Tag Archives: Schopenhauer

Quote of the Day

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“The effect of music is so very much more powerful and penetrating than is that of the other arts, for these others speak only of the shadow, but music of the essence.”

Arthur Schopenhauer (1788–1860)

Or, to put it a little more bluntly like Friedrich Nietzsche did, “Without music life would be a mistake.”

I’d like to say I love Schopenhauer’s quote so much I bought the company, but the truth is much more prosaic: I merely included it in A Father’s Son.

Schopenhauer was a titan of philosophy, probably best remembered today for his work The World as Will and Representation. Although not as commonly known as other big names like Plato, Aristotle, and Descartes, for example, here are a few (relatively unknown) people he had a significant impact on with their own work: Joseph Campbell, Albert Einstein, Friedrich Nietzsche, Leo Tolstoy.

Yeah, I guess Schopenhauer was sort of important in the grand scheme of things.

Anyway, the above quote comes from a longer segment that I’m including here because (1) I agree with it; and (2) Schopenhauer explains it better than I ever could.

“Music…stands quite apart from all the [other arts]. In it we do not recognize the copy, the repetition, of any Idea of the inner nature of the world. Yet it is such a great and exceedingly fine art, its effect on man’s innermost nature is so powerful, and it is so completely and profoundly understood by him in his innermost being as an entirely universal language, whose distinctness surpasses even that of the world of perception itself, that in it we certainly have to look for more than that exercitium arithmeticae occultum nescientis se numerare animi [“an unconscious exercise in arithmetic in which the mind does not know it is counting”] which Leibniz took it to be…We must attribute to music a far more serious and profound significance that refers to the innermost being of the world and of our own self…

“Music is as immediate an objectification and copy of the whole will as the world itself is, indeed as the Ideas are, the multiplied phenomenon of which constitutes the world of individual things. Therefore music is by no means like the other arts, namely a copy of the Ideas, but a copy of the will itself, the objectivity of which are the Ideas. For this reason the effect of music is so very much more powerful and penetrating than is that of the other arts, for these others speak only of the shadow, but music of the essence…

“The inexpressible depth of all music, by virtue of which it floats past us as a paradise quite familiar and yet eternally remote, and is so easy to understand and yet so inexplicable, is due to the fact that it reproduces all the emotions of our innermost being, but entirely without reality and remote from its pain. In the same way, the seriousness essential to it and wholly excluding the ludicrous from its direct and peculiar province is to be explained from the fact that its object is not the representation, in regard to which deception and ridiculousness alone are possible, but that this object is directly the will; and this is essentially the most serious of all things, as being that on which all depends.”

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Music for Writing

Image result for eyes closed, listening to music, looking at computer

Hey! I finally found a picture of my doppelgänger! Except I have a mullet of curly hair that men are jealous of and women swoon over. And my face is much more spatial – and palatial. Oh, and my back is always erect when I type. Always. Well, there’s also the hot issue of my eyes, which are not quite as beady and shine with illumination like a handsome dwarf star that’s run out of hydrogen to burn so begins collapsing onto itself. Hmm. I guess what I’m trying to say is that I am also a man, like the man in the picture, and I wear clothes and have a laptop computer.

My apologies for getting distracted by my doppelgänger. Now, onto today’s post!

Murakami Haruki published a memoir in 2013 called What I Talk About When I Talk About Running. Oh, that Murakami is so quirky!

Anyway, it’s early Sunday morning here. I’ve been writing since 5 a.m., and I was suddenly struck with this idea to share What I Listen To When I Listen To Music While Writing.

We’re all unique in our habits and patterns, but for me I can’t write creatively without my earbuds firmly in my side head holes. I can write in public and in private; with chaos going on all around me or in perfect tranquility; inside or outside; at a desk, on the floor, or in transit; with or without my bikini mesh high-cut thong on; etcetera; and so on; ad infinitum.

But without my instrumental music forming the backdrop to my writing experience, I might as well be writing in Polish. Which wouldn’t go over very well because I know exactly zero Polish words.

Per the advice of an old friend who emailed me yesterday and insisted I stop quoting other people in my Quote of the Day posts, I’ll actually quote myself for the first time in more than four years of running this site.

There’s a moment in A Father’s Son when the father, Rick Maloney, is listening to Pachelbel’s Canon in D late at night and becomes unusually emotional. As he tries to explain the raw power of music to his son, Rick says,

“You know, Schopenhauer once said that the effect of music is so very much more powerful and penetrating than is that of the other arts, for these others speak only of the shadow, but music of the essence. I love that line: for these others speak only of the shadow, but music of the essence!” He opened his eyes and looked into mine. “I’m convinced that if angels do actually exist, they might very well have come down to Earth and inspired the great Baroque artist to write this canon.”

That’s kind of how I feel every morning after cruising into my “office” (coffee shop) and I  begin writing as I bask in the auditory splendour of these incredibly gifted musicians.

So, if you’re looking for some new music to write to or meditate to or, I don’t know, party to (?), click on the following links and see if they turn your crank.

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