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Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Oswald Spengler Would Understand My Affection For This Video


Spengler thought civilizations, and little bits of civilizations, had a trajectory. They're not a ferris wheel. They're a moonshot. They are born, mature, and wither. The withery generation blames kids these days for what's going on, but it was always inevitable. Kids only live in the world we make for them.

These people are making music live in front of other people. Those sounds are coming out of Al Green's mouth. The drummer doesn't follow a metronome. No one even had an electronic tuner back then. Someone had an A440 tuning fork, struck it, listened to it, tuned their instrument to the tone, and then everyone else painstakingly tuned up to them. They're all listening to each other and producing the sounds together. This is an artifact of the high summer of pop music made in this manner.

Spengler's almost completely misunderstood, even by his devotees, and I'm sure I'll be misunderstood, too, like I always am. He mostly said that the action in important affairs didn't die, exactly; it moved to other arenas. Music might matter a lot for a while, but then it would go overripe, and everyone important would go and ruin architecture or something else next. I must admit that I haven't got nearly as much idea where the action is right now, and in many arenas I just don't give a fig, but I can assure you I have an intimate knowledge of nearly everyplace it isn't happening.

Nostalgia for bad things makes you a Philistine and a reactionary. Affection for things that used to be better isn't nostalgia; its the only refuge of a sensible person.

4 comments:

Leslie said...

That is definitely where I live these days. I thought it was because I am getting old. But, things really did used to be better. I sometimes grieve for the world my children live in, but, I do my best to show them what is beautiful, good and True. They seem to get it. They don't miss what I miss.

chasmatic said...

Yes, Julie, things were better. Sad thing is, we can't pass it all on to the next ones. Maybe a whiff, a hint or a suggestion but not the whole thing. All we can do is keep it close in our hearts and convey the feelings. They will have to gather their own memories for when the cycle repeats.
As we are, they will be.

John the River said...

I've tried talking to a few young people about what it was like growing up in the fifties; a young boy walking all around town without fear, mine or my parents. The conversation never gets very far, they immediately start shrieking about how bad it was for Negroes and Gays then. Because that trumps everything else, as they have been taught. The 10% and the 3% trump all the rest of it.
When we are gone and they are alone with the world they wanted and their money is worthless and there are no jobs and nothing is safe and they are replaced by a new generation of useful idiots that will beat them down a little farther then I'll be grinning in the grave.

Johnny Glendale said...

One of my favorite quotes is from a Robert Hunter interview, in which he reminisced about his early years with the Grateful Dead. He wistfully said, "Oh, that those times would come again..." he paused, and his eyes glistened a bit before getting a bit of a sparkle as he continued, "...ah, but they will; just not for us!"