- George Gershwin’s:”Bess, Yo is My Woman now”, Porgy and Bess, (Joe Henderson)
- George Gershwin’s: “It ain’t necessarily so”, From Porgy and Bess (Miles Davis)
- Louis Armstrong:”Oriental Strut” Hot Five, 19254.
- George Gershwin:”Summertime” “Porgy and Bess” 1934 Performed by Louis Armstrong and Ella Fitzgerald
This essay is a peek into my silent “self-talk”: [I was asked: “Have you actually read all of those books?” Well, here are some of the books and materials that one reads when looking for clues to Life’s meaning.] [Today’s serving is almost all protein; with an occasional “spoonful of sugar”]
The Universe is Immense! Time is Infinite!
Are we just a singular specialized mutation of animal life, in a small portion of the infinity of Time? We cling to a relatively moderate sized planet. There are countless others. Is Earth just a speck of dust revolving around a minor star in the “backwoods”of our galaxy. This galaxy is itself a fairly small galaxy in the“backwoods” of the universe? What is the role of an individual human on this infinite stage?
This essay is my cursory and eclectic assortment of a few explorers/adventurers/thinkers that I find interesting,
of Sinope; Greek: Διογένης ὁ Σινωπεύς, Diogenēs ho Sinōpeus) was a Greek philosopher, Born c. 412 BCE. He believed that virtue was better revealed in action than in theory. He used his simple lifestyle and behavior (which arguably resembled poverty) to criticize the social values and institutions of what he saw as a corrupt or at least confused society. In a highly non-traditional fashion, he had a reputation of sleeping and eating wherever he chose and took to toughening himself against nature. He declared himself a cosmopolitan and a citizen of the world rather than claiming allegiance to just one place. Diogenes made a virtue of poverty. He begged for a living and often slept in a large ceramic jar in the marketplace. He became notorious for his philosophical stunts such as carrying a lamp in the daytime, claiming to be looking for an honest man. He criticized and embarrassed Plato, disputed his interpretation of Socrates and sabotaged his lectures, sometimes distracting attendees by bringing food and eating during the discussions.” [W,B]
“Greek: Σωκράτης [sɔːkrátɛːs], Sōkrátēs; 470/469 – 399 BC) was a classical Greek (Athenian) philosopher credited as one of the founders of Western philosophy. He is an enigmatic figure known chiefly through the accounts of classical writers, especially the writings of his students Plato and Xenophon and the plays of his contemporary Aristophanes. Plato’s dialogues are among the most comprehensive accounts of Socrates to survive from antiquity, though it is unclear the degree to which Socrates himself is “hidden behind his ‘best disciple’, Plato”. Through his portrayal in Plato’s dialogues, Socrates has become renowned for his contribution to the field of ethics, and it is this Platonic Socrates who lends his name to the concepts of Socratic irony and the Socratic method, or elenchus. The latter remains a commonly used tool in a broad range of discussions and is a type of pedagogy in which a series of questions is asked not only to draw individual answers but also to encourage fundamental insight into the issue at hand. The influence of his ideas and approach remains a strong foundation for much Western philosophy that followed.”[W,B]
“Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche, German: 15 October 1844 – 25 August 1900) was a German philosopher, cultural critic, poet, composer, and Latin and Greek scholar. He wrote several critical texts on religion, morality, contemporary culture, philosophy, and science, displaying a fondness for metaphor and irony. “Nietzsche’s fundamental ideas include perspectivism, the will to power, master-slave morality, the death of God, the Übermensch and eternal recurrence. One of the key tenets of his philosophy is “life-affirmation”, which embraces the realities of the world in which we live over the idea of a world beyond. It further champions the creative powers of the individual to strive beyond social, cultural, and moral contexts. Nietzsche’s attitude towards religion and morality was marked with atheism, psychologism and historicism: he considered them to be human creations – effects of a historical development, mistaken as its first cause. His radical questioning of the value and objectivity of truth has been the focus of extensive commentary, and his influence remains substantial, especially in schools of continental philosophy such as existentialism, postmodernism, and post-structuralism. His ideas of individual overcoming and transcendence beyond structure and context have had a profound impact on late-twentieth and early twenty-first century thinkers, who have used these concepts as points of departure in the development of their philosophies.”[CCR]]
James Joyce, “Writer. Born James Augustine Aloysius Joyce on February 2, 1882, in Dublin, Ireland. Joyce was one of the most revered writers of the 20th century, whose landmark book, Ulysses, is often hailed as one of the finest novels ever written. His exploration of language and new literary forms showed not only his genius as a writer but spawned a fresh approach for novelists, one that drew heavily on Joyce’s love of the stream-of-consciousness technique and the examination of big events through small happenings in everyday lives.” [W,B]
Historical Fiction (The author teaches historical truths that ride like a surfer on the fictional narrative)
We Write We Speak, Here is their question.
“We are writers. All of us, but we do not claim to be the best ones. We do not claim to speak “the truth”, but we look to offer some insight into everyday life.
We like to answer the question “why”? There may not be a correct answer, but there could always be a possibility we would have never thought of in the first place. At the same time, we still write about our feelings, we might write poems or stories….. We seem to believe that our existence occupies much more than we do. And our minds are so beautiful that our thoughts can figuratively magnify our environment. Humans are powerful, in that we can dream nice thoughts, and destroy them with our greed and ignorance. But from that, we have life. We are born, we seek a meaning, and we die while trying. We give birth to things like religion, politics, war, inequality and raise them until they stick onto every generation’s minds, spreading like wildfire. And then we shake our heads, and acknowledge the wrongs of the world, wondering, why are we like this? Then comes the Christians who began to devote their lives to God, worshipping him because they want to be saved from themselves. Then comes the Buddhists because they want to reach a state of divinity, accepting all of their sufferings and pain, and living a life purely for the purpose of the afterlife. And the religious all want their lives to have meanings and happy endings and then there’s me. I am confused about the life that I had been given. I am not ready to accept sufferings and just be okay with it, nor am I ready to let go of sins and hope that god spares me. I don’t need a reason, just a will. I don’t need a meaning, just hope.”
We Write We Speak, An Interesting Consortium of contemporary authors.[WW]
(my personal favorite) Notable awards Pulitzer Prize for Poetry, Congressional Gold Medal
“Robert Lee Frost (March 26, 1874 – January 29, 1963) was an American poet. His work was initially published in England before it was published in America. He is highly regarded for his realistic depictions of rural life and his command of American colloquial speech. His work was frequently employed settings from rural life in New England in the early twentieth century, using them to examine complex social and philosophical themes. One of the most popular and critically respected American poets of the twentieth century, Frost was frequently honored during his lifetime, receiving four Pulitzer Prizes for Poetry. He became one of America’s rare “public literary figures, almost an artistic institution.” [CCR]
Science Biology – Chemistry- Physics – Molecular Biology- In my opinion, the critical milestone of human history: *harnessing fire* *cooperation-for-the-hunt* *The tribe** language**cave art**agriculture**writing**awe/ philosophy/and theology**printed books**Copernicus’ and Galileo’s universe**The Epiphany of Darwinian biology* *e=mc@**genes/DNA/human genome deciphered**the transistor/digital communication** Appolo 11** the internet*. In my opinion, the singular moment of the human mind was Darwin’s Decent With Modification, At that moment, intelligence vanquished invention and magical thinking. [CCR] Also, see footnote [G]
Charles Robert Darwin, 12 February 1809 – 19 April 1882) “was an English naturalist and geologist, best known for his contributions to evolutionary theory. He established that all species of life have descended over time from common ancestors, and in a joint publication with Alfred Russel Wallace introduced his scientific theory that this branching pattern of evolution resulted from a process that he called natural selection, in which the struggle for existence has a similar effect to the artificial selection involved in selective breeding.”[CCR]
Vincent Van Gogh was born on March 30, 1853, in Groot-Zundert, Netherlands. Van Gogh was a post-impressionist painter whose work, notable for its beauty, emotion and color, profoundly influenced 20th-century art. He struggled with mental illness and remained poor and virtually unknown throughout his life. Van Gogh died in France on July 29, 1890, at age 37, from a self-inflicted gunshot wound. [W]
“Pablo Ruiz y Picasso, also known as Pablo Picasso Spanish: [ˈpaβlo piˈkaso]; 25 October 1881 – 8 April 1973), was a Spanish painter, sculptor, printmaker, ceramicist, stage designer, poet and playwright who spent most of his adult life in France. As one of the greatest and most influential artists of the 20th century, he is known for co-founding the Cubist movement, the invention of constructed sculpture, the co-invention of collage, and for the wide variety of styles that he helped develop and explore. Among his most famous works are the proto-Cubist Les Demoiselles d’Avignon (1907), and Guernica (1937), a portrayal of the Bombing of Guernica by the German and Italian airforces at the behest of the Spanish Nationalist government during the Spanish Civil War.”[W]
“Sigmund Freud, born Sigismund Schlomo Freud; 6 May 1856 – 23 September 1939) was an Austrian neurologist, now known as the father of psychoanalysis. Freud qualified as a doctor of medicine at the University of Vienna in 1881 and then carried out research into cerebral palsy, aphasia, and microscopic neuroanatomy at the Vienna General Hospital. Upon completing his habilitation in 1885, he was appointed a docent in neuropathology and became an affiliated professor in 1902. In creating psychoanalysis, a clinical method for treating psychopathology through dialogue between a patient and a psychoanalyst, Freud developed therapeutic techniques such as the use of free association and discovered transference, establishing its central role in the analytic process. Freud’s redefinition of sexuality to include its infantile forms led him to formulate the Oedipus complex as the central tenet of psychoanalytical theory. His analysis of dreams as wish-fulfillments provided him with models for the clinical analysis of symptom formation and the mechanisms of repression as well as for elaboration of his theory of the unconscious as an agency disruptive of conscious states of mind. Freud postulated the existence of libido, energy with which mental processes and structures are invested and which generates erotic attachments, and a death drive, the source of compulsive repetition, hate, aggression and neurotic guilt. In his later work Freud developed a wide-ranging interpretation and critique of religion and culture.” [W]
(February 20, 1902 – April 22, 1984) was an American photographer and environmentalist. His black-and-white landscape photographs of the American West, especially Yosemite National Park, have been widely reproduced on calendars, posters, and books.
With Fred Archer, Adams developed the Zone System as a way to determine proper exposure and adjust the contrast of the final print. The resulting clarity and depth characterized his photographs. Adams primarily used large-format cameras because their high resolution helped ensure sharpness in his images.” [W]
Now there is a new book out about Johann Sebastian Bach, the musician. “I have access only to Daniel F. Johnson’s review,” “Is Bach the Voice of God In Music?“, which includes, [bbnewsab]
“Christianity is central to Bach’s music, not just because his was a deeply religious time and place, but because only a composer who saw music-making literally as worship could have produced works of such a kind and on such a scale. Bach annotated his copy of the Calov Bible, now preserved in Leipzig, with 348 marginalia, including the following, which might serve as his credo: “N.B.: Wherever there is devotional music, God with his grace is always present [bbnewsab][TG]
September 26, 1898 – July 11, 1937) was an American composer and pianist. Gershwin’s compositions spanned both popular and classical genres, and his most popular melodies are widely known. Among his best-known works are the orchestral compositions Rhapsody in Blue (1924) and An American in Paris (1928) as well as the opera Porgy and Bess (1935). Initially a commercial failure, Porgy and Bess is now considered one of the most important American operas of the twentieth century.”[W]
is a unique; unquestionably an American invention. The circumstances and timing were unique to America. The people were immigrant Europeans, Africans, Creole; the time was post-WW One- more’ upheaval- discarded military instruments- minimally trained musicians – “alleged” prohibition- bath-tub gin – . Its origin was New Orleans; it went to Chicago with a migration of Blacks; St. Louis and Harlem provided fertile soil immediately. Europe, especially Paris exploded accommodating Black musicians much better than their American home.
Satchmo was the first important soloist to emerge in jazz, and he became the most influential musician in the music’s history. As a trumpet virtuoso, his playing, beginning with the 1920s studio recordings made with his Hot Five and Hot Seven ensembles, charted a future for jazz in highly imaginative, emotionally charged improvisation. For this, he is revered by jazz fans. But Armstrong also became an enduring figure in popular music, due to his distinctively phrased bass singing and engaging personality, which were on display in a series of vocal recordings and film roles. [CCR,W]
This human perplexity is shared by all searching thinkers, whether one is a visual artist, a poet, a composer of music or author, what one leaves at-the-end-of-the-day, are footprints of the individual homo sapiens searching for who he is, and his place in this immenseness.
Landmarks of achievement are flagged as individual accomplishments; yet its curation and implementation can only be realized and appreciated by the families, communities, and nations. (See Pross) “We think we are individuals, but we are one.” [CCR]
Charles Clanton Rogers November 1, 2015
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We are writers. All of us, but we do not claim to be the best ones. We do not claim to speak the truth, but we look to offer some insight on everyday life. wewritewespeak.tumblr.com
[bbnewsab] [TG] Bach: The Voice of God In Music, Posted on Oct 2, 2013, by Tom Gilson
[G] [Gary Las Cruces, NM, United States 02-23-15] Review of Sapiens, Y. Harari, for Audible.com, “This book is a masterpiece. I feel fortunate that I discovered it before most other people. Sapiens are distinguished by our ability to believe in fictions. The cognitive revolutions starts with the first set of hypothetical stories we allow ourselves to believe in whether they are true or not. The real importance is that the family, kin, friends, and community share those beliefs.
Our fictions allow us to cooperate They gives us the imaginary order that is necessary for societies to act together. Corporations are not people, they do not exist in reality. One can not point to a corporation. It’s not the buildings, or the executives or any other physical entities that make the corporation, but it is our belief that makes them real. The author notes that the word for corporation comes from the Latin, corpus, the same as in the body (corpus) of Christ within the transubstantiation.
Religion gives us comfort from the absurd and comforts us to accept death. Science (and its offshoot, technology) does the opposite. It gives us knowledge leading to life extension and makes our time alive more comfortable. The Gilgamesh Project of life extension is a major character is this book.
The myths we create can never be logically consistent without contradictions. Perfect liberty will always conflict with perfect equality. Knowledge about the real world can never be ‘universal, necessary, and certain’, but we only get glimpses of reality by considering the ‘particular, contingent, and probable’. Our myths give us comfort and subjective well being, but they are never without contradictions.
The acceptance of our myths give us our commonality. He’ll even say that because of the myths we chose to believe in they determine our progress. When cultures (imaginary orders) collectively know Truth, they have no reason to proceed. Biology enables us, cultures forbid us. The most important words necessary for progress are “I don’t know,, but I want to find out”. He connects Imperialism with Capitalism leading to seeking knowledge (and developing science). Only those who do not believe they know everything need to search.
[CCR] Charles C. Rogers