Get PJ Media on your Apple

PJM Lifestyle

Ayn Rand and Allan Bloom On How to Use Music For Self-Transformation

Juxtaposed excerpts from page 67 of Atlas Shrugged and page 72 of The Closing of the American Mind.

by
PJ Lifestyle Bookshelf

Bio

March 7, 2013 - 2:00 pm

Click to submit book suggestions for the new daily feature at PJ Lifestyle. Currently Thursdays explore the work of Ayn Rand. Please send your favorite excerpts and quotes.

A book recommendation often with excerpt(s), usually attempting to fit the daily theme. Family and Relationships on Monday, Practical and Technology on Tuesday, Laughter on Wednesday, Culture on Thursday, Intellect on Friday, Health and Fitness on Saturday, and Religion and Ethics on Sunday. Image courtesy shutterstock / robert_s

Comments are closed.

Top Rated Comments   
If music has this kind of power, what does that say of today's society? I asked one of my co-workers, some twenty years younger, where was the beauty in modern music (i.e., rock and its various later, degenerate forms)? His reply astounded me: beauty isn't its purpose.

Then what is?

And then there is the flip side of this debate, the other answer to the implied question, what meaning does music possess? Stravinsky said, none. Shostakovich said there is no such thing as good or bad music, only music that moves us and music that leaves us cold. But it's interesting that otherwise they didn't talk like they meant it and certainly didn't compose music as if they did.

What I sense, and of course it's a personal thing, is that there is a clear difference between music that exalts God and music that exalts man. My two favorite composers are Bruckner and Shostakovich. Probably one of the reasons Bruckner is not more popular is his symphonies are like an academic lecture who takes an idea through every possible permutation before moving onto another idea. His pedantic nature, though, does not prevent his music from containing amazing moments of sublime glory. He was a devout Christian who dedicated all his symphonies to God. On the other hand, Shostakovich started out writing symphonies that glorified the new Communist Man (under orders to do so, no doubt), and his music just continued to get more and more pessimistic, migrating from witty and ironic to cynical and bitter.

Ayn Rand would certainly not believe that the purpose of music is to exalt God, but it's clear she thinks it should exalt someone. I think C.S. Lewis had a better understanding of art and music: aesthetics reflect God's image and many people mistake His reflection in the arts for the real thing, and devote themselves to worshiping the art itself. Art is a great creation, but a false god.



1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
All Comments   (3)
All Comments   (3)
Sort: Newest Oldest Top Rated
If music has this kind of power, what does that say of today's society? I asked one of my co-workers, some twenty years younger, where was the beauty in modern music (i.e., rock and its various later, degenerate forms)? His reply astounded me: beauty isn't its purpose.

Then what is?

And then there is the flip side of this debate, the other answer to the implied question, what meaning does music possess? Stravinsky said, none. Shostakovich said there is no such thing as good or bad music, only music that moves us and music that leaves us cold. But it's interesting that otherwise they didn't talk like they meant it and certainly didn't compose music as if they did.

What I sense, and of course it's a personal thing, is that there is a clear difference between music that exalts God and music that exalts man. My two favorite composers are Bruckner and Shostakovich. Probably one of the reasons Bruckner is not more popular is his symphonies are like an academic lecture who takes an idea through every possible permutation before moving onto another idea. His pedantic nature, though, does not prevent his music from containing amazing moments of sublime glory. He was a devout Christian who dedicated all his symphonies to God. On the other hand, Shostakovich started out writing symphonies that glorified the new Communist Man (under orders to do so, no doubt), and his music just continued to get more and more pessimistic, migrating from witty and ironic to cynical and bitter.

Ayn Rand would certainly not believe that the purpose of music is to exalt God, but it's clear she thinks it should exalt someone. I think C.S. Lewis had a better understanding of art and music: aesthetics reflect God's image and many people mistake His reflection in the arts for the real thing, and devote themselves to worshiping the art itself. Art is a great creation, but a false god.



1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
I must agree with your esteem for Bruckner, & that's merely because of my own experience. What amazes me about him is that he's now said to have been similarly regarded by Adolf H. the Evil. Maybe Lewis's remark points to an explanation.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Very, very well said. Many thanks.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
View All