musicology #404

Catharsis #2

(Bobby Womack – Games)

While listening to a series of lectures on the subject of Ancient Greek philosophy one of the threads focused on the opposition between Plato/Socrates and the Pre Socratics particularly the ideas of the Sophists. According to the lectures the Sophists, (in debate), are not concerned with the Truth but rather the art of persuasion while Socrates/Plato hold that it’s the Truth that matters most when determining the outcome of a debate. To put it another way Politics, certainly in the current age, is Sophistic and deals in rhetoric while Science is Socratic.

I find myself in agreement with certain aspects of each method but also refute just as much which I found confusing but yesterday I came to a realisation that much western Philosophy builds arguments on the underlying concept of Right and Wrong. Socrates for example invites opponents to play the game using his rules, (question/answer), and then proceeds to beat his opponent using logic and reason. For example Socrates might start the game by saying “Do you agree that….” and once the opponent answered would tear down the Relativist/Sophist argument based on the answer given. But there is one Sophist in Plato’s Republic who doesn’t play Socrates’ game and what this highlights is that there is of course more than one game and each one has their own set of rules.

Problems arise when we find ourselves in dialogue with those whose game and rules are different to our own. My experience is that games and rules only become clear when one or both parties are trying to base their argument on ‘Right and Wrong’ which is a concept that personally  I don’t accept.

Today’s cut is courtesy of ‘the Poet’ a.k.a Bobby Womack a Cat who triggers many memories for themusicologist due to his music and message being a constant during my formative years with a piece taken from the 1981 set that was the man’s response to how life had, in his own words “turned on him”.

Just like to make clear that each slice of this cathartic pie is inspired by instinct and as such is nothing more than part of the process so bear in mind that interpretation is wholly subjective.

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