Pleiades by Max Ernst

In music as in life there is ‘meaningful dissonance’. If there is no meaningful dissonance, there can’t be any harmony. Real evolving creativity is a combination of harmony and dissonance, pain and ecstasy, absence and form. That is to say: if there is no resistance, there can’t be love.

Similarly, a brave person finds meaning in the midst of distortion, not in a state of detached purity. We don’t need to willingly create conflict — there is enough of that already — but we can find some measure of joy in navigating difficult storms. We need to live our lives in affirmation of the beauty and the noise.

Often people come to you with their complaint against existence. They are addicted to their sad story like a junkie to his crack pipe: nothing you will tell them will get them to admit that life is not terrible. Their lack of joy isn’t a result of their circumstances necessarily — some people are extremely joyful even in terrible circumstances — but it is usually a result of their inability to deal with dissonance. They are constantly searching for a harmonious situation, for the perfect ‘lifestyle’ or ‘diet’ or more money or better sex or whatever. They want a ‘stress-free’ life — in other words a life without creative dissonance. Therefore, they want to live in the forest somewhere, rather than face then insane dissonance of the city.

Real affirmation, doesn’t mean trying to ‘storyboard’ the perfect lifestyle. It’s actually the opposite, in my experience — it’s stepping into the rains and storms of life. Doing exercises of affirmation to generate positivity may be better than dwelling in negativity all the time, but both come from a certain inner poverty — one is active desperation and the other is passive, that’s all. If one is rich and soulful inside one doesn’t have to ‘make’ positivity: it is intrinsic and already available. There are those who have access to an unassailable fortress of well-being, which nothing or nobody can touch; they are living from beyond ‘the complaint’.

But don’t think that in that unassailable fortress there are just a bunch of sexless angels singing in pure voices. A bit of dissonance might be necessary — if things get to lovey-dovey it can be pretty boring. A conflict might arise, which need a resolution — distortion maybe present. Jazz music, for instance, can express both sheer reckless pleasure — feelings once deemed demonic by those who are morbidly religious — as well poignant sadness and joy.

The point is that of our clichéd versions of reality need to be remade, reinterpreted — thrown into the fire of becoming. There is a certain improvisation and meandering, which is also part of the discovery. The valleys and the peaks are both valuable.

This entire world is a world of dissonance. Or at least from our human perspective. There is no perfection in the human situation, and yet that imperfection is wholly perfect. Why? Because the human dissonance generates a divine dissatisfaction, which pushes us beyond the land of a sterile peace. There is ‘high volume dharma’ and there are the sweet voices of angels. The lower choirs and the higher choirs music be represented.

Compressed scraps of angel melody, stories, essays, rants against reductionism, commands from the deep.