RE: THE SHAME OF SCIENTIFIC DENIAL
Nothing is more painful and frustrating than being a "real" scientist, because for those who religiously follow the "laws of science" most of existence simply doesnt exist. What does exist is phenomenon that can be measured with instruments. Who among us does not marvel at rockets going to the moon, synthetic widgets, microwave popcorn makers, and "smart" bomb. Science is grand when it comes to the predictable physical world.
But to the shame of scientist, music doesnt and can not exist, because music only exists within humans. What is "out there", and can be measured, is noise, and noise has about the same scientific correlation to music as my tears do to Niagra Falls. As shocking as this may seem, let me also point out that human consciousness (which created science), love, courage, faith, God, beauty, and most importantly ecstasy can not exist for scientists because these essential and most common dimension of existence cant be measured or quantified. In other words, the fundamental content of our existence doesnt exist for the scientist.
Scientists can not explore the nature of the music experience and blind testing can never reveal anything significant about musical judgments, because we are only TRULY experiencing music when we are in a state of ecstasy. It is only in that state that our music consciousness is fully engaged. Musicians, composers and music lovers know this; scientist must dismiss the experience of ecstasy as "hoopla".
Double blind testing is the best technique for minimizing musical sensitivity because it is analytical, the exact opposite of ecstatic. Can I make this analogy for those who have never had this testing experience: Make love using a truck stop rubber condom.
Music is also far too complex an "inner" experience for the scientific mind to grasp. For example: I woke myself up a few night ago because my drum playing, in my dreams, was too loud...but it felt great. What is the music I hear when I am walking down the street at 3 AM? How can I hear and dance to the piano music my mother played for me when I was six? What does language and culture have to do with musical perception? Why do so many cultures believe that plants and animals can sing?
It is understandable that scientists want to invade the arts because they are so existentially rich, but few trained in the laws of electrical engineering or physics have the courage to admit, as did Max Planck, the fundamental limitation of scientific knowledge....like "We havent a clue about the nature of music consciousness". May I suggest that "scientists" know as much about human experience, and especially music, as cosmologist know about the reality of the cosmos...less than 10%... at best.
There is much bogusity in high end audio, as there is in science; fools prevail in all endeavors. Humility is as scarce as a great audio system. Anyone who chooses a career in the audio arts is choosing a very strange path: wrestling with the paradoxes of art and science....brave souls.
Take away from a scientist all of the things that he cant prove exists, and we will discover an impoverished human, who would understandably be making an emergency call to Jack Kervorkian. For the scientist, the sun does rise, but the beauty of the sunrise doesnt exist. For the scientist there is much noise at a concert, but there is no musical ecstasy.
I suggest, Music, The Brain, and Ecstasy, by Robert Jourdain, to Charles Butler, and to all scientists who do not yet have the courage to embrace the paradox of existence.
As for Charles Butlers comment in the November issue of Stereophile...If Charles isnt dancing naked in his living room to Puff Daddy, then he just doesnt get what this is all about. The audio arts: the youngest, least understood and most profound artform of this and the next century, and the place where paradox is most free and proud to be itself.
Harvey "Gizmo" Rosenberg
Techno-Shaman of Coolosity, Positive-Feedback Magazine
Society Editor, Listener Magazine
Contributing Editor, Vacuum Valley Magazine
Guildmeister, The Triode Guild
e-mail Dr. Harvey "Gizmo" Rosenberg: firstname.lastname@example.org
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