Existentialism discussion

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Existentialism in popular music

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Robert | 16 comments It occurs to me that existentialism as a philosophy becomes the whole inner atmosphere of spirit that permeates all thought, feeling, intent, and deed. There is certain music that strikes a chord and finds congruence with this philosophy. I'd love to know what artists or groups others experience this with?? To my mind, REM, the Verve, the Doors, songs by Grateful Dead, just to name a few. What are others listening to that has an existential tone and message?


Isabelle (thegladghost) My favourite musician of all time is Rowland S. Howard, and he probably fits the existentialism scheme quite well (whether he'd agree with that is another question); you might like his music!


Robert | 16 comments Thanks. I'd not listened to him before, but you can bet I will soon. Peace.


Диана | 1 comments When I read Camus's novel, Queen's 'Bohemian Rhapsody' struck me as very relevant to 'The Stranger'. Apart from that I had never really looked for a connection between music and existentialism, probably simply because the songs that permeate all 'thought, feeling, intent, and deed' are the ones I listen to anyway. Try hard rock, each of the great bands has had lots of songs, especially ballads, that imo fit the description: Deep Purple, Rainbow, Metallica, many others.


Rahul (RahulRaina) | 7 comments How about the Metallica song" The Day that never comes"..
How can I be lost, when I dono where I am going...
and other lines like these..


Jimmy  | 77 comments What a great connection between Queen's song and Camus's The Stranger. I'd never thought of that before, but it seems to fit.


Robert | 16 comments Yea, sure, I'd go along with those, as the well as the Metallica song Rahul mentioned. I also thought of songs by My Morning Jacket, and how could we forget Pink Floyd?!


Rahul (RahulRaina) | 7 comments Oh Pink Floyd.
And you run and you run to catch up with the Sun but it's sinking, racing around to come up again...

Yes, Pink Floyd. I agree has existential undertones.


Robert | 16 comments Right on - that was the song I was thinking
king about as well as "we're just two lost souls swimming in a fishbowl year after year. Running over the same old ground - what have we found? The same old fears."


Rahul (RahulRaina) | 7 comments Oh, Pink Floyd. It's not just a band. Its a phenomenon.


Robert | 16 comments Agreed. That's what the lowly usher said about the Grateful Dead - they'e not just a band, they're an environment.


message 13: by Feliks (last edited Nov 06, 2013 08:14AM) (new)

Feliks (Dzerzhinsky) Robert wrote: "To my mind, REM, the Verve, the Doors, songs by Grateful Dead..."

H'mmm, I'm highly unconvinced. Not just by these bands but by the whole notion of linking music to a concept like existentialism. Does this group need some meatier topics to chew on? Music is abstract, whereas existentialism is about as concrete and personal as you can possibly get. Music has an energetic purpose (this is enough to set it apart from existentialism) albeit for a trivial end..music is a luxury, a non-necessity, a distraction. Even if a song sounds existential, I would say it would be a difficult argument to make, once you break the skin there's going to be all sorts of 'exceptions' and things-which-don't-fit.

I really don't see any connection between the two spheres except superficially, faintly, vaguely, thematically.


message 14: by Dan's (last edited Nov 20, 2013 01:58PM) (new)

Dan's Obsessions | 8 comments Feliks wrote: I'm highly unconvinced. Not just by these bands but by the whole notion of linking music to a concept like e..."

Well let me be the one to "rekindle" this thread back to life...
there could be a link to music thematic with LP's for instance that would ignite a powerfull surge of emotions as well as stimulate the mind.
But I would gladly stick to certain LP's that bring existential motifc than whole bands to distinguish from the rest. For instance a couple to begin with from a band I adore..




Pawn Hearts

http://www.gaudela.net/vdgg/covers/pa...

This was compiled from a book he wrote for "the humane condition" one might say and turned into music in less than a week. from scribblings they wrote while re-touring Milan and the rest of Italy in an attempt to "cash in" of their unforseen stardom there. But it is really interesting to look upon closely, as he compares humanes to lemmings pushing down the slope (much more actually , but I forgeet and can't bring myself to look upon the lyrics atm)






World Record
http://eil.com/images/main/Van+Der+Gr...

-Refugees
Again about the Universal bond of humans.. and how they get strayed <"our apologies to those who will never know the way"> all humanity is described as refugees .. going to the ideal "West"
It brings a jolt down my spine every tmre I hear this tune

-What would Robert have said

out of words for that one. . . But I keep reminding myself that he must be mentioning Opi = Openheimer [ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lb13yn... ] I could as well be mistaken

-After the flood

Just try out the lyrics, its self explanatory




David (AHungerArtist801) | 16 comments Joy division, townes van zandt, tom waits, ALOT of modern independent punk and metal (Woe, Deafheaven, Touché Amore, The Secret, Defeater). So much


message 16: by Rob the Obscure (last edited Nov 30, 2013 04:34PM) (new)

Rob the Obscure | 33 comments Radiohead: "How To Disappear Completely"

John Coltrane: "Meditations" and "A Love Supreme"

Jackson Browne: "Barricades Of Heaven"

John Lennon: "Mother"

Steely Dan: "Deacon Blues"

Bill Evans: "Blue in Green"

Rickie Lee Jones: "Last Chance Texaco"


Robert | 16 comments Feliks wrote: "Robert wrote: "To my mind, REM, the Verve, the Doors, songs by Grateful Dead..."

H'mmm, I'm highly unconvinced. Not just by these bands but by the whole notion of linking music to a concept like e..."


Robert wrote: "Agreed. That's what the lowly usher said about the Grateful Dead - they'e not just a band, they're an environment."

Feliks wrote: "Robert wrote: "To my mind, REM, the Verve, the Doors, songs by Grateful Dead..."

H'mmm, I'm highly unconvinced. Not just by these bands but by the whole notion of linking music to a concept like e..."


i'm probably wondering if you listen to music at all, to the lyrics and have the capacity for internalizing the words, which carry as much weight as anything found in the existential classics, and weave threads of philosophical thought that connect with and inform a wider audence than those who are isolated behind the dusty volumes that appeal to academia, but not to the common person actually living life in all its demands. so, following your esoteric, remote, and snobbishly possesive guardianship of existentialism.


Dan's Obsessions | 8 comments Robert wrote: "i'm probably wondering if you listen to music at all, to the lyrics and have the capacity for internalizing the words

Well Robert I beg to differ... And let me add, that I dont see any underlying premise, esoteric or otherwise in REM songs. I am sure Feliks has his own songs, to which he listens to, and gains some satisfaction. Now in regards to certain forms of music, if that makes one a snob, that´s a small price to pay , if U are to keep yr taste in a current level.
You might want also to recall that we are leaving in weird times, where there is a dropping on all genres, of culture, music included, wouldnt U agree;



In any case although this one might get lost amidst this confusion, and uninterested listeners, here is a song, that I do blv adheres to be tagged as a trully existentialist song.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hKlHYX...

I would be really glad if one of you out there would listen to it, and share his POV with the rest of us out there.




Robert | 16 comments ok. you win! because this is not a discussion worth spending much time on. we obviously have different colored lenses that we look through. so, does that make one of us an existentialist and the other not? and music, any genre (of which i appreciate a wide array) offers lyrics that have multiple layers of interpretation, and a person's ability to discern meaning out of a song that someone else would leave for dead is a very useful tool in helping them derive meaning that puts them a little further down the road towards healing and self-discovery. existentialism is far more than a philosophy, it is also a practice of aiding in recovery and becoming. and if a song by REM, Pink Floyd, Grateful Dead, any artist helps them connect to themselves in a larger way, well, i think it is no longer an esoteric concept, but a huge relief to their whole way of living. but, have it as you will. life is not a philosophy class.


message 20: by Feliks (last edited Dec 09, 2013 01:34PM) (new)

Feliks (Dzerzhinsky) Robert wrote: "i'm probably wondering if you listen to music at all, to the lyrics and have the capacity for internalizing the words, which carry as much weight as anything found in the existential classics, and weave threads of philosophical thought that connect with and inform a wider audence than those who are isolated behind the dusty volumes that appeal to academia, but not to the common person actually living life in all its demands. so, following your esoteric, remote, and snobbishly possesive guardianship of existentialism. ..."

I just don't think there's a rationale which is strong enough to tie the two phenomenon together in anything else but a loosey-goosey, boutique-philosophy, new-age-ish, beaded-curtain-and-coffee-table-chat sort of way. In your own remarks, you can see the evidence..you assert that some song lyrics can be deemed to have as much profundity as 'anything found in existential classics'. Umm, yeah. But its not about an exercise in mere imitation, is it? Imitating the noted texts in the field? Come on. Existentialist philosophy is not beatnik poetry, its more than just the paper books which convey it. If it was only that parlour-ish and prosaic, then we could all just sit around muttering, "Ooooh that sounds really heavy, man-n-n-n-n..". This kind of monkey-see, monkey-do stuff, this posing and posturing is what we've long been trying to get away from. "Yah man, that is soooo like, existential.." The point is, not what anything is like --but what it really is.

What music is, is subjective. As we all know, music affects each person differently. Its the most abstract of all the arts. No one's interpretation of a piece of music can be codified, or be sad to hold true for anyone else. Its subjectivity without bounds. Right there, is a limit to how much you can say its fashioned 'like something else'.

This is not to say that we couldn't--all of us--name various songs which 'strike us as existentialist'. But how far can you go with observations like these? Its just ...thin. Confined to each individual's interpretation. Dead-end street.


Robert | 16 comments well, I would say that even answering this is unproductive as you seem to desperately need to win a point in the eyes of the existentialist discussion group, and so, take it away my friend - it is all yours. and as far as existentialism resides between the covers of books and this artificial room, I won't attempt to compete with you. I do have some experience with the practice and application of existentialist theory, therapy, and practice outside of here in 12 plus years working with depressed adults and at-risk youth. there are literally hundreds of evidence-based practices I could choose from, some with impressive results; however, I have always chosen an existentialist approach to aiding young people discern the concept and values of meaning, freedom, responsibility, etc. and it seems to be a way of life that moves them out of whatever world of shit they've been cast into, and helps them in self-discovery and self-determination. and yes, youth especially gravitate towards creative expression of abstract art, poetry, and intensely dissecting music as a way of integrating the concepts of existentialism into a life that quite frankly gives many of them something to live for and look forward to when the only options they'd previously considered was gangs, drugs, self-mutilation, or just plain suicide. now, you can discount music, art, whatever as having nothing to do with existential philosophy and psychotherapy if it assaults your purist sense of what is academically correct, but in the meantime, I am leaving to meet with a teenager who came off of seven years of hard drug use by gravitating to the core principles of existentialism and opened up his life to some amazing possibilities never considered before, and music and abstract art and writing literature provides an outlet that dovetails very nicely as he is very good at applying what he hears and sees to what he believes. so, congratulations! the day is yours. and when your existentialist talking points do more for you or anyone else than win you big points in the discussion group, feel free to get back with me.


message 22: by Feliks (last edited Dec 11, 2013 09:19AM) (new)

Feliks (Dzerzhinsky) Robert wrote: "well, I would say that even answering this is unproductive as you seem to desperately need to win a point in the eyes of the existentialist discussion group, and so, take it away my friend ..."

Now, now. This is unworthy. No need to bring in 'personality traits'. An examination of my posting history on Goodreads shows that I argue vociferously for any principle or point I believe in, regardless of audience, and regardless of popularity. I'm not competitive in real life, and I don't pursue petty notions of 'winning' ..especially on the internet (which I consider little more than a toy). I merely pursue clarity in arguments.

Your work in counseling--a very fine thing. Certainly no need to change-the-way-in-which-you-characterize your techniques there, no need to abnegate anything you do there based on my remarks. An idea can be formally improper, but still useful in a particular setting or application. I merely pointed out that music/existentialism has limited general use for the purposes of discussion.

If we refer back to your original post which kicked off this thread (sorry, I didnt realize til just now that you were the OP) I agree with you that existentialism becomes something which 'permeates' anyone who diligently strives for it..yes, and I also think (and very strongly so) that existentialism is a mode of living which strips-away what is superfluous and deals mainly with what is 'necessary' in life. Music is not... necessary. As something which can be shed, its a luxury and thus has somewhat of an incompatibility with the goal itself, of existentialism. If you find it useful as a teaching aid, though..great!

Be well.


Robert | 16 comments you are right, this is unworthy in terms of time and talent. first, i will say i owe you an apology. i don't know you, but a perceived jab at your personality is unwarranted, and to that end, i do apologize. without rehashing the entire discussion, i simply wanted to point out that any philosophy, to which i find existentialism the most compelling and challenging mode of meaningful living, is only as good as it's merit on the street in terms of affecting positive and holistic changes in people. in short, philosophy as a topic is interesting in dialogue, but very short sighted if it does not have currency that is useful to most everyone. counseling has taught me that their are people living authentically as an existentialist who have never even heard the term, or even thought abstractly about philosophy. and a living philosophy cannot help but permeate every aspect of ones life - it is the lense through which they see, and the filter through which they hear, and the tongue with which they speak. i would disagree with you on one single point as you said to the effect that music is not necessary. perhaps, but only to one who has never heard music before. for most people i know, music is absolutely indespensible. i'd sooner be blind than deaf, and i read and paint. music is to many people what insulin is to a severe diabetic. can we live without it? yes. can we consider that life a quality life? arguable. but i have no desire to argue the point further, and i am ashamed of the sharpness with which i previously responded. my sincerest apology. peace to you.


Elly Thompson | 7 comments Ants marching by the Dave Matthews band is very existentialist. The notion that each has his own perspective and that we are all running towards our death as Heidegger would have put it. It's a great song.


Feliks (Dzerzhinsky) 'Dave Matthews'. 0.o

Thread officially closed due to rampant subjectivity.

CROTOAN


Robert | 16 comments ha!! probably not a bad idea, although i'm wondering if you have the authority to offically close the thread?


message 27: by Jimmy (last edited Dec 18, 2013 08:17PM) (new)

Jimmy  | 77 comments CROATOAN


Elly Thompson | 7 comments The topic is "existentialism in popular music". Of course interpretation of song lyrics is subjective, but then again, isn't subjectivity one of the hallmark characteristics of existentialism?

I would argue that popular song lyrics are the same as poems and can definitely be considered to carry certain qualities that label them "existentialist". That being said, Dave Matthews has a few songs, "Ants Marching" the first and foremost that comes to mind which would definitely be considered in the existentialist genre for the reasons stated above. Have you examined the lyrics to this song before rendering judgement?

I am an REM fan, but can't think of one song of theirs that I would call existentialist. Pink Floyd, maybe...


Robert | 16 comments well, Elly, thank you for your concurrence of opinion, if not musical selection. i would argue for some of REM's tunes, but as you said, it is subjective.

now i don't mind putting my vast ignorance on display here. will someone tell my (and please, without belittling me too much, as i've already taken quite a beating here), what the hell is CROATOAN supposed to mean in this context??


Elly Thompson | 7 comments Two more existential songs: "Who You Are" and "I am Mine" by Pearl Jam.

I must admit that when I made my first comment, I hadn't read your entire conversation, but had only skimmed. I went back and saw the specific Pink Floyd references and I can't believe that I had forgotten that I considered "Wish you were Here" my absolute favorite song for years before I even studied existentialism. That just goes to show you that there is something to this idea that music is such a necessary part of our lives; without it my life would be so much less rich. I felt instantly connected to that song the first time I heard It and it was the same when I read Nietzsche and Sartre. "Time" is also a great example.

I am trying to think of what REM songs do you consider existentialist? I am now running the words of "Losing my Religion" through my head and it seems like a no brainer..."oh, life is bigger, bigger than you and you are not me..."

As for CROATOAN, I looked it up and learned some interesting things. it references the lost colony at Roanoke Island, but also a surreal short story by Harlan Ellison about aborted fetuses in the sewers. I have no idea how either would be used in the context of this conversation, but it was some interesting research, no doubt!


Robert | 16 comments oh, i'm certain the reference would be to the aborted fetuses in the sewers as analogous to the desire of several to equate this conversation and condemn it to the same fate. thank you, i had read of the lost colony, which i was not quite able to work into context. but i'd not heard of the other, which apparently fits the context here. i must read that story so i will be equally equipped to throw into a conversation that does not pass my personal smell test.


Robert | 16 comments oh, and i think "hurt" by nine inch nails, but more beautifully rendered by johnny cash just months before his death is and excellent example.

and my apologies to byDave, Rob the Obsure, and Dan's for not recognizing their contribution to the discussion as i was occupied elsewhere in this thread at the time. peace, and dare i say, music!


message 33: by Feliks (last edited Jan 20, 2014 09:04PM) (new)

Feliks (Dzerzhinsky) Elly wrote: "The topic is "existentialism in popular music"..."

So the first question ought to be, 'does it even exist?' or 'can it be claimed to exist?' rather than just assuming it does.

Elly wrote: "Of course interpretation of song lyrics is subjective, but then again, isn't subjectivity one of the hallmark characteristics of existentialism?..."

Does our propensity to interpret music, mean that there is existentialism in the music itself, or us it still really just a mental-figuring of our own?

How does any of that relate to the tenets of existentialism ...which are much more squarely about, issues of living at all? Rather than 'artistic products'.

Elly wrote: "I would argue that popular song lyrics are the same as poems and can definitely be considered to carry certain qualities that label them "existentialist"..."

Songs don't 'carry' any qualities at all. They're not alive. We perceive songs through our faculties and mental impressions. Listening to a piece of music or reading a poem, that's what existentialism covers; our activities. Its not found in inanimate objects (paper covered with ink-marks, vibrations in the air). Existentialism is a direct method of understanding human existence; not the existence of phenomenon outside of us.

Elly wrote: "That being said, Dave Matthews..."

Who the hell is Dave Matthews? What the hell is CROTOAN?
(see what I mean?)


Robert | 16 comments What the fuck!!! Let me see, you joined this thread a full month and a half after it began, only to trash everyone in sight for being ignorant enough to believe existentialism as a philosophy pervades every avenue of thought or communication, including music, rather than remaining some static concept or academic exercise that you favor. And then, one full month after the last comment by Elly, you once again pull your head out of your ass simply to assail her opinion and comments. Your M.O. is quite clear - you thrive not on constructive discussion, but on a sad and desperate need to tear others down personally. Your attacks are circular, pointless, transparent, self-serving, and lack any depth of understanding. Music, poetry, painting, any form of expression is never inanimate (how could you think that??!!) it takes on life at the moment of the artist's conception and lives through the medium of expression and continues through the impression of the recipient.
Yet, this is no longer the larger point in this thread. The larger point has become what a crass, narrow-minded, asshole you've revealed yourself to be by continually raising your head with the simple intent of disparaging other members for the temerity of having beliefs that run contrary to yours. Is this what existentialism means and does for you?? If so, keep it. I wager that others in this discussion have found a bit more peaceful equalibrium in their lives by allowing themseleves to actually live the philosophy vs. simply reading and distilling it into some purified formula that supports your witch hunt of those who do not color within your lines. Please let us all know when the discussion can truly be over, for any productive discussion ended before you ever entered the thread armed with nothing more than your personal disdain for everyone else. Have a nice day.


message 35: by Feliks (last edited Feb 17, 2014 11:48AM) (new)

Feliks (Dzerzhinsky) Robert wrote: "What the fuck!!!..."

Its beyond me how someone can so thoroughly lose their professionalism like this. You are cussing and shouting at a computer screen, does this not strike you as ludicrous?

Robert wrote: "Let me see, you joined this thread a full month and a half after it began,..."

Relevance?

Robert wrote: "only to trash everyone in sight..."

False. There were no personal attacks in the initial points I made. I addressed my remarks to the proposition that was on the table.

Robert wrote: "for being ignorant enough to believe existentialism as a philosophy pervades every avenue of thought or communication, including music,..."

But it does not, and I pointed out why it does not.

Robert wrote: "rather than remaining some static concept or academic exercise that you favor...."

Actually I favored the POV that existentialism was bounded by conscious beings rather than inanimate or inert products around us. For example, is there 'existential furniture design'? Are there 'existential home appliances'? No. Why then suggest there is 'existentialist music'? Its foppish and hare-brained.

Robert wrote: "And then, one full month after the last comment by Elly, you once again pull your head out of your ass simply to assail her opinion and comments...."

So the 'timing' of my comments inflames you? You can't grasp that I was simply busy elsewhere, and didn't notice/didn't care to follow-up in this thread for six weeks? Right there is proof, that I wasn't 'hanging on every word' in this debate. Once I said my piece I forgot all about this backwater.

Robert wrote: "Your M.O. is quite clear - you thrive not on constructive discussion, but on a sad and desperate need to tear others down personally...."

Again: since there were no unprovoked personal attacks by me in this entire exchange (p.s. *you* have exhibited this juvenile behavior *twice* now) I would say that my M.O. demonstrates something quite different than you would have it. I simply speak up when I see poorly-constructed, faulty, misleading, or wobbly ideas.

This notion that 'music can be existential' is not sustainable. I've stated why I thought your original premise was unfounded; and all I've done since, is maintain that opinion.

Now, what is your 'M.O.'? You have returned again and again with increasing frenzy. What the heck is wrong with you? I'd say you seem to have a deep-seated insecurity which emerges when anyone contradicts you. You seem to feel 'objections' should just disappear. They're inconvenient for you, huh?

Robert wrote: "Your attacks are circular, pointless, transparent, self-serving, and lack any depth of understanding...."

If that were so, how is it you were not able to swiftly dispatch them?

Robert wrote: "Music, poetry, painting, any form of expression is never inanimate (how could you think that??!!)..."

I put the same question back to you. You seem to have a severe cognitive disorder if you think that 'vibrations in the air', are some kind of life-form.

Robert wrote: "it takes on life at the moment of the artist's conception and lives through the medium of expression and continues through the impression of the recipient...."

'Takes on life'? Hey, would you like to borrow some of my old bongo drums and sandals? You're displaying sheer buffoonery in your thinking.


II


Robert wrote: "Yet, this is no longer the larger point in this thread. The larger point has become what a crass, narrow-minded, asshole you've revealed yourself to be by continually raising your head with the simple intent of disparaging other members for the temerity of having beliefs that run contrary to yours. ..."

I'm bewildered that you actually think I harbor any 'agenda' towards a bunch of faceless strangers listed by their usernames in a discussion thread. Personalities truly mean nothing to me on the internet. I only see a series of statements; that is what I deal in. I only care whether what people say, 'rings true' or not.

Meanwhile, my posing a consistent refutation of (your) thin, poorly built logic is a virtue; not something I'm in any way embarrassed by.

Example: if I state, 'the sky is blue', and 'Person A' says, 'but its orange at sunset' and then 'Person B' says 'its gray during a storm'...how am I in the wrong for quashing these weaker points and reminding them: 'the sky is blue'? You spew abuse at me for simply bringing the discussion back to the yoke of reason?

Robert wrote: "Is this what existentialism means and does for you?? If so, keep it. I wager that others in this discussion have found a bit more peaceful equalibrium in their lives by allowing themselves to actually live the philosophy vs. simply reading and distilling it into some purified formula that supports your witch hunt of those who do not color within your lines...."

Frothing and babbling. For some reason you desperately wish to believe that music is existential. Bizarre. Hey, if you really want to 'live the philosophy' instead of merely 'pose and posture'...then your first task is to think clearly, wouldn't you say? Doesn't it all start from within, rather than just "playing at" an external, insincere life "style"?

Like, what's your next move, chief? (after assembling an 'existential music playlist', that is?) Going to start dressing in somber black/grey suits? Slicking back your hair? Sporting some horn-rimmed glasses?

If your idea of existentialism has to rely on props, preening, and assumptions [which are in themselves inherently fraudulent] then I don't know what to say to you. You're the one with the head-in-the-sphincter problem.

Robert wrote: "Please let us all know when the discussion can truly be over, for any productive discussion ended before you ever entered the thread armed with nothing more than your personal disdain for everyone else. Have a nice day. ..."

I only disdain incompetent reasoning, and you are certainly shoveling up truckloads of that.


message 36: by Littlevision (last edited Feb 18, 2014 04:30PM) (new)

Littlevision | 38 comments Mod
If you guys feel so compelled to respond to Feliks' comments you are welcome to, but I have removed him from the group, so he will not be able to respond here.


Gary Gregory | 6 comments Enjoyed reading the thread. Every comment, every word, is proof of the state of existence and individual essence. Music does exist. Man expresses himself with it almost universally, (who hasn't hummed or whistled?). You exist. Music exists. To the extent music affects you or not helps define you individually. It is the existence of pride in our essence that tends to breed argument from discussion of individual preference.


Albért | 2 comments I'm going to have to go with Radiohead on this one.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mLPE1...


Elly Thompson | 7 comments Albert, thanks for sharing the Radiohead song. The idea that we live our lives with others watching us is very Sartrean. How much does it affect our choices and actions?


Salvon Joy Division lyrics are fueled with existential angst...
Same with The Smiths, and the Cure, and even Nirvana.


Albért | 2 comments Elly I completely agree. For me this song totally elicits Sartre's idea of our 'Being for Others'. The uneasiness or 'nausea' we feel when we're aware of ourselves from an outsider's perspective. Especially in situations when we feel we are alone only to suddenly discover someone's been watching the whole time. We quickly become highly critical of ourselves to a point of disdain.

As Yorke sings, "Well of course I'd like to sit around and chat...but someone's listening in".


Larry | 1 comments Does Country-Western and Folk count as "popular" music? If so, I'd be interested your thoughts and songs you feel qualify as existential.


Elly Thompson | 7 comments Salvon, any specific song by the Smiths I should check out?


message 44: by Tom (last edited Jul 03, 2014 09:16AM) (new)

Tom Joseph | 1 comments The conversation here, heat notwithstanding, teeters between two historic ways of looking at existential thought. For me, the two most divergent threads in this series represent Husserl’s lifeworld concept.

Some of you are arguing from an ontological…does anything exist? paradigm. Others are arguing from the epistemological if so, what is the point? paradigm. Husserl brings them both under one roof (no pun intended, as Husserl did prefer construction metaphors). This is why, I humbly submit, some have acknowledged the circular meaningless-ness of this debate. That PUN, my fellow scholars, was fully intended

Husserl, I am sure you all know, was the father of phenomenology, whose work underpins every name mentioned in this thread. Husserl mentored Heidegger, and let’s face it—Sartre plagiarized most of his work from him. To ignore the concept of lifeworld here leaves this forum aimless and opens the door for the silly sniping I see.

Simply put, Husserl posits that we, as humans BEING (the action verb) operate on two levels. The first is pre-reflective (no cognition) perceivings of the world that may or may not influence behavior. Beyond all personal subjectivity we are all humans….being. This is WHAT you are. But, what does it mean to be? In short, what are we doing as we be? The answer lies in Husserl’s second level.

The second is our need (rooted in our reptilian brain’s drive for survival) to make meaning of our experiences. This is HOW you BE, and underpins Heidegger’s concept of DASEIN. The being that at once exists but is also capable of contemplating its existence through a constant conversation about what it is to be a creature in SPACE, over TIME, aware of its BODY, and in relation to OTHERS (spatiality, temporality, corporeality, rationality). See Being in Time.

This thinking pivots from ontological existentialism to the more popular (and most relevant to the present discussion) hermeneutic traditions of Heidegger, Sartre, Nietzsche, Gadamer, Ricoeur, et al. In short, hermeneutics explains the creation of all culture—the byproduct of the human need to make meaning as it BEs.

In short, we make meaning through highly subjective, interpretive acts regarding our experiences of ourselves in our environment, of our bodies, of ourselves over time, and in relation to others. These interpretations are socially constructed and highly contingent upon historicity (time, place, context).

As hermeneutic existentialist Paul Ricoeur once said, no meaning is transcendental. All meaning must first take a detour through the apparatus of culture. A forum devoted to existentialism and art that does not mention hermeneutics is, again, opening the door for aimless, uniformed sniping.

Simply put, to argue than anyone’s use of culture, in this case music, to make meaning of herself is wrong demonstrates a fundamental MISUNDERSTANDING of the very tradition of existentialism that he pretends to know and uses to discount other DASEIN.

Thomas Joseph, Ed.D


message 45: by Lára (last edited Jul 19, 2014 01:06PM) (new)

Lára  Arnarsdóttir | 4 comments In Popular (pop) music? Completely disagree.
In Alternative maybe, yes, but in pop not.


edit: is this group new or dead? Are we going to read something together? sorry, just making sure.


message 46: by Lára (last edited Jul 19, 2014 01:13PM) (new)

Lára  Arnarsdóttir | 4 comments Existentialism as something I would name is new to me, though, I do read books what you would put into it.

Artist I would perhaps put into it would include Peter Murphy (he kind of reminds me of Camus), but sure I might be wrong since, like I said, the word and definition of it is really not frequently used in my vocabulary. :)

I did think I would, could find more here, that's why I would love to know the status of the group.


Lára  Arnarsdóttir | 4 comments Edward wrote: "."

Yes! You fit in nicely


Jimmy  | 77 comments The group has a pulse from time to time. Why not start a read? Or suggest one?


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