Monday, November 26, 2018

Music as Medicine for the Soul



On Thanksgiving Day I caught a holiday special on NPR. The hour long show featured stories of Americans especially grateful for music.  Each story had one or more narrator with samplings of the music that inspired them.  The stories and the music touched me, and I remembered the words of the philosopher Nietzsche (himself a musician) who said: “Without music, life would be a mistake.”

Most of the NPR stories revolved around love and death. There were stories about music leading to romantic encounters that led to happy, enduring love.  Other stories told how music can heal deep wounds that life inflicts on us.  In one sad tale, a woman describes how she lost her true love in a cruel, untimely fashion; yet, in the end, their shared love of music saved her from despair, and in her ongoing  love of music has come to feel she’s gone beyond the pains of her loss.  She lives, she seemed to say, in a mental atmosphere beyond anything that death could do to her—thanks to the subtle effect of music on her consciousness.

Friday, November 16, 2018

Pseudo-Skepticism: A Case Study



Mendacity of all kinds is a part of human experience, but the potential for propagating it has hugely increased—thanks to modern technology.  There is talk of a crisis of truth, capped by the Trumpian meme of “fake news”. Rampant in venues outside politics, fake news spreads lies for political, economic, and ideological purposes.

There’s a species of it I call pseudo-skepticism—a form of fake news, evident in Joe Nickell’s case who writes for the so-called Skeptical Inquirer.  “So-called”, I say, because the term skeptical implies doubt and open-minded inquiry; it doesn’t mean using every dirty trick of omission and distortion to arrive at a foregone conclusion.


Thursday, November 8, 2018

Stories Pointing to Another World



Most of us are too busy struggling to survive on Earth to think about what might come after death. But experiences I’ve had have forced me to think about this question, experiences that stopped me cold because I couldn’t explain them. Things happen that force people to ponder the possibility of others worlds.   Well, you ask, are there any? 

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