Wednesday, June 5, 2013

singing in the shower with Kant

Karaoke is an exercise in which an amateur performer sings the lyrics of a popular song and is backed up by the same music the original famous performer had ... but the original performer's voice has been excised.

Bars and other gathering places sometimes have karaoke nights on which the very brave or the very egotistical or the very drunk can test their vocal wings and strut their stuff. The audience is free to hoot or applaud and the performer is free to bask in the glory or suffer the despair.
Jennifer Lopez/J Lo

OK ... a borrowed background against which to place a new and original voice. The background offers an acknowledged/popular seriousness and thereby confers some safety to what is clearly a very personal risk.

Karaoke looks like a lot of fun, whatever the eek factor.

But, more broadly, living life according to borrowed backgrounds strikes me as an exercise that may facilitate beginnings, but really becomes impoverished if utilized for a whole lifetime. "I am a Buddhist," for example: When the comforting music stops, where is the original music?

In France, if I judge by this personal essay, students studying for a literary baccalaureat degree are graded according to seven segments of their studies. The overall grade assesses each of the seven segments, but among them, philosophy is given the greatest weight.
Other countries have school-leaving exams which cover the history of ideas and religion and so on. But the French are very clear that that is not what theirs is.
The purpose of the philosophy Bac is not to understand the history of human thought but to leap into the stream that is the actuality of human thought.
Emmanuel Kant
In other words, students are not so much expected to ingest and rest safely in the background music of Plato or William of Ockham or Kant or Hegel or Schopenhauer or Heidegger or Sartre as they are asked to be them ... in effect, for students to sing their own music without a safety net.

It may all sound exceptionally top-lofty or simple as a teaspoon of sugar, but isn't this the way of things -- learning a little of the background not so that the background will rise to a greater station of veneration and safety but rather as a stepping stone to an utterly unconstrained lifestyle?

No more fakin' it. No more safety nets.

Others may say it "sounds like" Kant or J Lo or Jung or Buddha or Jesus and applaud or hoot. That's their problem.

The orchestra has gone home.

This is just singing in the shower.

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