When we consider humans as a collection of factors brought together into certain condition, the passage of time makes us also realize that we go through different states, and that there is never a return to an identical state in the past. We are also a continuous, rather than a discrete, set of states. The latter distinction is important, since we cannot evaluate reality based simply on the characteristics of two discrete points in time —an obvious shortcoming that blinds several of the social sciences.
The present article is a discussion on the nature of music in relation to the listener, of music as effective or relevant to the experience of particular people. These considerations were prompted by an article by Brett Stevens by the title of ‘What Thrived and What Died from the 1990s (Part I)’, and to which the ideas explored here are meant as an extension and answer. Brett Stevens discusses the importance of observing particular music works through time as they interact with our lives, in the sense of which of these we are drawn to.
His thesis is one that may appear to presuppose that the best music will get played the most, but the truth is that this is dependent on the listener, and the degree of understanding and maturity of each person in different areas of life or craft (including the craft of music itself) will in great part dictate the direction this magnetism takes. Moreover, we take this relationship to a deeper level than simply superficial taste and indulgence. That is, a next step in this discussion implies that discernment should not be based on egotism and the will to appearance, as is the general case, nor should it be an unconscious abandonment to primal forces either. One can rise above both and bring all together for a ‘wholistic’, tuneful, evolving result, rather than a redundant one.The choices in character and style of music one prefer to listen to will be decided, to a great extent, by the philosophy of life that lies deepest within ourselves (independently of the degree of conscious awareness an individual has of it). At that level lies what a person truly believes in rather than what they are moved to saying for social or even ideological reasons. Just as action through time reveals clues of a person’s character, so does the active music preference (rather than statements and discussions of it) reveal the same, as it is a reflection of mind and psyche as a whole.
Implied is the idea that we do not have complete control over our natural tendencies and preferences, but must discover them and are prey to them. And so, the art we ingest, in turn, affects our mind and character. What we constantly take in is a force or set of forces that steer our attention in particular directions and drags it to particular levels of existence, so to speak. The power of music lies in the sound structures themselves, affected by the filter of the ideological image presented to us by words and pictures that often accompany them. The deeper an apprehension of music we have, the less these ideological filters affect us and the deeper we can pierce into the music itself; the discussion of this particular point, however, extends beyond the scope of the present article.
In becoming aware of these relations and trying to affect them, we start to be able to affect the direction of an evolution of mind. Thus, when we take music seriously, it can be both a revealer of ourselves and a tool for personal evolution. Preempting this utilization of music for all it can be are a few other things that go hand in hand with it. Nevertheless, such a utilization is up to the individual, who despite his own capacity may choose to leave music as an exercise in indulgence (to ‘express’ themselves, or to ‘explore’, for instance).
Selection and preferences will be somewhat affected by an individual’s understanding of music as a craft. Not only does this imply a study of music, but also the way the individual considers the craft as music. Some may think of the art as an entertainment, as a selection of flavors to satisfy a particular taste, in its most vulgar aspect. Others may see in it the necessity to heed nature, to discover relationships that are felt but also made conscious, and which discoveries further the beauty of the work of art and the deeper understanding of the individual as he brings rationale and intuition together. Besides the conceptualization of music, a technical knowledge of the craft of making music will come into play in function of all other factors, logical and emotional. That is, technical understanding is always just a tool used under what eventually becomes an ideology, of a person or a group.
Correctly understood, the so-called rules of music are derived from a centuries-long discovery of physical relations in function of human perception. That is, rather than simply being ideological or emotional in subjectivity, there is a factor that swings towards the objective, and is compatible with the hard sciences. In the building of the tradition of Western classical music, we find an unveiling of observable reality. That development is scientific and is separate, in tandem, with the spiritual a-temporal character of the music; one is causal development, the other is acausal intrusion, to use sinister terminology, but both are indispensable to understanding the totality of reality and being.
The recording of particular patterns and their basic effect on the human perception apparatus is relevant, independently of ideology, even if it has been expressed through the eyes and experience of specific peoples. It is only after being understood that ideology should come in and make use of the patterns of reality they unveil to steer the selections of the mind with a purpose in function of its state (seen in its emotions, as well). Unfortunately, ideologies are, more often than not, superimposed over the objective observation of music. Instead of utilizing concrete knowledge towards ideological ends, they distort the apprehension of knowledge, twisting it for self-serving reasons.
That said, concessions can and should probably made on an ideological basis, insofar as they are a natural and holistic representation of that ideology; which brings us to a point where we must mention that not all ideologies are worthwhile, and some are illusions, degenerating or simply enslaving. That means that even here, it all falls back to a personal discernment, as well. Thus the importance of a conscious understanding that understands music ideologically, but does not blind the judgement and perception of music because of ideology by presupposing quality based on it.
Taking musick seriously as instrument of evolution—as art that is magick, leniency towards haphazard and aimless works is not afforded. Such a statement may appear to be contentious, but contention is in the nature of any elitist ideology that seeks excellence. Excellence is selectivity, it is self-criticism, the opposite of indulgence while not eliminating what is termed as ‘experimental’. Would-be adepts, and those with an Aeonic vision of humanity, of the universe, and of the place of art, of musick within it, should welcome and encourage such discipline, such scourging.
If any movement, ideological or spiritual —or both, seeks to elevate and inspire through its works of art, and especially if they are meant to be swords of death, judgement conferred upon them must be as strict and unforgiving as that to which individuals are subjected. Only then can a craft of music of superior beauty and power arise: oeuvres inherently imbued with the sinister-numinous, works which in themselves contain the key that open rents.
Only thus can we also utilize musick and our observed reception of those works as a way to direct the evolution of thought, of overall perception in us. As each work of music, even conventional one, can be a spell upon the mind, and whose effect can be arrested or enhanced by the power of receptivity of that mind, we can intuitively select a next step upon a path, perhaps opening up and using a dark empathy for that matter. That does not immediately guide us towards explicitly named ‘sinister works of magick’, which is only an indication of intent, not of realization, but towards the discovery of a path —perhaps, a wyrd?— and which discovery is only maintained as evolution if one does not stray from an ultimate method in discipline.