River of thoughts - to think is already to sound... (Essayes Collection)
RIVER OF THOUGHTS
Music speaks to us without language. We come to the river in order to see our own reflection, and at the same time we go towards music in order to find a mirror for the flow of our own feelings which are constantly changing and cutting off into unbroken silence.
My speech speaks in the language of thought. The river of thought is also flowing and carrying in itself its own sound. Only a frozen river loses the ability to speak and can no longer lead us... Compared to this, even life's silences seem to us like a luxury of sounds.
So, let's listen to the noise of the stormy river sitting on its opposite bank... and let's think together...
Suddenly the weather's visage has changed appearance. Instead of seeing our own reflections in the contours of the river's waters, many incomprehensible shades have appeared. They are anxiously and tortuously trying to drown themselves, but they can't do it and it makes them suffer even more...
They are shades of shame; shades of those who are ashamed of what our world has become today.
But who are they?
SHADOWS OF THE DARK CEMETERY
Some words that have been written have just begun to wake up some sleepy shadows - people from the past who thought hard and who wrote books about important philosophical problems, or who interpreted the books and points of view of others. The history of thought is shaped by contexts that are now erased, that have vanished forever without any possibility of reconstructing them other than by imagining. This loss of thought's context comes from the inevitable forward motion of time, but it's not a reason to strew "quotations" from dead writers all over the open field of personal thought.
Then, the open spaciousness of personal observation and individual reflection becomes a dark cemetery, a labyrinth. Imagine to yourself a shade, coming from another world, who has been disturbed by finding a "quotation" from their work in a new book - an isolated phrase of theirs that has been translated, that has been altered.This "quotation" has been pieced together showing obvious traces of "glue", loaded down with a heavy
cargo of contradictory historical interpretations, conclusions, accusations, reactions, remembrances... Moreover, on the basis of this "quotation" that has been published in a contemporary book, an imaginary dialogue has been built with the dead thinker.
As if it were just yesterday, we imagine the shade, newly out of his grave, shaking hands, drinking some tea with his "contemporary". The problem with this "dialogue" is that the shade can't "say" more than he has already written historically and what he has written is impossible to cross out. The shade is unable to say or to write something that can be updated or is totally new. Feeling the artificiality of the "dialogue" with the writer of the new work, the shade senses that a frozen caricature of his position has been constructed by this contemporary writer due to the arbitrary insertion of the shade's "quotations" into the building of a so-called "dialogue". One can imagine the astonishment of the shade who thinks: "And what has all of this to do with me?"
We can smile about such a fantasy, but, nonetheless, let's not wake these sleepy shadows only to put them in ridiculous positions for the sake of proving our own erudition, an erudition which only shows the confusion of our own primordial thought. We can't know what was the real inner world of these dead thinkers who are long gone, and our desire to be close to them, to have an imaginary dialogue with them, doesn't compensate for our real ignorance.
If we could remove all labels, the labels that come from words themselves, then a river could become a real river once again to us, not just a symbol from which hangs thousands of chains and behind which it's not even possible to discern that it is a river.
Why do we think that we speak and what advantage is there to me in believing this? Is the meaning of all we pronounce, in essence, that we have nothing to say?
To try to say something against the all too familiar background "all has been said" can be seen as an attempt to plant grass over a layer of already growing grass.
Why do I speak in this case? Do I really speak at all ? Is speech the song that
sings through me ?...Maybe it's only this singing that holds me above the grass...
You write the music thinking that it is what you are doing.
You don't write it yourself because you are already written by others. They come to listen to your music, but instead they listen to you.
You suppose that they are interested in your music, but it's you who interests them and music is only a part of you.
You speak to them about yourself, telling them what others have said about you.
You contact others with the help of music, trying to tune in, trying to catch a wave of materials that are far away and inaccessible.
With music you combine together not only heterogeneous sounds, but also diverse persons who are in the hall who don't understand why in this particular moment there have combined together exactly this certain mixture of sounds and public.
Attempts to enlarge the concept of silence by the composer threaten to stop dead the circulatory systems of all the public and such measures are sure to cause mass mortality.
No, you don't write your music.
You only fill a silent space in order that your life continues.
They come once again to listen to your music, but they only listen to themselves. They hear neither themselves nor the others, being in a state of normal paradox.
You think that such a thing as the public exists. He also says that the public exists, but he doesn't include himself in it. There exists a public and then there is him and all other persons say the same.
You write what you call "music" for who you call the "public". They call you "composer". All consists of a game that is played with words.
They say that they like your music, but at the same time they are staring at you.
They keep silent about the fact that they don't like your music, but at the same time they look to the side of you.
Musical composition doesn't include the comments that others made in order to be closer to you, either positive or negative.
The desire to have a public is an attempt to re-find the human contact that was lost during the period of intensive creative work.
You and your music were one at the time of writing, but then this one became more and more divided after the creative time was finished. Which one of you did the writing finally?
Music creates itself by itself, but at the same time by using your hand. You go to sleep being in a state of normal confusion of thoughts.
Someone writes music in your dream, someone who it's not possible to identify. Sometimes you wake up in order to sign this music and then you go back to your dream.
Music wakes you up. It's time to start a new day.
The next morning, by the river's bank, something like a gallery exhibition is transformed into a mixed tableau of sun spots and chaotic traces imprinted by the rapid paces of those who are running and those who are escaping -our contemporaries.
Great streams of people already don't notice that there is a race, an aim to attain, but they say it anyway, as if time, so terribly sped up, didn't give them a choice.
These are actors who are running away from their real role. They call "success" their catastrophe. So, who are they ?
THE ROLE OF COMPOSER
To be an actor is not for everybody, but then roles are given to a considerable number of persons without regard to their acting talent. A role should be performed according to certain rules by note heads or by human heads. What does the composer's role
consist of ?
This person, trying for the first time to pronounce "I'm a composer", attempts to conform to an ideal image as though it were her total appearance. She repeats certain word combinations, certain stock phrases, to anyone and to everyone, as though she were a trained parrot, each year reducing her last traces of modesty...This "composer" doesn't notice that this chosen role doubtlessly puts a filter on her life. One says that a filter is inevitable in any case as we could never embrace or be all. But where is the reflection about what exactly she is giving up to this filtration? Does she really want this? At the beginning she, getting accustomed to playing the role of "a composer", speaks about it sincerely, addressing herself to all and to everyone with all her heart, but later on her once truthful phrases lose their initial poetry and soon they become only a means to the end of addressing those who can offer her some kind of deal. Deal?
Deal is a word which smacks of materialism. While perfecting her role, her ideal composerly image, she seems to be successfully spreading the professional clich"I'm a composer!". Actually, she is screaming quite another thing: "You can use me!". She has already stopped being ashamed of asking others to write music for them. All former awkwardness and embarrassment in the conversations about payment for such a service are gone. She knows her asking price and is even proud of it. She needs "clients" who would come to her musical brothel and then she'll visit their brothel according to the law of reciprocity: "You scratch my back, I'll scratch..." Her voice, now a withered source of depth, becomes a self-serving instrument, a way to promote the motley mixture of bright parrot's feathers that she is wearing in order to attain better professional visibility.
Now she has become one of those slaves who always nod "yes" to the passing winds of musical fashion time, their note-heads bobbing "yes" in timely tact following the dictation of the One waving the big money stick, the One who in this moment of passing musical fashion time conducts them. Such a slave composes only with bank notes and with the sounds of tinkling coins. The sound of gold coins ringing is possible to write down on paper, isn't it? Soon after her wail "I'm a composer!!" becomes so loud and so recognizable in the musical fashion world that there can be no peace for this "successful" one from those who would wish to give her commissions and to pay for her "services"... And this person thinks that it is her true glory and now she is "famous"...
But what really happened to this poor person ? The call of her heart, the sounding strings of her soul, the uncontrolled outbursts of her musical inspiration...all these deep feelings
which only belong to the experience of love were somehow left behind, somewhere on the far away island of sub-consciousness...there, where lovers could be infinitely happy. If all feelings of love have forever left this person and if it has turned out this way because all depth was filtered out even before there was any possibility of discovery and recognition of what was innermost for her, then, where could such a person go in order to take revenge for what life didn't give her?
Yes, when one starts to be unfaithful to love, the first thing one betrays is oneself.
Even among the "radical composers", there are a considerable quantity of them who write this way not as a real musical choice based on strong and sincere feelings and deep artistic inspiration. Taking on such a role of "radical composer" can be equally slavish and unfaithful to the musical love that might inspire their own deepest creative natures.
And now I speak to you, you musical slaves, conservative and radical: "Leave your role. Say goodbye to your motley mixture of bright parrot's feathers that you have been wearing . Give back the "ideal image" of composer that was lost in the unconscious to a trained actor, who, maybe, will do artistic justice to the role better than you."
Today, creative artists have fused roles with those who sell. There are today those composers who would wish to sell themselves and their art if they thought it would help their career to attain the heights of great mountains. She, however, who throws down her "composer role" slave membership card will be able to climb another mountain - the one which is behind low hills - and in so giving up vainglorious imaginary "success", she may climb to the heights of Music itself...
In this moment, torment embraced me from behind with a sudden gust of wind. Trembling in a most thorny musical rhythm shook the mountain landscape's visible horizon limits.
Leaping out of my throat, my voice shouted: "No !. It is not a river ! It is only an illusion that was created by poetical language. It is a mirage of realized desire. Look what is flowing there...you will not find anything besides the body of a poisoned civilization."
And where is that reflection where we saw so much depth ? Opaque, not possible to see.
I still can see somebody who calls himself a composer, but it is unlikely that he understands why he does so...why does he write music like a banal habit, as if it would be the next message in his mailbox to be sent ? To who? No destination address.
THE COMPOSER WITHOUT CREATIVE WORKS
Is the existence of creative works the one and only absolutely necessary confirmation of the composer's "being-in-the-world" ? What does the writing of compositional scores symbolize ? Scores are necessarily limited in time and limited in their capacity to be realized. Are they nothing more than a way to write an "official report" of composerly activity, an automatically expected document which pays tribute to our musical traditions ?.. Is real creative freedom to be found in the activity of composing a score or is the composer just following the logic and expectations of materialism, where an energy consuming activity must necessarily give rise to a concrete result, a "product" ?
When I write of "the composer who is without creative works", this is not a mistake, but rather a newly found field, one which is rich for reflection and collision of thoughts. There, the composer can begin to question what is/isn't possible to cultivate in this new and fertile ground that might go beyond the limits of existing musical "soil".
Can being a composer be understood as a way of thinking and not only a commercial activity where one provides a list of concrete products to be sold (a catalogue of compositions) ? Can the speech or thought of a composer evoke something of limitless value, a poetical or philosophical idea whose worth can't be quantified or concretely realized, something very mysterious, or must the composer's "product" always be able to be reduced to something concrete, his musical opus numbers which can be enumerated, just like so many sausages ?
We can imagine, for example, a philosopher who thinks in an original way, who is inspired by an intellectual-poetical spirit, who gives off a strong philosophical aura to others by his use of a unique and complex philosophical language, who observes and analyzes various paradoxes in the world, but who, at the same time, doesn't have any written philosophical works. Nevertheless we can consider such persons to be philosophers. They are philosophers in their being, even if they don't write their ideas down. Now let's imagine a person which is constantly lending a careful ear to some sonic phenomena, who knocks or moves his fingers on his knee, who speaks with a special intonation which changes into a melody, and who immediately starts to repeat a grain of some musical motive again and again, making continuous variations in his own certain manner. People say to him that he has some kind of problem to act like that, but he hears dissonances inside himself and tries to understand their structure... Do we recognize the portrait of a composer even before we present him with the requirement of demonstrating that he is one by showing us his "works"?
When a child makes his first attempts at creating music, he starts by freely being in music, with just diving into sound by playing, humming, imagining... Then comes the
idea that the flow of a musical river could be made frozen by locking it up into the cage of fixed notes and so musical freedom is now thrown away with all its infinity of variants and transformations. The child's musical experience has lost its direct connection with the current moment by putting his spontaneous sounds into the cage of score lines, a requirement which was dictated by the adults...
The process of finding one's creativity involves a tearing out from musical infinity a microscopic "piece-splinter" in order to give it a necessary form. Presenting music in public with an attractive look and aroma (just like varnished shop apples), placing such an "official composition" on an elite saucer - does this make sense for a real musician today? Does being an "official" composer today not involve ,as in the past, taking part in an uncontestable lie, a creative lie which is still disguised today under the imaginary traces of aristocracy (prestige/power) as in the past?
Mon ami, which emperor are you serving?
And what is such "aristocratic" music all about really ? Before even hearing this music, being a "famous composer" speaks first of all about having made for oneself a name.
The listener's readiness to perceive a certain music as good while listening to this or that musical fragment changes radically if he already knows that the music has been written by this or that famous composer. The whole history of music is packed into these famous composer names as the most effective folders for warehousing musical creation. "Anonymous" is also a composer name of a sort, a hidden one. Nameless composers
,whose names remain unknown or unspoken by us, also have a prepared shelf for them. They are waiting to be discovered, their music to be heard. There is always the hope for an unknown composer to be "discovered/unpacked" by future generations.
The essence of musical life was transformed into a knowledge of a collection of famous names and into programmed positive perceptual reactions to those names.
The "famous" composer typically speaks about his creativity with habitual hubris. He doesn't notice that his claiming to be a Creator is a role which he is not capable of. As a primordially earthly figure, a creature of mankind, highest Creativity is situated so far above this "famous" composer and so incommensurable as to who and what he is, that it seems laughable and absurd for him even to attempt such a comparison. So, maybe this "famous" composer only thinks that he is doing the creating or that he can "create" at all and thinks that his compositions were written only by him and by nobody/nothing else? He thinks he is the Creator despite the fact that it wasn't really him who composed his music, who invented sonic nature, or even who stuck his own ears on his head...
By the way, what about our ears ? Our ears are already so polluted by sound-irritants, by omnipresent sonic backgrounds, that ,finally, the listeners of our century don't even notice if there is one more piece of "sonic garbage" that has been left out on the street-
stage. One more piece of sonic trash covered with crossed-out note signs, a sheet of dirty score paper that appears as a kind of contorted candy wrapper, instantly disappears into the bowels of the universal music dump. So is it necessary to add that that which now exists ,musically speaking, is fit only for the growing sonic garbage heap ? Is it really worthwhile just for the sake of preserving the magic word "great composer" to continue to fling new sonic trash onto the ever-growing musical garbage heap ? What about the contrary ? Is it not better to dispose of all of this musical pollution, to clean up our perceptual sound fields, to teach people silence?.. Shouldn't we change our musical aspirations and, instead of adding new musical trash onto the universal garbage dump, to appear in front of society in the capacity of "composer as music doctor", the one who would cure human ears, who would teach listeners to hear anew and who would open for them absolutely new listening worlds exactly by this radical ear cleaning method, but not at the expense of once again making use of the perverted concept of author/creative individuality.
Music is already in the air, it has non-composer based primordial existence all by itself. Those who are connected to this source call themselves guides, transmitters, and they see in this not a creative, but rather a connective function. So why then should these composers be occupied with the difficulties of musical translation, trying to simplify what is fundamentally cosmic music into an earthly language and ,thus, only adding on to the general trash heap their own poor musical translations ? The composer who speaks the truth about sound and silence may become a musical priest who helps people to connect to the Music that is by themselves, to hear all there is directly.
For the accomplishment of such an idea, one cannot lose sight of the fact that it requires the composer to be tuned in and tuning. But how to do it? If we live in an out of tune world, then, on such a background of universal falseness, how can it be possible to hear distinctly anything that is pure and resonating. What truth could we be tuning into and be tuned by? The sonorous world of our contemporaneity is heard in a state of torpor, but not with real listening. So what were you chanting there?
Why should composers sign pieces of music so as only to give a musical documentation of the composer's state of being to a public which is not? Why should he not use his intellectual, physical and spiritual powers in order to keep them for himself ? Instead of carrying out a spiritual practice, instead of devising mystical rituals to help the public to connect with the "music in the air", the composer with creative works sits with paper and computer and occupies himself with musical book-keeping, calculating and constructing his scheme-result, and then he makes a report about his technical labour, but forgets at the same time that real music doesn't belong to this type of technical conversion of the spiritual into the material.
The path of the composer without creative works is to overcome the system that values
and sells the creative product, to refuse the narrowness of professional specialization which requires us all to hammer in the same nails... to glance at curved sides, since curved sides still exist, to not become one more flat screen...
Speaking about virtual environments, of course, the composer can exist, not only without creative presentations, but also without the composer himself. The desire to be a "composer" is already wanting to be a copy of the "other-recognizably-named": Ctrl-C, Ctrl-V.
Being a "composer without creative works" is a philosophy of a certain conscious enclosure, an enigma about the possibility-impossibility of creative manifestation in the external world of internal existence, a quiet protest against everything that is too busily visible and flat.
Let's leave unwritten music in all its inaccessibility with its lost key to translation, with its erased dance of wall hieroglyphs, in crumpled folds of plain sheets of paper - a score of silence...
The river waves had just became still when we discovered boulders tops, a strange image. It seemed to have been freshly drawn by the winds of today. It was not sketched by a deeply drowned past.
Touching this sculpture in the water, we tried to follow the contour of this stone picture in order to find to what final point it would lead.
Starlight shimmered weakly because of the clouds, but ,in a certain moment, we had the impression that it had disappeared completely. The unexpected flow of a wave, which gave the impression of having been pushed forward by someone, brought a cold stream and frozen palms which became as though made of stone. After this, the image was erased from the faces of the boulders like historical cosmetics. The final point that we reached had become a world of un-existence.
ANALYSIS OF THE PIECE " " WHICH DOESN'T EXIST
Can we analyze that which does not exist ? The fact of unexistence doesn't mean in itself that something can't become a subject for analysis. From the time we speak the word "unexistence", we begin to discuss this theme. In this way, a minimum starting point already provides the possibility of the appearance of a continuation and a conclusion. Therefore, we have the form to make an analysis, despite the absence of the
If we were to speak frankly, we would have to admit that much of the time we are discussing and thinking about what didn't happen, what isn't happening and what will not happen. Consequently, the composition which doesn't exist is not something radically different from our usual subjects of reflection.
In what essential way, can we then define the real unexistence of a piece ? What does it mean to not exist from the point of view of music ?
We are familiar with those taciturn people who keep silent and the absence of sound that we call silence. There are, of course, famous examples of musical compositions which incarnate silence itself. Such compositions which do exist were written out fully using only musical rests. These silent works are presented in concert as acts of creation.
The timbres or sonorities of a piece are perceived within the quite vulnerable limits of the hearing capacities of the individual listener--that which is hearable or not hearable for him. Even if I don't hear something, the others may still hear what I don't. The sensibility and attention to detail with which we hear creates limits that we can surpass. We can imagine a person who in this moment doesn't hear anything physically because there is no more sonic energy to be heard, but ,in his head, music still continues to sound. Music can continue to sound in our minds despite the objective absence of sound stimuli . Music in its hearability goes far beyond those physical limits that it shouldn't or couldn't be able to be surpassed if all were a matter of audition as a purely biological process.
Speaking about the unexistence of a composition, whatever we would mean in this case, in the limits of our understanding or beyond them, we could start to reflect about the reasons for the unexistence of this piece in particular. The reason for this unexistence could be voluntary or obligatory, possible or impossible.
Is unexistence connected to time the same way as existence ? Let's say that the unexistence of this piece is temporary and the reason is in the necessity of the availability of enough time for its appearance. Then, the connection to time looks obvious; but, if the position of unexistence doesn't change, then, probably, the reason for this can be one of the following: an absence of a necessary premise for existence, an absence of special conditions for existence, an absence of necessity itself to exist, etc.
Or, we can suppose, there is no special reason, that it just so happens that the piece didn't appear. The composition wasn't obliged to manifest itself and there is no law or rule which would have the power to make this piece appear.
Now, let's come to a more detailed analysis:
-Un-existence of this composition has as long a time structure as our consciousness knows about this un-existence.
-Any parameters of un-existence appear for us as absence of such parameters and are characterized by the stability and consistency of their unexistence.
-The schema of un-existence doesn't consist of graphical wave-transformations in the shape of (un-existence)-(pre-existence)-(half-existence)-(existence). The center of this schema of unexistence, its one indication, is an invisible point.
-Un-existence is possible as impossibility to exist.
-Un-existence will remain constant until the laws of its unbeing change.
-The form of unexistence evokes a big interest for us. You can't draw or measure it and the form is indivisble because there is no whole that could be divided into parts.
-This form or non-form is open. There is no beginning and no end.
-The climax of the piece which doesn't exist is the declaration of its own absence. The title is given to what we can't hear.
As a conclusion, we will touch on another question: can this piece which doesn't exist become existent ?
Let's imagine that, given a title, there is already an author's conception, instructions without instructions. The title becomes the open possibility of a musical interpretation. The score is an empty sheet. In this case, we dare to speak about existence, but the title continues to prove to us that the composition doesn't exist. Situation of paradox.
On this point we stop and wish everybody a nice un-hearing of this un-existent composition from un-being.
Suddenly, splashes of applause came from the other side of the river as though they were events from another planet. However, it didn't seem to be possible to recognize the palms and faces due to the foggy cloud that was concentrated on the low hills.
We couldn't know if there was actually a crowd of people applauding into the silence of the air, an unknown mass which didn't have corporality and which was covered by a veiled enigma.
--What are you applauding ? I found the courage to ask.
The applause became quiet all at once and out of the desolate silence a howling voice shook like a far away wind: "With our claps we drive away earthly dust by applauding an un-existing world."
--Un-existing ? But why ? You know that can't be. I couldn't understand.
--And you who are so proud to exist ? You are infected by the earthly sickness called "existence" which is nothing more than your constant decay which finally ends by being eaten by vultures...Before you existed, were you not the most pure, whole and untouched ?
Saying this, the foggy cloud's voice dissolved into nothingness leaving only naked, silent, low hills.
And in that very moment, I really wanted to rewind the tape of my life back into un- existence.
We ,who were born with expectations of love, recognition, gratitude, say that already we don't wait for anything for ourselves and that nothing like what we expected exists.
Our nature risked with our earthly appearance that we wouldn't find anything of what we were searching for and that we would then have to submit to a life of oblivion.
Where then did our above mentioned expectations go ? Were they left in forgotten cases of musical instruments that once sounded ?
We can say goodbye to all scores, but there is no oblivion for music which didn't have the gift of existence in the first place, she who embraces people's thoughts as Unexisting Music.
What brought us to her ? At first, we were searching for Absolute Music and we observed that music's attempt to separate completely from all which is foreign to music itself. That music wanted to stop being a musical product and tried to go out into the virgin forest of spiritual nature. We passed through Utopia in order to reach Unexisting
Music. There, not far from the path into the untouched forest, we found Love, Recognition, and Gratitude which surrounded Un-existing Music like a flock of butterflies making a circle dance around her.
It is just Un-existing Music who doesn't know that which is out of tune and who leaves our ears clean. She is the only one who didn't drown in the noise of being and didn't deafen the world with the sonic imperfections of earthly transformations.
It is Un-existing Music who shakes the cradle of silence. She incarnates the very essence of dreaming and mankind's undying hopes for something better than existing music. She is to be found in far away images of ideal life, those which can only belong to the sphere of un-existence because destructive human activities make it impossible for it to be otherwise.
Un-existing Music doesn't show off her highness by contrasting it with our base nature as so called High Art tries to do. Its artistic "heights" have been long covered with ugly boulders casting large shadows of doubt on its bright lights. Music which doesn't exist and which ,therefore, has no "author" avoids the general epidemic that most so-called "creators" suffer from where the very fact that because they "compose" existent music at all provokes the uncontrollable and highly contagious disease of "ego mania" which afflicts a whole class of similar "creators".
Un-existing Music represents to us the infinite as imaginary potential. She is excellent in the wisdom of the unhearable and the unheard, free and independent from material existence. Never having fallen from her pure heights, never having heard the clash of shatterering sounds, she needs no-performers to play her music.
Oh Un-existing Music ! How strongly we love you for your absence of "product" taste and color ! How highly we appreciate your inaccessibility, your unattainability, your virgin untouchability, your gladness at never having been groped, your faithfulness to innocence ! There are no limits to our gratitude for your capacity "not to be", that which keeps us creators from composing soap operas.
How wonderful is it to swim in the fresh air of silence ! In this moment, one can sit at the piano and not touch any key...and for a very long time...All hail to our favorite Un- existing Music !