Monday, March 8, 2010

Aesthetic Justification of Existence

or The Convalescent

I had a predominantly unremarkable weekend... really quite boring. But for the entirety of the weekend I was somehow able to hear music well. Like that night at Folkfest back in 2006, standing in a hushed crowd watching Bruce Cockburn master the 12-string guitar and perform songs from several decades of his career. That night I walked to the parking lot with one thought in my mind: life is going to be awesome. If I can keep hearing superb music I've never heard before - fuck, if I can hear superb music at all - then life will literally be awe-some. A simple sentiment, I know. Perhaps too romantic, decadent even. And yet it has returned with such force over the years, often when discovering old and new music at the same time - both old to me and old in the sense that there are people who have been listening to that exact recording for 40 years.

This weekend involved favourites from a few years ago (Picastro, Karl Blau), favourites from childhood (the aforementioned Emmylou Harris), simple classics I had never heard before (Nancy Griffiths), flash-in-the-pan pop from before I was born (Haircut 100) and good stuff I somehow passed over in the last years (The Decemberists). The cumulative effect: life is going to be awe-some.

In The Birth of Tragedy Nietzsche suggests that if our existence can be justified, this justification is aesthetic. As Apollo disappears from his later books, so does this far too Wagnerian notion of aesthetic justification. He finds something unseemly in his previous assertion; it is in bad taste. (Whether the redemption Nietzsche finally does embrace is not equally in bad taste is a matter for future discussion.) I am inclined to believe that aesthetic awe is something quite different from aesthetic justification, but, to be honest, I have misplaced my notes and cannot expand at present. No matter. None of these posts are really finished anyway.

Had to include this tune, considering I'm re-reading On the Genealogy of Morals, in which Nietzsche speaks with such reverence of those brave races whose action is spontaneous, instinctual, not reactive and weak. Those blond beasts, those lions.

1 comment:

  1. Hi, I am from Australia.

    By contrast to atheism and what is usually promoted as "religion" please check out these references on Art and Beauty.

    Plusessays etc on the Artists relation to both modernism and postmodernism.


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