I am interested in starting a thread where we can discuss the music in our lives that has moved us. I tend to think of this music as our personal “Concertos of Deliverance.” One of the most interesting things to discover about someone you are getting to know is what music moves them. It gives you some insight into his/her soul and personal history. It’s a means of coming to understand their perspective more deeply.
What I wrote in reaction to the idea of creating a representation of Rand’s “Concerto of Deliverance” 18 months ago was never posted. Often by the time I get my thoughts in order and type them out, the discussion has moved on so far it would be inappropriate to post it. But it now sets the context for initiating this thread. I hope others will tell their stories of their personal “Concertos of Deliverance.”
At first I thought I had little to contribute to this thread. I know nothing about creating and producing music. I not only have no credentials but, I thought, I had no relevant experience to draw from. I was wrong.
I am not an artist but I certainly do appreciate the art of music. I am familiar with “Atlas Shrugged” and I generally have a strong personal perspective on things once I allow myself to focus on them. So I asked myself a couple of questions. Firstly, what does “Concerto of Deliverance” mean to me? Secondly, what music has touched my soul that I hold as my “Concerto of Deliverance?” I will deal with the first question under this subject heading. For the second question, I will create a spin-off from this thread (see below) to take it in a new direction and call it simply “Concertos of Deliverance.”
When I reflect on the meaning of “Concerto of Deliverance” I think of the music that has defined me at different times in my life. It is the music that touches my soul and defines my deepest experience of myself and the world. It is the music that speaks to me of my struggle to achieve my potential, to self-actualize. It is the music that identifies my implicit metaphysics and ethics that lies so deeply and intimately at the core of who I am.
My problem with [intentionally trying to create music that is a representation of Ayn Rand’s concept of “Concerto of Deliverance” and giving it that title] is not with the title. It is with causality. (Yes, I think almost everything relates to causality at some point.) Trying to produce music in the spirit of Ayn Rand’s “Concerto of Deliverance,” [is to put] the artistic cart before the horse. He has set out to produce the cause of an effect rather than setting out to express an inner passion and the authentic vision of his soul. “Concerto of Deliverance” was the authentic expression of Ayn Rand’s soul. It should be left as such, not because it is stealing, but because self-respect demands that artistic expression come from the artist’s personal vision of existence. It is not genuine to write from the absorbed perspective of another.
I don’t mean what I am saying in a moralistic way. Although I am sure it is easy to interpret it that way. I am simply trying to identify reality as I see it. I truly believe that [the artists] created their music out of respect for Rand’s work. In that sense it did come from inner passion and an authentic vision. But the passion was for, and the vision was of, Rand’s art. It was not about expressing the authentic experience of one’s passionate struggle to reach one’s potential and self-actualize. It was not about identifying the implicit metaphysics and ethics that lies so deeply and intimately at the core of the artist. As Rand stated, causality is identity applied to action. “Concerto of Deliverance” does not come from the authentic personal identity of the artist. It comes from a desire to create the cause of a pre-existing effect. But it is a law of existence that causes must come before effects, not the other way around. In psychological terms, putting the effect before the cause makes one affected. A person tries to synthesize the mental state that is appropriate to, or produces, a given effect. I think the mistake was honest and had its roots in good intentions. But it was still a mistake.
What music has touched my soul that I hold as my “Concerto of Deliverance?” It partly depends when in my life we are talking about. When I was 12, The Beatles’ “Got to Get You into My Life” and “Good Day Sunshine” (from Revolver, 1966.) had meaning. Shortly after, when I started chasing girls, The Beatles’ “Here There and Everywhere” grabbed my imagination. (Revolver was one of my first albums.) In my teens I was a big day-dreamer. I existed in my imagination. Supertramp’s “Dreamer”, from “Crime of the Century, 1974,” spoke to me.
Later in my teens Pink Floyd’s “The Wall” named the frustration I experienced in school. That was an album that had something to say about social metaphysics. What is “The Wall” but a symbol of psychological defense mechanisms against social metaphysical manipulation. From the title, “The Happiest Days of Our Lives,” “The Wall,” 1979:
“When we grew up and went to school
There were certain teachers who would
Hurt the children any way they could
By pouring their derision
Upon anything we did
And exposing every weakness
However carefully hidden by the kids...”
“From Another Brick in The Wall (part 2),” same album:
“We don’t need no education
We don’t need no thought control
No dark sarcasm in the classroom
Teachers leave the kids alone
Hey teacher leave us kids alone
All in all its just another brick in the wall
All in all your just another brick in the wall.”
I didn’t discover Springsteen until I was 19. Quite frankly, I couldn’t get past his voice before then. A girl I started dating was really into his music. So I started to listen. He became, for me in music, what Branden represented in psychology and philosophy. Springsteen’s music touched my soul and defined my deepest experience of myself and the world. It was the music that spoke to me of the heroic struggle to hold onto my authentic personal perspective and strive for my potential. It is the music that identified the implicit metaphysics and ethics that was so deeply and intimately at the core of who I was. His music still has that power today.
Some of Springsteen’s songs that I consider part of my “Concerto of Deliverance” are as follows:
1) “Growin’ Up”— especially the live version with introduction, Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band Live/ 1975-85:
“...I was open to pain and crossed by the rain and I walked on a crooked crutch
I strolled all alone through the fallout zone and came out with my soul untouched
I hid in the clouded wrath of the crowd but when they said “Sit down” I stood up
Ooh-ooh growin’ up...
...I took month-long vacations in the stratosphere and you know its really hard to hold your breath
I swear I lost everything I ever loved or feared I was the cosmic kid.
Well my feet they finally took root in the earth but I got me a nice little place in the stars
I swear I found the key to the universe in the engine of an old parked car...”
2) “Independence Day,” Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band Live/ 1975-85 and “The River” 1980:
“... ‘Cause the darkness in this house has got the best of us
There’s a darkness in this town that’s got us too
But they can’t touch me now
And you can’t touch me now
They ain’t gonna do to me
What I watched them do to you
So say goodbye its Independence Day...”
3) “Born to Run,” especially live acoustic version from “Chimes of Freedom” 1987:
“... The highway’s jammed with broken heros
On a last chance power drive
Everybody’s out on the run tonight
But there’s no place left to hide
Together Wendy we’ll live with the sadness
I’ll love you with all the madness in my soul
Someday girl I don’t know when we’re gonna get to that place
Where we really want to go
And we’ll walk in the sun
But till then tramps like us
Baby we were born to run.”
4) “No Surrender,” especially the live version, Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band Live/ 1975-85:
“We busted out of class had to get away from those fools
We learned more from a three-minute record than we ever learned in school
Tonight I hear the neighborhood drummer sound
I can feel my heart begin to pound
You say you’re tired and you just want to close your eyes and follow your dreams down
We made a promise we swore we’d always remember
No retreat no surrender
Like soldiers in the winter’s night with a vow to defend
No retreat no surrender...”
I’ve lost touch with music in recent years but if I were to single out one song that identifies where I’m at, that is my “Concerto of Deliverance” today, it would be “Testify” by Melissa Etheridge, from “Brave and Crazy,” 1989.
“...if I close my eyes and throw back my head
I can see his face and I hear the words he said
And my memories ache and my senses burn
Did he dream too late will we ever learn
I, I want to testify
My love still lives and breaths
And my soul is screaming why
The thoughts won’t let me sleep
Don’t let hearts break
And don’t let children cry
Before it gets too late
I want to testify...
...And I swear tonight I’m gonna find that place
It’s not the love that dies but the understanding ways...
...Rip through the wire that screens in my window
Throw open the shade that covers my mind
I’m going to touch I’ve got to believe
The bell tolls for me.”
This song partly explains why I have come to this message board. I have something I think might be important to say. I assume all of us who write here believe this. I’m discovering how to say it. This is a good forum to learn how to say it. I’m sure everyone here will let me know if they think I’m wrong. Writing on this message board is just a way of reality testing hypotheses. I’m always ready to reevaluate. But then, I will only have something new to say.
I would be interested in knowing what others hold as their personal “Concertos of Deliverance.” What is the music that touches your soul and defines your deepest experience of yourself and the world? What is the music that speaks of your struggle to achieve your potential, to self-actualize? What is the music that identifies your implicit metaphysics and ethics that lies so deeply and intimately at the core of who you are?
I thought Branden's forum was good for my purposes. But this place that Michael and Kat have built has incredible potential for nurturing the personal growth of Objectivists. And I think Objectivism will grow along with this personal growth of individuals. I am thankful for the opportunity to discuss ideas that are deeply important to me with people for who's perspectives and intelligence I have such great respect.