|Works||Series 1-Quest To Be Whole|
The search for Truth, as seen thoughout human history, combines here with Frankl's idea of the search for meaning. While these might appear the same, the distinction is that Truth is general while meaning is personal. It is Truth that all people are created equal. But the meaning is that I am equal in the eyes of God to all other people.
When these are joined together, they constitute the first level of the Quest To Be Whole. First you must find the Truth. From this you find your meaning. Then you incorporate Truth and meaning into your self to become whole.
"Good and evil we know in the field of this world grow up together almost inseparably; and the knowledge of good is so involved and interwoven with the knowledge of evil, and in so many cunning resemblances hardly to be discerned, that those confused seeds which were imposed upon Psyche as an incessant labour to cull out, and sort asunder, were not more intermixed."
"It was from out the rind of one apple tasted, that the knowledge of good and evil, as two twins cleaving together, leaped forth into the world. And perhaps this is that doom which Adam fell into of knowing good and evil, that is to say of knowing good by evil. As therefore the state of man now is; what wisdom can there be to choose, what continence to forbear without the knowledge of evil? He that can apprehend and consider vice with all her baits and seeming pleasures, and yet abstain, and yet distinguish, and yet prefer that which is truly better, he is the true warfaring Christian."
"I cannot praise a fugitive and cloistered virtue, unexercised and unbreathed, that never sallies out and sees her adversary but slinks out of the race, where that immortal garland is to be run for, not without dust and heat. Assuredly we bring not innocence into the world, we bring impurity much rather; that which purifies us is trial, and trial is by what is contrary. That virtue therefore which is but a youngling in the contemplation of evil, and knows not the utmost that vice promises to her followers, and rejects it, is but a blank virtue, not a pure; her whiteness is but an excremental whiteness."
"Which was the reason why our sage and serious poet Spenser, whom I dare be known to think a better teacher than Scotus or Aquinas, describing true temperance under the person of Guion, brings him in with his palmer through the cave of Mammon, and the bower of earthly bliss, that he might see and know, and yet abstain."
"Since therefore the knowledge and survey of vice is in this world so necessary to the constituting of human virtue, and the scanning of error to the confirmation of truth, how can we more safely, and with less danger, scout into the regions of sin and falsity than by reading all manner of tractates and hearing all manner of reason?" John Milton, Areopagitica
Quest To Be Whole is too big a topic. That is clear. The topic, in total, is not merely seeing Truth but also applying it, in essence becoming one with Truth. No other topic can exceed it for the simple reason that all other topics are merely aspects of this topic. Grasping Truth is not a trivial act. And to then require even more? Much more? Clearly, this album series will fail on an ultimate level. How can it do otherwise? The real question, and it is a massive lowering of the standard, is whether it is a worthy failure.
One great obstacle is the constraint of size. The first album, Predator, leaves so much of the ground of its topic uncovered as to seem almost entirely gap. All sorts of abuse, cults, homicide, and tens of thousands of other subjects fit this album. Even the topics we cover are treated so briefly they barely scratch the surface. So what are we doing?
We are taking snapshots to stand as emblems for realities. We hope they are good snapshots, but to draw out the metaphor, a still photo is far removed from kinetic life. The advantage of a still photo is that it gives time to discern all its aspects, encouraging the audience to ponder instead of experience, as with a motion picture. The art form we attempt here would be a poor substitute for even the vicarious life of tv or film. Without experience of the real world, our work has no meaning. But with experience, this art form attempts to draw the audience into seeing more deeply into their own experiences and understanding.
It would seem such a demanding art form is doomed to fail in our glossy spoon fed sound bite world. But we do not believe the entire population of the world has discarded thinking or the hunger for Truth. Indeed, some of the clearest thought and deepest Truth is being worked today. But a media intending to speak to crowds instead of people finds it easier to whip up emotion than to evoke understanding, so Truth appears, through that type of lens, to have gone out of fashion. But the world was formed by wisdom, and no degree of scoffing will change that fact. Truth is still Life to all who find it. In our own small way here, we worship Truth.
The idea for our band is that the songs not be too esoteric in their surface meaning so people can make contact with the song. This is why the 'heavy' meanings lie beneath the surface and in the relationships. If we tried to put it all into the songs themselves, we would quickly overload the song format itself. By building the meaning in layers, we get around the limits of the song format.
"By 'minor poems' I mean, of course, poems of little length. And here, in the beginning, permit me to say a few words in regard to a somewhat peculiar principle, which, whether rightfully or wrongfully, has always had its influence in my own critical estimate of the poem. I hold that a long poem does not exist. I maintain that the phrase, 'a long poem,' is simply a flat contradiction in terms."
"I need scarcely observe that a poem deserves its title only inasmuch
as it excites, by elevating the soul. The value of the poem is in the ratio of
this elevating excitement. But all excitements are, through a
psychal necessity, transient. That degree of excitement which would entitle a
poem to be so called at all, cannot be sustained throughout a composition
of any great length. After the lapse of half an hour, at the very utmost,
it flags — fails — a revulsion ensues — and then the poem is, in effect,
and in fact, no longer such."
Edgar Allen Poe
The Poetic Principle
We have tried to make use of this principle by moving the versified-prose connecting-passages out to the website descriptions, leaving only the "minor poems" of the songs to work their transient "elevating excitement".
We do not want to trick anyone into listening to our music. But we are also not going to put a warning label on our albums as if they were pornographic. If you are concerned with messages in music, check out the band's website.
My disquiet with Christian copies of secular bands is primarily that such shows little creativity or imagination. Can we not do better?
The Web has created an opportunity to turn knowledge itself into an art form by a well wrought structure of relationships. It makes for an interesting circumstance, in that art and information can unite if the design carries the correct harmony.
Is it not ironic that so much of artificial intelligence revolves around determining rules to govern situations and responses, when one of the core attributes of Christianity is freedom from the bondage of the Law? The reaction of science so called to human complexity has been to 'determine' there is no self, and no mind. In other words, chop off what does not fit.
The songs are the hooks I hang my thoughts upon more than they are the actual thoughts. They are mirrors whose flat surface can only mimic reality, and which have no image without that reality.
On one level, the man and woman on Beyond Self are a type of Christ and the Bride. This means that Epiphany references descending into Hell to preach the Gospel to those in Paradise.
The quotes locate Mirror Covenant in our civilization. These are not mere ravings. We operate inside the traditions of Western Civilization. If Mirror Covenant seems unusual today, it is because modern ideology has betrayed the true wealth of our civilization.
This serves to demonstrate the "various interpretations" concept.
© November 24, 2008, Roy Stucky
She went over the falls
In her mind,
She went over the falls
In a barrel of stone,
And sank alone.
She went over the falls
As she flew out of town,
She went over the falls
And the haunted halls
That once held her fast
To a bitter past.
An interesting fact is that while the latter albums depict the maturing of the Bride, the tone of the song lyrics is fairly consistent (except perhaps for Beyond Self and One) throughout the series. The albums just become more symbolic. This consistency of tone should allow us to please our original audience throughout the series even though the meaning of the various albums changes radically. We are using the same kind of songs, but in a different sort of way.
As Epiphany stated, few will leave Babel Mark II. This aimless aim totally captures the limited imaginations. Scientism worshipers are committed to the Great Cult. There is slightly more hope for the Shards & Facets hedonists. At least they are on the surface. They can see the sun and the distant peak. What they lack is the courage and the will to undertake the journey. Personal God steps in at that point and follows the travelers. Only those who find God through Jesus arrive. The journey begins in scientism and hedonism, the ideologies of the ant and the otter. Few emerge from either the hill or the bank. Of these few, fewer still pass through the needle's eye. But that narrow way is the only road out of Shadowland and into the Empire of the King. He greets us then sends us back ambassadors to Shadowland. Not my will, but Thy will.
Personal God is her equivalent to Deep, where an individual heart is changed. His search for Truth (Deep) versus her search for Love (Personal God).
Stranger is her equivalent to Void, Void being the world's philosophy and Stranger being the world's personality. So his search for Truth finds the world's philosophical answer, nihilism, while her search for Love finds the world's social answer, hedonism.
Compatriot is the equivalent of Predator. This is the contrast between God's society of let every man look to the welfare of his neighbor versus the world's society of survival of the strong.
Do not be fooled. The philosophy of nihilism creates a void that will only be filled by the ideology of might makes right. All the world's roads lead to the Beast in a manner reminiscent of how all Scripture leads to Jesus.
This division of the series into Old and New Testaments, pivoting in Personal God shows how a story told in layers differs from a linear plot. For example, there are salvation songs on every album in the series, but on this level we are using a less complex consolidated meaning for each album. Remember dimensional ontology.
3:1 To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:
3:2 A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted;
3:3 A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up;
3:4 A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
3:5 A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
3:6 A time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away;
3:7 A time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
3:8 A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace.
Lets look at an example of how the series centers on relationships. Picture the young builder in Epiphany as representing Moses. He is part of a powerful system. He rejects that system and leaves. Then he returns. Then he leaves again, leading a portion of those living under that system out of bondage. This fits, in that Egypt was a great power in love with monument building, which is the unifying passion of the Tower builders. Bring in Shards & Facets and the image still fits. Both the surface dwellers and the people of Israel squander their freedom. This is but one example of the type of minor subplot with which the series abounds.
To look at this album from a different angle, the main character in Epiphany is a man from underground. This links well to Dostoevsky's Underground Man because the Tower society does indeed treat a man as a piano key. The connection to Dostoevsky's work opens a legion of relationships.
These type of subplots are representative of the way the series is structured. On the surface little shows. None of the songs depend on each other to make sense. None of the albums really look like concept albums. The set of albums does not really look like a coherent series. At first glance these are just a band's songs in the inevitable sequence of one song following another song, one album following another album.
The reason why things are not obviously tied together is that the structure is created by allusion, nuance, sequence, and implication. A device common in Jewish wisdom literature, the connecting tissue is that a mere aspect of one section is the central theme of another section. This type of 'connection via phase shift' device allows a more densely interrelated, less linear approach than a typical Western plotline.
Think of crossing a stream by jumping from rock to rock instead of marching across a bridge. As long as the rocks form some type of line in the general direction you need to go, an agile person can cross where other people only notice the water. So too, clever people do not need all the straight lines of a concrete bridge to understand what we wish to communicate. This is especially true since we give some explanation of what we are trying to say in order to help people who are unaccustomed to thinking in this fashion.
This makes the album structure odd, since each song covers more territory than just its aspects selected to fit the album structure. For example, "Circus Wind" concludes with explicit praise to Jesus. But it is the darker beginning of the song that represents its place in its particular album's structure.
The structures are created by aligning the facets of the components. Rotate a component to show a different facet and the sequence is changed.
"In the earliest stages of development there is no indication of a will to meaning.
But this fact is no longer embarrassing as soon as we recognize that life is a Zeitgestalt,
a time gestalt, and as such becomes whole only after the life course has been completed."
|Works||Series 1-Quest To Be Whole|