Realities Created, Maintained and Destroyed, WHILE-U-WAIT!

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Interlude, Music

"God hates music!" is the cry of fundamentalism.

Have you ever stopped to think about this? I am not just talking about Islamic fundamentalism, this is an attitude found throughout pretty much all fundamentalist ideology.

While Muslim fundamentalists most often take the stance of "No music at all" (we saw that when the Mullahs took over Iran and people were making bonfires of instruments in the streets of Tehran)

Christian fundamentalists on the other hand have most often taken to position of using music only in the service of the church.

The general consensus though among those who would like to control every aspect of our lives that music should never be unregulated.

The reason for this is that music is one of the most powerful "memetic carriers". That is to say, music can infect large numbers of people with new ideas, and can do so more effectively than almost anything else.

We have seen this in the 20th century with the "Dust bowl Balladeers" like woody Guthrie. Pete Seeger, and Rambl'in Jack Elliot, as well as the "Folk movement" which gave us Joan Baez, Richard Farina and the like. Or we can contemplate the effect that the Beatles had on the consciousness of the world.

The is the sort of thing that sends the powers-that-be into inquisition mode. I think there by be nothing quite so frightening to Mullahs and politicians as someone like John Lennon.

Back in the day, we saw the same sort of reaction to the music that was becoming popular in the US that we saw in Iran.

Various "conservative" types held record burnings and all manner of indoctrination sessions trying to counteract the alien memes being injected into the minds of young people through the radio. (And AM radio at that). Interestingly, none of it worked.

I should note here that the performer is as important as the piece they are doing. Charisma is in fact considered a spiritual power/gift by many Sufi thinkers. Without this ability to connect with your audience, even the best song will not have the effect you want.

So if you want to understand how memes work, a good place to start is music. Take a long hard look at how a musical style such as Rap or Hip Hop spreads through various strata of culture world wide.

Listen to as much live music as you can, and notice how the artists connect with their audience.

(Speaking of which, one thing I am very excited about with spending more time on the East Coast is that there is a much more vital music scene than on the part of the West coast I have been hanging out in. As a matter of fact, Don, if you are reading this Ithaca has lots of good live music. Check out "Music on the Commons". As a matter of fact The Burns sisters Band will be playing there on the 18th of Aug. I like their music very much and recommend that you check them out if you can.)
So, God hates music? I think not. If he did she would not have used so much of it in creating the universe.


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