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Music and Art with Regards to the Youth

Harper
Posts: 374
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4/10/2015 4:17:05 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
I am currently reading The Republic by Plato and in one of the earlier chapters, he (speaking as Socrates) begins to dissect the types of poetry, stories and music the youth are to be exposed to in order to create a just and virtuous nature. He makes the recommendation that music must inspire not cowardice, but bravery and that poetry should not speak of unjust men getting a good lot in life but that the unjust live horrible lives.

It got me thinking about the state of art and music with regards to today's youth; the majority of children today do not grow up with music that inspires bravery or virtue, but hedonism and excess. And modernism has devolved art into a freak-show rather than as a way of expressing the tragedy and triumphs that characterize the human experience. Art and music does have an effect on an individual-- the whole goal of art is to impart a feeling onto the audience, and the art that we are exposing our youth to is not of the type that imparts feelings that inspire virtuous natures.

For example, take modernist (most specifically abstract) and classical sculpture. Just looking at a classical-style sculpture fills you not only with a sense of glory and majesty, but also with a sense of relaxedness (expressed by the signature contrapposto pose seen in most classical sculpture). Compare that with the modernist styles where the sculptures have a slight to radical distortion to them. Modernist art succeeds only in imparting feelings of muddiness and confusion. There's a reason why important monuments, even in the 20th and 21st centuries, are all done to imitate classical style: it is simply a style more expressive of virtue and majesty.

So obviously, there are some art forms that seem to inspire virtuous feelings in people and other art forms that tend to only detract from that virtue. It goes without saying that pop and rock music are a couple examples of those with regards to music-- pop encourages excess while rock (especially the metal, emo, and goth genres) encourages either rash violence or cowardly emotionalism. This isn't to say that people who listen to metal are going to be violent, of course, but that metal isn't exactly conducive to a peaceful state of mind. However, both of these musical genres are ones the children of today are encouraged to listen to. Genres that inspire feelings of majesty and peace, like classical music, are not popular at all.

I am not for censoring "unvirtuous" art forms like rock, pop, and modernist sculpture, but I do think that parents and early school teachers have a responsibility to surround children with art forms, especially musical forms, that are conducive to proper moral character and a sense of dignity. Of course, if they begin to pick up an interest in these other art forms like rock music for example, I think the parents should still refrain from censoring or blocking access to that art form. Instead, they should express that they respect their child's sense of autonomy but that they still think that these art forms were discouraged for a reason. What do you all think?
Diqiucun_Cunmin
Posts: 2,710
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4/13/2015 1:31:23 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 4/10/2015 4:17:05 AM, Harper wrote:
I am currently reading The Republic by Plato and in one of the earlier chapters, he (speaking as Socrates) begins to dissect the types of poetry, stories and music the youth are to be exposed to in order to create a just and virtuous nature. He makes the recommendation that music must inspire not cowardice, but bravery and that poetry should not speak of unjust men getting a good lot in life but that the unjust live horrible lives.

It got me thinking about the state of art and music with regards to today's youth; the majority of children today do not grow up with music that inspires bravery or virtue, but hedonism and excess. And modernism has devolved art into a freak-show rather than as a way of expressing the tragedy and triumphs that characterize the human experience. Art and music does have an effect on an individual-- the whole goal of art is to impart a feeling onto the audience, and the art that we are exposing our youth to is not of the type that imparts feelings that inspire virtuous natures.

For example, take modernist (most specifically abstract) and classical sculpture. Just looking at a classical-style sculpture fills you not only with a sense of glory and majesty, but also with a sense of relaxedness (expressed by the signature contrapposto pose seen in most classical sculpture). Compare that with the modernist styles where the sculptures have a slight to radical distortion to them. Modernist art succeeds only in imparting feelings of muddiness and confusion. There's a reason why important monuments, even in the 20th and 21st centuries, are all done to imitate classical style: it is simply a style more expressive of virtue and majesty.

So obviously, there are some art forms that seem to inspire virtuous feelings in people and other art forms that tend to only detract from that virtue. It goes without saying that pop and rock music are a couple examples of those with regards to music-- pop encourages excess while rock (especially the metal, emo, and goth genres) encourages either rash violence or cowardly emotionalism. This isn't to say that people who listen to metal are going to be violent, of course, but that metal isn't exactly conducive to a peaceful state of mind. However, both of these musical genres are ones the children of today are encouraged to listen to. Genres that inspire feelings of majesty and peace, like classical music, are not popular at all.

I am not for censoring "unvirtuous" art forms like rock, pop, and modernist sculpture, but I do think that parents and early school teachers have a responsibility to surround children with art forms, especially musical forms, that are conducive to proper moral character and a sense of dignity. Of course, if they begin to pick up an interest in these other art forms like rock music for example, I think the parents should still refrain from censoring or blocking access to that art form. Instead, they should express that they respect their child's sense of autonomy but that they still think that these art forms were discouraged for a reason. What do you all think?

I agree 100%.
The thing is, I hate relativism. I hate relativism more than I hate everything else, excepting, maybe, fibreglass powerboats... What it overlooks, to put it briefly and crudely, is the fixed structure of human nature. - Jerry Fodor

Don't be a stat cynic:
http://www.debate.org...

Response to conservative views on deforestation:
http://www.debate.org...

Topics I'd like to debate (not debating ATM): http://tinyurl.com...
cludwig
Posts: 16
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4/14/2015 2:28:22 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
Hello Harper,

The Ancient Greeks, with regards to music ascribed to the "The Doctrine of Ethos". The ancient Greeks believed that Music in particular had the power to control the emotions and behavior of men. Specifically, that certain "modes" (scales) illicit specific emotions and human characteristics when played. Furthermore, they believed that if you wanted to motivate an army to fight better, you would play a certain/specific musical mode. In essence, they were convinced that music could be used to control their citizens. A more modern equivalent to this concept I suppose would be the Baroque "Doctrine of the Affections".
I suppose your question centers on whether or not you believe the Ancient Greeks were correct or not. I believe that to a certain limited degree they were. Have you ever wondered why humans like to move or dance to a loud repetitive bass beat? It is because it simulates the beating of the heart. I once remember encountering a study that asserted that such a bass pulse actually influences the heart beats of entire groups of people who are dancing.
Harper
Posts: 374
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4/14/2015 12:23:53 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 4/14/2015 2:28:22 AM, cludwig wrote:
Hello Harper,

The Ancient Greeks, with regards to music ascribed to the "The Doctrine of Ethos". The ancient Greeks believed that Music in particular had the power to control the emotions and behavior of men. Specifically, that certain "modes" (scales) illicit specific emotions and human characteristics when played. Furthermore, they believed that if you wanted to motivate an army to fight better, you would play a certain/specific musical mode. In essence, they were convinced that music could be used to control their citizens. A more modern equivalent to this concept I suppose would be the Baroque "Doctrine of the Affections".
I suppose your question centers on whether or not you believe the Ancient Greeks were correct or not. I believe that to a certain limited degree they were. Have you ever wondered why humans like to move or dance to a loud repetitive bass beat? It is because it simulates the beating of the heart. I once remember encountering a study that asserted that such a bass pulse actually influences the heart beats of entire groups of people who are dancing.
I would agree with you in saying that they were right in that music does have a significant effect on mood. People cry when listening to music that is either very beautiful or very sad, use certain pieces of music to motivate them while exercising, and use others to help them relax. The whole purpose of art, all art, is to elicit that emotional response. If you listen to depressing music and decorate your home with paintings expressing the artist's low mood, then you are probably going to feel a little down. And I'd really like to find that study you referenced, sounds fascinating.
Diqiucun_Cunmin
Posts: 2,710
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4/15/2015 10:48:00 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
Perhaps unknown to Westerners, in Confucianism, we place a huge emphasis on music as a means of promoting virtue. Music and rites are seen as the two most important 'external methods' to promote morality and virtue. Music is seen as a key element of benevolent ruling as well. This is why we are very concerned about the quality of music, for harmful music - what we call 'mimi zhi yin' in Chinese - is harmful to one's character (think hedonistic music, like some of Scriabin's music or pop songs about partying and drugs).

'It is by the Odes that the mind is aroused. It is by the Rules of Propriety that the character is established. It is from Music that the finish is received.' (Analects 8.8)

'Music is (thus) the production of the modulations of the voice, and its source is in the affections of the mind as it is influenced by (external) things. When the mind is moved to sorrow, the sound is sharp and fading away; when it is moved to pleasure, the sound is slow and gentle; when it is moved to joy, the sound is exclamatory and soon disappears; when it is moved to anger, the sound is coarse and fierce; when it is moved to reverence, the sound is straightforward, with an indication of humility; when it is moved to love, the sound is harmonious and soft. These six peculiarities of sound are not natural'; they indicate the impressions produced by (external) things. On this account the ancient kings were watchful in regard to the things by which the mind was affected. And so (they instituted) ceremonies to direct men's aims aright; music to give harmony to their voices; laws to unify their conduct; and punishments to guard against their tendencies to evil. The end to which ceremonies, music, punishments, and laws conduct is one; they are the instruments by which the minds of the people are assimilated, and good order in government is made to appear.' (Book of Rites 19.2)

We have an entire chapter in the Book of Rites dedicated to music; the above paragraph is from that chapter.
The thing is, I hate relativism. I hate relativism more than I hate everything else, excepting, maybe, fibreglass powerboats... What it overlooks, to put it briefly and crudely, is the fixed structure of human nature. - Jerry Fodor

Don't be a stat cynic:
http://www.debate.org...

Response to conservative views on deforestation:
http://www.debate.org...

Topics I'd like to debate (not debating ATM): http://tinyurl.com...
RoderickSpode
Posts: 2,370
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7/2/2015 11:40:30 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 4/10/2015 4:17:05 AM, Harper wrote:
I am currently reading The Republic by Plato and in one of the earlier chapters, he (speaking as Socrates) begins to dissect the types of poetry, stories and music the youth are to be exposed to in order to create a just and virtuous nature. He makes the recommendation that music must inspire not cowardice, but bravery and that poetry should not speak of unjust men getting a good lot in life but that the unjust live horrible lives.

It got me thinking about the state of art and music with regards to today's youth; the majority of children today do not grow up with music that inspires bravery or virtue, but hedonism and excess. And modernism has devolved art into a freak-show rather than as a way of expressing the tragedy and triumphs that characterize the human experience. Art and music does have an effect on an individual-- the whole goal of art is to impart a feeling onto the audience, and the art that we are exposing our youth to is not of the type that imparts feelings that inspire virtuous natures.

For example, take modernist (most specifically abstract) and classical sculpture. Just looking at a classical-style sculpture fills you not only with a sense of glory and majesty, but also with a sense of relaxedness (expressed by the signature contrapposto pose seen in most classical sculpture). Compare that with the modernist styles where the sculptures have a slight to radical distortion to them. Modernist art succeeds only in imparting feelings of muddiness and confusion. There's a reason why important monuments, even in the 20th and 21st centuries, are all done to imitate classical style: it is simply a style more expressive of virtue and majesty.

So obviously, there are some art forms that seem to inspire virtuous feelings in people and other art forms that tend to only detract from that virtue. It goes without saying that pop and rock music are a couple examples of those with regards to music-- pop encourages excess while rock (especially the metal, emo, and goth genres) encourages either rash violence or cowardly emotionalism. This isn't to say that people who listen to metal are going to be violent, of course, but that metal isn't exactly conducive to a peaceful state of mind. However, both of these musical genres are ones the children of today are encouraged to listen to. Genres that inspire feelings of majesty and peace, like classical music, are not popular at all.

I am not for censoring "unvirtuous" art forms like rock, pop, and modernist sculpture, but I do think that parents and early school teachers have a responsibility to surround children with art forms, especially musical forms, that are conducive to proper moral character and a sense of dignity. Of course, if they begin to pick up an interest in these other art forms like rock music for example, I think the parents should still refrain from censoring or blocking access to that art form. Instead, they should express that they respect their child's sense of autonomy but that they still think that these art forms were discouraged for a reason. What do you all think?
I think that Classical music today, in a sense, is the rebellious music of the day. It goes against the accepted form of music of the day, which demands a certain beat. That's why commercials used jingles that were addicting to the mind, and nowadays they just bypass writing jingles, and just play pop/rock songs. The kid in the Nissan driving down the road listening to Mony Mony (and not even the original) just wouldn't have worked with Mendelssohn. So all we can do...is thank God for the remote control. So I'm not sure at this point how much good it would do to encourage beautiful music like Classical in a promotional way, other than play it unashamedly at times when in close proximity to others including youth. I don't think it should be blasted from car stereos in the same obnoxious manner rap is, but a bit of rebellious attitude, letting others know some of us don't accept the norm wouldn't hurt either. That not all of us bow down...to that Babylonian sound.

I think the reason beautiful art and music were more popular back in ancient history is because they lived a genuine life of oppression (wars and violence in general), so beauty was necessary. Kings (who sometimes dealt directly with war) would have hired musicians play them soothing music that allowed them to deal with the hardships of life. Whether it be David with his harp playing for King Saul, or the counter-tenor singing for a European king, it was meant to provide a calming experience as opposed to what we hear today. There were music for festivity, and more aggressive music for war, but they had their place.

Today's bored individual often prefers to listen to music promoting war and festivity, when they are not even in any of those social positions.
Red_Dirt
Posts: 54
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8/20/2015 3:20:27 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
One more piece of the puzzle, one of the tenets of Marxist subversive conquest is to promote meaningless art. By that, I think is meant doing away with things like sculptures of war heroes, religious icons, that sort of thing.