Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Philosophy Hurts My Head

I'm currently trying to read Bertrand Russell and a "History of Western Philosophy" and it really is a struggle. This is supposed to be entry level stuff and really my head is done in from it all. It's like a self help book but without the answers, its funny but still sixty percent of it goes over my head. I suppose there was always going to be difficulty in drawing a line from Plato through Descarte to Kant. That is even ignoring the more modern stuff such as Gray and Dawkins to name but a few. So far all I can make out is that by staring at a steeple for a while the human race can make a leap forward in understanding what it means to exist. Insightful stuff!

Anyway it has got me thinking about what should music really say to us, okay so it didn't, I was looking for any tenuous link from philosophy to music without mentioning Wagner or The Beetles trip to India. Should there be a spiritual side to the whole thing or is it enough to write about broken hearts and getting wasted. Are there any real philosopher type artists out there in mainstream music that write about the human condition? Who is challenging what we perceive to be reality? Is this just a load of bollocks and we spend too long sitting around just thinking about or on the other hand is this just an argument to stop us questioning and quiet happily go with the flow? It's a Pandora's box when you get into this material.

So this got me thinking, what songs are out there that have pushed us to think a little bit deeper and not just hum, "I kissed a girl and I liked it". One thing for sure is Thomas Aquinas I am not. So here is what I've come up with... Modern music meets a couple of thousand years of philosophical debate. God bless (if he exists, hedge my bets ala Pascal) the Internet.

British Seapower "Atom"
Modest Mouse "Bukowski"
Neil Young "After the Goldrush"
The Pixies "Where Is My Mind"
I really should have thought out this list before I posted but this is all I got.