Saturday, September 30, 2006

Music as a Clue to Meaning

There was a time in my life when I played the piano
(and keyboards) on a fairly regular basis, completely by ear,
taking a lot of time to "sound out" songs based on what
I could hear in my head... Though I don't play much
anymore, I used to be able to sit at the piano and play
music that I personally enjoyed, and that others sometimes
heard and enjoyed along with me...

Someone commented to me once about my playing that
while other people they knew who had taken years of piano
lessons may play all the notes with technical skill, my playing
(they noted) was MUSIC...

I've never forgotten that. And I think this is a very good
metaphor for the Christian World View: The modern Reductionist
wants us to believe that there IS no real Meaning, that all of
Life, throughout the Universe and across all Space and Time,
is merely "notes", Atoms and Energy doing what they do, and
that none of it has any metaphysical significance at all...

Yet they turn right around and call things "beautiful",
things like Music and a Sunset and a child's face, and they
apparently fail to see the profound Contradiction in their
stated Word View and how it plays out in their Experiences:

There was something about the music I played that distinguished
it from merely hitting the proper notes in the proper sequence;
call it "dynamics" or "soul" or whatever, but the mechanics
of my playing seemed to point to something not found in the mere
"notes" themselves, much the same way that a Song on the radio
is modulated by the radio frequency but not found IN
the frequency itself...

Find any tree during this Fall season, with its changing colors
and striking contrasts, and go up to it and pluck some of its leaves
and carve out a piece of its bark, and feel, smell, and taste
these things; you will only experience Atoms, but NOT the Beauty which
those elements point to... Listen to a piece of music that moves you, and
you will NOT be telling your close friends about a particular
arrangement of "notes" but of the rapturous "state" to which
that music carried you...

This, then, is yet another "clue" as to the Meaning of the Universe.
Observations about FACTS cannot themselves BE among the facts observed, and the mind doing the observing must be outside the Facts...
If I am moved by the sound of a beautiful piece of music, there must be
something beyond the notes that is calling to me, and something
more than just my brain matter that senses that call... And it is the chasing after whatever "IT" is that is the stuff of Metaphysics, not the scientific study
of Atoms and Energy... So much for "Science" explaining God away...

Consequently, the world of the Naturalist/Reductionist is stale,
technical, and spectacularly NOT Beautiful. Once again, the
Christian World View has an answer to this mystery, and the answer
is that we are not only transcendant Beings but beings for whom
NO present Beauty is completely and comprehensively satisfying...

If there really ARE such things as Truth, and Beauty, and Goodness,
they must have their grounding and emminence in something beyond
the mere Facts we experience... And since the only thing that can
transcend Matter is MIND, it would seem that a transcendent Mind
must be the Source which gives us even our first inklings of what
these things are and why they are universally impactful..

Christianity refers to this Mind as a PERSON, the God we worship
and to Whom our internal compasses naturally and unflappably point.

Blessed be HE, who Is and Was and Always Shall Be.

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