Who could have created such perfect order? Who could have managed to place thousands of notes, in all the perfect places, not one single note wrong. Not one melody unpleasant. Not one piece unworthy of attention. Who?
I am studying the Fugue BWV 951, and i am totally awed. I keep scratching the notes, making funny sounds from what appears to be perfect order, the best order i have ever seen, or experienced. I am stuck on bars 26, 27 and 28. I keep playing them, time after time, trying to hear what hides behind it. My fingers make funny tricks to bring the soprano out, then the bass. The melody passes from high to low in a moment's notice. Three voices, yet under them, millions of angels singing variations on that theme. The voices of the angels are compressed, and instilled into one-two notes. If you scratch those notes on an instrument, your brain falls prisoner to the beauty of it.
The notes alone mean nothing. You connect two and there is a hint. You connect three and there is inspiration. You connect 10, and there is a miracle. The melody has the ability to reference something alive, yet so unknown and complex, that is impossible to describe it correctly.
One may think of Bach's music as a special mapping, which has no equivalent in this world. The mapping parses the unspeakable and either generates order from it, or simply maps the inherent order *in* it. As such, it is futile to try to comprehend it fully, as there are thousands of variations on its themes.
It resembles the mini-Mandelbrot copies inside the main shape. They are all similar to the original shape, yet every single copy is different from all others. In fact, if you listen to the subject from "a musical offering", it is a boundary description of the Mandelbrot shape.
There can be infinite variations on a theme, yet the finite ones that are known, give not only pleasure, but a 'recipe' for something deeper. This 'recipe', is what is the essence of Bach's message. Yet, even people who study meticulously his music, fail to grasp the final target. Because this target is so well hidden.
I cannot make sense of Bach. In fact, the more I study him, the less I understand of him. Or rather, I understand his music, but the 'object' of understanding is not tangible. It is similar to some demigod out there giving another demigod as a gift the planet Earth. Unless the demigod becomes an earthling, he will never know how good the gift was. But if that same demigod *becomes* an earthling, he necessarily resigns from the post of a demigod. And as such, the other demi-god-the one who gives the gift, takes control.
Isn't it funny, how ironic this gift is? If I want to experience the gift, I have to resign from my post. If i don't resign from my post, I will never know what it means to be human, and thus will not be able to appreciate the gift.
Bach's music offers a similar dilemma: That of trying to place an authority higher than Bach. Bach himself partially solved this, by being humble and surrendering himself to Christ. Yet, he ingeniously put a 'secret' in his music, which leads to the resolution of this grand contradiction. The gift of Bach, to this world, is the ultimate pleasure, from seeing the ultimate order. Yet, in order to experience this, one has to relinquish control to Christ, because Bach's vision dictates a certain philosophy and hierarchy as to how this order might be handled.
This ultimate order, whether Christian or not, cannot be experienced without assimilating the basic ideas of the doctrine, yet, Bach was generous enough to provide for sample 'pointers' on that order, *without* necessarily impinging on Christianity. This resembles a situation where somebody makes you a gift which obliges one to offer thanks to *someone*. You cannot experience the gift without offering thanks. The more thanks you offer, the better the gift. Yet, you are unbeknownst to yourself the receiver of the thanks. Weird combo. Maybe the gift has the ability to hide from one the fact that one is the receiver. Maybe the actual receiver sends the thanks back to you.
In any case, there is a voluntary hierarchy at least insofar as Bach's biography is concerned, which states that Bach was in fact quite a humble human being although he was in fact aware of his abilities to quite an objective extent. There are numerous examples where Bach would comment sarcastically for example, that 'the king loves his flute more than the actual music..." when certain officials engaged in unnecessary ceremonials ignoring the essence of what they were being offered.
This hierarchy forces one to abide by the transitive law, in order to understand 'the gift'. Even after having seen the futility of it all, I voluntarily fall back and place myself behind Bach who supersedes my mind for example, in order to experience 'the gift'. Is this wise? How can one be wise if one has seen the ultimate horror (or happiness depending on whether one is a dark or white wizard) of the "Oneness" and yet, one decides to fall back behind Bach in the hierarchy?
It is one of those things that are necessary, so to speak. What better way to humble oneself than to voluntarily place oneself behind a pleasing, unknown yet ultimate order? Isn't this what God himself did after all? According to the scriptures anyway. It follows then, that the moment one makes this decision, one is obliged to also make one more decision that abides by the general philosophy.
The path has two courses: One is insanity and suicide. The other is service to the fellow. Insanity and suicide begets tons of pain, and wastes time in the time-space continuum. Service to the fellow, eases the pains from Soul Cancer. Forget the philosophy of Christianity. That is a precursor, made flesh by my ancestors. The wonderful thing is that it worked. And the actual result, is not to actually force everyone to serve because its the right thing to do, rather, to bring it about so that God himself understands it as the only viable alternative for himself, because it *eases* the pain. Aha! you exclaim. So the actual reason is egoistic again!
Of course it is. What else can it be? Haven't you been convinced yet that the genes are the ultimate ego in this creation? They want, the covet, they desire, they want to control and survive. Only when the gene sees the futility and the absurdity of everything, which again begets the question of usefulness of the service to the fellow, but anyway, then and only then, the ego needs to redefine the course of action. So what better way to do it through punishment and reward? Egoistic genes? Egoistic game. Lesson learned.
Returning back to the music of Bach, it can easily be seen that the order which he creates in his music, is egoistic as well. His music is simply memes (however unknowingly constructed by the way) which simply fight for survival in our information highway by reinforcing behavior that ties to the doctrine. The memes themselves however, have a catalytic effect because they are pleasant. They force alternate realities that are pleasant for the tired soul. Ok, so some of you are probably totally disgusted by any religion. The point is that Bach's memes force creation of realities that do not necessarily tie to absolutely religious standards. We are talking about plain, simple *pleasure*. And pleasure is good.
When pleasure abounds, new theories get created. New philosophies, new ideals. Even in cases as lost as mine, there is definitely hope in those memes, which can be utilized in some weird form, i have no idea how. However, when I meet a Bach fan, I just know that we share something so deep, deeper than just a stupid religious doctrine or thought.
It is easy to ignore, say, natural tribulations and disasters that pertain to certain nations, such as a poor country in Africa for example, as karma related, or whatever else. It is easy to say, "heck, who gives a fuck about those stupid Negroes in Ethiopia. Here, i don't have money myself, so I'm gonna bother with them losers?..." Yet, no matter how many times i think that, my mind goes to Schweitzer and the fact that he spent his entire life down there practicing medicine. He was an authority on Bach. Maybe he understood that hidden message in Bach's music that we are unable to see on first sight.
Turning back to Bach. His music has the unique ability to transcend itself. I don't know if i can elaborate this well, but there is 'something' akin to all his melodies, that begets a perfect accompaniment, yet the composer himself only gave few examples of what exactly this is. On certain pieces, in the end, just before the closure and near the coda, he introduces a 'foreign' subject. Foreign in the sense that it neither is a counter subject, nor a main theme. It is something 'new' that provides for a gateway to the keen listener, and gives him a recipe to 'continue' the development of the composition, adding more, apart from what Bach developed, either as a perfect accompaniment, or as a new developmental subject.
This may be a double-edged sword. It may mean that Bach was simply too bored to develop the composition further and simply gave away the recipe for further development, or that his creation allowed for yet other variants. Regardless, the point is that the vehicle he used in his compositions, provides for the notion of 'the pointer' And we all know how important 'pointers' are.
They are used whenever actual complete descriptions cannot be made, or are inaccurate, or incomplete, or non-existent. Think Godel codons. Now think music codons. Music codons for something that may naturally be indescribable by any conventional means. Now bring this mapping down to earth, and think pleasure. It may very well be, that the final frontier, even after its codification IS after all pleasant. The way i see it, there is a 50-50 chance that the final frontier is deadly vs it being pleasant. Now, if it is deadly-deadly in the general sense-why would anybody try to convey through a mapping something pleasant that begets visualization of a pleasant frontier? What is the egoistic motive behind someone succeeding in mapping an unknown or indescribable source in front of us, in order to give us pleasure? It is contradictory, I know.
The complementary melody is not always evident, but some primitive source in my mind recreates it, every time i hum a Bach tune. And that primitive source whispers in my mind at night that in the end, all will be well. The passing is painful, but the end is pleasant. And it is equally pleasant for the murderer, as it is for the saint. Simply because both of them are dual incomplete descriptions of a God who still has thousands of years of development in front of him. Except that the demigod who has accepted the gift of becoming an Earthling, was smart enough to travel first back in the beginning and seize godhood from its rightful owner, chaos and darkness.
(This is devoted to Paris Pamfilos, dearest friend and most likely a member of the committee of the 12)
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