Discussion Board

Topic: Queen of Angels

From: Rose Watters
Location: Parramatta, Australia
Date: 03/17/2008

Hello Greg, I loved your book. Did you ever consider the metaphor of music as the self awareness test for Jill et al? I was thinking about this tonight after a huge day teaching outside my comfort zone... music appreciation is shaped by psychological, cultural, social, modal, and spiritual needs.

Do not these needs define what it is to be human? Are the choices made about music not fundmental to one's identity?

The voodum church still send shivers down my spine. It is horropilific! Regards, Rose.

Re: Queen of Angels

From: Greg Bear
Date: 03/19/2008

Thanks, Rose. I hadn't actually considered music as a good test of conscious awareness... it's an interesting idea! Though I do remember our guinea pigs deeply enjoying Mozart, purring away... (But then, I'm intrigued, listening to guinea pig chatter, and wonder if they're actually engaging in some sort of conversation.)

Re: Queen of Angels

From: patrick
Location:
Date: 03/19/2008

"I hadn't actually considered music as a good test of conscious awareness..."

That gives me even further confidence in you, Greg. What a sensationalized notion that is in American culture. Not that Mozart wasn't great (although, I don't prefer much of his work), but rather I think a much more comprehensive test (if one must have such a thing) running the gamut of musical history. Hell, why confine it to music?


"Do not these needs define what it is to be human?"

Well, perhaps just 'needs' defines 'human'.


"Are the choices made about music not fundmental to one's identity?"

I wouldn't use the word 'choices', but in the vein of the idea put across, I would say indicate one's identity. I think people already have certain things, that will or will not flesh out and flourish.

Re: Queen of Angels

From: Bill Goodwin
Location: Los Angeles
Date: 04/12/2008

There's this about music: it requires the perception of temporal form, which seems to me a necessary attribute of consciousness. Art of any kind is by nature intentional but music brings this quality into the foreground. A painting can be experienced more or less instantaneously and animals can be fooled by images (especially sillouettes and reflections). But a musical note conveys nothing on its own--it aquires relevance only as part of an extended reality somehow brought to bear upon it in the conscious instant. Rhythm (which I suspect is what the guinea pigs find appealing) seems to function as kind of "bridge" to or scaffolding for consciousness, and is generally considered less significant as musical taste (consciousness) becomes more refined. Perception of temporal form is also necessary for language of course, at least a grammatical one. And singing to infants seems to be culturally universal. A means of kindling consciousness?

One hears of the brain performing impressive Fourier analyses on auditory input and so forth. But conscious introspection sometimes suggests to me that this puts the cart ahead of the horse. To hear a tune, must I not in some sense ALREADY possess this knowledge? A computer might think but can thought be INTENTIONAL without some pre-existent state upon which "intention" may act?

Perhaps the job of the nervous system is to funnel the fourth dimension into the third, rather than the opposite. Brain as interpreter rather than generator of consciousness. The Omega Point manipulating matter in order to achieve itself.

Thoughts?

Re: Queen of Angels

From: Greg Bear
Date: 04/15/2008

Animals seem to enjoy music. Certainly our guinea pigs evinced pleasure at music, trilling like tribbles for the loud bits... but then, they trilled at movie explosions, as well, so it's difficult to tell what they were enjoying or experiencing. Other animals definitely show an appreciation of music, at least as mood enhancers. What that means, of course, is difficult to know... perhaps they'd like elevator music as much as Mozart.

Re: Queen of Angels

From: Bill Goodwin
Location: Los Angeles
Date: 04/15/2008

I've had guinea pigs myself. Kept them out back in floorless cages, as living lawnmowers. At night when I couldn't sleep I'd feed them banana peels, flowers etc. under the stars. The males had to be kept in a seperate cage and were basically crackheads. The females burbled and "tribbled" and it always reminded me of a quilting bee.

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