Fünf Sonette an Orpheus


Ein Gott vermags. Wie aber, sag mir, soll
ein Mann ihm folgen durch die schmale Leier?
Sein Sinn ist Zwiespalt. An der Kreuzung zweier
Herzwege steht kein Tempel für Apoll.

Gesang, wie du ihm lernst, ist nicht Begehr,
nicht Werbung um ein endlich noch Erreichtes;
Gesang ist Dasein. Für den Gott ein Leichtes.
Wann aber sind wir? Und wann wendet er

an unser Sein die Erde und die Sterne?
Dies ists nicht, Jüngling, Dass du liebst, wenn auch
die Stimme dann den Mund dir aufstösst, - lerne

vergessen, dass du aufsangst. Das verrinnt.
In Wahrheit singen, ist ein andrer Hauch.
Ein Hauch um nichts. Ein Wehn im Gott. Ein Wind."

Rainer Maria Rilke, Fünf Sonette an Orpheus, III, p.24 booklet with CD "Rautavaara, Song of My Heart, Orchestral Songs", published by Ondine.

(official English translation below)

What I wanted to talk about was 'Mind-Mind Dualism'; then I thought about Orpheus and remembered what is quoted above from Rilke (I hesitated a bit: Kierkegaard or Nietzsche came to mind as well, but I settled for Rilke-Orpheus). This godly creature could woo even the devil into appreciating the beauty of song but he was too human not to hesitate about whether his earthly beauty was still accompanying him; he was more man than god in other words, and probably therefore as godly as can be, alive but not constrained by death.

'Mind-Mind Dualism'! No, I'm not a dualist by any means. But given how much it has gone out of fashion to be dualist, this phrase of 'Mind-Mind Dualism' is, maybe, just provacative enough to make people think beyond the current consensus. It has long been a thought with me that 'Mind' was treated in philosophy to simpliciter. & I don't mean: 'too simply' because nothing has been treated as complicatedly as this. But I do mean that 'Mind' is taken as some kind of simple entity, or as a quality common to a host of phenomena (let's not get stuck in the relative merits of the versions, as commonly denounced here).

Let me try to be as arrogant and ambitious here again as, hopefully, ever. My belief can be phrased as: 'Mind is a homonym for two qualitatively distinct phenomena, or objects (let's not get stuck in the relative merits of phenomena vs. objects." There's the associative Humean mind and the deductive Fregean mind. The fact that we are using the same word to denote two vastly different things is not a coincidence; from the former springs the latter, and - all scientistic claims of the 'Erreichtes' and all the religious claims of the 'Werbung' can be put aside - the latter can only originate if it has the former to spring from. More than this: the latter can only continue to be if it has the former as its continuous substratum. Leading to all positives & negatives of being 'All too human' - 'Das verrinnt' ... 'Lerne vergessen' ..., don't think you'll ever be beyond looking back.

If you follow my drift you'll maybe say that this is Mind-Body Dualism all over again. The associative mind being associated to the body and the deductive mind being of eternal-soul-like qualities. You'd probably right to a certain extent, I think - but this is a clearer way of putting that, avoiding the basic falsities in a dualism in any strict, and therefore honest, sense. It is in fact in line with my conjecture that a big part of insight in philosophy has to do with rephrasing, with finding a way of speaking that's enlightening what always tended to be obscure in context (with singing in fact). This is where a 'stepping-stone theory of language' comes in (as I once have to dedicate myself to working out in less detail but with more clarity than in my thesis); from an initially associative background we gradually and socially construct our well-behaved languages that permit us to express things that survive our specific context, & even our specific social contexts to some extent. This is not the process that takes rubble from the associative side to construct clean self-supporting edifices on a logical side - this is a process that requires both elements to continuously cross-fertilize without aiming at heavens but with the natural consequence of increasing understanding &, 'In Wahrheit singen'.

Yes, you got me, it's very close to anomalous monism (which I discovered after I'd grown a fixation to this theme). But still - not quite - because there the meddle still persists, the meddle of 'The Unified Signification of Mind'. It is - as far as I can see - a dogma that remains to be broken. As all dogma-breakers it's based on a hunch of association (dissociation between the paraphernalia of the Humean mind & those of the loftier, Orphean, mind). It's also a constructive thought; it demolishes all the 'Either/Or' and converges into an, albeit continually imperfect, harmony. Specifically the notion, elsewhere expanded ever so imperfectly, of the loftier Mind necessarily, and universally, being a Social Mind (rather than the hencetoforth used Fregean, or logical, adjectives at the service of clarity and provocation).

As Lance says: 'Stay Tuned'.


A god an do it. But how, tell me,
should a man follow him through that narrow lyre?
His mind is torn in two. At the crossing
of two heartways you will find no temple for Apollo.

Song, as you teach it, is no yearning,
no wooing for something that can be finally attained;
song is being. Easy for a God.
But when are we? And when will he turn

the earth and the stars to our being?
This is not about your loving, young man,
even if your voice exploded from your mouth;

learn to forget that you ever sang. It fades away.
To sing in truth is a different breath.
A breath of nothing. A breeze of god. A wind."

Whilst writing this I was listening to (yes, you can guess) Rautavaara, above for details.

12:03 Gepost door Guido Nius in Muziek | Permalink | Commentaren (0) | Tags: identity, tones, mind-mind dualism, optimism, rilke |  Facebook |

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