Do You Love Me: Music Philosophical Theory. 

I’m beginning with a typical theme of this music theory, this philosophy of music, with Nick Cave and the bad seeds song

Do You Love Me, part 1“.

Beginning in this way we notice all the facets involved of many philosophers. The first that comes to mind is Alain Badiou and the idea that the philosopher is concerned with one thing. Theodor Adorno’s Negative dialectics come to mind also. Soren Kierkegaard and his teleological suspension of ethical and his piece on Don Giovanni, as well as most of his books. Derrida also comes to mind, in particular the book I’m reading now, “Of Spirit”. And at that even Heidegger’s Dasien. We might even also see that it is not difficult to consider some of the Speculative Realists and Graham Harman’s object ontology. In fact there is a whole library of western philosophers’ ideas that can be applied to just this one song in a way to where the application removes the possibility of doubt that there may be a linkage of philosophy to art.

I have asked myself why do we find philosophers referring to art in their philosophy? We have Heidegger involved with Friedrich Hölderlin; Kierkegarrd considers Mozart; Quentin Meillassoux takes apart Stephane Mallarme; Harman got into H.P. Lovecraft; there are plenty others. But what strikes me is that noone (no one? That I have noticed, anyways; I could be very wrong (can someone help me out??)) has been considering art that is happening at the time of the philosophy. What I mean is, it appears to me that all these philosophers only consider artists of their (relative) past. Why are all these philosophers bringing past forms into relevancy of our time? Are there no current and living artists that may represent the significance that seems to only occur in old dead artists?

Now, as I said in the other post; I am am not talking about some cultural philosophical analysis the likes to reify themes of social justice or ideological evangelism of recursive ontologies. Slovaj Zizek is great in this regard; his is ideological recursively in its most immediate incarnation; his is the mark of the closed distance, he is the example of his own ‘filling’ of his own parallax gap. We could write a whole book on what is occurring with Zizek, but then by then end of it, never get further than anything Zizek has already said himself; suffice it to say that when we begin to understand my work, let alone his work, then we might also begin to have a baring upon what is occurring for a number of philosophers, if not philosophy itself in general. This brings to mind certain authors, and as well (again) the issue I treat most everywhere in my work: I am not sure we need to plaster over an issue with thick, viscous jargon and dense conceptual acrobatics in order to find out what is occurring. Though an idea might be entertaining in its conceptual gymnastics and the dexterity and or flexibility of thought that is required to understand them might be fun to consider and talk about (like a rollercoaster), often enough it is the assumption of depth in what appears as complex that amounts to true nonsense and really gets us nowhere besides spinning in a theoretical circus. When we begin, as well as when we are proceeding, we should always keep in mind the question as to if we are actually contributing to something significant or if we are merely creating self-aggrandizing conceptual pleasentries for social mobility circles. Are we getting anywhere or are we risking nothing.

Blah; enough of my proselytizing. Back to the point.

When we speak of a ‘first’ philosophy, we must keep in mind the meaning that I suggested in my post “Being Decay”, and see that we have settled in the land of what has been typically called ‘Continental’ philosophy, but likewise that arena from which we find a further divergence, that is, in so much a what is ‘continental’ perhaps has become merely another conventional philosophy; whatever its significance was, we might be able to notice that the destitution of spirit (see my earlier notes on Derrida’s book) marks a collapse of continental arena; more precisely, the move of what could be the point of the continental designation is into what is ‘destitution’, or of ‘desolation’. It is this desolation that the Postmoderns mark by their attempt to ‘pull it back’ from the nothingness, the void that it fell into. This is the irony of the post-Postmoderns such as Laruelle and Badiou, as well as Zizek. This is to say that the idea of democratic multi-vocality is itself a voice of the destitute spirit.

Our concern is that never (it seems) do or are modern philosophers considering an art that is actively present, meaning here, by contrast and therefore the spirit that is indeed destitute, that spirit that is indeed living on desolation row, instead of attempting to deny the fact of its existence. The reason why philosophy, as a philosophy that concerns ‘spirit’ ((with or without parentheses)) of any sort, is destitute is because the spirit by which it proposes to be concerned in indeed lacking. We might then reconsider what I mean when I say that conventional philosophy deals with everything from a distance, but proposes it within a condition of intimacy and why I say that what is theoretical occurs at a distance, but further that this is not always the case, but is only the case in a particular condition of Being, i.e. that ‘spirit’ of Being-there that is destitute of spirit in as much as it exists through a denial of this situation. We shall elaborate on this facet later.

To wit; Nick Cave is still alive and playing concerts! But we will also notice that his situation evidences the transition (the conversion? Harman?) that had already occurred, what we notice as Postmodern, which is an apology for Modern, that still had a plausible purchase upon authenticity in its attempt to rescue the the wayward spirit, and the post-Postmodern, which is an apology for the Postmodern not being able to rescue it. In other words, we find that the German Idealists (in a very general, as well as very specific sense, as well as the French and others) ironically were correct about somethings while being entirely incorrect of those same things. We begin to understand what Kant was talking about, what he was addressing, and we see how the closing of the distance that appeared in the Modern found its closure now in the explanation wherein the destitution of spirit marks, but not in some sort of anti-spiritual atheist biological evolutionist continuance of ‘Being there’ ontology, but rather exactly in the Being-there having no substance, but entirely consituted in material; what we view as historical does indeed function within a presumption of the material of substance. Yet we find the closing marks that point of divergence because the closing that is the meaningful nothingness, the coming upon the nihilistic universe, did not end anything. We find, inevitably, if we can be honest, that it is not that somehow ‘nothing’ is at the base of all things, but indeed, that the rational route by which it founds substance in nothing is the destitute spirit, but further, that the only manner, the only possibility through which such destitution can be noticed is by the spirit that is not destitute, which is to say now, not real.

We begin to get the picture that philosophers sit in their library chair and ponder deep and significant elements of philosophical lore through long hours of reading and study of other literary folk who (it seems) must be dead. We cannot but ask: What risk was wagered? If it was anything less than death then we have to question just what was come upon by such novel considerations. Strangely enough, Heidegger can be seen in the attempt to buck the trend of ‘academic safety in distance’ in as much as he does indeed talk about “the work of art”. I admit, though, that I myself do not go out an look for philosophy-art, but somehow I feel that there should be at least some who are engaging philosophy and art that are contemporaneous with one another. Here is one artist/blogger I have come across. The impression I get from much of our current (state of conventional) philosophy is that same age-old image of the scholar who never encounters anything real (dangerous), while proposing great treaties on the nature of reality; they surround themselves with the ideological, epistemological, ontological, walls built of discourse, isolation, but painted with the veneer of life of the Everyone, of the masses, the common human being, of social commentary. But this is what the academic institution is for, what it does, and why it does: It supports the real ideological paradigm and supplies the rationale for why it is supplying the only route for what can possibly be true. We the call this type of philosophy conventional, but likewise we call it, unapologetically, real.

But what of the actual experience of life? What of the engagement with all things legal and illegal outside the safety of the theoretical world? Here we have a distinct possibility that brought about the Continental-Analytic distinction, what it used to mean. Heidegger, for all his insecurity posed as confidence, at least took a stand, however questionable it may have been. We have to ask as we read, for example, “Being and Time”, what the fk is he talking about? This has got to be the question that leads us into the Continental tradition, and the same one as well that finds it having dissolved in its attempt to be real. This is Heidegger’s (WW2) mistake, as well as all those German idealists; the irony of Heidegger is the truth of the falsity, the forensic analysis of ‘spirit’ that does not understand that its method is destructive; the ‘question’ is the imperative of historical manifestation, which is at once the move toward this ‘spirit/world Being-there’ that is destroyed upon its implementation (what struggle are we talking about here?). It does a disservice to the meaning of them to attempt to bring their ideas into our reality as if it still has relevance as a living philosophy. Even then it was already dead; it just had to come to a re-cognition; that this was indeed the case.

When we begin to see that this closure is not one upon some ‘universal’ or ‘common human’ spirit, then we can begin to see that what has been theorized within a horizon of a closing of distance, of the ‘shrinking’ of the distance between theory and its object, has reached its apogee in the present, now, and we can start to understand what I might mean by a theory of Rock and Roll, or a philosophy of Rock, or even music theory.

A sort of side note: We must have compassion and a certain sympathy, indeed an empathy, for Badou, when, as of late I am told, he appears to have come upon ‘love and happiness’ after a life-long philosophical journey. For it is possible to view him, his work and perhaps his history, as a result of being caught in the ‘mistake’ of the academy, of finding his theory through a closing distance. Indeed; what else could Badou mean but that we, as philosophers, are concerned with one thing? And what else could Hegel have meant by his voluminous statement?

With all this in mind, consider the lyrics to part 1 of “Do You Love Me”:

“Do You Love Me?”

I found her on a night of fire and noise
Wild bells rang in a wild sky
I knew from that moment on
I’d love her till the day that I died
And I kissed away a thousand tears
My lady of the Various Sorrows
Some begged, some borrowed, some stolen
Some kept safe for tomorrow
On an endless night, silver star spangled
The bells from the chapel went jingle-jangle
She was given to me to put things right
And I stacked all my accomplishments beside her
Still I seemed so obselete and small
I found God and all His devils insider her
In my bed she cast the blizzard out
A mock sun blazed upon her head
So completely filled with light she was
Her shadow fanged and hairy and mad
Our love-lines grew hopelessly tangled
And the bells from the chapel went jingle-jangle
She had a heartful of love and devotion
She had a mindful of tyranny and terror
Well, I try, I do, I really try
But I just err, baby, I do, I error
So come and find me, my darling one
I’m down to the grounds, the very dregs
Ah, here she comes, blocking the sun
Blood running down the inside of her legs
The moon in the sky is battered and mangled
And the bells from the chapel go jingle-jangle
All things move toward their end
I knew before I met her that I would lose her
I swear I made every effort to be good to her
I swear I made every effort not to abuse her
Crazy bracelets on her wrists and her ankles
And the bells from the chapel went jingle-jangle

And then, once we see this announcement, this proclamation of the situation in the present, of the present already occurred philosophically, later we find Nick speaking in more certain terms of the spirit in its very destitution, yet within a longing, such that the recourse of such spirit is to prostitute itself, for that is all the substance it has left, all the value it holds in its destitution. In this we caution against holding identities apart to say “this” instead of “that”, that ‘this’ interpretation is actually more real that ‘that’ one; of course, what is real determines is own real-truth, but as it is already determined in its offense, in its resentment (do I hear Nietzsche?). In desperation, people cry out for more institutional definition, so in the destitution of spirit do people look more and call out for what is ‘more real’; hence the recent popularity of (what we might call) the “New Realism” (including Speculative Realism).


Do You Love Me, part2

“Do You Love Me? (Part 2)”

Onward! And Onward! And Onward I go
Where no man before could be bothered to go
Till the soles of my shoes are shot full of holes
And it’s all downhill with a bullet
This ramblin’ and rovin’ has taken its course
I’m grazing with the dinosaurs and the dear old horses
And the city streets crack and a great hole forces
Me down with my soapbox, my pulpit
The the theatre ceiling is silver star-spangled
And the coins in my pocket go jingle-jangle
There’s a man in the theatre with girlish eyes
Who’s holding my childhood to ransom
On the screen there’s a death, there’s a rustle of cloth
And a sickly voice calling me handsome
There’s a man in the theatre with sly girlish eyes
On the screen there’s an ape, a gorilla
There’s a groan, there’s a cough, there’s a rustle of cloth
And a voice that stinks of death and vanilla
This is a secret, mauled and mangled
And the coins in my pocket go jingle-jangle
The walls of the ceiling are painted in blood
The lights go down, the red curtains come apart
The room is full of smoke and dialogue I know by heart
And the coins in my pocket jingle-jangle
As the great screen crackled and popped
The clock of my boyhood was wound down and stopped
And my handsome little body oddly propped
And my trousers right down to my ankles
Yes, it’s onward! And upward!
And I’m off to find love
Do you love me? If you do, I’m thankful
This city is an ogre squatting by the river
It gives life but it takes it away, my youth
There comes a time when you just cannot deliver
This is a fact. This is a stone cold truth.
Do you love me?
I love you, handsome
But do you love me?
Yes, I love you, you are handsome
Amongst the cogs and the wires, my youth
Vanilla breath and handsome apes with girlish eyes
Dreams that roam between truth and untruth
Memories that become monstrous lies
So onward! And Onward! And Onward I go!
Onward! And Upward! And I’m off to find love
With blue-black braclets on my wrists and ankles
And the coins in my pocket go jingle-jangle


But this is not the end of spirit. For the nothingness that we come upon is nothingness because it is not nothingness; it is a mark announcing that the route of reason that came upon its insubstantial basis is indeed incorrect in its estimations.

Secular is a real designation of a particular route, a real route, just as religious and spiritual is likewise real material categories. All designation of a particular meaningful paradigm (mythology) has been worked to its end. A pass is enacted that then allows for reality to move apparently unhindered. We find a similarity to the efforts of Bruno Latour, for an opening is needed since reality is found to rely upon invisible passes that shut out the truth of the situation; something has shaken loose, something that shows reality as a faulty estimation.

More in a bit.

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