Saturday, February 16, 2013

Without Music, Life Would be a Mistake

Kathleen Higgins:

Actually, I got interested in non-Western philosophy very early. The high school English teacher that told me that philosophy was what I was interested in read an excerpt from J. Krishnamurti in his class one day, and I insisted after class that he loan me the book. I also took a Chinese philosophy seminar my first semester in graduate school. Another motivation for my interest was that, having majored in music as an undergraduate, I’d been fascinated by a course I’d taken on Indian music. Indian music was tremendously sophisticated, but based on very different structural choices than the Western tonal tradition had made. I was quite interested in the philosophy of music, and I was rather disappointed, studying philosophy in grad school, to discover how much of Western tradition after the ancient Greeks more or less ignored music. When I was introduced to Chinese philosophy, I found just what I was looking for, a philosophical tradition that paid a lot of attention to music and its relation to the good life quite generally.

Y'know, that actually sounds fascinating. I've never looked at Chinese philosophy with an eye toward that perspective. I'd be interested to see how it compares and contrasts with the Greek concept of mousikê.