Up@dawn 2.0

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Rejoice and Regrets

Life in the music business is sparse moments of euphoric bliss paled against a long succession of unrelenting regret and agony.  At times, you're kicking your inner-self for second guessing your natural instincts, and other times your only response is what was I thinking.  And that's just at the end of your kindergarden piano recital.  Wash, wince, repeat.

The creative process is no different.  You hear a great song, melody, beat, or arrangement that moves you and I usually have two responses: 1) this is amazing and 2) why didn't I think of that?  Usually these thoughts traffic together and take turns beating me up when I attempt to reconcile the two.

Then there that moment your given that gift from your god of choice--you know, that one you thank during your Grammy acceptance speech for making you so special--meaning: you've just come up with an amazingly interesting and original idea for a song title or a melody.  Ah, that moment of rapturistic ecstasy.  Enjoy it while you can because that's the moment right before the fear sets in.  Hemingway put it best when he said the fear is that you won't write it as well as it can be written.  Welcome to every artist's nightmare.

I'm learning that philosophy is not unlike art: there is a desire to be better or get it right--even if it's just within ourselves.

This morning I clicked on an atheism article written by Doug Shaver.  I was interested in the article because, just like my presentation last Thursday, it addressed the question of faith as a reliable epistemology.

Shaver responds false accusations that science claims to have all the answers.

We might first ask the apologist: If science does not have all the answers, but it is acknowledged to have some of them, then who has the rest of them? The response of course will depend on the apologist and what belief or belief system he or she is defending. It might be suggested that alternative answers are to be found in the Bible or another sacred book; or in the writings of ancient Eastern mystics; or in the insights of the world’s great poets, playwrights, or novelists; or in the wisdom of some philosopher, famous or obscure; or in a horoscope; or in the reflections of one or more theologians; or in something else; or in all the above or some subset thereof.

To be sure, all those sources will provide answers. To be just as sure, though, they cannot all be true answers. We are inescapably obliged to discern, among the countless sources of nonscientific answers, which ones we should believe and which ones we should ignore. How are we to do that, assuming that our primary concern is to believe true answers and disbelieve falsehoods, and considering also that we don’t have time to investigate them all, no matter how keen our desire to be open to all possibilities?

He goes on to say that "who is right?" is the wrong question.  "What is right?" is the better question.

There is therefore a sense in which it does not matter where we look for answers. If I have a question, in some way it does not matter whether I take it to a scientist, or an astrologer, or a theologian. The right answer is right and a wrong answer is wrong, no matter which of them gives it to me.

Of course each will claim that within a certain field of expertise, he or she has the answers that are most likely to be true. This has a superficial plausibility until we notice how rare and trivial are the matters on which astrologers or theologians agree. If we have a question about God, we can get an answer from a theologian, all right — and if we don’t like that answer, we can get six other answers from six other theologians.  

It keeps getting more interesting from here--thoughts I'm kicking myself for not thinking.   Here's the link to the entire article.

1 comment:

  1. Reminds me of what T.H. Huxley allegedly said of Darwinian natural selection: "How stupid not to have thought of that oneself!" But he, like you, like most of us, was too hard on himself. The best ideas are refined products of collaboration and reflection over time. Better to pat yourself on the back and say: "how brilliant, to have amended my original thought with the selective input of my fellow inquirers."

    Here in Lake Wobegon, in other words, we can all be "above average."