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Music and the arts in a possible future

The document below is a verbal transcript of the contents of what was found to be some kind of memory stick, which I picked up in a wood recently, of an unfamiliar design, looking as if it had been left out in the rain. It took the genius of a computer hardware friend to make an adapter for a USB port, for its plug end was unlike any we have seen. 

The subject seems to be about the practices of music and other arts integrated into the cultural fabric of a time (and place?) not our own. Integrated, and, importantly, centrally meaningful as valued and valuable to all aspects of life including the practical, as non-verbal expressions tending to the holistic, inclusive as opposed to the narrowly focussed, affirmative of values other than the economic and material in contra-distinction to the marginalisation and commodification of music and arts apparent in our present profoundly unbalanced soi disant civilization. Marginalisation (in the UK despite, or arguably because of, Arts Council grant policies) is now so pervasive that in equations of what is officially held to matter in our mainstream culture arts tend simply to be overlooked, despite their (commodified) economic value: less tangible values therefore become hard to assert, tending to become invisible particularly at levels of governance. Perhaps Wilson Schaef had the right of it, calling our mainstream worldview addictive:

 . . . like any addiction, this worldview absorbs positive attributes like love and then

presents them as if they were its own, feeding off nonaddictive energy and, at the same time,

seeking to overpower and destroy it (Wilson Schaef 1992 pp96-7, emphases in the original)

That's the mainstream, reported as if unassailably homogenous by the powerful media: though as you readers know well, there are smaller cultural streams on the other side of the watershed emerging from underground, and perhaps the high ground is eroding too, causing more water to flow that side. Under various names ('New Age', Alternative lifestyles, Cultural progressives) these streams are cutting channels in our culture which taken collectively begin to add up to the possibility of a better future, a future which seeks to empower local communities as opposed to centralising tendencies by government, privileges inter-personal relations as antidote to sweeping attitudes of 'citizens' as 'workforce' and 'consumers', and pays attention to psychic development (self improvement stream) and therefore as corollary arts and music perceived as more than mere entertainment, but integrated into the fabric of life. 

Examples abound of art and music events and organisations aimed at empowering by nurturing creativity. The founder of one for young persons, The Power of Hope, which provides drumming and similar workshop courses for teenagers, commented "We can become creators of the culture we want and not just consumers of the culture we have". And as another example the Khayaal Theatre Company tours England with plays and songs striving to represent Islam positively, extensively consulting young Muslims in Britain in order to popularly present complex issues, with the mission to draw out faith to enrich art and draw out art to enrich faith. 

Both these examples of purposive uses of arts (not mere entertainment) are taken from the current issue of occasional newspaper Positive News, and they both suggest pointers to the world hinted at in the document below, along with empowering endeavours aimed at adults, such as at Findhorn, Gaunt's House and many other places throughout the land which offer courses and experiences aimed at many aspects of personal and community development, very often through music and arts. But readers on this site know about much of that ...

Such creative endeavours are too easily perceived by the mainstream as educationally supplemental, separate from the important acquisition of information designed to make its receivers useful to the economic body politic: schooling instead of education. Compartmentalisation is powerfully endemic. The findings, confirmed in later work, that listening to music positively enhances learning, has made no noticeable dent in mainstream education provision: sales of Mozart recordings sky-rocketed though, since his music was used in the experiments (Rauscher 1993)—to the unnecessary detriment of vast quantities of other music—which points clearly to the desires, attitudes and feelings of many many folk. 

Returning to the memory stick, we saw that its content is dated to our future! Clearly a spoof. Well, just conceivably not. I have reported elsewhere certain anomalous experiences which could possibly be interpreted as some sort of time travel (Scientific and Medical Network Review No.81, April 2003, Personal Experience p28). Was I unconsciously in a similar experience in that wood? This is extremely problematic, to say the least, so it may be best here to adhere to the spoof interpretation, even though, or alternately because, the presentation claims to be by an as yet unborn great-grandchild. 

Whichever it is, and this is why I put forward this document, we have here some hints of what a future might be like which has brought some salvation to the ills of our present self-destructive schizophrenic world. Inter alia the salvation appears to be at least partly mediated by some large scale catastrophe, which we may see as building up in the world now, and arguably is what is needed to impel sufficient cultural change before we write ourselves out of the book of this planet's viable species.

The contents appear to be a fairly sophisticated video-like presentation. The visual background is considerably fractured, in many places totally meaningless. The audio aspects are rather better, at least until the entire contents disappear into white noise. There is a female voice speaking, confident and well rounded in intonation: a strong and attractive voice. Most of the words are clear. It is some kind of English, but the accent is not quite like anything I have heard before. A linguist might consider that it is an English which has lost some of its classical underpinnings, infected by something like North American first nation worldviews, expressing itself in part also via a regression (or less judgementally, a return) to odd words from earlier versions of English, and in particular to mediaeval Germanic inflected Midlands English. One might imagine circumstances, perhaps of reconstruction, in which such changes could arise. 

Key phrases for many sentences appear visually, as emphases accompanying the spoken word. This part of the visual seems to be a more robust overlay, more of it surviving unbroken. These phrases, in a handwriting font with some unusual letter forms, are what enabled me to reproduce the spellings (rather odd against contemporary English), though sometimes I had to guess, aided by comparisons in the usual way of cryptographic method. 

Here and there one can hear and see the full import of what was intended. For example at the phrase "There is danger" the visuals are clear: as the voice speaks the words the background suddenly goes black, a low rumbling sound starts, the accompanying written phrase flashes red in a fast rhythm, and a growl is uttered which I hear as the cry of a hungry raptor. Over-the-top perhaps, but extremely effective, and speaking directly to the emotions as well as the understanding―a thoroughly grounded communication. I could be proud of my putative great-grand-daughter.

Well, the reader must make what s/he will of the text below. I have taken the transcription as far as the collapse into white noise.

The needingness of musiking and other artflows in the present world livingway: a thesis-wave presented by Merci Sancti for Middling Meaning Collective Evaluation by the Community Uni of Middlengland, Wintersol NewCycle58 (old calendar Dec.AD2070).

{+We ask the Great Spirit and the Spirits of Middlengland to be present at this thesis-wave+}

Before-thoughts Ther will be some in our community-flow hoo will against me run the not-doing wave for this thesis-wave, saying ther is no necessary running-with here. Why do we need a thesis-wave walking-with wat we all know we do and are? We have now in our communities a good balancing of visionhoods, wholesome flowings of left and right thoughtways working together, with many good and joyful inter-personhood flowings with each-way respectings and much using of the fast-binding waves of musiking to help better-run with project waves. Some of these not-friends ride with those less quiet personhoods who talkfast all forgetting of waves prior to the Great Catastrofy (GC). This is not balancehood, in my listen-visioning.

Now, here we need to walk with those unlifeblessed persons whose freely flowing personhood has not grown to wavestate, the flow dammed off by illness in ther left visionway. We try to walk with them to un-dam ther stopped waves, but this proves difficult, specially if they escape the opening-up teaching of early nurture. And then many such find our community inter-personhood flow-ways hard to standunder, and remain lost in stagnant no-flows. Some say that all these ill persons lack the third strand, so they are all old humans. But careful walkings-with by measurers with high thesis-flows shows that some of them (not many) do have three, and too that some of us who are freeflowing personhoods (not many) only have the two stranded dna. Define-flowing hom­lumin is not simple.

But we are sad for the left visionway sufferers. We need the running-with standunder that before the GC, not-personhood no-flowing stagnant persons were the most of most nations (as communities were then called). Our wave-community ways, as most of us now flow, were rare and much hidden then. We need the running-with standunder that the left visionway illness catches. Ther is danger.

This is why I creatid and present this thesis-wave, to keep pastflow mind-waves on our jewelous ways, lest we lose the flow from wat we have struggled to be free of. Before the GC persons knew how to think with words. Very good, but now we know how to think with soundings and visionings as well. Left and right visionways have re-found how to work together in a free flowing running-with of all our communal works and creatids. We know how valuable to all parts of our livingness are musikings and other artflows, greatly helping the freeflowaves of community governancing, within- and between-community economyflows, teacher-nurturing our young, resolving broken respectings between personhoods and between communities, and much else. 

These value flows must not be dammed up by forgetting where we flowed from.

Chat 1. Historic forwardflows

All the now familiar ways of personhood and collective flowing in the creatifs and welcomeflow of musiking and other artflows can be espied planted and growing in the 2hundred or more years before our own Great Quietening (GQ) times. This contexflowing of my thesis-wave presentation is spied as necessary, for the pastflow is our great lessoning, tho that opining scratches the lenses of some. In order to best lumin the contexflowing wave themes walked with here I shall need now and otherwen to drop into wordings of those times, with appeasing moves to my readers, asking how else can we be in step with our escryings xcept we match pacings?

Those of us who have truly listened to the wisdomspeakings of our grandparent-walkers will know that the world of 100 and more, or even 60 years back, was very dark, full of fears from failure to escry others as personhoods in ther own flow, to many now an unbelievable blinding of the left eye visionway. More than 100 years past those times were named Modernist, and then, wen that wave was spied to diminish, Post-Modernist. Strange namings: understanding them is hard now, for us who move with wat we call balanced personhood flows, unlike most of our near-past-gone ancestor-walkers. Such names were given to force (or with less feeling-flow, guide) the poverty visions of the great numbers of those who were slaves to the wishes of The Few who had robbed them of ther personhood power.

{+O Great Spirit forgive our Ancestors these ther Deadly Wavings+}

Ther were those among The Few who decided how musik shoud sound and vision art shoud be seen, not as living waves as we now embrace them but as 'things', 'objects', words we do not standunder much now. They decided 'cording to wat chiefly ther ruling right eye visionway could flow with, which really means wat was downflowed to no-lifeflow, as the left side thoughtway does. They held-fast the art-and-musikworld, calling themselves Critiks, or Academxperts, or Galleryoners (for artfows), or Recorcompnies (for musik - as 'things'), whose speakings were like laws: no community of living-wave personhoods ther! 

One such Academxpert much believed as truth-teller at that time was Steven Pinker, hoo wrote of artflows:

Cheesecake packs a sensual wallop unlike anything in the natural world because it is a brew

of megadoses of agreeable stimuli which we concocted for the express purpose of pressing

our pleasure buttons. Pornography is another pleasure technology. In this chapter I will

suggest that the arts are a third . . . I suspect that music is auditory cheesecake. (Pinker 1997

pp525-32, quoted in McGilchrist 2009 p483, note 43)

Was he head&heart-ill? Hoo would welcomeflow such not imaginable no-sense? Seemingly many then. Remind that such no-flows can be heard among our left visionway illness sufferers: again we espie that many before the GC were not-personhood no-flowing stagnant persons. The all world was head&heart-ill. How sad, how sad for all then. And here I choose as masterflow the words of one founding thought-wisdom-father of our present livingway, Iain McGilchrist:

Alienation, fragmentation, decontextualisation: the defining features of the modern world

were as problematic for art as they were for society . . . The predicament of art in the

modern period could be said to be how to respond to this challenge And its problem is

made more intractable by a different sort of deracination - more than just the severance from

place . . . but the inevitable consequent severance from the roots of all meaning in shared

values and experiences, the vast implicit realm from which imagination draws its power.

(McGilchrist 2009 p409)

And colourers, shapeworkers, moviey and musik creatifs did 'respond', the most by walking-with in different ways the faceflows of 'alienation, fragmentation, decontextualisation', therwen moving to holdfast the receivers vision-hearing on the surface of the work only, since connection to the lived world was broken, absent: flatland. Receivers with enough left eye vision still flowing, seeking to welcomeflow the art, as we understand now, see-hearing only surface, no wave of connection to grounded, experienced life, could only feel bereft, that deeply wounding feeling as if some un-personhooded being was squeezing yor heart. Or such receivers were faced with insults to ther own livingness, ther own fragile (in those days) oneness with the world, presented as 'art', insults called 'found objects', such as a pottery loobowl, someone's bed, piles of turds or bricks, dead animals, or in musik no-meaning copys from the past, or not-1-way, broken scores, all ways of running-with the broken visionings of the ways the world was in those times. How wave-stopping such visionings of the world are to us now―and so were then too. Or shoud I say (a say which flows as flatly) no-meaning, an almost not imaginable stopping of the waveflows in our present livingway. And many such 'works' had wordflow attached, to explain wat it shoud live to be or do. How we would laugh now, if some silly personhood thought hir work needed any livingness than its own natural wave! Anyway that would be unflowing, since we work more times communally now, and, without not-felt-thoughtworks, our artflows and musiking are life-self.

wat the Critiks did, here, was to force-speak that such not-life idiot-flows were really great artflows, for they were Novelty, which means new (shoud I remindflow that our fore-parents saw many piles of bricks and dead animals during the Great Catastrofy?). This crosswind choppy sea between originality, which needs full-grounded working-ways to realflow itself against, and no-flow novelty, which doesn't, is easily spied by full-flowing personhoods, but not by no-flow stagnant persons, for ther right side thoughtways are ill. This was the blind no-flow Critiks leading the blind no-flow slaves of The Few. 

The wisdom-father McGilchrist makes a connection here with a no-life-making wave of those times which feeded the GC:

. . . one can surely agree with Virilio that the unanchored re-presentation of reality as art,

however dislocated or disturbing - an extension of the aesthetic creed, art for art's sake ­

which is endemic in modernism is part of a much more profound failure of compassion and

an erosion of pity. (McGilchrist 2009 p411, discussing Virilio 2003)

These dark thoughts bring much pain and sadness to the full flowing left visionway. {+O Great Spirit forgive our Ancestors these ther Fatal Fallings+}

But ther were some, more freewave artflow workers with some waveflowhood who waved bents in the broken no-life waves into some life-meaning, so that the receiver could flow hir oneness thru the surface of the artpiece or musik to its proper binding to the real-living world, letting the receiver 'vision the world anew', as a wisdom-thinker of the time wrote, Maurice Merleau-Ponty, whos thoughts, with others of his mindflow, are now escryed to be prophetings of our livingway.

A very few of these more personhooded art-and-musikworkers, those with most waveflowhood, called 'talent' in those times, were able to workflow within ther culture's art 'laws' to be given noddings by Critiks and Academxperts, but still put ther own lifeflow vision into ther work. In the old nation called England, the colourer Stanley Spencer and the musik creatif Benjamin Britten are lumined examples. 

At the same time, ther were many with less 'talent' (but enough for good workflow) who not-waved in ther own-flows the Critiks laws, and found approval in ther own living-place from receiving persons who too not-waved full slaving. Few of these are memoried, that being the nature of ther less publik work-life, for then, only noddings from Critiks, Galleryoners, Recorcompnies, gave wave-on for artflow and musik-workers to accept-flow―called 'fame', at ending-time found to be a killing no-life―more lifewave growing accept-flows being seen as lesser, that culture then blinded to most xcept money.  

But walk-with can be for 1 or 2. Rod Paton was 1, who early used our common word 'musiking'. He lived in Sowthengland before the waters flowed in. He used that word to mean working together in freeflow musik creatifs, called 'improvising' then, which we all do now in our communities, not only to keep strong our interpersonhood links in a joyful not-speaking way, but too to prepare ourselves before planning and deciding meetings, and for beforesetting at communal workings. And I would too like to mention my own great-grandfather-walker, Clement Jewitt, who composed flow-melodies in wat was then called 'art-music', wen melodies were not nodded-to. 'Important' Critiks were usually deaf to his musik, but it was well flow-received by some lesser Critiks in small towns, and by many friends, un-slaved persons who would have found much joy in our present livingway could they be here.

It is needingly life-waving for us now to realise how sad and feeling-cold life was for most in those days, the sadness hidden, with much false joy waved on top. Lifevents which need no noting now were strange to most then. One such was reported by a thinker-with, p'raps follower-of, Merleau-Ponty (mentioned 'fore), named David Abrams, hoo was in the Himalayas at the time:

. . . I climbed on to the rock . . . Across the dry valley, two lammergeier condors floated

between gleaming, snow-covered peaks . . . I took a silver coin out of my pocket and

aimlessly began a simple sleight-of-hand exercise, rolling the coin over the knuckles of my

right hand . . . [in] the dazzling sunlight I noticed that one of the two condors in the distance

had . . . swung out from its path and began soaring back [towards me] in a wide arc . . . I

watched its shape grow larger. As the great size of the bird grew apparent. I felt my skin

begin to crawl and come alive, . . . and a humming grew loud in my ears. The coin

continued rolling along my fingers. The creature loomed larger, and larger still, until,

suddenly, it was there―an immense silhouette hovering just above my head, huge wing

feathers rustling ever so slightly . . . the coin dropped out of my hand. And then I felt myself

stripped naked by an alien gaze infinitely more lucid and precise than my own. I do not

know for how long I was transfixed, only that I felt the air streaming past naked knees and

heard the wind whispering in my feathers long after the Visitor had departed. (Abrams 1996


Ther is nothing to be mazed at here for us, xcept that he needed to write it down atall, tho our personhood-flows with our cousins in Middlengland may be lesser, for ther are no birds here as great. But we know that some walks-with large animal cousins past the great deserts can be danger: respecting is all-value . . . 

This is the wave-break of Chat 1 of my thesis-wave presentation.

In the next 2 Chats I will be running deeper with the musiking-waves in our economy and community life, attending to the flows from community to single personhood and counter-flow back, to show how projects and thought-flows grow and prosper that way, the musiking supporting and guiding, with right thoughtway wide-inventivision, and the spot-thinking of left thoughtways: waves we standunder well now. After that I will show how musiking and other artflows wave in teachingflow and in return-work to life-waving-meaning with misdoers and left vision-illness persons. Thru all that running-with I will give close thought to how those works were done or not-done before the GC, as far as we now can know.

{+We thank the Great and Lesser Spirits for being with us in . . .

[At this point white noise overwhelms everything else, and continues to the end. However my genius computer friend thinks there may be a way to reveal more of the document. We shall see.]

References Abrams, David 1996. The Spell of the Sensuous: perception and language in a more-than-human

world. Random House Khayaal Theatre Company McGilchrist, Iain 2009. The Master and his Emissary: the divided brain and the making of the Western world. Yale.   [NOTE: I am deeply indebted to the penetrating insights and sheer volume of supporting information in this book, which have helped to validate some of my own intuitions, feelings and thoughts concerning the nature and values of art and, particularly, music.]

Pinker, Steven 1997. How the Mind Works. Norton Positive News Power of Hope Rauscher, Frances 1993. Music and Spatial Task Performance. Nature Vol. 365, 14th October.

Virilio, Paul 2003. Art and Fear. Athlone Press

Wilson Schaef, Anne 1992. Beyond Therapy, Beyond Science: a new model for healing the whole person. Harper Collins


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