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 Weakness
by Soren Kierkegaard


The despair of weakness is the despair of not wanting to be oneself. This kind of despair amounts to a passivity of the self. Its frame of reference is the pleasant and the unpleasant; its concepts are good fortune, misfortune, and fate. What is immediate is all that matters. The determining factor is what happens or does not happen to oneself.

To despair is to lose the eternal, but of this loss the one who despairs in weakness says nothing, it doesn't even occur to him. He is too preoccupied with securing his earthly existence against unnecessary deprivation. To lose the earthly, however, is not in itself to despair, yet that is precisely what this person speaks of and calls despair. What he says is in a sense true, only not in the way he understands it. He is turned around and what he says must be understood backwards. In other words, he stands there pointing to something that is not despair (e.g. a loss of some kind), explaining that he is in despair, and yes, sure enough, the despair is going on behind him but unawares. Therefore, if everything suddenly changes, once his external circumstances change and his wishes are fulfilled, then happiness returns to him, he begins life afresh. When help comes from outside, happiness is restored to him, and he begins where he left off. Yet he neither was nor becomes a self. He is a cipher and simply carries on living merely on the level of what is immediate and of what is happening around him.

This form of despair consists of not wanting to be a self, really. Actually, it consists of wanting desperately to be someone else. Such a self refuses to take responsibility. Life is but a game of chance. Hence, in the moment of despair, when no help comes, such a person wants desperately to become someone else. And yet a despairer of this kind, whose only wish is this craziest of all crazy transformations - to be someone else - is in love with the fancy that the change can be made as easily as one puts on another coat. Or to put it differently, he only knows himself by his coat. He simply doesn't know himself. He knows what it is to have a self only in externals. There could hardly be a more absurd confusion, for a self differs precisely, no, infinitely, from those externals.

And what if such a person was able to become somebody else, could put on a new self? There is the story of a peasant who had come barefoot to town but who made enough money to buy himself a pair of stockings and shoes and still have enough left over to get himself drunk. On his way home in his drunken state he lay down in the middle of the road and fell asleep. A carriage came along, and the coachman shouted to him to move aside or else he would drive over his legs. The drunken peasant woke up, looked down at his legs and, not recognizing them because of the stockings and shoes, said: "Go ahead, they aren't my legs." So it is with the immediate person who despairs in weakness of being a true self. It is impossible to draw a picture of him that is not comic.

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