Nothing touches the basic emotions of man more than music. It is able to transcend the many obstacles of language, meaning, and cultural differences. Music as a philosophical study has actual relation to aesthetics and metaphysics. But more than this complicated aspect is the effect music has on everyday living.Continue Reading
I just read Karl Paulnack’s welcome address to incoming freshmen at the Boston Conservatory of Music and was not only deeply moved by it but was really pleased with his take on music. As a music lover I never really had a philosophy about music but has instinctively known its importance to society. Paulnack’s speech is a really good insight to music and its function to society not because of its facts (though some facts were stated) but because it speaks of a truth that resonates in our emotions.
Here are snippets of his speech that focuses on his take on the Greek’s view of music as well as his own opinion on his and every musician’s purpose or job description.
“The first people to understand how music really works were the ancient Greeks. And this is going to fascinate you; the Greeks said that music and astronomy were two sides of the same coin. Astronomy was seen as the study of relationships between observable, permanent, external objects, and music was seen as the study of relationships between invisible, internal, hidden objects. Music has a way of finding the big, invisible moving pieces inside our hearts and souls and helping us figure out the position of things inside us.”
“If we were a medical school, and you were here as a med student practicing appendectomies, you’d take your work very seriously because you would imagine that some night at two AM someone is going to waltz into your emergency room and you’re going to have to save their life. Well, my friends, someday at 8 PM someone is going to walk into your concert hall and bring you a mind that is confused, a heart that is overwhelmed, a soul that is weary. Whether they go out whole again will depend partly on how well you do your craft. You’re not here to become an entertainer, and you don’t have to sell yourself. The truth is you don’t have anything to sell; being a musician isn’t about dispensing a product, like selling used Chevys. I’m not an entertainer; I’m a lot closer to a paramedic, a firefighter, a rescue worker. You’re here to become a sort of therapist for the human soul, a spiritual version of a chiropractor, physical therapist, someone who works with our insides to see if they get things to line up, to see if we can come into harmony with ourselves and be healthy and happy and well.”
In my last post I talked about the “World Philosophy Day” and gave some suggestions on how you can join the celebration. I also listed some topics you and your friends can debate on or you can just muse over. The more I thought about it though, the more fun/interesting topic I came up with. Here’s a longer list of philosophical topics/questions I got from all over the net:
What makes something funny? – Here’s a discussion on the topic from PhilosophyForums.
Is there a God? – If you want a real debate it would be better to get two close-minded but intelligent people who are firm on their beliefs on this topic – a fundamental God believer (doesn’t matter what the religion is) and an atheist. Sit down and enjoy hearing them debate about the topic ALL day long.
Healthcare – This is an especially relevant debate if you are in the US right now. Of course, this won’t make for a light fun day.
What is music? – People enjoy and can’t bear different types of music. So how do we define music? How do we differentiate it from mere sound or even noise? Better yet, ask “What is good music?”
Whose side are you on – Jon or Kate? – I know the answer should be the kids but if you really had to choose between the two who would you side with? Makes for a totally useless but entertaining debate.
For more debate topics go to Conservapedia.