What we think of as tonality in Music is
perhaps nothing more than a confused concept about
how sounds are centered in Space.
Like a tree which reaches from root to crown, suspended
between earth and open sky, sounds move to naturally
center themselves in a dynamic web of relationships.
Implied in this is that what has been called a-tonal
music simply cannot or does not exist.
At the same time, it must be said that much music has
indeed been written that lacks strong, clear, articulate
Trying to find one’s way in such music is much like
the exasperating experience of trying to navigate on
foot through prototypically featureless urban landscapes.
Who does not know this feeling, when offered no
center, of being lost before the very beginning?
When music loses its relationship to dance,
it loses its sustaining and nurturing resonance with
the physical body, both of the individual performer
and, by implication, that of the Earth itself;
When music loses its relationship to poetry,
it loses its sustaining and nurturing resonance
with the human voice and, by implication,
the more subtle realms
of meaning and things spiritual.
Generative chaos is the rich
polyphony of simultaneous orders of movement,
characteristic of, for example, both living sound
Degenerative chaos occurs when movements,
natural or otherwise, contradict, that is—speak
against, or fight against, one another. The most
extreme example is perhaps human conflict once
it is energized by absolute belief;
Passive chaos—perhaps the most difficult of the
three to understand—is the mysterious state of
motionlessness or silence which is full of the
potential energy of neutrality.
long the way, on my treks by bike, I find in
general that North Americans are good people.
Honest, hard-working, always ready to help.
But put even a retired school teacher or
grandmother behind the wheel of a car, and
instantly, before your very eyes, they will be
transformed into mean-spirited, blood-lusting
hell-hounds, more than willing to run their own
children off the street.
Yet because we can evidently only perceive this
deep division of North America’s psyche by stepping
resolutely out of our vehicles, I fear we loyal citizens
of Car Culture will be unable to see the state into
which we have driven ourselves. That is:—until
the world’s gas tank hits empty.
Addiction to oil? The analogy is a poor one. The
addict always has a certain awareness that what
he or she is doing is wrong, This awareness leads to guilt.
To get behind the wheel of a car, however, is to
turn the key on a very much more powerful illusion;
it is a kind of all-self-enveloping worldview, one which
can only be sustained as long as there is a complete and
total denial of its false and contradictory nature. And
worldviews, unlike the highs of drugs, do not wear off.
Consider how the philosophy of fascism blinded the
Germans and Italians—two of the very greatest
and most creative of European cultures—into
seeing themselves as essentially heroic protagonists
acting out a Reinzi-like drama of Good vs. Evil.
In a similar way, from inside the car, we are blinded
by the comforting sense of mechanical power, a power
which gives us the idea that all is peace, order, and
tranquility. From outside the car, however, in truth,
at least in my view, all is in reality fragmentation,
disorder, and destruction.
As the final scene of this tragic opera rapidly
closes in on us, so the illusions generated by Car Culture
will come to an end, whether we like it or not. To my mind,
the urgent question is: will this happen in a calm,
rational and creative way, as well it should if only
our ways of thinking about energy might reach the
same level of sophistication of our information technology?
Or will we instead, like the National Socialists
before us, drive our illusion straight into the inferno
we call “the pleasures of the open road?”
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