Charlie's Blog: SOC 26


SOC 26

Music produces a kind of pleasure which human nature cannot do without.

I love classical music. I usually write these blog posts while classical music plays in my headphones. I've tried listening to rock music, but it is too distracting and upsetting. Right now, I am listening to Durufle's Requiem. It is a splendid piece of music that I recommend. But where does rock and roll fit into my life? That's a good question.

My mental space is bifurcated between the high and the low. While I listen to requiems, I also indulge in AC/DC once in awhile. It is a guilty pleasure. I contemplate the bifurcation and a possible purgation of all that is low. Those low pleasures truly are guilty. This is the music that I imagine plays on Hell's Jukebox.

This article informs my thinking currently. Basically, it makes the case for a transcendant norm in the musical realm, and it's lead off quotation from Plato eats at me:
“…when lawlessness has established itself there [in music and poetry], it flows over little by little into character and ways of life.” Plato, Republic 424d
We can laugh at the country preacher railing against the evils of the Devil's Music, but that preacher is onto something. When God is lost, a debased culture emerges. We see this today in our music, our art, our cinema, our architecture, and our literature. Things have gotten so bad that we see that our musicians, artists, actors, writers, and directors can't quite pull it off anymore. Things went bad 50 to 60 years ago with the baby boomers, and it has degraded to this current point. Our culture has lost its soul.

Listening to classical music is a kind of rebellion against the cultural garbage and rot. Listening to the good stuff has the effect on my brain of turning on a firehose in a dirty barn. The dirt and filth come from yielding to all those temptations to listen to AC/DC. I ponder what it would be like to expunge the low stuff from my life for good. For now, I try to increase the influence of the high stuff in my life.

This high/low thing is not particular to me, but it is also reflected in the liturgy wars between those preferring the Latin Mass of the Extraordinary Form and the Novus Ordo of the Ordinary Form. I have never been to a Latin Mass, but I am for it. I am a Summorum Pontificum Catholic. I think that was the best thing Pope Benedict ever did for us, and I think the fact that Benedict is still with us is the only reason Summorum Pontificum continues. The current occupant of Peter's Chair has made no effort to conceal his disdain for the Latin Mass. When Benedict dies, I fully expect the Latin Mass to die with him. That would be sad.

There has always been and always will be a tension between the old and the new. I love classical music, but I listen to it from YouTube on a PC. If it wasn't for technology, I would be deprived of all this great old music. Prior to the internet, it was the classical NPR radio station and my CD player that brought this great music to me. Technology is a good thing. But then, you have the electric guitar which is the primary instrument of rock and roll. Thanks to electricity and electronics, bad musicians can make really loud noises. Should we blame the technology?

Modernism is the belief that the new must automatically be better. But we know better. Technology can improve life, but it can never serve as a substitute for the permanent things. Some things just don't ever change. Morality, truth, goodness, and beauty remain fixed forever. These things resist innovation. The result is that we have big budget movies with eye popping special effects which are inferior to the plays of Shakespeare written for a common stage. Likewise in politics, conservatism triumphs over Marxism and technocracy.

I don't like to think in terms of traditionalism and modernism. It is a false dichotomy. A better set of terms would be the popular and the permanent. A classic example of this would be the First Amendment. If we applied gun control logic to the First Amendment, we would only have freedom of the press for actual printed works on paper but not for television, radio, or the internet since these technologies did not exist when the First Amendment was drafted. Somehow, technology voids those First Amendment provisions. But we know this is nonsense in the same way that we know the Second Amendment does not restrict us to the freedom to carry single shot muskets and nothing else.

The permanent things always remain. The popular will always change. Music may not always be beautiful, but Faure's Requiem will always be beautiful. The sad thing today is that so much of our culture is an outright assault on the permanent things. So many creative people are not creators but destroyers. They make ugly art in the hope that they will obliterate beauty itself. But can the darkness eat the light? It is absurd and risible.

In other news, I think I am at the point of victory in my battle with social media addiction. My problem is a simple one. When I gave up meat, it was easy. This is because meat is totally bad in my mind. Except for survival situations, I can see no good reason to ever eat meat. Consequently, giving it up is no biggie. But social media has been hard because it can actually be used for good ends. This mixture of good and bad is what makes it such a pain to quit.

I love the internet. When I first encountered the internet so many years ago, I knew that it was a good thing that would change my life for the better, and it has. Back then, AOL was the big thing, but I didn't care about it at all. I just wanted to access all that awesome information that would have taken forever to discover in a library. But AOL was the social media of its day. Facebook, Twitter, and the rest merely continue a thing that was already in existence at the beginning. The only difference is that people are starting to question its benefits.

Social media addiction and pathologies are a thing now. The mainstream media have picked up on this and run a story almost daily about the pitfalls of social media or the liberation people feel when they are free of it. I have been off Twitter long enough to experience the benefits and appreciate the difference of a life free from social media. What draws me back is when I see or hear someone in the media mention their social media accounts. I am a news and politics junkie, so Twitter is the platform for those in that world. I experience the Fear of Missing Out or FOMO, so I resurrect my deleted account and lose myself in that world again. Then, after the relapse has set in, I feel self-loathing and disgust at myself for being so weak. Then, I deactivate my account and begin again.

There isn't enough social pressure in the world to make me eat meat again or buy a smartphone or abandon my Catholic faith, and the social pressure on those things is considerable. Likewise, there is pressure to be on social media. When you are a blogger, it is expected that you will also have accounts on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. I bow to that pressure. I shouldn't, but I do.

I experienced something similar to FOMO when I gave up watching professional sports. I was a diehard sports fan for years with basketball being my favorite sport. But I quit it all, and I have no regrets about it whatsoever. Watching sports is a waste of life. Play sports instead. Anyway, to this day, guys will be talking about something that happened in the sports world, and I am totally MO or missing out. And, I don't care. I don't voice what I am thinking, but I am thinking that these people are totally wasting their lives on that garbage.

I don't think politics is a waste of time or life because those things are important. People that try and ignore politics do so at their own peril. This is because politics will certainly take an interest in you. When some popular riot occurs, it's too late to go grab a newspaper to figure out what is going on. It behooves everyone to care about these things.

Stupid and uneducated people fail to follow the news. This is why I find the NFL anthem protests so ironic. People who watch sports usually don't care about politics. Now, politics is being rubbed in their faces.

It would be nice to live in blissful ignorance of political things, but this ignorance cannot last indefinitely. You can either be proactive on these things by keeping up with them or be reactive to these things when they come and hunt you down and force you on the cattle cars to the concentration camps. Twitter will certainly have a hashtag on it.

I didn't get Twitter for a long time, but this was because I was outside of politics and news. I was libertarian, but this is more philosophy than politics. Most libertarians have dropped out of the political world and retreated to an ivory tower of theories. But when I came back around to conservatism, I saw why Twitter mattered.

Twitter knows what it is which is why it has taken to censoring right wing voices. GAB has emerged as the alternative for the right and alt right, yet there is no GAB app on either Android or iOS. Things have gotten nasty as the progressives try to censor the conservatives. It is a fight, and I love a good fight.

I am torn between trying to break a bad habit or missing out on a good fight. This is my FOMO. I fear the fight for right needs me, and I am MIA in this battle. This is not a good place to be. As far as blogging goes, it is far from the action now. It is rear echelon stuff in this cultural and political war. Even now as I write this, I want to fire up my Twitter account again and get back to fighting. This will lead to another lost weekend tweeting. I can't do that anymore.