I will not be grappling with this issue from a particularly religious perspective. Evil applies to everyone regardless of their belief system, or even their lack of belief. Evil is secular in its influence.
The first and most important thing to understand is this — evil is NOT simply a social or religious construct, it is an inherent element of the human psyche. Carl Gustav Jung was one of the few psychologists in history to dare write extensively on the issue of evil from a scientific perspective as well as a metaphysical perspective. I highly recommend a book of his collected works on this subject titled ‘Jung On Evil’, edited by Murray Stein, for those who are interested in a deeper view.
To summarize, Jung found that much of the foundations of human behavior are rooted in inborn psychological contents or “archetypes.” Contrary to the position of Sigmund Freud, Jung argued that while our environment may affect our behavior to a certain extent, it does not make us who we are. Rather, we are born with our own individual personality and grow into our inherent characteristics over time. Jung also found that there are universally present elements of human psychology. That is to say, almost every human being on the planet shares certain truths and certain natural predilections.
The concepts of good and evil, moral and immoral, are present in us from birth and are mostly the same regardless of where we are born, what time in history we are born and to what culture we are born. Good and evil are shared subjective experiences. It is this observable psychological fact (among others) that leads me to believe in the idea of a creative design — a god. Again, though, elaborating on god is beyond the scope of this article.
To me, this should be rather comforting to people, even atheists. For if there is observable evidence of creative design, then it would follow that there may very well be a reason for all the trials and horrors that we experience as a species. Our lives, our failures and our accomplishments are not random and meaningless. We are striving toward something, whether we recognize it or not. It may be beyond our comprehension at this time, but it is there.
Evil does not exist in a vacuum; with evil there is always good, if one looks for it in the right places.
Most people are readily equipped to recognize evil when they see it directly. What they are not equipped for and must learn from environment is how to recognize evil disguised as righteousness. The most heinous acts in history are almost always presented as a moral obligation — a path towards some “greater good.” Inherent conscience, though, IS the greater good, and any ideology that steps away from the boundaries of conscience will inevitably lead to disaster.
The concept of globalism is one of these ideologies that crosses the line of conscience and pontificates to us about a “superior method” of living. It relies on taboo, rather than moral compass, and there is a big difference between the two.
When we pursue a “greater good” as individuals or as a society, the means are just as vital as the ends. The ends NEVER justify the means. Never. For if we abandon our core principles and commit atrocities in the name of “peace,” safety or survival, then we have forsaken the very things which make us worthy of peace and safety and survival. A monster that devours in the name of peace is still a monster.
I am getting somewhat sick of reading about all the most horrible, perverted, depraved and disgusting things that some people do to other people, particularly the children.
I’m not a squeamish man, I feel obliged to confront whatever horror may arise before me. But reading about paedophiles, ratlines, the vile political crap from Washington, London, the European Union, and watching our freedom of speech being stolen, day after day, fake news, lies, deceit, it’s getting me down.
I live in an exceptionally beautiful place, perfect for me, and I’m free to do just about anything I wish. And what do I do ? Sit here reading about utterly revolting despicable stuff, on and on and on. Because I want people to know and to DO something about it. A rather forlorn hope, I suppose….
Left to myself, I’m quite capable of being very happy and to enjoy lovely things of all kinds. It’s unfathomable to me how the demonic corrupt scum out there function, and why they do what they do. It’s shocking to learn how many there are, and we only even see a fraction.
We seem to be trapped, ensnared, in a net of evil, and only a tiny minority are fighting for the good. This is sad and depressing. Difficult to see how it can get better, easy to see it getting constantly worse.
I decided that I need to do something therapeutic to stop myself being taken over by all the nastiness, propaganda and toxic slime. I have music, which I listen to a lot of the time, but it’s not often that I can find exactly what I would like to hear. I sort of get close, but I am not quite satisfied.
I had this problem before, which lead me to the thought, ‘Well, play your own, then it can be exactly as you like it’. Except, of course, there’s the small issue of having the talent and ability. But I always enjoyed playing instruments. Trouble is, it’s not easy when I’m typing at this keyboard and concentrating on reading. So my playing rather than listening has lapsed since the last big effort I put in.
But I think that goes with the territory. I’ve had most of a lifetime doing it and then intermittent fallow periods. Getting a breakthrough that leads to more success and pleasure, but eventually grows stale. So I need some inspiration to fire me up again.
I love old tunes and trying to play them. A good example is Pretty Girl Milking Her Cow. It’s at least centuries old, but who knows. There’s been tunes, music and dairies in Ireland for thousands of years. It’s got its own wiki page.
Here’s an example, as you’d expect there’s loads of versions on youtube
I learned an arrangement of this years ago, or half learned it. But it seems to me there’s no limit to the potential of a tune like that. You can always add greater sensitivity, feeling, nuance, and make it your own. So I have that as a sort of unfulfilled ambition lurking at the back of my mind. To be able to play it at least as well as that Bob McClean guy.
That means endless practice, until it becomes a familiar part of your being. So I’m setting myself up to have another go. I’m pretty limited as a musician, I don’t read or even understand music theory very well. But I know what I like, and if my ears and heart says it’s right, that’s good enough. One thing I love about the Irish music, it’s a living tradition, not a written down one. And they play to serve the tradition, the tunes, rather than competing to show off.
That’s very different to, say, the American bluegrass tradition, where the players take it in turns to show off their skill by stepping forward with their solo star performance. And totally different to the pop music thing where you have to be marketed as a commercial idol to get credibility.
Anyway, I do not have to worry about any of those aspects. I just do it to soothe my soul and to explore personal pleasure and sense of achievement. Partly as an antidote against all the stupid human filth and depravity out there. Perhaps I can retain whatever lingering vestiges of sanity I have remaining for a bit longer 🙂
That guy is playing with an alternative tuning, DADGAD, rather than standard EADGBE. Which raises some interesting points. All the stuff about string vibrations dates way back to Pythagoras, at least. He and his colleagues worked out the ratios and relationships between the length of a string and the sound it produced, and found the harmonic nodes, and so forth, and to play and care for a guitar, you have to know something about strings and how they behave.
I’m pretty good at that part, setting up a guitar so the action, etc, is optimal for my style of playing. There are no luthiers out here in the mountains, so I have to do the fettling myself. Which means having some knowledge of the physics and engineering and how this stuff works.
If you don’t know, the standard off the shelf set of steel guitar strings has two plain wire thin ones, the first and second, and four thicker ones, which are plain wire cores that are surrounded by a winding of thinner wire. Sometimes the third can be plain wire, but it’s usually wound.
All this is mathematical calculations, physics, engineering, practical stuff, you could go back 2,500 to visit Pythagoras and discuss with him, he’d understand exactly what you were talking about.
The perfect ideal would probably be to have just one string, but then to cover the range that the guitar has, it would need to be six times as long, and your arms would be too short to reach that perfection. So a workable compromise is necessary, some desires are sacrificed so that others can be reached. People have tried most things over the centuries.
To get your low notes on the fourth, fifth and sixth strings, they need to be heavier gauge, so they vibrate at a lower frequency. I’m not certain why they have the plain wire core wound around with a thinner wire, rather than just being much thicker plain wire. There must be a good reason, but if I ever knew, I’ve forgotten.
Anyway, with the six strings all being different thickness and the neck length fixed, to get perfect intervals the frets really need to be in different places for every string, rather than one fret extending across to be shared by all the strings. Every note would have its own minifret placed at the exact precise point where the theory says it should be.
Guitar makers have tried that, like I said, most things have been tried. Afaik, whatever benefits are gained by getting a perfect note, they’re outweighed by all the extra hassle and expense. But then the compromise we end up with is that most notes are very slightly, or even noticeably, out of tune. Nobody bothers much. If the music sounds okay, who cares ?
But back to the non standard DADGAD tuning. If you’re going to lower the note of the open string, it’s going to be more slack, less tight, than it was meant to be when designed by the manufacturer. Again, you can get specialist strings made to suit your preferred tuning. But what if you want to change back to standard ? Are you going to change strings, or have an extra guitar set up ?
It all gets bothersome. If you want to achieve a high standard of playing, then you need the strings to be right, at the right height above the frets all the way up the neck, and having the right tension that suits your style. And what’s worse, there’s loads of non standard tunings possible. If you tune some strings higher, they’ll be unusually taut and hard to press down, and if you tune other strings lower, they’ll be slack and sloppy and rattle about.
Most players settle for one tuning and stay with it. I mean, if you’ve invested years of work learning loads of chords, and then you change your tuning, all that work is no use anymore, because those chord shapes are useless.
But, but, but, what if you really really want to use altered tunings ? Not merely out of perversity, but because they can be amazing ? Possibly my all time favourite guitarist, Alec Stone Sweet, well, I love his playing and tunes, but he doesn’t just use weird unusual tunings, he actually swaps the heaviest sixth string for a thin first string.
Which means before you can play, you’ve got to mess about changing taking strings off and replacing. And if the guitar was set up perfectly for a normal sixth, it’s not going to be set up right for a thin first string which will be loose in the slots at the bridge and nut, and generally all wrong. Unless you make adjustments. And then it’ll be wrong if you wanted your heavy sixth back.
So all this is kinda Pythogorean buggeration, it’s frustrating. Here’s one of my all time favourite guitar tunes, played by this Canadian guy, Don Rooke.
And his guitars are not tuned to standard. So if you want to play this tune, you’ve got to change your tuning, maybe even fit different strings.
I love that. Especially the duduk. I think it’s exquisite. So I want to try and learn to play it. But, the string gauge and tuning problem arises. Actually he seems to have some problem playing his own composition himself, here
Well, so much for Pythagoras. It’s now 21st century, and because the physics of sound and music is well understood after all this time, and can be described in abstract mathematical formulations, this means it can be digitised, and this means that just about any noise imaginable can be produced synthetically. You can see it portrayed on a computer screen and you can diddle about with it your heart’s content. Like Photoshop for visual imagery.
In many regards, I loathe the fact that we are all being dragged into a nightmare dystopian hell by our technology, so I’m a luddite who thinks that the best way to achieve ecological harmony, and satisfy our basic human needs is to live something like the Amish or the Russian Old Believers.
This constant innovation and evolution of technology presents us with what are zen koans, I mean the Amish wrestle constantly with what gadgets they are going to adopt, washing machines, telephones, etc, and what gadgets they will reject. At least they give the matter some thought and consideration, whereas the mainstream masses just take whatever the advertisers ram down our throats to make a profit.
I had this koan long ago, in my youth, when I had an electric guitar which I loved, and then discovered that I loved an acoustic nylon string classical type of guitar even more. So for a year or two I was bitterly opposed to all electronica. I was not alone, if anyone can recall the immense outrage at the Newport Folk Festival when the supposed trad folk singer, Bob Dylan, came on as a rocker with a solid electric guitar.
I lay in bed thinking about that, and then came Jimi Hendrix, and it seemed clear to me that I’d made a mistake, because there was no way that Hendrix exploration of electric music could be dismissed.
Anyway, I was recently pondering all this, and I had the idea that I could get a guitar synth and then I could change tunings to anything at all just by flicking a switch… This idea probably came from the Devil himself, but, you know, I’m open minded to ideas from any quarter…. hahaha…
So I’ve bought this guitar synthesiser and it’s set up and functioning. This is kind of astounding to mess with. It’s very complicated and I am old and slow on the uptake, so I struggle to get through the manual, but amazing things happen.
Like, I’ve had foot pedals before, so I know all about fuzz and wahwah and whatnot. But now, I play something on my guitar, and instead of it coming out sounding like a guitar, it can be any of hundreds of instruments, a clarinet, sax, harmonica, or any of them combined, and then processed with any number of effects, so the number of options is bewildering and incalculable… instead of what I expect, suddenly there’s a whole string quartet accompanying every note I pick. So this is great fun !
Exhilarating to be able to do something I’ve never been able to do before.
I still have not mastered the manual, it’s a hell of a lot of work to figure out, but I’ll press on and try and get some control over it all. At least it’s getting me away from being drowned in all the nastiness and insanity of this world.
I’d share some of my fun with you. The last time that I was recording was three years ago, here. I’d forgotten all about it.
The trouble is that the recording method I had at that time was based on Apple’s Firewire connections, which are now obsolete and the system I had then no longer functions or even exists, so I’ll have to devise some new set up.
John Martyn was good on this stuff.