Music, Motiff & Power | mnemonic

"I don't think somebody should learn theory just because I say it's a good idea, but for me, it's been very helpful. It's given me tremendous insight into music-I don't think of each note as something that came out of thin air. I had no idea how it all happened and what the tonal relationships to music were. As I got older, I had to progress. My brain had to find a way of making mental symbols that equaled intervallic relationships. Some people can do that without knowing theory, but it's really helped me." (John Frusciante)

Actual Sanity

sterling wisdom | mnemonic

"Bluesmen lead lives of great hardship.
And I've got too much rock & roll
in my blood to call myself a blues singer.
Country blues, folk music
and rock & roll make up
the kind of music that I play."
(Bob Dylan)

Actual Sanity

breadth | mnemonic

"A good
musician
is one
whose melodies
have, above all,
long breath."
(Otto Weininger)

Actual Sanity

The Despair of Defiance
by Soren Kierkegaard


Unlike the despair of weakness, the despair of defiance is the despair of wanting in desperation to be oneself. Here despair is conscious of itself as an activity. The self's identity comes not from "outside" but directly from the self. It is rooted in the consciousness of an infinitude, of being related to the infinite, and it is this self the despairer wants to be. In other words, such a self severs itself from any relationship to the power that has established it. It wants desperately to rule over itself, create itself, make this self what it wants it to be, and determine what it will have and what it will not have. The one who lives in defiance does not truly put on a self, nor does he see his task in his given self. No, by virtue of his own "infinitude" he constructs his own self by himself and for himself.

The defiant self recognizes no power other than its own. It is content with taking notice only of itself, which it does by means of bestowing infinite interest and significance on all its enterprises. In the process of its wish to be its own master, however, it works its way into the exact opposite; it really becomes no self, and thus despairs. As it acts, there is nothing eternally firm on which it stands. Yes, the defiant self is its own master, absolutely (as one says) its own master, and yet exactly this is despair.

Upon closer examination it is easy to see that this absolute ruler is a king without a country. He really rules over nothing. His position, his kingdom, his sovereignty, is subject to the dictates of rebellion at any moment. This is because such a self is forever building castles in the air, and just when it seems on the point of having the building finished, at a whim it can, and often does, dissolve the whole thing into nothing.

When confronted with earthly need, a temporal cross, a thorn in the flesh that grows too deep to be removed, the defiant self is offended. It uses the suffering as an excuse to take offense at all existence. Such a person wants to be himself in spite of suffering, but not in "spite of it" in the sense of being without it. No, he now wants to spite or defy all existence and be himself with it, taking it along in steely resignation with him, almost flying in the face of his agony. Does he have hope in the possibility of help? No! Does he recognize that for God everything is possible? No! Will he ask help of any other? No! That for the entire world he will not do. If it came to that, he would rather be himself with all the torments of hell than ask for help.

Ah! Indeed, there is much, even prolonged and agonizing suffering that the defiant self fundamentally prefers so long as it retains the right to be itself. Ah, demonic madness! Such a self wants to be itself in hatred towards existence, to be itself according to its own misery. It does not even want so much as to sever itself defiantly from the power that established it but in sheer spite to push itself on that power, importune it, hold on to it out of malice.

In rebelling against existence, the defiant self will hear nothing about the comfort eternity offers. This comfort would be to his undoing, an objection to the whole of his existence. It is, to describe it figuratively, as if a writer were to make a slip of the pen and the error became conscious of itself as such and then wanted to rebel against the author. Out of hatred for him, the error forbids the author to correct it and in manic defiance says to him: "No, I will not be changed, I will stand as a witness against you, a witness to the fact that you are a second-rate author." Yes, this is the despair of defiance, and what despair it is!

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