Reading a puff-piece the other day about the Rolling Stones' impending tour to these islands, a piece of research was quoted that suggested our 'cultural choices' (or some such phrase) are all made between the ages of fifteen to thirty, following which we all apparently seek to recapture and reprise the thrill first felt in the first flush of adulthood.
This, said the journalist about the research, explains such phenomena as the constant repackaging and re-selling of CDs and albums of arthritic rockers, the $umpteen squillion Jimi Hendrix Rock'n'Roll Museum in Seattle (paid for with Paul Allen's Microsoft winnings), and the bland dreck played on expensive sound equipment emanating from the car windows of too many highly-paid middle-aged middle executives - 'life in the fast lane' - 'I can't get no satisfaction' - 'let's all do the crocodile rock' - bleecch.
This, however and quite frankly, is the sort of 'research' that confuses statistics for explanation. As Ludwig von Mises used to say, "mathematics is silent on causality" -- and without causality you don't have meaningful 'research,' you just have description, just the very beginnings of research.
It's true that many people do seem to make their choices-for-life about things artistic in those early years of adulthood when they are seeking to find their place in the world, and to find art and music that seems to describe the way they themselves see the world. Art and music offer both the mature and the immature brain a necessary 'shortcut to philosophy' that is particularly evident and absolutely necessary in those teenage and post-teenage years when the 'searching ' for that shortcut begins; the offerings of popular culture however are peculiarly ill-suited to offer the significant art and music that really would offer the mature, thinking, brain a lifetime of interest.
The sad thing is that too many are unable to keep their taste maturing and their brains alive as they mature, even as their taste refuses to; rather than seeking out the great artistic heights that could truly touch their mature souls they choose to settle instead for the immature art and music they experience in their early years - the 'shake rattle and roll,' the 'raw power' of their youth -- and sadly, they miss out on art and music that could truly touch those places that 'raw power' alone can never reach. And then they end up listening to the bland nothings of Goldenhorse at dinner parties and find themselves huddled in corporate boxes at Rolling Stones' concerts -- and they find they have souls to match.
Its likely the 'research' thrown up by statistics about people's artistic and musical tastes is correct, but only because too many people chose not to explore any further than those early artistic and musical gropings, when their first questions about the world and their place in it are answered for them by the facile voices they first hear. The loss in their lack of further exploration is all theirs.
[Want more? If you haven't already, try one of my earlier articles on the same subject, but in greater depth: Something Better than Rage, Pain, Anger and Hurt.]
LINKS: Something Better than Rage, Pain, Anger and Hurt - Peter Cresswell
TAGS: Music, Philosophy, Ethics