Tuesday, February 17, 2009


In class the other day, Dr. Sexson stated that enthusiastic meant one was "possessed by the gods." I consider myself an agnostic, and when I compared his statement with my own idea of "enthusiasm" I realized that regardless of beliefs, the word enthusiasm relates directly to the notion of human spirit. When I am enthusiastic about something, it is not a form of excitement, or pleasure, nor is it a feeling which resulted from any material entity whatsoever. When I am truly enthusiastic, the closest description of how I feel is that I have a perfect serenity which I sense throughout my whole body. However, this serenity often takes the form of the overwhelming desire to act on the "gut feeling" which is the source of my enthusiasm. This feeling has a pattern, albeit difficult to detect, but a pattern nonetheless. I have discovered that when I am at the closest proximity to actual reality rather than projecting conceptions of the past, my enthusiasm level is at it's highest. Examples, as they exist in my consciosness, strangely include my favorite activities. Skiing is easily first on the list. Nothing brings me closer to reality than pointing my feet down a hill with the understanding that every movement I make determines whether or not I will still exist five minutes later. Coincidentally, music is my next source of enthusiasm. Hmm, it seems like Dr. Sexson's statement about music being the heart and soul of who we are has some sort of connection with enthusiasm. My list of enthusiasm could go on for pages, but what about other peoples' ideas of this underlying feeling?
In his novel "Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintainence," Robert Pirsig calls it quality, the underlying, unnoticed entity which creates our ideas of waking life. According to Antigone, enthusiasm is rooted in her inherent feelings which are created by the gods. She follows her instinct with utter enthusiasm as she completes the burial of her brother, because even in the face of death, she listens to the dictations of her spirit.

"Be Brave. You are alive. Already my soul is dead. It has gone to help those who died before me."

"It is the same for me, exactly. Something divine lays me to sleep."

"Look what these wretched men are doing to me, for my pure reverence!"

Thursday, February 5, 2009


Although it was discussed a few lecture periods back, I am still thinking about what Dr. Sexson said about music. "All music is sacred," and "music is the heart and soul of who we are. Everyone is addicted to it at one point or another." I think the reason I have been contemplating these ideas of music so much is because I am at a period in my life where I am fully and hopelessly addicted to it. When I am not in class, I probably have my headphones in, with the volume turned up a little too high. The worst part of it is that the more music I am exposed to and the more concerts I see, the more addicted I get.

After our class period on Jan. 30, I began to wonder why I actually love music so much? The only answer I could come up with is that it makes me feel entirely content on a level far above any other entity. Hmmm, I must not be the only person to feel this way because the importance of music has been expressed since the very beginning, with Hermes playing the role of original conductor. As I fully realized just how important music is to me, I began to wonder what role music plays in the life of others. Interestingly, I decided to go to my stumbleupon tool bar (if you don't know what this is, look into it, stumbleupon.com) and see what random internet page happened to pop up. This was what it took me to:
This quote uses some pretty strong language when it calls conscious thought a tyranny, but I found it very interesting. Was the first music simply created as a distraction from the endless questions which threaten to send us all into an existential dilema at some point or another?

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

The University Mysteries

In Friday's lecture, Dr. Sexson stated that "going to class is as religious an experience as the initiation into the Eleusinian Mysteries." At the time, I was of course skeptical. I don't think my brain has quite adapted to the notion of seeing everything in terms of the past. However, after I opened up my notebook and began to review what I had written in class, the quote I hastily scribbled down earlier struck me in a completely different way. I began to see how the Greek's ritual of vague phrases and exclusive initiation is not so different from the patterns our society enacts subconsciously every day. According to pantheon.org (which is a very helpful site by the way) the purpose of the Eleusinian Mysteries was "[...]a fulfilling and happy afterlife."

When I read this, Dr. Sexon's quote became crystal clear. The Eleusinian Mysteries were not some far-fetched, primitive ceremonies. They were simply a different version of the exact same things humans are still doing to this day. Instead of participating in an exclusive ritual devoted to the grain and fertility goddess, we now devote our time to an institution which will teach us to circumvent the dependence on supernatural beings and create the crops ourselves.

Humans are still searching for that "fulfilling and happy afterlife" as well. The act of going to any relgious institution for spiritual enlightenment is the same exact concept as what took place in the Eleusinian Mysteries. How is muttering a few words and enacting a scene any more extravagent or abusrd than the singing, shouting, and dancing that goes on every Sunday morning around the world? To answer my own question, it's not. I'm sure the religious practices of today would have been equally if not more confusing to the Anceint Greeks then their mysteries are to us. It's just our circumstantially bound perspective that makes the Eleusinion Mysteries seem so abstract and unrelated to our own ideas of religion and ritual.

Well, on that note I'm gonna go to sleep because I have a long day of rituals beginning in about 5 hours. Peace.