Thursday, December 9, 2010

Watching Monkeys Sing: Live Music And Intellectually Buttressing Empathy

Live music is so exciting to me.

It used to invoke this feeling of confusion and helplessness. I used to feel lost in a crowd, unsure of how I fit in with anything at all.

Now it just feels invigorating and fun.

I had an idea tonight at this live show.

This seems to happen to me at concerts now.

I texted it to myself.

The idea has to do with empathy and intellectualism.

I now think that I will be integrating this idea into this new essay on language and empathy.

The vague idea is this: that language and the intellect can be used to buttress our capacity for empathy. That we can use deliberate thought to modify and intuitive process. This idea has been long in the works. Even my paper on Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde has so much to do with this issue.

I think I had this idea because of what I've read in Collingwood's The Principles Of Art. He talks about how with art we are trying to gain access to the 'total imaginative experience' of the artist.

Tonight, as I watched this show, every movement of the performers felt relevant to me. I felt the fingers of the bass player in my own fingers. I felt the arms of the drummer in my own arms. I was empathizing, more or less intuitively, with the bodies of the performers.

It occurred to me that I wouldn't have had this total body empathy unless I had read and intellectualized Collngwood's notion of the total imaginative experience.

It seems plausible, therefore, that the intellect can modify and enhance intuitive processes of empathy.

We need to use the intellect to buttress our capacity for empathy.

Our capacity for empathy, the particular things we pay attention to, is no doubt a historically contingent phenomenon.

I really look forward to writing this essay on empathy and language.

I look forward to loving.

I look forward to intellectually expanding my capacity for love.

I love you.

I look forward to not having my long hair tomorrow.

Lovingly, over and out.

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