Monthly Archives: April 2012
At present, mankind is faced with an almost explosive rate of increase of the sort of difficulties that arise out of the attempt to treat the disorder in his own thinking and feeling as if this were a problem. Thus, it is now more urgent than ever that we give attention not only to this outward state of affairs, but also to the inward dullness and non-perceptiveness which allows us to go on failing to notice the paradox in thinking and feeling in which the outward confusion has its deep origin. Each human being has to see that the very feelings and ideas which he is inclined to identify with his “innermost self” are involved in paradox, through and through. A mind caught in such paradox will inevitably fall into self-deception, aimed at the creation of illusions that appear to relieve the pain resulting from the attempt to go on with self-contradiction. Such a mind cannot possibly see the relationships of the individual and of society as they really are. And thus, the attempt to “solve one’s own problems” and “to solve the problems of society” will in fact be found to propagate the existing confusion, rather than to help bring it to an end.
Of course, this does not mean that all working toward the establishment of order in the life of the individual and of society should now be dropped, in favor on concentration on the disorder in the mind that prevents the ending of our general difficulties. Rather, the inward work and the outward work go hand in hand. But it has to be kept in mind that through centuries of habit and conditioning, our prevailing tendency is now to suppose that “basically we ourselves are all right” and that our difficulties generally have outward causes, which can be treated as problems. And even when we do see that we are not in order inwardly, our habit is to suppose that we can point fairly definitely to what is wrong or lacking in ourselves, as if this were something different from or independent of the activity of thinking in which we formulate the “problem” of correcting what is in error.
As has been seen, however, the very process of thought with which we consider our personal and social “problems” is conditioned and controlled by the content which it seems to be considering so that, generally speaking, this thought can neither be free nor even really honest. What is called for, then, is a deep and intense awareness, going beyond the imagery and intellectual analysis of our confused process of thought, and capable of penetrating to the contradictory presuppositions and states of feeling in which the confusion originates. Such awareness implies that we be ready to apprehend the many paradoxes that reveal themselves in our daily lives, in our larger-scale social relationships, and ultimately in the thinking and feeling that appear to constitute the “innermost self” in each one of us.
In essence, therefore, what is needed is to go on with life in its wholeness and entirety, but with sustained, serious, careful attention to the fact that the mind, through centuries of conditioning, tends, for the most part, to be caught in paradoxes, and to mistake the resulting difficulties for problems.
David Bohm: The Problem and the Paradox.
Two men are having a discussion in an Athens marketplace.
- Tell me, Timaeus, do you consider it possible that people can ever agree on anything?
- I think that is impossible, dear Socrates, one has to just look at the state of the world and one sees that agreement is a sheer impossibility.
- I agree with you, the world is full of difficult issues that don’t seem solvable. Which brings me to my next point: didn’t we just agree that it is impossible to agree?
- Hmh, yes we did.
- So it is possible to agree on something, then?
- So it seems.
- Doesn’t this contradict our original proposition?
- Indeed it does.
- So perhaps it is so that agreement requires letting go of the idea of coherent thought and fixed identity that we are so in love with?
- I can’t but agree, but what would it look like to my friends if I agreed with Socrates? So I decide to disagree with you, you are arrogant and selfish and you are ruining the youth with such ideas. I will soon ask my fellow Athenians if we could sentence you to death.
- I have made my point, now I can die happily.
May I present: the America Trilogy!
There are some rough edges somewhere especially with the dynamics, but otherwise I think they are ok. I also think they should be played as one.
Here are the pdf files if you have a spare choir and a symphonic orchestra:
Conductor consideration is strongly advised. I’m also for development, so these are licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported. Also, to make it convenient to build upon these, here are the MuseScore originals in one neatly packed zip file.
This asks for an orchestration. Maybe it could go like this: choir-orchestra-choir-orchestra?
This is what I spent my yesterday on: