Friday, December 30, 2016

Now Streaming: MIDI GULF

MIDI GULF is streaming a day-before-release (why are all those hyphens in there? meh, looks kind of cool) on Soundcloud. It will be available for free download on Bandcamp tomorrow. In the aftermath of publishing the project, I will be posting a write-up on the creation process for each song. MIDI GULF may eventually find its way into the three dimensional world, in the form of compact discs and cassette tapes, though I can't promise that either of these will see the light of day (especially the latter).

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

dalama jones - MIDI GULF

The new album MIDI GULF will be live on my bandcamp page by 12 a.m. on New Year's Day (if not a little earlier). It includes six new tracks and two older ones that were never properly released ("Rainbow Trout" from 2010 and "Dmitri's Sunglasses" from 2009 - these once had different names, by the way). It's a very slapped together project, as I only began creating the other tracks in November, but I think it turned out surprisingly well. Here's the album cover:

Friday, December 23, 2016

The 12 Days of Ecclesiastes: Cancelled

I have recently stumbled upon the conclusion that I lack the interest or vigor to continue my "commentary" or whatever else it might be called. It has been a hectic month of writing for school and I am in need of some reprieve, whether that is not writing at all or writing entries that require less intentional effort. It was rewarding to write about the first three chapters, but this project has become a burden to me. I highly doubt I'd be able to finish by the end of 2016 and I don't want the task hanging over my head in the new year, especially once second term begins. My apologies and thanks for reading - also, the commentary for chapter 2 received more than usual views which was cool (hopefully they're not all mine!).

Side note / this hour has 22 minutes advertisement: I have a music project releasing January 1st, 2017 for dalama jones entitled "MIDI GULF." It includes 8 tracks and ~20 minutes worth of (mostly) indie chill electronica musique. I'll be giving it away as a free download on my bandcamp.

I can think of no better way to end off the study than by throwing some digital confetti into the air ... but digital confetti is not a thing and the owner at the 3D bazaar was throwing shade at me, so I left hastily, both of these pale white hands in the pockets of my coat. So instead, why don't we take into observation this pulchritudinous icon of Qoheleth himself? *It's actually Solomon, but it's pretty much confirmed they're one and the same, so I'm going to go ahead and use this image.

Thursday, December 22, 2016

No Definitions

Fury is the same, no matter what you mean. Vermilion adorns the story of your face. The color flows downstream from your eyes to your lips. Though teeth are beautiful, words are everything. And in your everything, there is nothing - no definitions. But somehow, I know what you mean, and so do you. A plow fails when it meets a bitter root.

The 12 Days of Ecclesiastes: Chapter 3

3.18-21: 18 I said to myself concerning the sons of men, “God has surely tested them in order for them to see that they are but beasts.” 19 For the fate of the sons of men and the fate of beasts is the same. As one dies so dies the other; indeed, they all have the same breath and there is no advantage for man over beast, for all is vanity. 20 All go to the same place. All came from the dust and all return to the dust. 21 Who knows that the breath of man ascends upward and the breath of the beast descends downward to the earth?

Loose ends abound in this entry ... please forgive me. That's generally my style anyway, but if you don't like scatter-brained, you won't like this. Moving on, let's take a close look at verse 19; it mentions that the men and the beasts have the same breath. According to the Bible commentary in front of me, 'breath' as a Hebrew term might refer to spirit or wind, a symbol of life in either case. It's noteworthy that in verse 21 Qoheleth doesn't make a statement, but instead, asks a question. He doesn't claim certainty on the dynamics of animal consciousness, whether or not their essence is finite or infinite. This renders the following point: the way in which people understand the psychological state of entities other than themselves is important because it effects how they approach those other entities.

So, at this moment I am perching upon the idea that animals and humans have the same spirit, soul, essence, whatever you might like to call it. This is the essential characteristic of any aware being - the state of awareness by which we understand self and other. Why, then, are animals generally understood as being different than people? For as long as I can remember, I've always believed that many animals had an awareness that was at least similar to that of people. I've never maintained that they were mere automatons (with the exception of insects, perhaps). While I used to believe that the awareness between animals and people was essentially the same, in recent times I have changed my position. This was motivated by an idea from C. S. Lewis' "The Problem of Pain": ...if you give such a creature two blows with a whip, there are, indeed, two pains: but there is no co-ordinating self which can recognise that 'I have had two pains'. A terrible truth about human pain is that one is often aware of it, but for animals, perhaps, they can have the experience without reflecting on what they are experiencing. A self-aware person does not know what that's like and maybe it's not even that bad, thus providing (potential) relief to any emotional difficulty one might have with respect to such a topic.

In a roundabout way, this general topic of life-force reminds me of Thomas Aquinas' "Definitions of Soul" where he writes: the proper notion of life is drawn from this: anything that can move itself ... and that is the soul, the act by which the body lives. Based on my interpretation, it seems that the soul in the physical world can be recognized as a part of individuals through their movement which occurs on behalf of their own volition. Not to be crude or morbid in the slightest, but this is very interesting if you compare this thought to a thought about death as it occurs in the physical world. When a person's body stops functioning beyond repair, an outsider sees the body void of movement, or perhaps even, according to my interpretation of Aquinas, void of soul. This seems to give reason to believe that the soul (the breath) has moved beyond the physical realm, for example, into a spiritual realm.

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

The 12 Days of Ecclesiastes: Chapter 2

2.2: I said of laughter, “It is madness,” and of pleasure, “What does it accomplish?” 

I wonder what people during Qoheleth's time were laughing about? This verse resounds today in a society that does, at large, celebrate laughter, and often for unfortunately grotesque reasons.

2.3: I explored with my mind how to stimulate my body with wine while my mind was guiding me wisely... 

This statement makes for some interesting considerations as to what constitutes drunkenness. When Qoheleth states that he is exploring with his mind, does this mean he is actually experiencing the effects of wine or is he merely reviewing in his mind the possible effects, were he to take such a course of action as drinking? It is difficult to say, it seems to me. If it is the former, when he mentions that his body was stimulated, this means that he had an awareness that the alcohol was affecting him. Alcohol is a depressant, so perhaps in his angst he was using it to calm himself? If it is the latter, he was more or less devising a mental plan for future action. It is thought-provoking that Qoheleth would even mention that his mind was guiding him in the way of wisdom, as this seems to infer that either the man himself or others around him doubted the morality of his consumption of wine.

2.10: All that my eyes desired I did not refuse them. I did not withhold my heart from any pleasure, for my heart was pleased because of all my labor and this was my reward for all my labor.

This is an interesting turn from 1.3 which I mentioned last time. At least, until 2.11 comes in which says: Thus I considered all my activities which my hands had done and the labor which I had exerted, and behold all was vanity and striving after wind and there was no profit under the sun.

2.17: So I hated life, for the work which had been done under the sun was grievous to me; because everything is futility and striving after wind.

Qoheleth reached a very dark point in his life-world - he hated his life. He's talking about work here again. What does he mean here by work? At this point, I doubt he was solely referring to his occupation, but rather, I think he was referring to every single effort he made. Drawing upon the thoughts of Christian philosopher William Lane Craig, he knew that if the things of this world were really temporal, they were ultimately meaningless. Such things may have held the capacity to be meaningful for finite amounts of time, but in the end, they simply would become non-existent.

2.23: Because all his days his task is painful and grievous; even at night his mind does not rest. This too is vanity.

Insomnia is a symptom of depression and anxiety, both of which Qoheleth, if he was alive now in the human world, likely would have been diagnosed with.

2.24: There is nothing better for a man than to eat and drink and tell himself that his labor is good. This also I have seen that it is from the hand of God.

I don't understand how Qoheleth could tell himself this after what he had written in the previous verses. However, this note of encouragement is well-founded. It is easy to forget God in the small things while we look for Him only in the "grandness." How insulting it must be for an omnipotent God to have his creatures, especially those who claim to have faith, deny his very existence based on mere location (geographical or otherwise).

Monday, December 19, 2016

The 12 Days of Ecclesiastes: Chapter 1

Verse 1.3 reads: What advantage does man have in all his work which he does under the sun? For me, the writer's discontentment immediately brought to mind Karl Marx's concept of alienation, particularly the aspect of work being a hindrance to human potential. For the proletarian, the workplace is void of fulfillment and humanness is traded for mechanistic labor. This lack of fulfillment transcended a chasm of over 18 centuries worth of history, and I can imagine, still resonates with many humans today. Despite this very simple similarity, there are of course, discrepancies between the two texts/writers mentioned, wholly apart from when these thoughts were recorded. The most glaring discrepancy, it seems to me, is that Marx prioritized human potential while Qoheleth did not. Qoheleth writes that [a]ll is vanity (1.2) and that [a]ll things are wearisome (1.8). This means that human potential is both vain and wearisome, not something that should be celebrated. Also, it can't be assumed that Qoheleth or those he wrote about maintained a similar psychological state to that of the proletarian, among other problems. As you might have noticed, I am more or less dismantling the very idea I began with and I'm rather unsure of why I am still writing/going to publish this. Better results shall be rendered for the upcoming chapters, I sincerely hope.

Saturday, December 10, 2016

Your Words

Yellow, gray, and white. The colours of my stationary. I always return to the desk. And somehow, this is anything but settled. I understand how I write. The life on seen pages laying more still than letters of dead. No matter the monolith, the art of my palms, the back of my hands never go away. I understand it all, clearer than what I see. But your words, though I read them every day, I know not how they came. How is it that you wrote on my heart?