Posted in Miscellany

law of inertia

According to Newton’s law of motion, inertia refers to a condition when a mass of an object determines a resistance to change. The bigger a thing is, the harder it is to be moved. What a splendid discovery when such truth has always existed! That is a difference between someone like Newton and other mortals who have seen it but cared more or less about it. The gist of my proposition is that inertia fits the state of my mind at present; the more I exert my cognitive facilities on articulating my thoughts, the harder they seem to operate the abilities with all their souls, with all their hearts, and with all their might.

Today I looked into the statistics of my blog posts, realizing my literary fruits were turning sour with the leaves of the knowledge of tree desiccated in the arid land of pitiful ignorance. T.S. Eliot must have felt the same when he yeared for a benevolent pool of knowledge on the barren land of his mind, which is hardly likely to think about because – well, for what he is. No matter how much I try to use a craft of writing that I used to possess until three months ago, I realize the powers are gone with the wind to the ether and then to the blackest black hole in the universe. The words become weightless, and the images are as bleak as the Persian night. It’s like being in the middle of an adumbrating labyrinth with Ariadne’s ball thread missing or forfeited by whimsical divinity. Nothing scintillates, nothing promises, not even with a bluebird that used to guide me into avenues of hope. So whereas I still delve into reading voraciously, the words are flushed into a great abyss of darkness, a slough of despond, leaving me weeping and then crying alone. I wonder if this state of inertia can also be related to the dark night of the soul that St. John of the Cross experienced before his spiritual epiphany. Or I can identify the feeling to the sudden listlessness of Albert Speer, the mild-mannered, brilliant Hitler’s architect friend, during his long-term incarceration in the Spandau prison after the fall of the Third Reich.

I have always professed to write for the sake of my sanity, the justice to myself with a tenacious grasp on a sense of purpose that I am not going to disappear without a trace of my existence on earth. Laura Ingalls Wilder, Jane Austen, Charlotte Bronte, and Lucy Maud Montgomery all endured the vicissitudes of life in dealing with the demands of daily life while cherishing their literary ambition and endeavoring to prove themselves as gorgeous writers whose credo was allegiance to truth and nature, using the ideal to make the real perfect and kind that God forgot to bestow upon them. They are my spiritual sisters whom I daresay can relate to due to my circumstances and kindred disposition.

I write not to canvass celebrities for being a top-rated blogger. But then I want people to know that I write however imperfectly or abstrusely. I write because I like it, just as people like to take their selfies and post them on Instagram or make vlogs on YouTube. So while the cold receptions still vex me to my publishing of writing in my blog, my spirit resists giving it all up, which rebels against the law of inertia. Come to think of it, the witch in training Kiki in ‘Kiki’s Delivery Service’ laments about her suddenly losing the ability to fly her broomstick as she stumbled into a vertigo of existentialist distress, part of growing pain before blossoming into a wonderful full-pledged witch. Maybe I am going through the same thing, too. I like to think that way.

Posted in book review, Miscellany

the world’s oldest musical instrument

A team of scholars has recently reexamined a conch horn discovered around the Marsoulas Cave in southern France, the famous cave art site, and concluded that the conch was more than just an ornamental artifact used for a drinking vessel or any other trivial purpose in Upper Paleolithic Age, aka Old Stone Age, dating from around 17,000 to 12,000 years ago. It was an age when Cro-Magnons, a Homo Sapiens nomadic tribe in western Europe, emerged as formidable hunter-gatherers of reindeers and horses from a new cold and gray prehistoric horizon in the dawn of the ages of man. They were Magdalenian, named after a rock shelter located in the French Pyrenees where the artifacts and human remains were discovered. They left the prehistoric legacy in the form of the Magdalenian conch.

By using a carbon dating system and other state-of-art scientific apparatuses, the scholars posited that the conch horn was a musical instrument to enjoy the prehistoric Magdalenian symphony in the cave. The cause of reason for the hypothesis is a purposefully cut-off apex of the conch horn as if to adjust for blowing and making sounds. In fact, a modern music player tried playing it at its initial discovery and found out that the tunes were ranged close to the notes of C, C Sharp, and D, making it the oldest wind instrument of its kind to this date. Moreover, the conch patterns were similar to those appearing in the pictures of cave walls, which scholars deduced that they were significant in denoting cultural functions in the communes.

However, although the connections between the cave art and the conch horn are intelligent hypotheses, the idea of the conch as a musical instrument doesn’t quite hold water to me. First of all, the image of a conch horn always conjures up the dystopian vision of the boys in William Golding’s Lord of the Flies. In the story, boys blow the conch whenever they convoke meetings, which usually spring from sinister motives resulting in gloomy consequences. Also, the god of sea Poseidon blows a conch when he heralds his formidable divine presence, shaking the waves of the oceans. The use of the conch was to be more of notification of alarm for political or social events, not of a musical instrument for cultural appreciation. Besides, as aforesaid, a conch is often associated with the sea, unfittingly matched with hunter-gatherers in the mountain or sea-locked regions. Although scholars pointed out that the Magdalenian could travel to the shore and brought a conch as a souvenir, using it as a pastime wind instrument is a bit of stretch, a romantic imagination about the cave people differentiated from ruthless, animalistic, highly advanced kinds of ape.

If the scholars’ educated guess becomes a theory, then the Magdalenian conch horn will be entitled to the first place in the history of musical instruments. But considering the geographical reason and natural tendency related to a conch shell drawn upon historical and literary contexts, the Magdalenian conch shell must have been either a curiously collected souvenir from a trip to the shore or a valuable instrument to call upon meetings in the communes. Also, it could have been a convenient alarm to indicate a sight of animals for a hunt or protection. For melodious variations pleasing even to uncultured ears, the sounds of strings made from the leftovers of hunted animals hung on pieces of wood would be perfect for their hunter-gatherer entertainment.

Posted in Poetry

ablaze

She believes none, belongs to none –
God, Satan, gods, goddesses, angels
Fairies, spirits, witches, ghouls, demons –
Those high powers, the principalities
Showing the pareidolia of her life, dolorous
Intricately woven by multiple strands
of twisted fate for the curse cast in spite
whisper to her soul for an eternal constituency
in Heaven and Hell, the Beyond and Nether.
Yet she scorns all of them, spurns them all
For she knows her gift for disaster is real
With a Fate Note, she writes she is a Firestarter.

Posted in book review, Miscellany

music, the moody food for the mind

Music is a universal language of humankind, as perspicaciously illustrated in a segment of the film ‘Mission’ where benevolent Jesuit missionary Gabriel plays the oboe on the top of the stiff cliff surrounded by the heathen natives. The beautiful Gabriel’s melody enters the souls of the natives, stays there in wonder, enough to disarm all hostility toward Gabriel and open their hearts. The language of music intoxicates the heart and satisfies reason and nothing more.

But that is not what it is like in this world we live in. Music is perceived as an ideological, political tool for suppressing and propagating specific ideas by persecuting the proponent of a theory that irks the majority populace, as posited in scholar John McWhorter’s article “Is music theory really #SoWhite?” The article’s gist is that two music professors at Hunter College are in a row because of their different opinions about renowned Austrian music theorist named Heinrich Schenker criticized for his openly racist views on just about everything. Schenker is long dead, but his genius in musical theory still retains magnificence among academics worldwide, including those whom Schenker might not have regarded as kindly and respectfully. One of the proponents is professor Timothy Jackson, who highly esteems Shenker’s musical theories irrespective of his personal belief and ideas.

The nemesis comes in the name of professor Phillip Ewell. He is also a cellist and half-black, attacking his peer Jackson to defend Schenker’s racist views that are an essential part of his music theories, so to speak, campaign for Jackson’s dismissal from the college the count of racism. That is not the end of Ewell’s fury against Shenker and his admirer. The arrow also shots Ludwig Von Beethoven’s bust, whom Erwell thinks doesn’t deserve the genius composer’s high appellation because the panegyrics from white supremacists ornaments his abilities.

Reading the article with the images of the dead Shenker and the two professors at tirades, so to speak, in my mind’s vision, I feel like watching an inquisition tribunal or communist party’s kangaroo court where the innocent not committed crimes regardless of his/her personal faults or weakness is savagely summoned and tried without attorney testifying the truth. The truth, said Edgar Allen Poe, is the satisfaction of reason, the fulfillment of judgment. I understand Erwell’s fury erupted in the BLM movement’s wake, which brings the suppressed matters into the light. But the accusation of Jackson as a racist that hurled him to the center of controversial debates at the expense of his livelihood because Jackson spoke for Shenker’s work as values attributable to the benefits of arts doesn’t seem to hold water. You can have a heart burning with passion with a head kept in the cold with reason.