Music as a Religious Experience?

Discussion in 'Bad Dog Cafe' started by PastorJay, Jul 25, 2021.

  1. GoldieLocks

    GoldieLocks Tele-Afflicted

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    I'm just glad we live in a Cosmic universe that has a planet that allows for the vibrations and tones and lyrics of musical communities. Not a lot of music made on the moon... or the sun... or in basic empty space. Apparently the basic human heartbeat is a rather good tempo for numerous tunes. Maybe God likes to JAM! (pretty sure almost every religion has sacred music)
     
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  2. Dave Hicks

    Dave Hicks Friend of Leo's

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    I get that ole-time feeling, whether it's transcendence or whatever, when the singers come back after the horn solos in this track. Takes 5 minutes to get there, but that's probably part of the impact.

     
  3. superjam144

    superjam144 Tele-Afflicted

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    Srv, Hendrix, and Shawn Lane here. (And many others.)



    Once or twice a generation there are musicians who play with not only their heart. But with their soul.
     
  4. yegbert

    yegbert Poster Extraordinaire

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    Treat it as a figure of speech!

    Given the guidelines for discussion here to avoid actual religious discussion...

    I suggest, whether the OP intended it as such per se, continuing the discussion along the lines of what we meant in the IT and cybersecurity world where I once worked when we often used similar religion-originated terminology: consider the phrase "religious experience" figurative and symbolic rather than literal. Experiences that are as meaningful and moving to you as they were religious experience.

    And it doesn't matter if you haven't ever has a real religious experience, just imagine what one might be like.
     
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  5. Drew617

    Drew617 Tele-Holic Silver Supporter

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    Humbly and curiously agnostic, but raised in the church: The obvious example is any sacred music.

    I can’t stand a lot of ballads, because they’re often bad - it’s an easy form to get wrong. They’re often awkward, too verbose, too preachy. Good ones can be great and almost interchangeable with sacred music for me, addressing the same existential problems that church can, with the same reverence. See: Stanley Brothers, et al. Songs about trains.

    That’s words, though. As to music, defining “religious” as a concern not for specific action, but for the universe in which the action occurs, the looser, more sparse, dynamic, and abstract, the better. Like others here, I experience it in good Grateful Dead and a lot of jazz. Les McCann does it well without ever being especially dissonant or technically wanky. It’s large and open, contains spaces that are boring, relaxed, joyous and exciting. Interpretation has something to do with me on a given day. The good stuff is at least as meditative as any rock garden.
     
  6. G&Lplayer

    G&Lplayer Tele-Holic

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    You never went to a Grateful Dead show then. Saw them under the influence and stone cold sober, if they were “on” it was magical, even when I was working.
     
  7. loopfinding

    loopfinding Friend of Leo's

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    there's also the idea around that music is pre-language. we can also consider stuff like how music/rhythm is used for work in say, mortar pounding. the whole idea of metric/quantized time - very fundamentally human...we even remade machines with cycles and clocks in our own image.

    so i'm right there with you, that the transcendental properties of it are precisely why it came to be used in religious practice; i definitely think the trippiness of it goes much further back/deeper biologically. seems like behaviorally we are in a sense primed for it, and as if we are consciously tapping into some real baseline stuff with our own systems when we engage in it.

    it is a very weird evolutionary behavior for sure. if the aliens come and study us, it's going to be a thing very peculiar to us, like those birds that build elaborate sculptures for mating, dolphins using echolocation, etc
     
    Last edited: Jul 25, 2021
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  8. Addnine

    Addnine Tele-Holic

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    Does he do your talking for you? Did you have an actual point to make at all, or are you just in some sort of snit?
     
  9. Addnine

    Addnine Tele-Holic

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    This is one of my favorite books. The final lecture, "Conclusions" can profitably be read as a stand-alone. It's quite brief. I taught philosophy for 25 years, and William James is one of my favorite thinkers: not nearly well enough appreciated. The American Pragmatic take on religion is to me by far the best frame of reference for understanding religion, as well as a great many other things. Put that together with Vaihinger and Kant's (perhaps Spinoza's) "necessary fictions" and you have pretty much all you need on this subject and many others. Another book that interesting correlates religion/mysticism across cultures is The Perennial Philosophy, a compilation put together by Aldous Huxley.
     
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  10. Toto'sDad

    Toto'sDad Tele Axpert Ad Free Member

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    I have to admit that I have never attended a Grateful Dead concert or for that matter any other really large concert. I am not now nor have I ever been comfortable in large crowds, I just never had the desire. When all of that was happening, and most of the folks on the forum were sewing wild oats, and attending that sort of thing, I was raising a family, and working enough hours that my wife could stay home with the kids and look after them. I probably missed some things, but I raised three kids that were able to make their own way in the world and make their way very well I might add. I suppose doing just the opposite of what big bands sang about while they made a fortune. :)
     
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  11. Torren61

    Torren61 Poster Extraordinaire Gold Supporter

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    Ah! A keyboard warrior. Wow, you must be really fearsome. I'm very afraid of you so I'll just back away slowly.
     
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  12. loopfinding

    loopfinding Friend of Leo's

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    listen to anything with some pattern long enough and it becomes trippy. That was the minimalists’ whole schtick in a nutshell, hahaha.
     
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  13. Drew617

    Drew617 Tele-Holic Silver Supporter

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    I'm generally thrilled that this place is moderated, and normally pissy when people get cute about skirting the guidelines. Would suggest this is an example where reasonable interpretation is warranted, though. It's a good conversation and almost guaranteed to be relevant to anybody, though I also like "transcendent" better.

    Talking about the merits of specific religions or practices is one thing, and kinda guaranteed to turn into a mess. Acknowledging that religion exists at all is another, and is almost unavoidable.
     
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  14. BigDaddyLH

    BigDaddyLH Tele Axpert Ad Free Member

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  15. Toto'sDad

    Toto'sDad Tele Axpert Ad Free Member

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    Under certain circumstances, just flipping a light switch can have a dramatic effect on the universe, or at least in how one sees it.
     
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  16. Toto'sDad

    Toto'sDad Tele Axpert Ad Free Member

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    From what you do for a living, I don't believe your bravery, or for that matter character are in question. I will tell you, that the HOA works in mysterious ways, and is an exercise in kicking against the goads in trying to understand them.
     
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  17. loopfinding

    loopfinding Friend of Leo's

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  18. wrathfuldeity

    wrathfuldeity Tele-Afflicted

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    Started seeing the Dead in 76 in small little halls in the midwest...300-2000 folks and frequently on shamanic doses. Anyway having been raised in the church as a PK. Dead shows seemed to me to follow an old tent revival motif of gathering, sinner/death, rebirth and redemption/rejoicing. Basically the drum jams were the break down in to the elemental bits and then re-birthing some thing new.
     
    Last edited: Jul 25, 2021
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  19. Drew617

    Drew617 Tele-Holic Silver Supporter

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    Won't try to speak for somebody else's experience, but I'll say I'm not sure there is any mystical nonsense, or chemical nonsense, at play here.

    The Grateful Dead could be very good at exploiting dynamics in their music. And the band could be very tight, or not at all, a dynamic experience per se. If music is capable of moving any of us, emotionally, and if you're somebody with some stake in what the band was doing on a particular night, having your consciousness torn away from something like a Stella Blue and dropped into something like Deal will cause an emotional reaction.

    A couple beers, or whatever, might allow a listener to be moved a little more easily, but doesn't really invalidate what the band was doing.
     
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  20. RobRiggs

    RobRiggs Tele-Afflicted

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    When I was young and idealistic and thought I wanted book larnin’ I studied anthropology in Junior college. I was fascinated that almost all cultures have both music and a belief in some sort of higher power. I’ve know a lot of people that aren’t religious, but very few that don’t like music of one type or another.
     
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