Monday, September 19, 2011

Just a thought.

Well, 'a thought' in Helmland means three dense paragraphs.

Here's why some people can't get over Heavy Metal or other romantic arts. In a time where a popular use of political ideology (for the lower-middle class and up) is to restrict the expression of desires that are deemed unreasonable and vent the resulting frustrations towards so-called applicable goals, the arts that have aligned with modernist concerns (that is to say, which are in the service of sociality & humanist progression) are also expressions of this same method. These arts are potent perhaps but they do not often speak for the desires deemed unreasonable. And even if they are keen on inner darkness, they tend to portray it as a psychic wound, in a curious way both Christian and agnostic, a repentance for sins that have been judged as such by nobody in particular. These arts recognize their own sense of ethical responsibility, because Ethics and Morals are grown-up talk, such symbols give power to puny arts.

Heavy Metal, and other similar arts are inverted. With their pretensions of such ancient antiquity that they become perpetually almost-out-of-time, they are unashamed to speak about all the desires of life (and death!), to glorify them even. In the negative zone, what lends power to symbols, is art itself. This isn't to say that there aren't moral weights inherent in Heavy Metal expressions, it's just that the creators of Heavy Metal so fervently pretend that these weights are meaningless, that they are useful as a means of fantastical liberation for those that listen and vicariously live through this music. It is a startling thing for many to realize that there is power in feeling like a misanthrope, a misogynist or misandrist, like a racist homophobe: to feel like the feeling behind all these -isms without aknowledging the word that the -ism is describing. To feel like a beast, then. Unreasonable. Inhuman. Any such socially barred concept, because it is barred, holds some small means of liberation were it to be allowed back into the whole of the human psyche. The trick is to realize that the symbol is powerful while the word is meaningless. A causal chain of logic broken, links from the chain now become portals to different worlds.

Heavy Metal doesn't make us better human beings, it makes us cognizant of the span of our sentience, and therefore the width of our afflictions and strengths. Whenever someone goes on about how Heavy Metal is escapist music that lets them step outside their dreary realities, all I can think about is how if they still think there is a reality to begin with, they haven't yet understood what art-as-magic does. There is no return to the corporeal. "I want to know", cries the young longhair to the entity in the darkness. Can't go back to not knowing. If you meet any retired-metalheads, now ashamed of the sexist, horrible music they once listened to, slay them where they stand. They have mistaken art for conversation.

1 comment:

  1. I was showing a friend who is not really knowledgeable about metal Nokturnal Mortum today, and I remarked to him that despite their racist leanings the music is not in and of itself negatively charged. There's no angst, little actual anger. Here are men thinking hateful thoughts... and drawing happiness from them. They know their place. Power. They have completed their quest for certainty.

    Heavy metal with regards to individualism is something I grapple with. I'm looking for my place-in-life like every other person, but it's exceptionally difficult for me to feel distinct, special. I see most human beings as being largely the same and myself as less distinct from them than I might have once believed. I have accepted the mission of humanism, to a certain extent. It seems preferable to the alternatives, which are the promotion of the status quo and libertarian "let 'em drown"-ism. But I listen to art that opposes this. Maybe that's why I'm so vehemently against censorship. We need those voices of dissent raging at us, or else we lose our individuality.

    I'm confused, as you can clearly tell. I've got no certainty. I still live partially in reality. There was no escape from the corporeal. It kind of sucks, although there is also a certain power to be gained from the uncertainty of science (or, if you prefer, the certainty of science's uncertainty).