Robert Ian Smit robian at
Thu Jun 13 11:59:02 PDT 2002

On Thu, Jun 13, 2002 at 07:42:47AM -0700, Timothy Bauscher wrote:
> On Thu, Jun 13, 2002 at 10:13:50AM +0200, Robert Ian Smit wrote:
> > Music is certainly one of the most beautiful things I know.
> Ditto.
> > However is it really an achievement in and of itself? I can enjoy
> > music without having any understanding of what the musician does.
> I think that music itself is an achievement. And, certainly,
> each note which Bach wrote is an achievement, a masterpiece.

Yes the old Bach was certainly a master. For me the achievement is
that he got noticed and that we still listen to his music.

> > I believe our ability to enjoy music stems from something that we
> > have lost touch with through evolution: we love it we but don't know
> > why. I think I can explain my love for women better than my love for
> > music.
> I think that evolution is fact, and i am certainly glad
> that we have a decent scientific explanation for the way
> life changes on our planet. Catholics (i'm catholic) seem
> to accept evolution as a method of God's work, but i've
> noticed that Christians will cut their own heads off before
> they will accept evolution as a theory. I'm not trying to
> start a flamewar about this, i'm just curious really.

Don't know about that. Common sense and dogma bite each other in my
world. But that is something for another discussion.
> > For me the most quintessential quality of humans is related to
> > thought, conception and amazement. I believe all other things great or small
> > can be understood by that notion. 
> But, can musical and artistic talent be covered by those?

For me yes. I won't explain. It would take ages and I would have to
cut corners and take shortcuts. Let's just say that the complexity
of human society, I believe, can be understood, by very simple attributes of human life.

> > Mozart, a composer I truly love and admire, would not be the Mozart
> > without us "lower" beings.
> He would still have been fabulous, we just wouldn't have
> noticed how fabulous he was because we were equally fabulous :)
> > So I share the idea behind your message. It's just that I don't
> > value achievements that much.
> If one cannot look into their past and say "look how far i've
> come, and look how far i've yet to go", then they are just living
> their lives oblivious to their potential.

Ofcourse, that is true at least for an individual. I personally
don't like the word potential. At times I have been guilty of
remaining a promise in a certain field. I could have been better or
stronger or richer or whatever. Isn't life the crap you do, while
busy planning it. I quote (not very accurately) John Lennon.

> > What is achieved is in the past, I
> > want to look ahead. Having said that, I know you can only love
> > something that already exists and as such is part of the past.
> I disagree. I think that things in the future can be loved as
> well. 

I call that expectation, a lovely emotion, but different from love.

> The other day, i decided that the present tense should
> be eliminated altogether. There is no present tense, we are
> constantly shifting into the future.

There is nothing else besides the present. History is the present
interpretation of things that supposedly happened or did not happen.
The future is an unknown quantity. Can you prove that there is a
future? It is only hopefully  a safe assumption that there will be a
tomorrow, but that is not proof. 

Human life consists of choices. Not to choose _now_ is also a choice. 
Concepts like history and future influence a choice, but they remain
concepts that only exist in the present.

I don't want to be pedantic and I can imagine a lot of people not
reading this. I am happy to continue this discussion, but would not
mind taking it elsewhere. If you want to respond to my ramblings
feel free to either address the list or me privately.


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