Blog Archives

Paul McCartney Live for the Weekend

 

I saw McCartney on his Flowers in the Dirt tour in 1990.  It remains one of the best, if not the best, rock concerts I’ve ever been too.  This album is a faithful representation of that tour, and thus one of my favorite albums.  Enjoy!

Some (Belated) Music for the Weekend

A Classical Playlist for the Summer

Eight Hours of Music for Deep Sleep

Normally I post music on Fridays, but this has been a long, rough summer for me so far; and we could all use some relaxation music during the workweek (to say nothing of deep sleep music on Monday night!).  Eight solid hours–enjoy!

Eight Hours of Soothing Binaural Music for the Weekend

(Body) and Soul

 

“Body” is a concept with which few of us have a problem.  We all have bodies after all.  No one doubts this, except perhaps for solipsists and those who’d argue that we are actually brains in vats (or for Wachowski fans, that we’re connected to the Matrix, which is essentially the same thing)*.  For the purposes here, at least, we’ll consider such viewpoints in light of the commonsense perspective–that is, that they’re cracked!  Thus, what I want to look at is the idea of the soul.  I’m doing so in order to develop the groundwork for some ideas I want to explore in my series on polygenism, specifically, and more generally in regard to my series on the Fall.  Since this post itself is a sort of stand-alone, though, I’ll put it in “Religious Miscellany“.

I should preface this discussion by stipulating that I do believe that the soul, as an entity distinct from the body actually does exist.  Obviously, not everyone believes this.  Many of the philosophically materialist persuasion would argue that what is commonly called a “soul” is merely the complex interaction of electrochemical processes in the human brain.  The more radical would argue that the mind itself is no different from the brain, except perhaps in an analytical sense.  Some, such as Daniel Dennett (if I understand him correctly) would even go so far as to deny the existence of sense of self and personal experience.  In this post, I’m not interested in arguing against a materialist view of the comos. For those interested in such a defense, I’d refer you to C. S. Lewis’s book Miracles.  For now, suffice it to say that I’m taking the existence of a discrete, immaterial soul that is distinct from the body for granted.

We use the word “soul” all the time, and we all have a vague agreement on what it means.  In general, “soul” means the center of identity that makes a person who he or she is, and which is distinct from the body.  That is, our memories, thoughts, emotions–that which we consider to be our “self”, our “identity”, including but not limited to the mind, is the soul.  The soul is in some sense “in” the body (though the spatial term “in” is really a metaphor) and interacts with and is affected by the body–for example, if the body becomes tired enough, we become unconscious, and things such as drugs can affect our minds.  Despite this, the soul is distinct from the body, and is usually held to be separable from it, and to survive the body’s death.

Further, as is popularly conceived, though not always clearly articulated, the soul is not only the locus of the true self, it is the self.  We speak of having a soul, like we have a car or a television.  However, as the term is usually understood, it’s more accurate to say that we are souls.  This follows the ideas of Plato, notably in his dialogue Phaedo.  In effect, the true person is the soul, which merely “wears” the body as one would wear clothing.  Thus, while we may identify with our body, there is still a sense in which we do not consider it equivalent to ourselves.  We speak of “my” hand or kidney or hair, as if these things are not actually part of us, any more than “my” book or computer is.  We say of a departed one that “he” went to Heaven (or perhaps Hell), or that “he” was reincarnated.  Since his body remains, it is evident that the “he” to which we refer is the soul.

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Ennio Morricone’s Soundtracks Live in Concert

Music for the Solstice

 

Happy Summer Solstice 2018.

The Beatles or the Rolling Stones?

The Beatles vs. the Rolling Stones was the great “This or That” of the 60’s.  Despite the unsurpassed creativity and variety of pop music in those days, it sometimes seemed as if the Beatles and the Stones divided the world between them, with there being no third.  Certainly, they appeared to be the yin and yang of the rock world.  There were the smiling, relatively clean-cut, boyish Beatles, who managed not only to make music for the kids, but to put out what John Lennon later disparagingly referred to as “granny music”, and who even made cartoons for kids (see below).  On the other hand, there were the more brooding and snarly Stones, who were definitely not granny or kid-friendly, and who put out such anthems as “Sympathy for the Devil”.  Of course, in the real world, the dichotomy was less stark–the Beatles had their dark side, and Charlie Watts, the drummer of the Rolling Stones, was and is into Big Band music.  Still, the images and the public perception was there.  I was too young to be aware of all this at the time, of course; so I’m going to approach this from another direction.

There has never been a time in my life that the Beatles weren’t in the cultural atmosphere.  Their first album, Please Please Me, was released in March 1963, four months before I was born.  Beatlemania ensued in the United Kingdom.  They came to America and played on the Ed Sullivan Show in February of 1964.  Beatlemania ensued in the United States.  Thus, throughout my earliest years, there was always something by the Beatles on the air.

My first clear memory of them is of the cartoon TV series, The Beatles, which aired in first run and then in reruns from 1965 to 1969.  I watched it regularly and could still remember bits and pieces of it by my forties, at which time I showed episodes to my then-young daughter on YouTube.  As far as 60’s cartoons aimed at kids go, it still held up.  And what a soundtrack!  Going back to my youth, I was vaguely aware when the movie Yellow Submarine came out in 1968, but I never had the opportunity to watch it until it played on network television sometime in the early 70’s.  It was very different, to say the least, from the TV series; but I found it oddly fascinating.  Several years ago, I bought it on DVD for my daughter, around eight at the time; and she, too liked it.

As I said, the Beatles were always there.  I listened to relatively little pop music as a kid, though.  The records (yes, it was pre-CD and MP3) I bought were all classical.  I heard what was on the airwaves, of course; and there was always Beatles, and later, Paul McCartney, and to a lesser extent, John Lennon, George Harrison, and Ringo Starr, as solo acts, on the radio.  Still, it was more background music than anything else.

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Rubber Soul for the Weekend

 

Alas, this post was originally supposed to be the full album of Abbey Road, the best Beatles album of all time (yeah, so fight me!).  However, apparently it’s blocked in the USA.  Thus, I’ve replaced it with Rubber Soul, which some critics consider the best Beatles album (it’s kind of a critical showdown among Rubber Soul, Revolver, and Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band.  I think Abbey Road is best, myself.  As I said, fight me!).  Hope you enjoy it, anyway.