Monday, 22 February 2010

The Forgetting of Being

I started reading The Art of the Novel and found the phrase 'the forgetting of being' very insightful. Kundera describes this concept as the crisis of humanity. With the development of technology, science, consumerism we forget to think for ourselves, we forget how to listen to our own instincts. We become used to being dumbed down, used to being bombarded with information, used to noise, speed and bright lights. We forget to sometimes just stop and be. 'The forgetting of being' reminds me of a song by Regina Spektor called 'Ghost of Corporate Future'. This isn't the best recording but I think the Conncetion Regina creates with the audience, through this song, is evident:

The metaphor of the Ghost of Corporate Future is an obvious reference to A Christmas Carol where the ghosts illuminate the emptiness in Scrooge's life. In a sense Regina is playing the role of the Ghost to society as she Connects us through her music, reminding everyone to hold on to who they are and not fall victim to a meaningless existence. I see art as 'the remembering of being' and artists as activists against this crisis of humanity that Kundera identified.

Ani DiFranko once said:

"That's why I write, you know, to write myself into

She explained that often after she writes something, after she explores a certain possibility, it then comes true. First she thought it was 'spooky' but then she began to understand that when she wrote she was engaging with a higher part of her awareness that was naturally intuitive.

This makes me think of those writers who somehow predicted their own greatness in their writing without realising it and with no way of knowing what was to happen. Anne Frank confessed in her diary how she dreamt of becoming a great journalist and a famous writer but how was she to know that through the tragedy of the war she endured and died in, her diary would become famous and the whole world would know her name?

Another singer-songwriter, Missy Higgins, wrote a song called 'How I Found My Way' about how music means to her what God means to others. In retrospect her lyrics:

Cause I know there will never be a doubt in me
Cause mamma said it was meant to be...

Cause I know there will always be a light for me
Because I found my place in history

...are extremely insightful. How could the school girl, writing this song for a class project, know how prophetic her lyrics were and that very soon her name would be firmly down in history as one of Australia's greatest musicians ever?

'Remembering who you are' is a common theme in Missy's songs. 'Steer', 'We Run so Fast,' and 'Going North' are all about going away from the city and that fast pace of life and finding somewhere peaceful where she can 'remember' and Connect with herself again. My favourite line from 'Steer':

'The city screams and all your dreams go unheard.'

directly connects with the idea of 'the forgetting of being'. Missy explains how her environment directly affects her and her reflections illuminate all these themes:

'The more time you spend there away from the city the slower you get and the slower your thought processes go and it's almost like all the cogs kind of slow down and as a result it creates more space somehow in your brain for all these thoughts to come flooding in, all these things that in the city somehow, without realising it, you've been running away from, you've been pushing aside with all this noise that's been cluttering your head. But there's something really confronting about spending a lot of time with space because you realise things you didn't beforehand.'

1 comment:

  1. Moira, some thoughtful stuff here (I love Ani DiFranco) and I like your idea on Kundera and "the forgetting of being" - keep this up, keep making connections, keep going, Andy