Last Tuesday’s Class

For those who were in class on Tuesday, I would just like to thank everyone for a very deep and philosophical discussion about music and essentially life. I just wanted to spend some time here just fleshing the question I asked and the argument I presented. As for the attention garnered for being “Eloquent” and “Philosophical”, it’s just something I do, and occasionally it gets sickening and it distances people at times. I have been called “academically arrogant”, I don’t mean to assert some intellectual muscle over everyone, I just enjoy critical approaches to life, art and basically anything that can get deeper than the surface. I invite others to do the same.
Essentially, The 60’s were a time of renaissance. This is a point that goes ignored largely by intellectuals all over the world. The western culture shifted from a monotonous rhythm of living for work, family, and country. The 60’s changed that, the liason between music and spirituality exploded into a philosophy and arguably a religon. The fact that music about life, essentially grounded in the experience of an individual living during those times, had a connection that not only transcended “sounding good” and could be a defining part of existence( consider Doctor C’s lecture about Orpheus and the music of the spheres, these apply to this point and help explain my references). This ideology (and yes it is an Ideology) is an extension of transcendentalism in the sense of discovering a divine essence that is achievable by the individual through an art. I would argue that this is the driving mentality behind events like woodstock, spiritual trancedence through music.
To say that this transition was an illusion is to ignore the existence of the belief of transcedence through art today. I would argue that nearly many academic disciplines believe in the possibility of transcedence. Take any art. A driving force behind any art, for both the aritst and the observer, is the cathartic experience. The feeling of connection between the art and the individual is something that has not only been present throughout probably all of history, but is something that I think is still in existence. What the 60’s revolution did was add a sort of spiritual aspect to it all. It took this aspect of life and made it the focus; the cathartic experience was seen as the path to transcedence. I personally am willing to argue that this particular paradigm shift has not died entirely. For example this weekend, I watched a movie called “Rocket Science” that deals with the activity of Policy Debate and an shy, stuttering adolescence’s journey as he trys to become a part of the activity and do other things that are a part of the adolescent focus. One of the major themes of the movie is an extremely existential one, a message that life does not and will not conform to one’s understanding or intepretation of it. Through out the movie the plot seems to take on a certain manifestation as a story of love or a story of triumph; but in the end neither outcome the audience comes to expect comes to be at the end of the movie. The movie illustrates that life is and that is all, all adjectives and attributes are things that we assign to life and therefore have limited relevance to life. the movie’s impact upon me is astounding. It has had an effect upon the way I view life as a whole. This morning in my day to day routine, I realized that all these events merely are and that I give them their releveance to my own life. I believe this is a modern day impact of the 60s: the ability for art to have metaphysical influence and meaning. This is how one can call the revolution a success. It changed the world through modifying convential thinking.
For Miller to argue that the revolution or “turning point” was entirely a failure is not entirely true. Think to another revolution in history for example:the French revolution. This revolution was defined as a rejection of the hierachal society and essentially the notion of one individual ruling over all. This revolution went through various stages, one of the more notable ones being a reign of terror were anyone of aristocratic affiliation or in support of the ruling parties was killed. This revolution ended with a France accpeting a single leader, Napoleon Bonaparte. Even with these truths in mind, I dont know a single person who would say that the revolution had zero impact upon the world. What is the criteria for the success or failure of a revolution? Who determines this criteria? Once these questions arise, It is more than obvious that Miller’s view of the 60’s is a subjective tunnel that refuses to step outside of the personal boundaries and experiences and embrace a more universal view where it is possible to comprehend that what could seem like a failed revolution could truly be an point of influence that molds history even in the present and proabably into the future.

One Response to “Last Tuesday’s Class”

  1. Sorry to get you and Magan mixed up in my blog-thinking, Terrell, though in many ways that’s a compliment to both of you. 🙂 In any event, thanks a lot for these thoughtful posts. As you could tell from today’s class, your idea of “transcendence” helps bring Cohn’s idea of “myth” and Miller’s idea of “illusion” into a really interesting focus.