hedonistic escape is something proven by time. The sexualisation of music can be seen in popular artists today, where those without talent regurgitate the words of the shrewd. Bloom describes, at length, the problem with this.

But rock music has one appeal only, a barbaric appeal, to sexual desire – not love, not eros, but sexual desire undeveloped and untutored, it acknowledges the first emanations of children’s emerging sensuality and addresses them seriously, eliciting them and legitimating them, not as little sprouts that must be carefully tended in order to grow into gorgeous flowers, but as the real thing. Rock gives children, on a silver platter, with all the authority of the entertainment industry, everything their parents always used to tell them they had to wait for until the grew up and would understand later (Bloom, 1987, 73).

‘Once again, education has proved to be a process of attraction, of leading children to accept the right principles’ (Plato, 1997, 1350). Unfortunately, as Plato realised, children are keen to seek education through attraction every time they are exposed to new stimuli, whether virtuous, depraved, good, or bad. ‘But in fact games are always being changed and constantly invented, and the younger generation never enthuses over the same thing for two days running’ (Plato, 1997, 1466). Bloom and Plato together illustrate the ill effect music can have on children if unguarded. Numerous artists from our past and present with sway over the young were associated with sex, drugs, and more recently violence. These moral issues however must be secondary to education, for ‘good’ education in virtue and other higher pursuits would precede the desire to entertain such distractions as drugs, sex – or relationships – in the young.

The ‘rock’ music targeted by Bloom and the ‘depraved’ according to Plato ‘ruins the imagination of young people and makes it very difficult for them to have a passionate relationship to the art and thought that are the substance of liberal education (Bloom, 1987, 79). Having established what appears irrefutable evidence of music’s effect on learning in the young mind, the question of its control must be asked, and whether it is just to censure music. Would it be better to be without humanities most intimate pleasure?

Nietzsche would disagree, he felt both ‘the Apollonian art of the sculptor and the imageless Dionysian art of music’ (Nietzsche, 2000, 19) were integral to art. Nietzsche also proposes ‘the continuing development of art is tied to the duality of the Apollonian and the Dionysian: just as procreation relies on duality of the sexes’ (Nietzsche, 2000, 19). This is a powerful comparison, as when discussing the difference between music and the plastic Apollonian arts Nietzsche puts that music ‘is not a copy of the phenomenon, but an unmediated copy of the will itself.’ (Nietzsche, 2000, 86). Nietzsche was enthusiastic for the fact music spoke to the Dionysian, but Plato felt it must be virtuous and vetted by the wise. This could protect the fragile minds of children, and regarding acceptability of the finest productions of the muse says ‘particularly the single individual whose education and moral standards reach heights attained by no one else’ (Plato, 1997, 1350).

If however his laws existed, it could – at least in the modern day – lead to an oligarchy of old men, stripping voices from the souls of millions, although there is already an oligarchy present in the corporate machine. Freedom of choice, nonetheless is still existent. Plato’s civilisation would stagnate, and although protecting children is it more important than the constant birth of new ideas Nietzsche put forward? In a time of constant technological advancement, running juxtaposed with the emergence of yet more new music, it could follow that the presence of both the Apollonian and Dionysian in the soul leads to greater things.

The duality of the deities is something the Greeks held dear, and Apollo ‘might even be described as the magnificent divine imagine of the principium individuationis, through whose gestures and looks all the pleasure and wisdom and beauty of ‘appearance’ speak to us’ (Nietzsche, 2000, 21). So for Nietzsche, the collapse of the Apollonian, the principium individuationis, was the point at which man could temporarily abandon reason to ascend to heights yet unexplored. ‘Under the spell of the Dionysian it is not only the bond between man and man which is re-established: nature in its estranged, hostile, or subjugated forms also celebrates its reconciliation with its prodigal son, man’ (Nietzsche, 2000, 22).

To live a life perfectly within the paradigm of reason is in some sense flawed due to the understanding of Nietzsche. It serves as a goal for the individual, but as a form which emerged into nature along with its counterpart, the faceless Dionysian.

Without the mediation of the human artist, and in which their artistic drives first satisfy themselves directly; first as the image-world of the dream, whose perfection is wholly unconnected to the intellectual level of artistic education of the individual, and even seeks to annihilate the individual and to redeem him through a mystical feeling of unity. In relation to these direct artistic states of nature, every artists is an ‘imitator’, that is, either Apollonian dream-artist or Dionysian artist of intoxication, or finally, as for example in a Greek tragedy – simultaneously artist of dream and intoxication (Nietzsche, 2000, 23-24).

This brings us back to the issue of imitation; every form is a representation if it is a representation of nature, or even dreams. So artists today are expressing themselves to extinguish the subjective and reflect the refracted light which is their view of the world. Some seek gold, and pray for the house of cards which is fame. The artist will have to deal with this omission of reason throughout the course of his life, but Bloom thinks that regardless of the respectability of the music ‘it is not respectable to think of it as providing weak and ordinary persons with a fashionable behaviour, the imitation of which will make others boost their own self-esteem’ (Bloom, 1987, 79).

Musicians can be positive role models, and do not necessarily strip people of their right to think independently. In addition, without radical reforms to our states moral beliefs it will not be controlled, if it were to be the consequences could be dire. The intent behind music is a key factor, and a great deal of it has given a voice to the persecuted throughout history. Those who would otherwise slip through the cracks of society, whether due to race, sex, age, or even mental illness can be respected and heard. This shared good cannot be ignored, for reason does not answer every question.

In the hands of each of each of us is choice, so we must cultivate our minds accordingly, since we are all largely exposed to the same music as we develop. Bloom writes, ‘there is the stereo in the home, in the car; there is are music concerts music videos, with special channels on the air exclusively devoted to them, on the air non-stop’ (Bloom, 1987, 68). And this was before the advent of the internet!

Like in the time of Plato there is ‘good’ music, and there is ‘bad’. We can all be misled, but it is our duty to correct our course. Talking of a legal paradox Plato says in Laws ‘No young man, much less an old one, on seeing or hearing something paradoxical or unfamiliar, is ever going to brush aside his doubt all in a hurry and reach a snap decision about it’ (Plato, 1997, 1468). This shows, with regard to this topic shows we must be diligent, and control our indignity concerning the damning of music on reasons behalf. For all the good of reason the embrace of the Dionysian should not be ignored.

Man is no longer an artist, he has become a work of art (Nietzsche, 2000, 23).


20th August 2012: The Reason for my Journal
marleylmason

Edit as of 22/01/2013: I have been at university for quite some time now, and feel it has helped me. But education is an ongoing process. I look at this and cringe at sections, but I will leave it as it is knowing it was a picture of my mind in a state of fragility and sits there as a reminder. I still haven't started an everyday journal, but even if I did I think I will keep that private!

My story is quite unremarkable, I
imply feel that approaching my twenty first year I have let myself become a victim to my own limitation In 2009 I started my first year at University as an Creative Writing undergraduate for all the wrong reasons. During my A Levels (2007-2009) I really didn't grasp the importance of attaining higher grades, stuck in a trap of my own logic which told me they weren't as vital in my life as other attributing factors

In fact I was going to join the Royal Navy, and knew my low grades (Philosophy C, Law C and English Language D) would be enough to get me in. I cared for little else at the time other than moving out and starting my own life. What I realise was that over the course of that year, I had no intentions of studying, or any intentions of planning for the future. This ultimately led to a deteriorating state of mind, eventually causing me to drop out and spend the next two years sitting on my hands, escaping where I could and living for the next few weeks, the next party or girl to come into my life. Simple, harmless distractions can turn into addictions for all of us when seeking sanctuary

I know kids hat have buried their heads in their textbooks, to prove parents wrong or just as a way to get out of a life where they are controlled so strongly. They don't end u lovin learning, just doing it. I acknowledge the usefulness of this, but other young people can easily be drawn in by other distractions dangling directly in front of us. Some of these will limit our creativity, and warp or desire and model of success. I don't need to list the numerous tactics folks employ just to remove themselves from making decisions, and embracing the fear that comes wit really livin their lives. From drugs, to study, you can focus too much on anything; to a point where tunnel vision takes over


You only need to watch a few motivational and personal development videos to see that life is simply a bi game of chess. othing else. Whilst not equating the realities and emotions of life to a game, a comparison can easily be made. For instance, as a child I was distracted throughout my school life, and found it very hard to concentrate. To my own amusement I've rifled through old reports, and they say the same thing essentially from Infant School through to College. 'Great ability, needs to work harder and listen to others, focus on class work,' or something along those lines. Ultimately the faults were mine. regardless of outside factors. That I failed to understand many things for whatever reason doesn't come into it, as long as I realise that now a ac on it. 

No back to the game of chess. was entered in a competition with my scout group when I was ten. My dad had taught me how to play, and I wasn't too bad for my age. I knew the rules and could often outwit less sharp opponents, however it reached a stage in the competition where simpl knowing what to do as useless. They had devised strategies for the later stages of the game, looking at the intricacies of it all and anticipating what I was doing to thwart them. In short, they ha planned and were not leaving their victor to chance At least they minimized chance involved. I think whether they realised it or not, those children naturally had grasped a key aspect of life I believe I was too shortsighted to see. For all my eclectic mostly useless nowledge, they had take one aspect, gone on to apply it and turned ou victorious

As of now, I need to work far harder on my application of the knowledge I now have. A dear friend of mine has always shown that background, position and life is merely a part of a journey, and doesn't exclude anyone from achieving what they want. Seeing other humans succeed shoul inspire s, not cause feelings o jealousy n self-loathing. hat something I've struggled with, even knowing it is a foolish emotion to feel. It doesn't get rid of it, we just have to dig up the smooth, tarmac roads in our minds and relay the right ones over tougher ground, and that's never an easy thing. 

I still have an abundance of traits I can see need re-wiring, sitting around waiting for them to fix themselves feels sickening, doing something seems too daunting and sometimes it's easier to just shut your eyes and sleep. I don't want to sleep any more; I'd rather be brain-dead than suffer the feeling of powerlessness as you watch your every mistake, wincing every time, fully aware of the pain you cause yourself. I must start playing th long-game. Friendships, accommodation, family members...all can be fleeting, and leave you, there is little we do have control over. I'll be forever living on my knees if I just sit back crossing bridges when I come to them I'd rather sit back for while, build a plane an fly over them.


Now you know why I want to write this. I need to document to myself what I am doing with every day of my life, because I need to see it to realise it. I want to improve my literacy and communication skills, and rekindle the discipline I once possessed, becaus hour are more worth worrying about tha days f I hope to achieve my goal of one day being grea writer


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