Saturday, February 5, 2011

On my mind

I've dreamed of a place that is always on my mind,
Where the blue waters run from the mountains to the sea,
And there is my love and there is me,
"Can you stop the rain?', they would ask,
But I would let it rain as long as rain lasts...

Seychelle Islands

Now, it's almost certainly a given that I can entertain myself with my thoughts alone more than the average bear.  With that in mind, it's conceivable that you won't feel where I'm coming from here.  But how bad would it be to be stuck on an island?  As for me, I've been perusing the classifieds for free banana boats.  In the off chance that I land one, you may hear about me waving to Cubans as we cross paths in the lonely Atlantic Ocean.  They coming north.  Me following the front of the boat until it hits sand somewhere.

Schopenhaur taught about beauty.  And the application of beauty in a good life.  For any who have read Arthur Schopenhaur, it would be obvious that I am taking artistic liberties with the term "good".  He was a very depressed and pessimistic man.  With beauty, however, or 'aesthetic contemplation', salvation was possible.  Allow me to carve a German candle with this ball of wax...

So, in keeping with Art's pessimistic view, he saw the human condition as being helplessly bound to depraved urges, or will.  At every turn, people act in ways that compromise any conception of goodness by trying to sate base hungers.  Nice.  But, when one is in the aesthetic mode they abandon their will and take in beauty on beauty's terms, as beauty is.  For example, when one looks at a sunset and goes "ahh", we have a contemplative state.  When one sees the sunset and thinks, "huh, the sunset is at 8 tonight, so the descending orange ball on the horizon is indicative of mid evening", we don't.  It is the act of relating the things in life to our desires that is corrupting as we think of how they will yield some selfish benefit.

When thinking back to childhood and the simplicity of yesterday's existence (cough cough Peter), it's easy to think to ourselves, "what happened to me?"  With so called growth, we have more junk to relate our world to.  It's no longer a great mystery to be discovered.  The simple no longer hold sway over our imaginations.  Now, for me this still happens and that is why I have problems.  Haven't adjusted to being an adult yet.

For the rest of us, we don't have enough 'I'm stranded on a tropical island'.  I could for sure use way more I'm stranded on an island.  If I could get my hands on some island with some piano, it would be a wrap.  Would it be so bad to live closer to the basics of life?  If the mind weren't boxed in by the chaotic mish mash of life, but open to receive the simple things, would we not be better off?

With the possibilities that technology affords us, we buy into the illusion of greater freedom.  Consider this, behind a piano, one would be free to hammer any key they chose.  With 88 keys and ten fingers, the function is 88X87...X78.  We can approximate this as ~80^10.  Eleven zeros.  Big number.  Freedom with endless possibilities.  It's only with the conformity of music's rules, and action that is consistent with those rules that one is free to make music.  Like so many things, "freedoms" can be illusory.  And as is often the case, less is more.