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Stephanos
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25 posted 06-22-2006 01:29 PM       View Profile for Stephanos   Email Stephanos   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Stephanos's Home Page   View IP for Stephanos

kif kif:
quote:
Yeah, I'm a pessimist. Shopenhauer's right on. Yet, in saying that, I believe evidence of trancendence can be found in polyrhythms. Maybe I'm not so pessimistic, after all!


But Shopenhauer would doubtless say that your idea of transcendence is hopelessly romantic.  "Polyrhythms" is a musical term, and as such requires intelligent determinate composition ... or else the "order" or beauty of it is only imagined.  It's interesting how music evolved with artists like John Cage (who believed a philosophy quite akin to Shopenhaur's).  Cage's "music" became increasingly erratic and moved farther and farther from the realm of the musical, finally ending up as a bare philosophical statement of the absurdity of all things.  It became "anti-music" rather than music.  


"If God exists and we are made in his image we can have real meaning, and we can have real knowledge through what He has communicated to us.  If this is taken away, we are left only with man and his finite self-expression.  At this point all one has is the expression of the individual man.  But Cage quite logically sees that this will not do, and so he carries man's dilemma further, smashes self-expression, and leaves chance speaking.  This is the basis of his music."  (Francis Schaeffer, from How Should We Then Live?)


Stephen.
Essorant
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26 posted 06-22-2006 02:11 PM       View Profile for Essorant   Email Essorant   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Essorant's Home Page   View IP for Essorant

"If this is taken away, we are left only with man and his finite self-expression."

What happened to the rest of the universe?     
kif kif
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27 posted 06-22-2006 02:32 PM       View Profile for kif kif   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for kif kif

Is any Beauty real or imagined? Like Truth, it's an infinite Idea that's expressed finitely.

I used the idea of polyrhythms because the drum patterns are there to dispel fear (possibly by absorbing then reproducing the rhythms of the life that's fearful...is that chance?). Once we've trancended that, we can move on. At the moment, we're stuck in the mechanics of life, controlled by fear.

'hopelessly romantic'...'pessimistic'. I'd agree on that one, although I'd doubt Shoepenhauer would have anything to say about my pot philosophy!  
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28 posted 06-22-2006 02:39 PM       View Profile for Stephanos   Email Stephanos   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Stephanos's Home Page   View IP for Stephanos

quote:
What happened to the rest of the universe?


Schaeffer is not denying the existence of the universe.  But even the universe cannot speak, unless it is "art".  So unless it is, we are left with our own finite expression ... no big picture, no purpose which "transcends our genes" to use Reb's words.


Stephen.
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29 posted 06-22-2006 02:47 PM       View Profile for kif kif   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for kif kif

I'll have to investigate John Cage. His idea sounds like what I said previously..."as sentient beings, we think we're intelligent enough to decide *what constitutes communication. That's when things start to go skew-whiff."

*and what doesn't.
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30 posted 06-22-2006 02:57 PM       View Profile for Stephanos   Email Stephanos   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Stephanos's Home Page   View IP for Stephanos

kif kif:
quote:
"as sentient beings, we think we're intelligent enough to decide *what constitutes communication. That's when things start to go skew-whiff."



That's really not the best analysis of Cage.  He actually thought that the best avenue for art was to let the universe "speak" for itself.  Hence, randomness was his method of composing much of the time.  He would toss coins to decide musical phrases, have more than one conductor (who couldn't see the others) lead his musicians, in the attempt to let the universe "communicate".  But it was, for Cage, a universe with nobody there.  His music turned out to be nothing more than noise.  Seeing the despair and pessimism of Cage's life, I know that he himself was not convinced of the value of random noise as "communication".  


If we cannot know what is and is not communication... then the word itself becomes meaningless.  It's really a matter of epistemology.  How do you know when things go "skew-whiff", any more than you know what communication is?


Oh ... what is "pot philosophy"?


Stephen.
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31 posted 06-22-2006 04:02 PM       View Profile for Essorant   Email Essorant   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Essorant's Home Page   View IP for Essorant

I think the universe is art, but not just because God helps shape, but because everyone and everything helps shape it with in its own extent.  The littlest and most unconscious mote in the universe does universally the same thing as the greatest and most conscious being: it helps determine the universe in one way or another.  

[This message has been edited by Essorant (06-22-2006 06:14 PM).]

Stephanos
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32 posted 06-22-2006 06:20 PM       View Profile for Stephanos   Email Stephanos   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Stephanos's Home Page   View IP for Stephanos

That's John Cage's definition of Art.  And He produced noise.  Art by definition cannot be unconscious ... There has to be a director and determiner involved.  The smallest most unconscious mote of the universe may comprise what is "artistic", but not of it's own doing.  It is more like paint upon a canvas than a painter who envisions beauty.  


Stephen  
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33 posted 06-23-2006 04:29 AM       View Profile for kif kif   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for kif kif

Yet, if we think we've found 'something', then we stop looking.

Cage sounds like a more extreme version of Sun Ra...Sun Ra, however, was the Kingly conductor.

I believe *art needs to be expressed by someone, but that art is just the beginning, like the first stroke on the canvas, to use your analogy, or the first drum beat in a polyrhythmic pattern.

*art=fitness to perform

pot philosophy=green philosophy...a semi-concious smoke-screen. I designed my own head in my youth. Ever since, I've been battling with my own idiocy.
Stephanos
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34 posted 06-23-2006 10:07 AM       View Profile for Stephanos   Email Stephanos   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Stephanos's Home Page   View IP for Stephanos

To those who seek there are only two things which may stop the seeking.  1) To find everything hoped for at once (hardly is this ever the case) or 2) To Learn that there is absolutely nothing to find.  There is much philosophy (like Cage's) which is merely a restatement of #2.


That's why Cage dropped out of "music", thinking that any personality or choices would ruin the pure experience of unbridled expression.  However, that's just another way of saying that there's nothing to find in musical creativity.  If Cage really wanted unhindered expression, then why say anything at all?  Just be totally silent and let chaos speak.


To find something doesn't mean the search is over.  It could mean that it's only the beginning.


Stephen.  
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35 posted 06-24-2006 12:52 PM       View Profile for kif kif   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for kif kif

Good thinking, Stephanos.

I'm wondering if Cage wanted unhindered expression, then he shouldn't be bothered about whether the inspiration was through personality or choices; perhaps the very act of concentrating on those sorts of workings changes everything, and may stop the flow entirely?  
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36 posted 06-24-2006 05:58 PM       View Profile for Stephanos   Email Stephanos   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Stephanos's Home Page   View IP for Stephanos

Kif Kif,

the proof's in the listening.  Does his art turn out to be true musical creativity, or a mere philosophical remark?  I think it's the latter, as Cage's "music" is intolerable to me (I have taken several years of music education as a Music Major in College).  

But, you've definitely described his "goal" as he himself stated it.  I just think abandoning personality and choices in music is to abandon music altogether.  "Birds sing beautifully in the trees" I hear someone object.  Yes, but that's not something separated from choice, and certainly not random.


Stephen.  


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37 posted 06-25-2006 09:13 AM       View Profile for kif kif   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for kif kif

Yes, for after all, music is the communication of personality and choices, *making growth.

The birds in the trees make noises for *that purpose, and so do we.
Essorant
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38 posted 06-26-2006 02:57 PM       View Profile for Essorant   Email Essorant   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Essorant's Home Page   View IP for Essorant

The whole universe is the purpose!  
kif kif
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39 posted 06-27-2006 06:02 AM       View Profile for kif kif   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for kif kif

Essorant, I'd say your last comment was nothing more than an abstract sound-byte. Sure, it sounds good, but why?
Essorant
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40 posted 06-27-2006 12:38 PM       View Profile for Essorant   Email Essorant   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Essorant's Home Page   View IP for Essorant

This thread may help you understand what I mean.

Stephanos
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41 posted 06-27-2006 01:51 PM       View Profile for Stephanos   Email Stephanos   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Stephanos's Home Page   View IP for Stephanos

I have to agree with Kif Kif here.  To say "The whole universe is the purpose", is to beg the question, since the universe itself also has characteristics of futility, entrophy, indifference, and chaos.  To say that a Creator has a purpose even beyond or in spite of those things is a meaningful statement.  But to say that the universe itself IS the purpose, is only to say that there is no real difference between purpose and futility.  

Don't get me wrong though ... I do recognize that there is a difference between divine purpose and human utility, and that there is "no sense in vilifying the sun because it will not light our cigars".  But I don't think that difference is so total (believing in an incarnational Theology like I do) as to lose our unique dignity of being human ... or to lead us to the conclusion that it is purely subjective.


Stephen.    
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42 posted 06-27-2006 02:37 PM       View Profile for kif kif   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for kif kif

...searching around for some scatological-oops, slip of the tongue-anagogical quip, but I'm not clever enough.

I wouldn't seperate the concept of God from The Universe on first thinking. That's because I've always believed that 'God' meant 'Truth'. I'll have to think about how I could succinctly describe The Universe, encompassing the finite, while allowing the Truth to 'breathe'. I'll be back when I've digested what you've both said.

Interesting thoughts..."unique dignity of being human". Is this to do with our own ideas of the Divine?

[This message has been edited by kif kif (06-27-2006 04:39 PM).]

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43 posted 06-27-2006 04:48 PM       View Profile for kif kif   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for kif kif

First impressions;

It may be possible for the compatibility between free will and cause and effect.

Good choices reflect truths, in accordance to what I consider your comment to mean, Stephanos. (I would joke that humans are farthest from God, on that tip, though!)
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44 posted 06-28-2006 12:50 AM       View Profile for Stephanos   Email Stephanos   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Stephanos's Home Page   View IP for Stephanos

kif kif,

alright are you sure you want to get me started?  lol.

quote:
I wouldn't seperate the concept of God from The Universe on first thinking. That's because I've always believed that 'God' meant 'Truth'.


Well I'm not at all suggesting a total separation of God and the Universe which would amount to some form of gnosticism or extreme deism, where God is wholly "other".  But I am suggesting that we avoid the mistake of thinking that God and the Cosmos are the same thing.  Without some kind of division, we lose the distinctions between good and evil, personal and impersonal, rationality and irrationality ... just to name a few.  Even your statement about truth ends up begging the question of authority, and whether truth is not merely what we say it is.  And though such distinctions are still made by those who hold a pantheistic or monistic view of reality, it is done so in spite of their belief rather than in accordance with it.  G.K. Chesterton in his book "Orthodoxy" put it this way:


"It is ... here that Buddhism is on the side of modern pantheism and immanence. And it is just here that Christianity is on the side of humanity and liberty and love. Love desires personality; therefore love desires division. It is the instinct of Christianity to be glad that God has broken the universe into little pieces, because they are living pieces. It is her instinct to say "little children love one another" rather than to tell one large person to love himself. This is the intellectual abyss between Buddhism and Christianity; that for the Buddhist or Theosophist personality is the fall of man, for the Christian it is the purpose of God, the whole point of his cosmic idea. The world-soul of the Theosophists asks man to love it only in order that man may throw himself into it. But the divine centre of Christianity actually threw man out of it in order that he might love it. The oriental deity is like a giant who should have lost his leg or hand and be always seeking to find it; but the Christian power is like some giant who in a strange generosity should cut off his right hand, so that it might of its own accord shake hands with him. We come back to the same tireless note touching the nature of Christianity; all modern philosophies are chains which connect and fetter; Christianity is a sword which separates and sets free. No other philosophy makes God actually rejoice in the separation of the universe into living souls. But according to orthodox Christianity this separation between God and man is sacred, because this is eternal. That a man may love God it is necessary that there should be not only a God to be loved, but a man to love him."


and ...


"This is the meaning of that almost insane happiness in the eyes of the mediaeval saint in the picture. This is the meaning of the sealed eyes of the superb Buddhist image. The Christian saint is happy because he has verily been cut off from the world; he is separate from things and is staring at them in astonishment. But why should the Buddhist saint be astonished at things? -- since there is really only one thing, and that being impersonal can hardly be astonished at itself. There have been many pantheist poems suggesting wonder, but no really successful ones. The pantheist cannot wonder, for he cannot praise God or praise anything as really distinct from himself. Our immediate business here, however, is with the effect of this Christian admiration (which strikes outwards, towards a deity distinct from the worshipper) upon the general need for ethical activity and social reform. And surely its effect is sufficiently obvious. There is no real possibility of getting out of pantheism, any special impulse to moral action. For pantheism implies in its nature that one thing is as good as another; whereas action implies in its nature that one thing is greatly preferable to another."


Of course I realize that Chesterton spoke of Buddhism in his descriptions, and we are not talking about Buddhism per se.  But a monistic system of any kind which excludes God from it's thinking comes upon the same kinds of questions and dead-ends.  That's why, I think, that the Post-Enlightenment materialistic West has embraced Eastern Pantheism even if it is divorced from it's Hindu-Buddhist religious roots.  
quote:
"unique dignity of being human". Is this to do with our own ideas of the Divine?


Yes and no.  If it merely has to do with our ideas of the divine, then it begs the question of whether or not these are only our ideas.  Or are they truly reflective of a reality that transcends us and nature.  I think that's why the existentialist philosophers struggled so much with purpose and meaning ... and the neo-orthodox theologians who followed their lead.  The difference is, the Existentialist philosophers had already abandoned God, while the Neo-orthodox kept the word but abandoned the content ... making "god" a euphemism for the human spirit, or abstract truth, or the "all".  Ask Reb about John Shelby Spong, he's a paragon of neo-orthodoxy.


But I don't think the religious language of the Neo-orthodox serves to help them out of Nietzsche's challenge ... to get rid of the vestiges of something you've already professed not to believe in.  


So ultimately I think it has to do with Divinity's idea of "us", not the other way around.  It's the Biblical assertion that God created man "in his own image".  And that's why I think ultimately we are distinquished from the dirt we walk upon.      


quote:
It may be possible for the compatibility between free will and cause and effect.


I don't see how unless it has been given to us.  Determinism doesn't allow even a mote outside of its tyranny.  It's a hermetically sealed reality if everything is viewed naturalistically.  Your thoughts about determinism would be determined just as steadfastly as any other natural process.  


But I agree with you actually (I'm playing the devil's advocate), but only because I think human choice (that is not absolutely determined) is a gift of God.


quote:
Good choices reflect truths, in accordance to what I consider your comment to mean, Stephanos. (I would joke that humans are farthest from God, on that tip, though!)


Right on both counts.  We're closest to him in one sense, which makes our choices all the more grievous.  A stranger's abuse hurts nothing like a lover's betrayal.  So in that sense we are the closest / farthest beings from God that I can think of.  But this is best expressed in the Christian doctrine of Special Creation, the Fall, the incarnation of God in Christ, and reconciliation.  The romance of lovers may resume.


Stephen.      


kif kif
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45 posted 06-28-2006 05:14 AM       View Profile for kif kif   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for kif kif

Wow-I've never seen a faith described so beautifully, Stephen. Lots to think about, not least the style. One of the problems with dicussing religion is it's archaic language. There's none of that here, though!

I'm now thinking about nature naturing. Are you suggesting we're un-natural?

Einstein said; "I believe in Spinoza's God who reveals himself in the orderly harmony of what exists, not with a God who concerns himself with the fates and actions of human beings."


I wonder if the Bible assertained that "God made man in his own image" to give man something familiar to picture when thinking about the abstract Idea.

You mention an issue of seperation between the Christian Ideology and Pantheism, yet say nothing about The Creation Epics from which the ideas come. People have always personified...perhaps our imaginations are not as vast as we'd like to believe?

Back to the premise; is God and the cosmos the same thing? If we are to assume that God means Truth, then the cosmos is the excrement of God (sorry, but I did warn you I might try) processed Truth?
Or, to put it another way, the cosmos is a finite reflection of infinite Truth, like a memory? (It's difficult to avoid abstractions!) I used the memory idea, as then it's easy to see how bad things come in (evil, irrationality). Memories can fade, and become mixed-up, like a childhood game of whispers, the true message can be lost (through processing!)

As to whether Truth is just what we say it is...you're stumping me on so many levels! Perhaps this is where will appears? For our inherent desire to understand Forms, but why?
Everything in the cosmos performs an action, to perpetuate itself, I'll say that much. Perhaps it is our desire for the continuation of the cosmos that keeps our Idea of Truth unchanging? (We love our own ****!)
Essorant
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46 posted 06-28-2006 02:02 PM       View Profile for Essorant   Email Essorant   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Essorant's Home Page   View IP for Essorant

"Determinism doesn't allow even a mote outside of its tyranny."

To me that is not tyranny, but it is fairness.   Instead of just a special choice few beings or things to determine the universe, everyone and everything gets to.  Not just God, not just humans, but trees and rocks, fire, water, earth and air, and everything in between.  Everything gets to have a part in one way or another at determining the whole.  Without that part, how may it be a whole?


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47 posted 06-28-2006 06:14 PM       View Profile for Stephanos   Email Stephanos   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Stephanos's Home Page   View IP for Stephanos

Essorant,

I'm not sure that you really understand the implications of absolute determinism.  It means that if someone is wrong, or immoral, or afflicted, that it was only a result of the long interlocking chain of cause and effect.  "Fair" is certainly not a word you can apply to that view.  Because even what is considered "unfair" is part of the unyielding iron chain.  Take the most henious example of "unfairness" you can think of, and you'll have to say that it was predestined by nature itself.  As much of a romantic naturalist as you are, I can't really believe that you think so.  


With absolute determinism you lose these in the mix:


rationality (how can anything be rational or irrational if brain configurations are chemically predetermined?)

morality (how can anything be right or wrong if all actions and attitudes are predetermined?)

choices (how can anyone be said to make a choice if our very wills are predetermined?)


But if you're talking about something a bit different than what I've described, a bit freer, then maybe you don't really believe in determinism per se.  Maybe your view is a modification?  


Stephen
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48 posted 06-29-2006 11:55 AM       View Profile for kif kif   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for kif kif

Yet rationality, morality and choices are bound up with our predetermined desire for survival.

It is rational to behave calmly in the face of a tiger, as the cause of reacting nervously would be the effects of a tiger attack. Rationality is all about our understanding of cause and effect.

Free will doesn't determine morality, rather, morality determines free will, and our choices are bound up with the society we live in, again, a moral issue that's highly debatable.

I don't believe we have absolute free will, just as I don't believe we're doomed to a predetermined fate. I do believe in synchronicity, cause and effect, but our capacity to make choices creates a whole other reality, constructed from within, not shaped from without, yet still effected by and still effecting causality.  
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49 posted 06-29-2006 12:14 PM       View Profile for kif kif   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for kif kif

Back onto the question of purpose, I've been thinking about this in terms of art and music, and the word "emotive" keeps popping up. Music and art manage to communicate emotively, thus personalising a universal communication. Perhaps this is a step toward trancendence?

I wrote something ages ago...

Love Delirium.

I've got to know
I want to grow
rhythm surreal.
Deal
a frond of love,
and a subject to my will.
I take a line
and place it right,
I'm speaking of strange fruit now,
and pulp so soft,
yet I can't feel no peace of mind.
with a sound so tough,
in ths beat for trust,
I'm reaching out for a note
up high,
a prefix.
 
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