The rhythm of life

“In Western societies, the arts tend to occupy a special niche of their own, as if they might be a luxury rather than a vital part of human life. This has made it possible for the unenlightened to argue that music and the other arts are some kind of substitute for, or escape from, ‘real’ life. It is a conclusion with which I profoundly disagree.” Storr

By Melozzo da Forli (1438-1494) [Public domain]

By Melozzo da Forli (1438-1494) [Public domain]

I have read Anthony Storr’s book “Music and the Mind.” Storr loves music and can draw on extensive knowledge and experience, not only as a listener but also as an amateur singer and musician. Apart from that, he is an erudite and a conscientious writer.

You talk about music?

I like listening to music at leisure, without distractions. Before I started working on this blog I have put some familiar music on to drown out the sounds of the street and the neighbours. Storr doubts whether music played in the background can aid concentration, but I find it works for me. If you are interested in matters of music, mind and philosophy you are advised to read his book. Regrettably, not all the music Storr mentions to illustrate his points was immediately familiar to me; it would have been nice if book came with a disk or an mp3-file.

From a philosophical viewpoint the problem with language and music lies very deep:

“…it is impossible for language to exhaust the meaning of music’s world-symbolism, because music refers symbolically to the original contradiction and original pain at the heart of the primordial unity, and thus symbolises a sphere which lies above and beyond all appearance. In relation to that primal being every phenomenon is merely a likeness, which is why language, as the organ and symbol of phenomena, can never, under any circumstances, externalise the innermost depths of music; whenever language attempts to imitate music it only touches the outer surface of music, whereas the deepest meaning of music, for all the eloquence of lyric poetry, can never be brought even one step closer to us.” Nietzsche, The Birth of Tragedy §6 (I have used the Cambridge Text by Geuss instead of Storr’s quotation)

Do I have to be an experienced listener?

It is not a useless endeavour to talk about music, but there are limits to what we can describe in words. One question that hovers over this book is whether you need experience to listen to music. There is a broad range of listeners: from outstanding composers to people who could only relate classical music to fragments of television commercials. Also, listening to a piece of music that one knows intimately is a completely different experience from hearing it for the first time. Still, all listeners have something in common.

“Music can order our muscular system. I believe that it is also able to order our mental contents.” Storr

It is interesting to see that both Plato and Arisotle looked at music as a powerful instrument of education which could alter the characters of those who studied it, inclining them toward inner order and harmony. For that reason, Plato was in favour of strict censorship to ensure that people would not come into contact with music that would have undesired effects.

Apollo and two Muses, Pompeo Batoni [Public domain]

Apollo and two Muses, Pompeo Batoni [Public domain]

Music and emotional responses

Everyone would probably agree that music can lead to a state of arousal. Please don’t confuse this with sexual arousal: Arousal is a physiological and psychological state of being awake or reactive to stimuli. Some people argue that what you hear when you listen to music is what the composer has skilfully put in. There is of course a method to a piece of music and there is the composer’s technical skill, but:

” … a word does not mean the same thing to one person as to another; only the tune says the same thing, awakens the same feeling, in both – though that feeling may not be expressed in the same words.” Mendelssohn, in a letter

It is interesting how Mendelssohn hints at something underlying words, maybe underlying feelings. Storr says we need to remember that emotional arousal is partly non-specific; emotions overlap and can change from one feeling to another quite easily. Critics don’t agree when it comes to the feelings they experience when listening to the same music. But there might be something much bigger going on.

“Music activates tendencies, inhibits them, and provides meaningful and relevant resolutions.” Leonard Meyer

Schopenhauer and music

Musicians sometimes experience feelings of being ‘taken over’ or ‘possessed’ during a performance. Composer Alexander Goehr describes how:

“There is no longer a composer who pushes the material about, but only its servant, carrying out what the notes themselves imply. This is the exact experience I seek and which justifies all else.”

Schopenhauer writes how music is an independent art (…) the most powerful of all the arts, and therefore attains its ends entirely from its own resources.

As Storr describes it, both Kant and Schopenhauer believed that there is an underlying reality that is inaccessible to us. Schopenhauer says there is a specific kind of experience that can bring us closer to this reality; when we look at our hand, we can see it as a hand that is the same as anybody else’s, but at the same time, we have a private, subjective knowledge of it. This inside knowledge gives us our only glimpse of the true nature of reality. It brings us closer to the driving force behind everything in the universe: the Will.

According to Schopenhauer, the action of the body is nothing but the act of will objectified.

When we look at Schopenhauer and music, it is important to realise that he was a pessimist. Art was a means to be taken out of oneself, to forget oneself as an individual.

“There always lies so near to us a realm in which we have escaped entirely from all our affliction; but who has the strength to remain in it for long?”

In Schopenhauer’s view music is different from all the other arts because it speaks to us direct. It is a copy of the Will itself. Schopenhauer wished to abolish willing and striving, to avoid arousal, to purge oneself of desire. Storr describes this as life-denying rather than life-enhancing.

A lady playing the spinet, Carl Holsøe [Public domain]

A lady playing the spinet, Carl Holsøe [Public domain]

Storr mentions how Schopenhauer finds music has a more direct, profound and immediate effect on us than the other arts, but is not completely satisfied with his explanation of the phenomena.

“Schopenhauer failed to make explicit the relation of music with physical movement, although he perceived both as more directly connected with the Will than other human activities.” Storr

In doing so, Schopenhauer might have missed out on an opportunity to experience music as life-enhancing rather than escapist.

Nietzsche

Nietzsche’s more positive attitude to life was reflected in his treatment of music, says Storr.

“Art and nothing but art! It is the great means of making life possible, the great seduction to life, the great stimulant of life.” Nietzsche

For Nietzsche, music was not a transient pleasure. He attributed such significance to music that he was closer to the ancient Greeks than to most modern thinkers.

Storr concludes that: “both Schopenhauer and Nietzsche were profoundly aware of the horrors of existence. But, where Schopenhauer conceived art as being a refuge, a realm into which a man could temporarily escape from the dissatisfactions of life into a state of contemplation, Nietzsche viewed it as something which could reconcile us with life rather than detach us from it. Because of art, we need not negate the will. Nietzsche believed it was the weak who followed Schopenhauer by denying life: the strong affirm it by creating beauty.”

There is much more to be said about music, Schopenhauer and Nietzsche. I am not going to do it, right now. I would like to thank [blog since deleted; sorry] for suggesting I read “Music and the Mind”. Readers interested in Nietzsche might look up [blog since deleted; sorry].

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About Pipteinpteron

Catch a falling feather. Don't keep it.
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40 Responses to The rhythm of life

  1. Mordanicus says:

    Again an excellent post of yours!

    Just because of the strong emotional response to music, I prefer to switch off music when I am writing fiction. In darkness and silence find I the required concentration to focus on my story.

    • Thank you for the compliment, Mordanicus.
      I think I agree with you when it comes to writing fiction. I would also keep outside influences to a minimum when it comes to creative writing.

  2. David Yerle says:

    Your writing keeps getting better, more insightful and more erudite. It is quite remarkable really: you’ve grown spectacularly since I’ve known you as a blogger (and you were already in my “awesome stuff” page). This piece was phenomenal and, as a musician, I have to agree with Nietzsche. In fact, I’ve given this much thought: I consider Jeff Buckley’s “Grace”, for example, to be some kind of primal cry against the existence of time that seems to summarize the whole agony of human experience. But, just by writing it, it’s as if he elevated himself from all of that and said to the universe: “I am here. I am a force to be reckoned with.” I believe “Grace” is bigger than Buckley himself. And that’s what all artists aspire to: writing something that transcends them, that is bigger than them. I have so far tried and fail. But I don’t give up hope.
    This is one of the reasons that make me doubt happiness is the goal of life: if he had been happy, Buckley would never have written Grace. Would the world be a better place? I honestly doubt it. Was his suffering worth the feelings he causes in the rest of us mortals? If it was only happiness, I’d say maybe not. But the feeling is awe. Complete, bone-crushing awe. That said, who am I to decide?

    • Thank you, David. That is a compliment indeed. Without any false modesty I would have to thank my Muse for any improvement to my reading and writing.

      It’s great to hear that you agree with Nietzsche. Did you mention somewhere that you also play the piano?

      I think all great art transcends the artist. That makes it interesting to ask oneself what transcends the artist. For me this is also a subject I like to think about. I agree with your point on happiness. In a state of permanent happiness and complacency no great art could come into being. So that could make us question whether happiness is the goal of life. Very interesting!

    • dyssebeia says:

      Wittgenstein is rumored to have once said something to this effect: I don’t know what the purpose of our being here is, but I’m pretty sure it isn’t to be happy.

      Where Wittgenstein wasn’t sure, I think Tarkovsky found the answer: “I am drawn to the man who is ready to serve a higher cause, unwilling—or even unable—to subscribe to the generally accepted tenets of a worldly ‘morality’; the man who recognises that the meaning of existence lies above all in the fight against the evil within ourselves, so that in the course of a lifetime he may take at least one step towards spiritual perfection. For the only alternative to that way is, alas, the one that leads to spiritual degeneration; and our everyday existence and the general pressure to conform makes it all too easy
      to take the latter path . . .” (Sculpting in Time)

    • I really must be getting old. I had to google Jeff Buckley, because I had no clue who you were talking about. But maybe it’s just a generational gap (alas, the size of the Grand Canyon) that has opened up. My idea of picking an example of ‘transcendental’ music would be more along the lines of Pergolesi’s Stabat Mater — or, to take a more recent one, Charlie Haden and Pat Metheny’s Beyond the Missouri Sky. Please allow me to finish my coffee before the tarring and feathering commences.

      In other news, I agree with my esteemed fellow commenter — Livelysceptic’s writing is improving by leaps and bounds. I should schedule an appointment with her Muse.

      • David Yerle says:

        Well, Jeff Buckley died in 96, so it’s also not of this generation (I’m also getting old). But yes, he’s not for everyone. I also love jazz (I was first classically trained, then learned jazz for a while), especially Bill Evans. More recently, Brad Mehldau. What I like about Jeff Buckley was that he could just combine harmonies from jazz with the power from rock and a voice with which he could do pretty much whatever he wanted.

    • violetwisp says:

      I’m intrigued David. Is any of your music online? I’d love to listen. You’re such a precise thinker, I imagine you would have enormous technical capability and use obscure maths formulae to make melodies.

      • David Yerle says:

        Hahaha well, not at all. My music is basically piano and voice, with the problem that I can’t really sing, but I don’t seem to be able to find a decent singer. Some of my music is online, though it’s quite terrible: music is more of a hobby for me, so I’m relatively proficient with the piano but by no means talented.
        I have some stuff that I recorded at home around 7 years ago and I put it in myspace, but honestly I cannot even remember the name of the page. Now with the new myspace it may not even be there. The recording is pretty awful, so I don’t recommend you to try and find it! 🙂

  3. Great post! The term ‘escape’ in the context of art (or any context) is interesting. It begs the question: what are we escaping? Whichever societal niche we live in, I would defy anyone to present me with a universal objective reality ‘from which we may wish to escape’. The answers would be many and none any less tangible or real than music. Have you read the “Glass bead game” by Hermann Hesse? One of the best books ever. It speaks of a world in which music is the core and unifying force of reality.And a beautiful reality it is: quite at odds with the world we have currently evolved.

    • Thank you for your comment, Genetic Fractals. I am sorry to say I have not read “Glass bead game” but it sounds really interesting. 🙂 I like your point on ‘escape’. I think to Schopenhauer the aesthetic experience was one of the few consolations in life. In addition, he thought that giving up the struggle to change the world (because everything that happens, happens necessarily) would help, as would struggling to deny one’s individual will to live. Probably because then one could submit to the universal Will and thus diminish the conflict.
      There is much debate on whether Schopenhauer was influenced by Buddhism and/or Hinduism. He was very familiar with those philosophies. When it comes to his view of reality, I think he was an adherent to the Platonic Ideas. Sadly there was not enough room to put all this in the original blogpost. I have put links in to the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy and the Schopenhauer articles in there. 🙂

  4. makagutu says:

    In the untimely essays where Nietzsche writes about Wagner in Bayreuth, the description and depiction of music and art is exemplary. One wants to listen to Wagner as soon as you are done reading. And Nietzsche did have an ear for music!

    Great post my friend, you write so well.

  5. holly says:

    Lively! what an awesome article!
    Having been behind the scenes in “praise and worship” bands, I remember being taught more effective ways to “play in the spirit”….all of which were, quite…scientific…In the fact that they had specific affects upon the human psych. Playing repetitive chorus’ faster and louder…starting out in a minor key and working into a major…
    (this can be effectively done with any hymn…)
    etc..
    Of course this also caused me to begin to see…the manipulation employed by those who benefited from such…
    Music has been intertwined with my life.
    There are some interesting articles about how it is processed on a different part of the brain than speech. Both of my boys had childhood apraxia, (speech problems) and it was not caught early on with the first. But with the second it was. (by the sixth month) A really cool therapist encouraged “aggressive music therapy” in which I would sing everything instead of speak it. So simple tasks like “now we are going to put a sock on, now we will tie our shoes” were sung…
    everything was sung. He actually sang his first phrase…before he was able to speak an entire phrase. And because of this early intervention he had to have much less speech therapy than my first son. (fewer years).
    I have also seen Jewish website that believes that god’s language is music. That it was specific notes which began creation. They have attempted to put musical notes to each letter.
    Working with those with mental disabilities, music is a daily “tool” as well.
    I have also felt that music took us to a different plane…
    that it was a way we could connect soul to soul…across and through everything…
    I really don’t do well trying to do something and listening to music at the same time.
    But then..I don’t do two things at once very well… 😀 *now i am rambling a bit….for you have got me pondering… Thanks lively!!!

    • Thank you so much for your comment, Holly!
      I know exactly what you’re talking about when it comes to apraxia and music. I have looked after a woman who had severe apraxia and who could not walk, but when I walked before her (me walking backwards) holding her hands and us singing together, she could follow me. It was an amazing experience. She walked like a dancer, different from the rest of us, but beautiful.
      I also agree with what you say about the ways music can be used to have a specific effect on the feelings of people, especially large groups. It must feel weird to see this from ‘behind the scenes’ as it were.
      It’s interesting how you mention that for you, music doesn’t work that well when doing something else at the same time.
      Are both your sons doing well, now?

      • holly says:

        Yes Lively. The older one, that we did not catch early on, struggled so very much. It seemed as if everything were against him. (except parents who cared…and teachers who cared) We have been very fortunate with the school system we have been in. Every teacher we have had, has been a very caring, go the extra mile kinda teacher.
        We have seen him come leaps and bounds. This year, was his first ever straight A’s. He has always worked three times as hard as my other children, and the other students. My other two children always had….easy A’s…
        This year was a huge moment for him. We witnessed his academics catching up, and moving forward in a profound way. He was tickled to see the efforts of his work finally paying off. (and i stood by at his award ceremony with tears going down my cheeks…)
        The youngest was caught so early…he never really struggled once in school. So this has taught me the power of catching things like speech apraxia, early. (I have also seen some studies on autism, and other conditions which when caught early have a tremendous difference in the outcome of the individuals experience in life.

        • I am so pleased to hear that!
          To see so much effort paying off…that must be wonderful. I can easily imagine the difference between the ‘easy A’ and the A that is a reward.
          I agree with you that in these cases, it is vitally important to catch it as early as possible. From what I have seen, parents (mostly mothers) often see there is something amiss, but they need doctors to take them seriously. And teachers. I am happy to see it worked so well for you and your family. Thank you for telling me about it. Thank you, Holly. 🙂

  6. violetwisp says:

    Fantastically interesting post that has generated great comments with even more interesting thoughts. Seems to demonstrate the huge importance of music and our inability to understand exactly what it does in our lives. I’m sometimes completely absorbed in music, and think it’s the most important thing in my life, and yet in other phases almost forget it exists.

    • Thank you very much for your comment, Violetwisp. I agree that music is very important. And I am happy to see from the comments that other people feel the same way. 🙂

  7. Great post, and another book has just entered my ever growing to-read list!

    I listen less to music now than I ever did, but am more fascinated by teh concept than I ever was. Go figure.

    One dichotomy that got me to thinking was that between the music proper and the lyrics (for songs with them). The sounds would sometimes evoke a set of feelings at odds with what the lyrics were about. In some cases, this dichotomy was intentional, but in others, it didn’t seem so. In the latter cases, the lyrics almost became instructions for how I should think about the music, which I promptly ignored. In fact, I got to the point that I regarded the human voice as another instrument and rarely cared about the lyrics. The music tells its own story.

    The music was sufficiently abstract to move, yet just what moved people differed. So the lyrics would reify the music to a subject invoking the feeling (eg: love lost) while someone who also tuned into the feeling would have their own contradictory reification.

    Just a thought.

    • Hi BR! Sorry for adding a book to your reading list. This one is less than 200 pages, so if that’s any consolation. 🙂
      Storr says quite a few interesting things both about the ‘story of the music’ (if there are no words) and the possible contradiction of words and music that might even occur when the composer has used titles like ‘pastoral’ or ‘funeral’.
      Apart from that, he mentions how each composer has an individual style that can be compared to the literary style of a writer, which of course tells a story of its own.
      So, yes, I would say there is much more worth exploring when it comes to music and language.
      I used to be quite fanatical in wanting to understand lyrics. On the one hand because I am interested in learning foreign languages and on the other hand because I felt a need to know. Sometimes, the music came second. I don’t feel as strongly about that now. 🙂

  8. I’m a visual artist, and some works of art have had a huge impact on me, but it’s possible that a large part of that reaction is a matter of professional interest. In other words, the greater its relevance to my practice, the greater the impact.

    I’m also very interested in music, having tried composing and song writing, but I know full well this is the work of an amateur. The interesting thing is, for me, music is more compelling than visual art. And as a professional artist, this is a bit odd. It seems to show that our hearing is more important than our vision for achieving a connection with others. There are probably good evolutionary reasons for that.

    I am also not a good multitasker, as others have said here. When I listen to music, it’s the only thing I do.

    • Thank you for your comment, Steve.
      That is very interesting. Music being more compelling than visual art. I know it is for me, but that is because I perceive myself to be almost visually challenged. (I’m not joking. I just mean sounds are nearly always a lot more important to me than sights.) But for you as a professional artist to say that! I really am amazed.

  9. Who would’ve thought this subject matter might create considerable buzz. If I may, here’s some further reading for those who’d like to delve into the issues: Malcolm Budd – Music and the Emotions, Roger Scruton – The Aesthetics of Music / Understanding Music, Peter Kivy – Sounding Off, Andrew Bowie – Music, Philosophy, and Modernity.

  10. Pingback: Can you hear it? | livelysceptic

  11. Pingback: Abstract Art | bloggingisaresponsibility

  12. Lively: So glad you found Wild nature of NY because now I have found you. I have only read this one post, will definitely read more later today. Very provocative and so are your commenters! I have a million things to say. First, I knew Jeff Buckley personally and as a performer, and am in total agreement with your reader about ‘Grace.’ And as a woman of a certain age, I believe his body of work has something for all stages of life. Secondly, not that you as the blogger did this, but many of the quotes in this post consider music superior: I think that comparing one art form to another ends up as potential arrogance. It’s true that music goes right to the emotional body but that doesn’t mean that music is created superior to a visual artform or a transcendent piece of writing. Because, and this is my third point: all artistic expressions of the human experience have resonance. Some more than others and each speaks to the recipient according to their own frequencies. Words have it as well, in sound and rhythm, an emotional arc if that’s what they are about. The Navajo’s use stories to heal and they believe if you take a piece out of their stories to discuss, you can do great harm because the whole is what sets up the healing vibration, and a piece is jagged and potentially harmful. Can’t wait to read the other posts.

    • Thank you very much for visiting my blog and for your comment, Stephanie!
      I’m not completely sure if we consider music superior. Of course I can’t speak for my other commenters, but for me the idea to name music as having a place separate from the other arts has to do with Schopenhauer’s view. He claimed music is the only artform that doesn’t need any conceptualising. If we have an experience and we find the words to describe it (like a statue or a painting) or it comes to us through the medium of words, it has a different kind of impact on us. You might imagine it as the difference between a reflex and a conscious movement to swipe a fly from your nose. One is not superior to the other, it just has to do with the way we humans developed during our evolution. So I would never describe music as superior to other artforms. On that I fully agree with your views.
      I agree with you on the importance of the sound and rhythm of words and I think not only the Navajo’s ascribed power to words because of their vibrations. It’s a really interesting addition to the discussion. I would like to know more!

      • First, I want to say that I respect what I’ve read of your blog and if it weren’t so potent, I would have no impulse to put in my two cents, whether that currency is appropriate in this discussion, or not! I realize that you are writing about music, of which I know only what speaks to me. And my response to this vein is through the quantum physics of frequencies, not through any knowledge of music. I have one question before I try to describe where my original comment came from: since there are so many types of music, does that indicate a conceptual response to those differences? I don’t know but would assume that whoever receives it will interpret according to their own experiences and even their particualr needs. What do you think?
        As a practicing energy healer (Tibetan) everything, including one’s response to art, is related through the constitution of the human. That is comprised of the physical (the will), emotional, mental, and spiritual bodies, whether or not one believes in a higher power. Music that is created or heard without conceptualization (w/o the mental body) is expressed or received through a physical, emotional, and/or spiritual response. And other forms of art can strike those same visceral chords, without discussion, but with feeling. I know that writing and use of language involve concepts, but words are sound and sound is frequency. In it’s purest form, those words can bypass all concepts and defenses (again, the mental body) of the reader or listener, to the core of humanity, just like music and all profound art.

        • Thank you for your comment, Stephanie! I’m very happy to see you want to continue with the discussion.
          Your point on the many types of music is interesting. At the moment I’m listening to CPE Bach’s sonatas for viola da gamba from around 1750 and he intended these to be a catalogue of feelings. The composer would put a wide range of feelings of different degrees of subtleties into his music and the listener would experience them as intended by the composer. This is a completely different idea from that of Schopenhauer (and Nietzsche) and for instance the educational value of music according to the Ancient Greeks. So I agree with you. There is a conceptual response to be found. Still, I am inclined to say that there is a part of music that aims for the heart and reaches it, bypassing all words and being indescribable for that reason.

          I’m interested in your experience as an energy healer and the Tibetan view of art and the human experience. I know that Zen buddhists tend to see three basic emotional states: pleasant, unpleasant and neutral, that we can experience without conceptualising. Everything else is a mental construct in their view. Reading you also reminded me of a discussion with a blogger who is a visual artist. There we explored if abstract paintings might have the ‘musical quality’ that Schopenhauer described. Many people react with confusion when they look at abstract art precisely because they are at a loss for words, which is an interesting idea in relation to our discussion.

          I’ve wondered if Nietzsche’s extraordinary writing is capable of bypassing all concepts and defences and reach the core of humanity in the way you so brilliantly describe. From personal experience, I think this is true. So I find I’m definitely open to your ideas on this subject.

          • Thank you for your thoughtful response and open mind. I am finding this really interesting, in fact, have a feeling we could go on like this for volumes! And it’s opening my mind too. I realize you are listening to Bach sonatas and I am bringing up Joni Mitchell, but I watched a documentary on her and what the other musicians said about her chords, I think particularly Graham Nash, was that she put together chords never used before and he described them as the language of emotions.

            The work that I do is based on the chakras, which are concentrations of nerves. Each of the 7 main tangles govern specific organs, each has a system, a gland, and an aspect of will and power, or love and wisdom, or active intelligence, 3 pairs with the forehead as the governor. All three of those can go awry. Will and power becomes lack or imposition of will, love and wisdom become withholding of love or martyrdom, and active intelligence can go all the way into mental illness, but there is a huge gray area of unproductive constructs. The study takes 5 years, my teacher is a western doctor and is doing a lot to get it accepted in a western model. It will always color my view because I have not come across anything that so clearly maps out an integrated human being, nor describes so well, their response to any and everything, which is why I wrote you in the first place!

            • Yes, I feel the same. I wouldn’t be surprised if we could go on about this. Music and the human experience is a very interesting subject. I don’t doubt for a minute that the things we were talking about can be found in folk music as well as in classical music. Why would we listen to music at all if it wasn’t meaningful to us?

              I’d borrowed a book on Tibetan Buddhism a few months ago, when I was still involved with zen. But as the story more or less evolves on the pages of this blog, something has happened and my interest in Western philosophy and especially Nietzsche has since eclipsed my interest in zen buddhism. This is a personal experience: I am not in any way trying to say that one is better than the other. I just thought it might make sense to tell you something about what I’m doing at the moment. It’s about the same things, in a sense. I feel as if I’ve been travelling without a compass for a very long time and now at least I’ve got a sense of direction. I’ve earnestly tried to find answers in zen and I know quite a few people who tell me they’ve found them, but I somehow couldn’t. I’m glad to hear you find what you do works for you: that’s just so important!

              • I so enjoy your responses! Just for the record, my healing practice does not translate to any type of Buddhism. There are aspects of that tradition that I can relate to, like aspects of many others, Eastern and Western, but I actually know very little about it. In my work, many clients learn to let their emotional experience be only part of their expression, not to let it dominate, but like you said the other day, Buddhists relate to things as pleasant, unpleasant, and neutral. Humanity can simplify like that, but the many shades of beauty to being alive are more complex in my model.

                Esoteric Healing, what I practice, is an amazing system and the most concrete architechture for wholeness that I have found, depending of course on what the individual wants for themselves and when. I appreciate aspects of many traditions, have not read a lot of Nietzche and it has been many, many years. Perhaps I shall crack it out and delve again so that I can have a more lively discourse with you.

                • Thank you for your comment, Stephanie!
                  I didn’t realise that your practice does not translate to Buddhism. I’m sorry I hinted at that!
                  What you say about the many shades of beauty strongly resonates with me. If I’d have to say one thing about what happened since I started reading Nietzsche, I’d mention how there seems to be more colour in my life.
                  In fact, I,ll be posting an article on Nietzsche tomorrow with some links to the blog that first lead me to his work. I would of course be very happy if you read that!
                  I have not been blogging for very long, but I am amazed about the many ideas and thoughts that came out of it. And, indeed, references to books. So often something that is mentioned by another blogger really helps me a lot. It seems as if we often get to the essence a lot sooner!

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