For centuries, the world had been a backward place, with civilizations embracing anti-intellectualism, abandoning reason and rationality, and relying on superstition to imprison the population. The ascent of Western civilization changed everything, beginning with the Scientific Revolution and Age of Enlightenment, intellectual and philosophical movements that would forever change society for the better. But if the dawning of a new era of “I think, therefore I am” required a soundtrack, it would be classical music, even in today’s putrefaction of art and culture.
The West contributed so much to the advancement of humanity, from the sovereignty of reason to artistic achievements. A concept born a few hundred years ago remains integral in the modern world.
As generations continue studying the works of Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Immanuel Kant, and Francois Voltaire, we cannot help but draw connections to the elegant sounds of J.S. Bach, Ludwig van Beethoven, and Franz Schubert and their library of symphonies, concertos, and sonatas.
German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche, the propagator of eternal recurrence and the ubermensch, understood the power and meaning of music, writing in Twilight of the Idols, “Without music, life would be a mistake.” Indeed, the emotions – both good and bad – that the classical genre can trigger is unrivaled by any other form of music, whether it is the inspiring or the trepidation.
Listening to the pop classics of yesteryear can tell the story of humanity, a symphony of thoughts if you will.
Beethoven giving man hope with his Ninth Symphony. Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart reminding us of our mortality with his Requiem. Clara Schumann encouraging us to love with her Three Romances for Violin and Piano. Giuseppe Verdi telling us about the fun, gaiety, and excitement of life with The Drinking Song from his opera, La Traviata. Or even just the simple beauty of classical music by listening to Bach’s Goldberg Variations, cello suites, and harpsichord concertos.
It is pontificated that the kingdom of heaven rests in man. If so, the genius that is applied on paper must serve as the voice of God. At a time when faith in a divine entity is eroding, you cannot help but believe in a creator after treating (restoring?) your soul to Antonio Vivaldi’s Gloria or Sergei Rachmaninoff’s Vocalise.
Once the seven, eight, or ten billion people are wiped off the planet due to a deadly virus, asteroid collision, or Hillary Clinton’s cackle, we can only pray that classical music will somehow survive for eternity. Perhaps another species will come across the Voyager Golden Records that were launched into the cosmic ocean in 1977, featuring several tunes from Bach and Mozart. Transferring this music to another civilization would be the greatest gift of them all.
As Nietzsche wrote in Thus Spoke Zarathustra, “We have invented happiness.”
Read more from Andrew Moran.
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