Rhythm and Self-Consciousness
(text of book manuscript)
Chapter 1: How Cultural Ideals Change with Changing Communication Technologies - Expressive medium shapes content. (2001) 4,660 words philosophicalunderpinnings.html www.worldhistorysite/rsc-1.html
People today are aware of a generation gap, which is not the 1960s’ gap of rebellious youth but one having to do with cultural technologies. While the old generation is focused on book learning, their children take to pop culture. ..... The book Rhythm and Self-Consciousness takes us through a set of philosophical concepts associated with the modern world. We start with the timelessness of conventional philosophy, observe particular performances in time, and finally encounter complex situations that are created by previous events and experiences. We all want rhythm but are forced also to deal with complexities entering our lives.
Chapter 2: Plato’s Idea of Form - Could this be a formula for producing good things?(2001) 5,692 words platonicideas.html www.worldhistorysite/rsc-2.html
Prior to the 1st millennium B.C., religion was practiced under the direction of temple priesthoods, cults, and shamans. The idea behind their institution was that the universe consisted of spirits as well as natural objects... Rituals done consistently and correctly were the key to winning support of the gods. ..... This scheme of applying ideas by force upon an inferior faculty or class is inherent in the Platonic scheme ... An excessively rational scheme seems to lead to force in one way or another.
Chapter 3: Aristotle’s Philosophy of Intelligent Desire - A philosopher decides how to be happy. (2001) 7,140 words intelligentdesires.html www.worldhistorysite/rsc-3.html
Plato believed that human improvement lay in knowledge of the good and that definitions of concepts such as goodness would help to improve knowledge ..... To bring habit up to a state of rhythmic perfection requires a certain natural aptitude plus the proper cultivation and training plus something else: that special radiance which just appears. Therefore, if your goal is to reach that state, you may be disappointed. No matter how much you wanted it or how hard you tried, the goal might remain beyond your grasp unless your psychic antennae and the supporting habit structure were fully attuned to its ideal and the experience came.
Chapter 4: Rhythm in music - unlocking the beauty that lies therein (2001) 6,905 words musicalrhythms.html www.worldhistorysite/rsc-4.html
There is something about music that delights the mind. In all reasonableness, one could not have imagined that such a pleasure as this would exist. Music is a divine gift. “Without music,” declared Friedrich Nietzsche, “ life would be a mistake.” ..... There is a certain mood when any creative act becomes a work of genius and nothing can go wrong. The focus should be not upon the work but the creative moment. The worthwhile question to ask is not what exquisite arrangements lie in a completed expression but: How do I put myself into the mood? How do I bring on the state of all-powerful rhythmic creation?
Chapter 5: The experience of rhythm - an unconscious feeling of doing well (2001) 6,856 words rhythmexperience.html www.worldhistorysite/rsc-5.html
Rhythm is produced by a kind of creative activity associated with genius. Some god-like creator has produced it from the unfathomable depths of mind. If that is the case, there can be no knowledge of producing rhythm: None but the inscrutable genius knows how to create it. This book takes the opposite point of view. One can indeed learn how to bring on this condition in which one, trance-like, produces perfect works. ..... Rhythm is the ideal which is effortless and easy. It requires the mind to relax before any real achievement can take place. That is because rhythm comes out of the fabric of habit and habit consists of automatic motions. Therefore, the way to get rhythm is to go on “automatic pilot” mentally and let habit take over as much as possible. Once habits are in motion, they draw out the activity with beauty and grace.
Chapter 6: Rhythm in sports - the mental experience of an athlete’s peak performance (2001) 7,896 words athleticrhythms.html www.worldhistorysite/rsc-6.html
After music, the field of human endeavor most closely associated with rhythm would be sports. Except for the types of competition (such as figure skating) which are judged by the form of the bodily movements, the players in athletic contests seek a victorious result. ..... These peak-performing athletes are deliverers of the highest rhythms. They are living examples of persons immersed in the sublime mysteries of rhythm. They are like ecstatic prophets who, in ancient Greece or Judaea, went into a trance and uttered words that revealed the divine consciousness. The electronic media, in various types of shows, have set before us a spectacle of the rarest and most rhythmic performers: talented, rich, beautiful, and often young. It is like a gathering of demigods at the summit of Mount Olympus, persons who shower their unique rhythms down upon us, inspire us, and give us hope that we may catch some of the sparks.
Chapter 7: Self-consciousness and rhythmic concentration - What thoughts to cultivate and avoid during peak rhythmic performance (2001) 7,130 words rhythmicconcentration.html www.worldhistorysite/rsc-7.html
Among athletes, the discus hurler Al Oerter stood out as he prepared to compete in the 1980 Olympics. He had won gold medals for the United States in the discus event in 1956, 1960, 1964, and 1968. After an eight-year retirement from this sport, he had bettered his own record by more than seven feet while preparing for the Moscow games. Oerter was not a particularly brawny athlete, and in none of the previous contests was he favored to win. In fact, on each of the last three occasions he was suffering from a physical injury such as a torn thigh muscle or slipped disc. Yet, when the time came to throw the discus, he managed to throw it farther than any of his Olympic competitors. Oerter had, one might say, a knack for delivering rhythm. ..... With rhythm, it is not always possible to work your way straight to the destination. Not infrequently, something else is on your mind while you are going there. That something helps to absorb distractions; it could be your “secret” of rhythmic concentration.
Chapter 8: The intellectual or self-consciousness as a way of life - Too much thinking about thought incapitates a person. (2001) 6,529 words selfconscioushabit.html www.worldhistorysite/rsc-8.html
The animal world follows a simple principle: eat but avoid being eaten. Animals eat plants. Larger animals eat smaller animals. The body tissue of the plant or animal which is eaten at the cost of its life supplies organic materials for the other’s body to function and grow. ..... One cannot make wise decisions without taking a reading of the world as it is in its full extent. Because the world of human behavior is partially or largely created by self-conscious thoughts, successful actors in this world must rise to their level of complexity when they size up a situation and act. Successful actors or managers of every stripe must be, therefore, intellectuals.
Chapter 9: Swallow or be swallowed - Whoever understands another is on top. (2001) 5,664 words swalloworbeswallowed.html www.worldhistorysite/rsc-9.html
A statement in a booklet on fishing, Lunkers & Limits, describes a world without self-consciousness. It said: “Fish are not hard to catch. And that is a fact. Now ‘think’ about it, a fish has nothing to think with. Even the largest of our freshwater game fish doesn’t have a brain as large as a kidney bean. A fish has only instinct, and under any combination of conditions he will, according to his species, react to those conditions THE SAME WAY EVERY TIME.” ..... With repeated use, meanings become unhinged. There is a dynamic of change that comes with conscious activities carried out over a period of time. Thoughts, repeated at some length, become subject to self-conscious corrosion and change.
Chapter 10: Complexity and the primordial way - self-consciousness as a basis of causality (2001) 6,574 wordstheprimordialway.html www.worldhistorysite/rsc-10.html
The Book of Genesis mentions a place called “the Garden of Eden.” In the beginning, Adam lived alone in this garden. There were many fruit-bearing trees to furnish food. Solicitous of Adam’s happiness, God created a female partner for him named Eve. They were naked together but had no shame. ..... Perhaps some type of self-consciousness will be the ideal of the emerging computer age. Computers have a mind; so do we humans. The two types of minds can act in harmony or at cross purposes. Maybe the future will bring a mixture of both. Who knows?
Appendix III: Dialectical shuttles - the twisted logic to seek truth at deeper levels of understanding (2001) 4,613 words dialecticalshuttles.html - www.worldhistorysite/rsc-appendix3.html
Self-consciousness can create a situation where a decision maker does not know how to act because to make the best decision depends upon knowing another person’s state of mind. The decision maker is trying to evaluate the other person’s motives and thoughts to determine probable action so that he can formulate a response. This situation is a composite of contradictory purposes at different levels.Without reading another’s mind, it is impossible to know upon which level of thought the action will be decided. Therefore, it is impossible to make an intelligent decision in response. We call this type of situation a “dialectical shuttle”. ..... Dialectical shuttles are amusing. This kind of reasoning could easily drive a person crazy; either that or the person would have to discipline himself to leave a problem in an incomplete or uncertain state of resolution.
Appendix II: Rhythm and Self-Consciousness in writing this book - How I overcame writer’s block to produce a book-length manuscript (2001) 3,342 words authorstatement.html - www.worldhistorysite/rsc-appendix2.html The manuscript of what became this book was written on a word processor between November 19th and December 20th, 2000, and was twice rewritten in January of the following year. Some was original composition but most represented reworked materials from versions of the text written ten or more years earlier. This book has actually been in progress for more than forty years, interrupted by other writing projects and a career in accounting and real-estate management.
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