I have been very bad at keeping this blog going. My early retirement in 2015 has proved to be quite a struggle. It is interesting how we become wedded to a particular view of our own role in the world as well as to a view of the world. I have had to do lots of rethinking, lots of recalibrating everything to do with my life and what I hope to do over the coming months is to talk about some of that recalibration in both philosophical but also personal terms. I have the feeling that for the first time in my life I have become an adult and although that will probably be proved to be untrue as I write and lay out some of my thinking, it is at least a starting point.
The reason that I thought there would be a good idea to get this going again is that I spoke this evening at a pre-concert meeting at the Royal Festival Hall in London on Ernst Bloch and his philosophical take on the works of Beethoven and in particular Fidelio. I used to be a professional musician and in many ways it was the musical element of Ernst Bloch’s philosophy that drew me to him.
In the context of Beethoven’s Fidelio his chapter “The Philosophy of Music” in the Spirit of Utopia as well as his comments on Beethoven’s Fidelio in the Principle of Hope (in the decades between those two works you can see how his thought develops) is an excellent analysis of the way in which the human animal is driven by feelings of hope which are older than and give rise to all sorts of cultural phenomena. We are animals of excess. We made love rather than just copulate. We dance rather than just walk. We sing rather than just speak. We make music rather than simply just be. It was Nietzsche who said that without music life would be a mistake and sitting at the concert tonight certainly brought that quote powerfully to mind.
It is late now and nobody will read this anyway until I get my stats back up for this blog but I thought I would at least make a start and hope that my good intentions do not pave the way to hell. Or if they do, then at least I hope it is good fun down there.