23
Sep
10

Musings on Led Zeppelin and Boxing

Tomorrow is going to be one of the busiest days of my life, and so I spent most of today just getting ready for it.

Anyway, I still feel like I have a worthwhile post, though its shorter and in two parts.

First part. I listened to Led Zeppelin today, just came on the radio randomly, which is the best way to experience any song, because as I’ve said on this blog before, sometimes, part of the fun of hearing a song you like is knowing that it came to you purely BY CHANCE. Something about that realization really puts the cosmic order in perspective.

Anyway, I was listening to a pretty obscure song called “hots on for nowhere” and the lyric that really strong me in this song was just several words long. At one point, the lyrics talk about “the land of the not-quite day.” Now this seems pretty innocuous, but think about how many songs have sung about night and day and dusk and dawn throughout the years. I think this is just a really interesting way to put it, and this small kernel of insight led me to two others straightaway.

First Led Zeppelin loves rocking about water. They have “the ocean,” they have “down by the seaside,” “the rain song,” “when the levee breaks,” and actually many others that I always think about but never succeed in making a master list.

Anyway, the big philosophical lesson here is that good work, of any kind, is the kind you can keep coming back to. Nietzsche is a great example. I’m about to read the Genealogy of Morals again, and I’m sure I’ll notice so many new things. In a way, the best works are infinite portals into knowledge: they speak to you in all ages and whether you’re sad or happy, in a good place or in a bad place in your life. And then I thought that the street runs both ways. A brilliant piece of work always grants new lessons, and by the same token, a good person (one aspect of being a good person) is charitable to his fellow human beings, and here I mean that in a specific sense in that one is always READY to learn lessons from them. Great interpretations can result from a great piece of work, but as literary critics new, a new interpretation is also the work of the mind doing the intrepreting.

A great person is someone who seeks to aggressively theorize the actions and words of another person so as to craft a beautiful interpretation of that person’s character. This is one of the most noble things someone can do; to lionize, complicate, and appreciate the lessons offered by another human being. When we fail to find the lessons in another person, we fail to be proper interpreters and we miss the opportunity to create something beautiful.

This is not to say we have to accurately characterize every person we meet. After all, all interpretation is part fantasy and part myth, but the point is that if we build someone up in our mind, even if it is a caricature, we’ve made the most of their interactions with us. It’s like eating all the food put in front of you at someone’s house: it’s just shows respect.

Anyway, there’s a line in the “rain song” that I think is earth-shattering in its profundity. It goes like this, “Talk Talk – I’ve felt the coldness of my winter /
I never thought it would ever go. I cursed the gloom that set upon us… /
But I know that I love you so.” The way Robert Plant delivers this line gets me every time. I curse the gloom that set upon us everytime.

Second part. Check out this great article for an accessible and thought provoking philosophical essay.

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1 Response to “Musings on Led Zeppelin and Boxing”



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