Gooey Philosophy

In Ecclesiastes 12:12, Solomon noted the vanity of excessive bookishness.  Just for giggles, let’s quote the passage from the Vulgate:

faciendi plures libros nullus finis frequensque meditatio carnis adflictio est

“There is no end to the making of many books, and contemplation is often an affliction of flesh.”

In case you’re wondering, yes, quoting from the Vulgate is quite frankly something that I do for giggles.

Often when I’m writing philosophy or music, I find it the most interesting to make the matter as complicated and involved as possible.  Philosophy is always more fun when it involves enough distinctions and qualifications to make your head spin, and music is more engaging when it’s intricate and difficult.  Moreover, I believe complexity is in fact something to be desired.  Reality is very complicated, so it only makes sense that the human quest for truth and beauty be equally involved.

However, I also recognise that there is something very off-putting about ‘gooey philosophy’, and for that matter, ‘gooey music’.  When things get really convoluted, philosophy beings to seem less plausible and music less beautiful.  I think that one of the most crucial observations to have gone unnoticed by 20th century composers is that once you have the goo, you’re only halfway finished with your work.  What ought to ensue is an elaborate process of simplification and polishing.  It’s all fine and dandy to do strange and barbaric things while at the piano with no one listening, but when there is an audience involved, all such wild inventions must be translated into a civilized form of rhetoric.