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Old 10-26-2006, 11:12 PM   #1
z33ro
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Default Books that inspired the Billy & the Band

hey, i once had a list of a lot of books and authors that were mentioned by the band themselves and by peoples on the old o-board as having had an influence on pumpkin lyrics.. i never got around to tracking some of the books down.. I'm in pumpkins mode again, and have exhausted my list of 'books to read' so i figure nows a good time to go back....

anybody got the lowdown? and not the obvious burroughs/kerouac beat gen stuff..

there was one author in particular that I don't remember Billy acknowledging, but loads of people would always post about the possible influence, due to a lot of direct references etc in pumpkins songs, but that is many many years ago now...

any help?

 
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Old 10-26-2006, 11:26 PM   #2
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There is that one book by the fella named God...although he used a ton of ghost writers to get it done.

 
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Old 10-26-2006, 11:47 PM   #3
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yeh read that one, was some sub m.night shamalamadingdong bullshit..

 
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Old 10-27-2006, 12:06 AM   #4
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The "Captain Underpants" Series.

 
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Old 10-27-2006, 12:28 AM   #5
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I remember Billy mentioning Memoires of a Geisha in a 1996 interview

 
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Old 10-27-2006, 12:32 AM   #6
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Could you post the list of books, z33ro?

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Old 10-27-2006, 12:42 AM   #7
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if i still had the list, i wouldn't have made the thread..

this is all i've come across, saved billy post from the 0board

Quote:
can't help with your depression but can recommend some authors and books...one huge influence on my thinking has been philip k. dick (valis, the divine invasion, the scanner darkly)...also see william s. burroughs (the naked lunch, the soft boys, nova express)...someone recently turned me onto ken Wilber (the spectrum of consciousness) who is just an incredible thinker, and has really helped me to see the thru different eyes...also i've been reading ernest hemingway (the sun also rises)...you can never j.g. ballard (crash) or William gibson's last book, i can't think of the title right now...

 
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Old 10-27-2006, 12:44 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by z33ro
there was one author in particular that I don't remember Billy acknowledging, but loads of people would always post about the possible influence, due to a lot of direct references etc in pumpkins songs
Elie Wiesel.

 
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Old 10-27-2006, 12:46 AM   #9
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allegedly.
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Old 10-27-2006, 12:53 AM   #10
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sounds vaguely familiar, remember anything in particular?

from memory the author i was referring to with that description wrote kinda dreamlike fiction...

 
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Old 10-27-2006, 12:59 AM   #11
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I tried reading the naked lunch but it was absolutely vile.

I did enjoy the movie, though!

 
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Old 10-27-2006, 01:33 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by z33ro
sounds vaguely familiar, remember anything in particular?

from memory the author i was referring to with that description wrote kinda dreamlike fiction...
that's not it then.

 
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Old 10-27-2006, 02:22 AM   #13
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This might be unrelated, but I first started listening to Mellon Collie when I was reading The House of the Spirits, and the album and the book seemed to have a lot in common. The broad scope of them, the points of view in each... Billy probably hates that book but it is always tied to MCIS in my mind.

 
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Old 10-27-2006, 03:23 AM   #14
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I do know a lot of stuff from the Tibetan Book of the Dead appears in their lyrics

 
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Old 10-27-2006, 04:03 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ziggygaydust
I remember Billy mentioning Memoires of a Geisha in a 1996 interview
i read it back in 2000 for this reason. haha.

turn out it was a good book.

 
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Old 10-27-2006, 04:53 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by z33ro
hey, i once had a list of a lot of books and authors that were mentioned by the band themselves and by peoples on the old o-board as having had an influence on pumpkin lyrics.. i never got around to tracking some of the books down.. I'm in pumpkins mode again, and have exhausted my list of 'books to read' so i figure nows a good time to go back....

anybody got the lowdown? and not the obvious burroughs/kerouac beat gen stuff..

there was one author in particular that I don't remember Billy acknowledging, but loads of people would always post about the possible influence, due to a lot of direct references etc in pumpkins songs, but that is many many years ago now...

any help?
people here know how to read, i thought we all just banged our heads on our keyboards
go9reahrgbvn 3b 4hdl/bjfd'ohkbnatebnamgf vc hjgfzk;nmfzlv/jkzngfnZGFKN bz fd pjbffdten;GFDLMNfre.n /

 
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Old 10-27-2006, 05:13 AM   #17
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Reading the liner notes of The Aeroplane Flies High makes it plainly obvious that Billy was a pretty big Burroughs fan.

 
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Old 10-27-2006, 05:14 AM   #18
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It also seems that the Smashing Pumpkins are influenced by K.V. [Kurt Vonnegut] as well. Check out their recent double disc offering, Mellon Collie And The Infinite Sadness. There's a song called Galapagos. There is also a similarity between the song 'Bodies' and the short story from Welcome To The Monkey House, 'Unready To Wear.' Read it and see if you agree! KV is even thanked in the liner notes.
http://www.ipass.net/brianrodr/vonnegut/bands.html


yet, when taking questions from the audience during a show [can't remember which one offhand, it might've been a radio call-in] a member queried Billy about Slaughterhouse Five as an inspiration and Billy resolutely denied it, trailing off into what I believe lead to the infamous comment concerning the title of Mayonaise.

 
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Old 10-27-2006, 05:47 AM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by medellia
It also seems that the Smashing Pumpkins are influenced by K.V. [Kurt Vonnegut] as well. Check out their recent double disc offering, Mellon Collie And The Infinite Sadness. There's a song called Galapagos. There is also a similarity between the song 'Bodies' and the short story from Welcome To The Monkey House, 'Unready To Wear.' Read it and see if you agree! KV is even thanked in the liner notes.
http://www.ipass.net/brianrodr/vonnegut/bands.html


yet, when taking questions from the audience during a show [can't remember which one offhand, it might've been a radio call-in] a member queried Billy about Slaughterhouse Five as an inspiration and Billy resolutely denied it, trailing off into what I believe lead to the infamous comment concerning the title of Mayonaise.
I actually just finished reading Slaughterhouse Five. Is there any more to this? Also, what was the Mayonaise title comment?

 
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Old 10-27-2006, 05:49 AM   #20
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He opened his fridge.

 
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Old 10-27-2006, 06:24 AM   #21
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Playboy. It inspires all bands.. except MCR

 
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Old 10-27-2006, 06:37 AM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Billy Corgan
one huge influence on my thinking has been philip k. dick (valis, the divine invasion, the scanner darkly)...
Hehe, he has Dick on the brain.

 
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Old 10-27-2006, 07:20 AM   #23
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Hello. I think you mean Ken Wilber. I once made a post about it, it also in-cludes the reactions:


The Smashing Pumpkins: An Interpretation of their Music
-In Imitation of the Writings of Ken Wilber-

As a hermeneutic phenomena, music is an interesting subject to study. For sure —following Ken Wilber and his theory of the four quadrants (AQAL*)—, the experience of music is situated in the upper-left quadrant, spanning the field of the inner-subject. And therefore, besides the worth of studying it, listening to it is an ever greater joy of course. Have we already talked about these various personal interpretations? Cause interpretations may seem arbitrarily and completely relative, there are better and more worse interpretations. So in this thread, I’d like to discuss or create a dialogue about those various interpretations. The various inner-experiences and world pictures that involve the music of the Smashing Pumpkins. What is touched in your mind? Which areas does it effect? (Not physically.)

To get into analysing this, we should first analyse the notion ‘music’ in general. What is its element of connotation? I think music, in its many forms, goes along a line of contacting ‘higher’ or ‘lower’ realms of consciousness. Rocks won’t react on any sound, animals are effected by musical tones in an impulsive way already (for example, did you know that the breeding of fish is mostly done with the radio on? It increases the speed of propagation), and humans can actually be moved by these waves and tones in an emotional way, a deeper and ‘higher’ way of experience. So does this goes along with different styles of music too? I think so. For example, rap and hip-hop are far more basic and rhythmic, speaking to a more primarily depth in our consciousness than classical music. I am not saying it is more worse or better than any other style, we have all these styles in ourselves or in our potential and never quite loose touch with it, but there is a difference in depth. So beyond the more rhythmic and street aggressive beats, lies another ‘world’ of sound, touching and digging even deeper. Like in a holistic way, it overcomes and integrates its predecessors. Not in a way that classical music exactly contain elements of hip-hop, but the experience of classical music can only be experienced by already knowing earlier elements of music.

So music, factually, is just a sound, that can be studied empirically, in decibels, waves, etc., but that’s just one aspect (the outer-object). The inner-object, that can only be heard by dialogue, is, concerning music, far more interesting. So what do the Smashing Pumpkins exactly smash in your mind? Which worldviews are connected with it?

Ken Wilber simplified his four quadrant theory in what is called the Big Three. The it, we and I domain. As said earlier, experiencing music is an upper-left business. But it has always correlations equally important in the other domains. The we part of music is its cultural context; music can only exist against a certain background, a foundation of cultural pillars. This forum is an example of how music, in this case the music of the Smashing Pumpkins, is embedded and taken by its social counterparts. This forum and therefore a part of the people who listen to the Pumpkins, hence a part of a worldview that is interwoven with it. A part of The Smashing Pumpkins is their angry music, full of rage and dissatisfaction, another side is there lullaby kind of songs. And its all reflected in this we domain.
The third part, the it part is the actual sound, it can be empirically pointed out.

So these Big Three are always connected and affected by each other. But I mainly like to discuss the upper-left, the inner-subject. Cause I think that is where the action lies. I already mentioned some worldviews that are interwoven with the music of the Pumpkins; the rage and the anger. But besides that, like the variety of music they play, a whole range of areas is rocked. I personally think this is what makes the Pumpkins quite rare in their kind, their music is shining thru a big part of a spectrum, or in other words, a deep part of a spectrum. From spiritual matters to suicide and notions as romance, intelligence, anger, fear, pain, myths, love, depression, death, struggle, and so on.

What does our interest and experience of the Smashing Pumpkins tell about us? What kind of consciousness is scattered in these threads?

Simply: what is your own, direct and personal experience of listening to the Smashing Pumpkins? What does it scar?

P.S. I am not sure whether this is all clear enough. There are some good googles to find on Ken Wilber. Here is an explanation on the four quadrants:


*The UPPER LEFT quadrant covers the inner-individual aspects of human consciousness, as studied by developmental psychology, in both it's conventional and contemplative forms.
The UPPER RIGHT quadrant covers the outer-individual aspects of human consciousness, as studied by neurology and cognitive science.
The LOWER LEFT quadrant covers the inner-collective aspects of human consciousness, as studied by the sciences of culture: cultural psychology and anthropology.
The LOWER RIGHT quadrant covers the outer-collective aspects of human consciousness, as studied by sociology.
Western culture tends to over-emphasize the Right Hand quadrants (brain science, sociology), and neglect the Left Hand quadrants (introspection, human culture). The integral model of consciousness redresses that imbalance by pointing out the importance of the Left Hand quadrants.
One way to make sense of the Four Quandrants model is to see the UPPER LEFT quadrant as primary, and the other three quandrants as the various ways individual human consciousness is conditioned, by the material brain, cultural influences and social structures.
A more radical view is to see the Four Quadrants as the four ways in which Universal Spirit is expressed simultaneously.
All of the quadrants mutually interact with each other. A given stage of individual development (e.g. abstract mind) will be reflected in a stage of neurological development (e.g. the neocortex), a stage of cultural development (e.g. rationalisation) and a stage of societal development (e.g. industrialisation).
Each quadrant consists of nine levels/stages. Combining quadrants with levels gives the "all quadrants, all levels" approch of Integral Philosophy.

*

But don't you think the reason you like this band has got something to say about who you are? Then, is there a general type of fan maybe? Or is this band effecting a lot more different kind of people (and their worldviews)?

People like me for example. The reason this all sounds pretentious and complicated, is because a part of me probably is. Does that mean, if the music you listen has got something to say about your personality, that a part of these elements can be traced down the other way too? So that a part of the Pumpkins (whatever that is) has a part of these characteristics too?

The great sarcasm and inevitable hate found on this forum, is that a part of these fans and so a part of their projection: the band?

It all comes back to just one question, I guess: the reason you listen to this band, what has that got to say about you?

*

Tori Amos' cover of "Smells Like Teen Spirit"--which I'm not a huge fan of-- certainly shows how different a song can be depending on its interpretation--in that case, by the performers. And I think the difference between Amos' version and Nirvana's original is what you're getting at: a question of why we choose to find what we find, and what aspects of the music we find it in. Personally, I really like the play between different levels of intensity--both of sound and feeling, and the Pumpkins' music has almost always offered that.

I think that part of it is in satisfying rhytms and their relationship with pitch. Ginsberg said that poetry originated, at least for him, with rhythm carried on a vowel sound, and I know that some people have theorized that primitive languages consisted of vowel sounds in different pitches--with the extremes of pitch representing extremes of emotion, which certainly still appears in both human and instinctive animal communication. Some of the more complex Asian languages have a pitch component with regard to specific meanings. Rhythmic play, especially that between extremes of pitch, is probably intellectually and instinctively satisfying because it is to some extent regular or predictable, and even more so when a sequence is listened to repeatedly. The songs that I want to listen to almost always correspond to a rhythm that I'm feeling at the moment--mostly, loud, hard, and fast when I'm in motion during the day and softer and slower when I'm laying down to sleep, which I would imagine is pretty standard.

But, additionally, I also sometimes "use" the music to project a feeling. Anger and conflict don't come easily to me--they're feelings that I was pretty much taught to cry instead of having. So some songs do seem to allow me to access a feeling that I otherwise don't allow myself to fully experience. I think a lot of art "balances" us by allowing us to do this. Aestheticism, one of the principles underlying gothicism, is founded on aesthetic and/or emotional extremity--it is a balance principle which recognizes the necessity of one sensation for its opposite. In other words, you must experience pain to understand pleasure and happiness to understand grief. Therefore, if a listener was unable to express one of these feelings, sound can be a safe vehicle for experiencing it. I think that sound conveys those emotions or taps them through language, particularly lyrics and poetry, because the sounds of words sometimes correspond to their meanings. However, I think that sound is much more effective as music because there is both less and more room for interpretation within it.

For instance, I might key into what I interpret as being rage in a song like X.Y.U., but you might be more aware of what you perceive to be grief in it. Neither of us would be entirely wrong because the sound conveys both and is, to some extent, vague for the purpose of both of us being able to find meaning in it. At the same time, that rhythm that starts about 2:23 is very precise--it feels like something about to happen because it can't redouble its intensity forever. And when it works into the little pick up to the bridge it's in such an slow-developing and intricate way that it creates a sensation of almost erotic frustration that there really isn't a word for. Likewise, the screams at and after 4:46 start as growls and become almost hoarse. We couldn't effectively say that's a "moderate-intense" or "intense" extremity of emotion because it's subjective, but, at the same time, there is an exactness to it--it is exactly as emotional as that sound, which alone becomes very precise language. It takes us on the same adrenaline ride, but over the very different landscapes of our inner selves. I mean, if you think about the words to that song, all of the rage that someone might perceive in it is implicit, and carried on the sound of the delivery. Very little of it is directly given in the lyrics, which could be read as merely sad. What's more, if you were particularly comfortable with anger or sadness as an emotion, the song could be either a much less significant experience for you or a very meaningful thing, depending on your relationship with your own emotions and experiences.

In general, I think that music is the most interesting of art forms because of what it suggests about art. It seems to heighten the question of whether an artist's intended meaning or a listener's perceived meaning matters more, or if either of them matters at all. Because music is so hard to pin down in terms of what experiences it causes us to have and how it causes us to have them, it seems to offer more options for meaning to be made and found within songs. With almost all of the songs that I have discussed with people, I find people who hear exactly what I do as well as people who hear things I didn't notice at all. But what I mostly appreciate is the level of intensity--of whatever emotion or sensation, even numbness--in the music.

*

Well said, One Night Only.

I agree with your opinion, that there can be various interpretations to a song, but that there mostly is an overall consensus about the intention or emotion that is hidden behind it. (If I understand you right.)

So what kind of archetypes or emotions do the Smashing Pumpkins appeal to? I do think there are some common and general terms as mentioned earlier. But an overall theme might be the existential scream, the infinite sadness, the lost love forever.

And that's where Ken Wilber comes in, I especially like this writer cause of his clear system in which he involves all kind of theories and thoughts, from Buddha till the Big Bang. His book A Brief History of Everything, states that there is this development, evolution going on. A state of mind that is constantly changing and entering new territories. And these evolutions and developments are not only occurring in individuals, but on a macro-level as well. I highly recommend this book; it changed my view on the world profoundly. Funny thing, Billy Corgan himself says this is one of his favourite authors and so interests do seem to collide! Of what might be seen as coincidence.

Anyway. I wondered which wave the Pumpkins were riding, which wave in this spectrum of evolving consciousness. And also, which wave are we riding with them! Isn’t it similar in a lot of ways?

The Pumpkins are a band with a (conscious or unconscious) message, a message with an intention, a motive. And those motives are covered with images, symbols, archetypes. Do we share these things just because we like this music, do we receive the message they intend? Is there a similarity with us people on this board and the people behind the music? Of course. Does that similarity span some same areas as spirituality, philosophy and beauty as well? Or is it even more specific?

Hm, maybe this attempt to understand the meaning and the way music is perceived is kind of useless. How can we actually explain this inner-subjectivity with rational logic? I will just put on a record and listen, simply listen and enter the non-dual.

Just this.

*



*


I think you're right about the existential scream thing. A professor I particularly liked used to talk about the common quality of art being intensity--that the creation of good art comes out of a need to express something and the resulting intensity within the delivery. I mean, I haven't read any Ken Wilber yet, but it seems that the aspects of subjectivity you mention, kind of like the qualia, are some of our most significant personal experiences but also ineffable.

So many of these things that make us human are also hard to articulate, so we end up relying on agreed-upon ideas or external forces (like language and art) to create a dialogue. Music just seems to be an especially good catalyst for it--probably because of the confluence of lyrical meaning and sense of atmosphere created in it.

More importantly, maybe, music seems to create that dialogue for us even if we're contemplating it alone because there's always the input of the artist. For the same reason that I love books, I love music because it seems to allow me to engage in myself more directly but externally. I mean, you're forced to examine a shared feeling, but you examine it in terms of another person. Being removed to that perspective does allow you to better know a subjective feeling because it takes you out of it, or makes you see it in terms of someone other than yourself, which seems important.

Interestingly, though, it also seems to do the reverse, which I mentioned in my post--it can also make you personally experience an alien concept. I think part of it is a quality of auditory experience--it happens in real time like our actual experiences and is generally total. Music is eventing in each moment, like our experiences of time, and it is different from a painting or written work in that it has a greater degree of control--it's much harder to focus in on one part, though in a a poem or piece of visual art the observer has the option of looking only at one part. In that sense, it seems to be a much more intentional art form. I think that is partly why musical opinions are so polarized, compared to tastes in visual art and literature. I mean, I know people who can love Keats and Pound in the same breath, but those same people love and hate bands within the same genre.

As far as what you say, about the "existential scream" idea, though, I think that's right on. It's a public and private scream, or the sum of private screams projected onto this figurehead that becomes the band. I see why artists get tired or frustrated in that light--all that pressure and expectation. But, at the same time, it's a beautiful thing for one to take part in--to articulate or focus someone's self-awareness. I've always thought it a little weird for people to "identify" themselves by music in that way, though. It's such a different statement for each person, depending on what they find in the music, if the music is truly good.

Though, as you say, there are some archetypes/macro-level forces at work. I think we come by archetypes much like stereotypes (the healthy kind, not the discriminatory kind,) through a process. In that sense, we are forever creating new archetypes. The love denied/unending of which you speak is certainly a time-tested one, but things more modern, like self-psychology or scrutiny of one's own subjectivity, seem to be, as well.

The Pumpkins' work has always seemed kind of Freudian to me in that way, and that's why I think Corgan's so important artistically, in a postmodern context. His music is almost invariably a study in self-analysis--I mean, it almost always speaks in the voice of a person in direct confrontation with himself, which seems all too familiar to us but which is actually only an advent of the last century and a half. His music does what good art does--it provides a criticism but it also reflects the influence that it damns. I mean, so much of it directly parallels the cultural context: its self-evaluation and self-destruction or -medication, its simultaneous waywardness and presence, and its extremities of love and hate or bitterness and joy, or boredom and excitement are all our cultural values and very romantic notions, even though they're often treated adversarily in the music.

That, to me, makes a complex cultural and psychological picture a legitimate thing in the external world, which is what I think good art does. So, when you say that you want to plug in and enter the non-dual, I don't really understand how because to me that is the essence of the music--the "this" you mention. But I think maybe what you mean is to engage in it in unspoken terms, which I can certainly understand. In fact, I'm about to go and do so now, myself.

Thank you for the most interesting post that I've read on this board and for making me think about some things that I had not thought into nearly enough.

*

Thanks for another extensive response and a deep one! So if I get you right. Music is a subjective engagement and interpretable in all ways. But to some extend; the level of the intensity. Does that also go for

[]

To keep this thread alive, I will give a more extensive reaction to your initial answer it deserves. Cause your private message cleared some things up.

 
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Old 10-27-2006, 07:26 AM   #24
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Hm, that's rather confusing the way I posted this. After each * is a reaction, some are mine and some are from a member who I never saw here anymore named One Night Only.

 
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Old 10-27-2006, 07:41 AM   #25
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wow weird, I just bought one of Ken Wilber's books. I noticed some similarities with glass and the ghost children

 
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Old 10-28-2006, 12:30 AM   #26
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Corgan said he had never read Wiesel and didn't know where all the talk of influence was coming from. I read Night for school, I dunno what else he wrote. What in particular did people think was being referenced?

 
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Old 10-28-2006, 01:07 AM   #27
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The weirdest thing. Sophomore year of high school I read Night by Elie Wiesel, which was to the best of my recollection an autobiography of his nazi-camp experiences. I hadn't even known any other works by him, but I remember thinking that mayonaise was the perfect song to accompany the book, you know, just because of the desperate longing to live and escape evil. And then later I heard that rumor related to the song, always found that odd. How billy would lie that is.

 
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Old 10-28-2006, 01:14 AM   #28
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I read it sophomore year too. I got into an argument with the teacher because there is a part in which Wiesel claims the Nazis made the starving emaciated Jews run forty miles in a blizzard in one night to escape the approaching allied forces. I said that it must be an exageration, that such a feat was impossible in one night even running at top speed, and these people were so close to death to begin with that it would have to be hyperbole on Wiesel's part to emphasize the pain and suffering of of the journey. She said no. Wiesel and the Jews ran forty miles without a doubt because he is a reliable narrator. End of story. That's what I remember from that book.

 
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Old 10-28-2006, 01:17 AM   #29
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Yeah I recall that part and quite assuredly I would have died if I was really forced to run that.

 
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Old 10-28-2006, 01:41 AM   #30
ChrisChiasson
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If you gave the Jews 8 hours to go 40 miles, they would only have to go at 5 miles per hour (or 12 minutes per mile). That is a little faster than walking. I think it's possible under the threat of death.

 
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