january 8th, 2023

~ {link} ~

the topic of this post is the eccentric little snippet of audio that i have uploaded above. but before i
begin the post proper, i think i need to preface it with three short things that i have written in the past


1. november 2nd, 2022

that belief in God can bring comfort to people feels very sweet for the secular reality that it reaffirms which
is that for a human being things can be okay as long as on even the most general level there is someone

2. june 24th, 2022

it just clicked for me that systematically voicing gratitude for everything one eats as in the style of a table prayer
is actually a pretty romantic thing & the idea just got knocked out of my head at an early age since all my exposure
to it was really stiff, awkward, externally prescribed ritual oriented around a being i'd quickly decided didn't
exist... every
humanistic quality that i could've taken away from childhood exposure to religion just got
overrode by my dissatisfaction with the phoniness of the supernatural justifications, in tandem
with having never bothered to think about it harder due to privilege i guess

3. excerpt from a post on december 20th, 2022 {ctrl-f "drab"}

how can people believe in God & still be all drab & dull ? like, come on, they didn't even have to go through
that whole detour, they had the whole world personified for them from the outset, the whole world gets to
be like a harmonious song constantly singing to them that they'll never be alone, they had that grand
excuse for wonder [& romanticism] handed to them & look what they're doing with it...

the post proper

1. what is the origin of the little snippet of audio?

my pal from Iowa came down & stayed with me for about ten days. one day, as i was sleep, he walked to the mall
& looked through a bunch of clearance cds. he came back with a handful of them. one of them was a children's
cd titled all about love, credited not to any artist or group but to a kind of franchise called Music Machine

all about love on youtube

all of the songs on the album are playful explorations & celebrations
of love. not in any especially in-depth ways, it is just a goofy
children's album, & not an especially appealing one

the album has a framing device established by dialogue between the songs, featuring two children & "the
mechanic," keeper of the "music machine," which takes in whatever is fed into it & spits out songs.
naturally, these songs are the ones on the cd. the audio file that i've uploaded is what plays each
time the music machine is at work in the moments before a transition into its next song

2. okay, why are you writing about ?

first, for context: all about love is a Christian album. i'll confess to having skimmed a fair amount through it on my sole listen, so
i cannot say exactly how much this is interwoven throughout the lyrics & so on, whether it is constantly proclaiming the love of
God or just a more general celebration of love with Christian sentiment. the final song is titled i love you, lord jesus, in any case


today, in my room, i was thinking about this sound effect, & i thought, "why, from the perspective of the people who created this
album, should the music machine chant & chatter as it works? is it the machine that's chattering? it shows no other signs of
personality or anthropomorphization, from what i can tell. & if that isn't the machine chattering, who the heck is it?
no one? are those voices that play just total abstractions, vocalizations woven into the frame of the story itself?"

the obvious answer to my question is that it is a children's record, & as embellishment those chants &
chatters are just fun & silly. but why are they fun & silly? one can imagine the creators producing the
sound effect on the understanding that it's clearly fun & silly, but without understanding why exactly

then i got a fun idea that made me smile & feel good. obviously it's not the
only possible explanation of why it's fun & silly, but it's one that i liked

this is where the preface of the post is relevant!

maybe it works because... it services the depiction of this little world where there's just a bit of humanity
endemic in everything! it's the same principle as talking animals! it's the same principle as a fantasy
landscape where everything is just a little more infused with beauty & sapience & intent! it's all the
loneliness & love & the human condition of sociality & all of that! it's the same mechanic as God!

& what struck me about this was that the usage of this sound effect is just a production detail, with no direct relation
to the record's overarching Christian messaging. & i like that! i like that the creators made a production decision that
unconsciously utilized the same underlying mechanic as that of their overarching conscious intent for the record!

it made me smile & feel good because of the way it reinforced that, i
don't know, we are God, God is love, love is us, whatever. you get it

more thoughts

one final angle on this:

i think this general topic of seeing ourselves outside ourselves, of some idealistic world infused with humanity
in every crevice, plays off interestingly against the idea that, in some places, like in the thick of a city,
humanity can no longer look in any direction without seeing itself... it's kinda like that dream of an
animated landscape, of seeing ourselves reflected in the world always, has been made real

only, somehow, it's not actually a good thing, i think. because the world itself being made communicative always
carried the risk of the world itself being made dishonest. & so it envelops everyone, fully & unwaveringly, in
the process of society's constant reification of its own ways of functioning. the world isn't a self-portrait
but one painted automatically by the effects of highly abstracted & unconscious collective social
activity... how much does it all really count for if we live in a totally alienated landscape?

i guess one could have all this reasoning culminate at some final metaphorical summary, like "the
world dominated by the economy is a perversion of what would otherwise be the same thing as God,"
or something? or some distinction between conscious love & unconscious love? or trying to make
some case that love must be conscious? i really don't know, i don't know what it all means


i just remembered one last thing that i wrote in the past. i'll just put that at the end here:

1. december 6th, 2020

emotional over something hard to articulate about [an illustration of] cows eating grass in a children's book, & it's presented in a very
unconditional way but you can acknowledge that it's art made by people who are like the cows in that they have to eat food because nature
constantly tries to tear every living thing apart by naturally redistributing their energy so they have to eat food & store energy as atp,
& that's all implied in the drawing but not really portrayed in it. the drawing feels unconditional, cows just eat grass, that's it

& the scene it's portraying makes perfect sense, there can't be any way for everything to be other than what it's showing you.
[there never
would have been a real world without cows eating grass.] people arising from the same evolutionary process as cows & portraying[,
through the authorship of this children's book,] a process that sustains them as an ongoing cyclical process of birth & death, just
[the] cows. then you have the book itself as a tool in that process, to mentally nourish children. [&] i guess the unstoppable
nature of the
[whole global life] process really does make the phenomenon of cows eating grass unconditional

&, like if you want the drawing to ostentatiously represent death anxiety, or, nihilism, or, love, people taking care of each
other, it can because everything is a tangled ball. but it's pretending it can't represent any of those things. cows just eat grass

this feels weird as an unwieldy paragraph of declarative text but good as a visceral feeling