11.09.2008

Would that be the Pacific, or the Atlantic, or......?

Disclaimer: into a vast ocean, I merely dip a toe.

I find the trend in current music interesting, how popular the artists are who draw on old-school soul and rock. Generally, a mixing of musical styles is something that excites me so I have no qualms about it. My personal favorite example is Nicole Atkins, who exceptionally recreates a sixties pop haze while gently incorporating contemporary flavors. If you haven’t heard her album Neptune City, then you honestly don’t know what you’re missing.

The first quote of Baudrillard’s that I used on Nov. 7 was, I believe, a prediction, a foreshadowing of the pinnacle of a postmodern world. “A universe where…it has all been done.” Are we getting there? I think so.

Oftentimes I’m driven to think, what if the ‘best’ has already been done? (And yes, I understand what an incendiary word that is in these postmodern times) The middle of the last millennium saw such a perfecting of forms in art and music and literature (baroque and classical and romantic); what if, to continue creating new forms in art, we are forced to go further and further from that which human discernment finds acceptable? And in avoiding that, what if all that is left to be done is ‘playing with the pieces,’ as Baudrillard said?

That being said, I'm aware that no one truly knows what the future holds. There have been some sci-fi prophets but, it will always be difficult for the contemporary mind to comprehend a futuristic world. (Just look at the old show "Space: 1999")

I quoted the French philosopher’s ‘radical antagonism’ statement because, in short, I believe that chaos is a direct result of infinite diversity and the free will given us. There is to be no equilibrium found, though we may conceive of it and hope for it.

And the ‘immanent purpose of obscenity,’ I see it as I have always seen it: the human mind becomes bored. There is no recycling of interest. Whether individually or as a group, we must take something to its extreme as an alternative to abandoning it; you know the extreme has been reached when the only thing left to do is to reflexively go backward and reclaim some of the old order. And what are we left with?

Playing with the pieces.

The book is Postmodern Theory: Critical Interrogations.

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

How different things seem now approx. 2300 years after this quote from Ecclesiastes was written:

"All things are wearisome; more than one can express; the eye is not satisfied with seeing, or the ear filled with hearing. What has been is what will be, and what has been done is what will be done; there is nothing new under the sun. Is there a thing of which it is said, 'See,this is new'?"

I sit here imagining what the world will be like 2300 years from now.

"All is vanity."

Don said...

Disclaimer: I tip my toe in the ocean back at ya!

I enjoyed this post, as I did your earlier one. I appreciate you taking the time to expound on your earlier post. It helped.

But now I dialect…(Who says dialectic can’t be a verb? Is this something new? No, I’m just playing with the pieces! But having fun doing it.)

You begin (paragraph 1) in complimenting some new music, which borrows from the old. Even the masters who “perfected” the form rarely created something from nothing, but usually borrowed from the current folk music of their time. Even they were playing with pieces. Having studied a bit of the creative process, I think it’s almost always a matter of building on the past, with innovation, experimentation, and flair. The infinite diversity and free will interact with the building blocks available to create something new. Otherwise, I might as well say, “I’ll never write anything good! All the good letters have already been used!”

Granted a lot of speculation takes place (paragraph 2), but I don’t think playing with the pieces is such a bad lot. I have fun blogging. How about you? Yet we’re only making ripples in a very small glass. I think at best, we are all making “refrigerator art” for God. In my opinion, from master to novice, we’re far from perfecting any form.

If you look for doom, you will certainly find it. I sense you have an optimism that has been jaded by keeping company with the offspring of French existentialists! Your roots in science fiction suggest a hopeful delusion. I was initially drawn to your blog by your subtitle: Delusional, and Dashing, and Doomed. I missed the point that Tilting at the Universe was an allusion to Don Quixote, but my wife picked up on that. That allusion perhaps carries over to your sub-title. I’ve never read the book, but I read the Wiki-pedia summary tonight. Hmmm… the protagonist was delusional, dashing, and in the end: doomed.

Me? I play with the pieces. I heard the song called “Impossible Dream” from the Man from La Moncha as a kid, took it out of context, and let it ignite in me a lifelong optimism. “And the world will be better for this: that one man scorned and covered with scars, still strove with his last ounce of courage, to dream the impossible dream.”

As I’ve grown older, I’ve chosen my optimistic delusions, I’m careful who I keep company with, and I have fun playing with the pieces. Doom is depressing, dashing is more fun!

Not all art needs to come from a tortured soul. Delusional, dashing, and generally delighted: that’s my aspiration!

Thanks again for an excellent post. You didn’t just provide food for thought, but for a whole meal!

Saphron said...

Wow! I am honored by the length of your comment. :-)

True, we have all played with the pieces, as have those who came long before us. I guess Baudrillard meant it in a very final kind of way – absolutely nothing is new or original at the ‘end of history,’ and the pieces are all you have left. But you’ve got me thinking now, about how many pieces we each play with every day. I think that’s pretty cool, the interconnectedness of everything.

I’ll admit, I’ve always seen I.D. and free will in a pretty negative context – until you spun it differently.

And you’re right, not all art needs to come from a tortured soul…and it definitely shouldn’t! I’ve had to come to an acceptance of my art deriving from that darker place, and I’m okay with that. And don’t worry, I only recently encountered those pesky French existentialists – we don’t know each other too well. :-P

Don said...

Ahhh... I've been awaiting your reply and will now quote C. Montgomery Burns, "Excellent!" ;-)