Go ahead you can laugh all you want I got my philosophy Keeps my feet on the ground And I trust it like the ground That’s why my philosophy Keeps me walking when I’m falling down
–Ben Folds Five
Songs of the Year: “Super Bon Bon,” Soul Coughing; “Bury Me,” Guster
Runners-up: “Philosophy”, Ben Folds Five; “Stickshifts and Safetybelts,” Cake
Honorable Mentions: “Firestarter,” The Prodigy; “Tubthumper”, Chumbawumba; “Hypnotize,” Notorious B. I. G.
In 1997, I went to college. I had the grandest of opportunities to re-invent myself. In life, rare are the occasions when you can literally trade in your old mask for a new one. So, I changed my clothes (a little); I broke up with a girl over Limp Bizkit and I went off to conquer the world.
At a time when fewer youths are learning music in school and we gut arts’ budgets, maybe we should remember that music is for more than entertainment.
As my brother and I often try to show, the music we listen to makes us contemplate not just sound, but the world that sound inhabits and the place we have within it.
But we’re not terribly original in this…perhaps just a bit intense in the way we approach it. The ancient greek philosopher Pythagoras believed saw mathematics as a language that could explain or express the world he found around him–Plato drew on this and saw music not just as a great way to train the minds of his elite, but also as a way to understand the world. Harmony, for Plato, and the ratios embedded in music, were part of the secret fabric of reality.
Interested in the connection between philosophy and music or the connection between deep thought and musical thought? Here’s a neat review of a book that looks at some famous thinkers and their music habits…