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It’s My Birthday- Where’s the Cake?
A Digital Archive for the American Consumer
by Katheryn Bajo
“The eBook is a digital archive of writings that have been collected since March of 2011. The pieces of literature are to be read autonomously, yet, have been categorized into four parts: Constraints of the Natural Language; An Archival of Private Experiences by Utilizing Preconceived Syntax Generated for the Mass; Los Angeles: The Imposition of Power; and finally, Utilizing Preconceived Syntax Generated for the Mass and Denying the Imposition of Power through Techne.
I feel very fortunate to be able to publish these pieces of literature. I apologize in advance if some of pieces of literature offend some readers; and with this being said, none of the pieces are to be read literally. Rather, this eBook is an archive of cultural syntax that the average North American consumer reads, listens to, observes, and experiences on a daily basis. Furthermore, it is an observation of how communication is designed from a subjective experience and thus, recognizes the implications of the utility for the mass as a preconceived syntax.
The objective is to change the function of the designed language: from a function that makes the consumer subservient to a dominating force to a function that liberates the consumer. The altered function is accomplished by (1) capturing culturally and economically defined aesthetics and (2) the rearrangement of the syntax based from a subjective experience.”
Saint Augustine of Hippo describes the process of mutual understanding between two subjects in his work, De Ordine; he states that this mutual understanding [between subjects] is a purposeful act and inherently a characteristic of a rational animal. Augustine continues to theorize how language was formed as a means of communicating an idea from one person to another; moreover, that through its own constraints, the language formed itself.
Augustine states that when human reason contemplated the constraints of language, human reason found that the sounds which parted from the lips were not the entirety of language, yet, there were still other sounds to be perceived by the listener. In other words, the meaning of what is materialized by language lay behind things that are audible by the ear. Augustine emphasizes what is perceived by the senses has to be contemplated by human reason, or by the mind; he continues and develops his understanding of language as a system of number and proportion like that of music.
Neoplatonic philosophy emphasizes the utility of music- in particular, the function of music as a material conduit that affects, even heals, the spirit. Music, in regards to Neoplatonic philosophy, is built by rhythm, numbers, metre, and proportion created by human reason.
Paralleling to Augustine’s “twofold science” of mind and soul, or of reason and sense, Marsilio Ficino, a predecessor of Augustine, adds that by growing closer to God, or moving inwardly towards Him, the memory being immaterial, takes form and materializes. He begins to question the origin of what is created by materialization; Ficino emphasizes that human senses are languages of the soul – and therefore, things that are obtained through the senses lead to divine understandings. Yet, because the form is a product of the movement transcribed by memory towards God, what is beautiful by way of sight, sound, taste, or smell, can be traced to its origin. This means that there is an implied relationship with the origin and the end. And what is created by someone, if made by the spirit, is a creation of the spirit and for the purpose of drawing closer to God by the spirit.
Ficino mentions music directly both in the third and fifth speed of the Commentary on Plato’s Symposium. Ficino states that our soul was from the beginning, endowed with the principle of music; music defined as a heavenly harmony created by eight tones from the eight orbits. For Ficino, the function of the priest of leading the mass to recognize their own divinity was precisely the function of the musician. For music, as an imitation of the natural phenomena of sound, may reveal the true nature of the soul to itself: namely, that it partakes of the soul of the world. As Ficino describes in his letter on divine frenzy, “The soul receives the sweetest harmonies and numbers through the ears, and by these echoes is reminded and aroused to the divine music which may be heard by the more penetrating sense of mind.”
While studying the ancient texts that Cosimo Medici’s family accumulated, Ficino also studied medicine, partly because he was a son of a physician. Ficino set up the Academy in Florence and began his career as a translator of Plotinus and Plato, producing the first Latin editions of these authors. Thus, Ficino sought out the marriage between philosophy (science) and poetry. Ficino believed that music and song united the mind and soul by the musician and spectator. Being a son of a physician, Ficino creates a tripartition of man into body, soul, and spirit. Spirit, being the medium of communication between body and soul. In addition, the rhythm and metre of the music was analogous to medicine; it healed the spirit by applied reason.
Within the Neoplatonic philosophy, music is of critical importance because it is a material conduit between the soul and the body. Furthermore, music is analogous to medicine, because it metres and materializes the immaterial spirit. The process of materializing traces a memory from when the soul was at its origin. Thus, the music is created to either remind the soul of its origin, or by the act of creating, draws the musician and the spectator closer to the origin of the soul, or to God.