houses of the holy

Spirituality and NIN: A Discussion

[Author's note: This is a "spirituality in music" discussion group post that I thought would be of relative interest to the NIN group as well...if not, don't go screamin' at me. I admit to being an "Overman in Training," and I apologize in advance for this self-absorbed first letter.]

Fellow Dude With Too Much Time On His Hands:

"Spirituality," to me, is the pursuit of thoughts that transcend our own. Getting outside of the flesh, the bone...finding that "vibe" that runs throughout the cosmos. Trent Reznor's thoughts can be destructive and negative. (Puritans would have called them "evil" and, in their grace and mercy, burned and de-skinned thousands of unrecanting fans to the glory of God as He stood by in awe-inspiring silence and let it happen...oohh, happy thoughts....) Perhaps these should be cast aside.

Perhaps not.

The individual makes the decisions. Power can be self-governed. Reznor realizes that none of us really have a clue to what's going on -- it's the search we live for, not the answers. The answers will, in all likelihood, be disappointing. Kinda like Santa Claus and the U.N. (No offense meant to anyone in the group, or to Christians in general -- my thoughts come in peace).

"Love" is where we make it, not in some universal "stream," or so I've come to believe, at least for the time being. And religion? Maybe it's kinda like what Schoepenhauer said about Entropy: "If you add a teaspoon of wine to sewage, you get sewage. If you add a teaspoon of sewage to wine, you get sewage."

Nietzche wrote, "God is dead." Reznor screams it at the top of his lungs, in contrived yet believable agony and despair, as would a child trying to get the attention of his father when his father continually ignores him. Rock'n'roll is a child throwing a temper tantrum -- at least GOOD rock'n'roll is.

I know this feeling well. Man, I've cried, laughed, pleaded, begged, and sought after "God" since I was 10 years old. I know this pain very, very well. Perhaps that's why I relate to it with such passion.

And I'm actually a guy you'd wanna go have a beer with, too.

NIN, to me, boils down to this: When I hear them, I FEEL chaos, anger, hate. No, really FEEL these emotions. The music is such that, just as surely as hearing Beethoven's Ninth puts me in bliss, NIN transports me into the corner of my heart and soul I wish weren't there.

Remember the old Star Trek series, when Kirk was split into two separate beings, one the good half and the other evil? The duality of man is one of the most fascinating aspects of the quest for our own immortality, or so I believe. This aspect has been responsible for some of the greatest works of man, from classical literature to The Bible. Why not explore BOTH sides, then?

Thoreau said, "And, if [life] proved to be mean, why then to get the whole and genuine meanness of it, and publish its meanness to the world...." Here of late, life has proven to be just that. Right now, I don't want to hear about "second sights" and "magic"...but that's just right NOW.

Exercise control -- but don't, as do so many of the "let's call it New Age when it's really regurgitated Buddhism" folks, blatantly ignore anger and rage. Anger and rage are a part of the human psyche and need answers just as much as the longing, questioning, stargazing, and struggling with that age-old question "why the hell am I here" does.

Thanks for the indulgence, and ignore all spelling...looking forward to your thoughts.

-- jon (beavis) benson

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