14 April, 2007

There is one thing that nags at me about the more vocal and militant groups of atheists, which is that they always seem to be caught-up in disproving god. It's an old joke I used to tell whenever people would ask me about my religious persuasions. I would say that I wasn't really an atheist because they are too busy trying to prove that god exists. Yeah, I know. It's a dumb joke, but my point was that vocal atheists always seemed to be saying god this and god that and getting into all kinds of reasons regarding why there really wasn't one. So, for people who said they didn't believe there was such a thing, they sure seemed to spend a lot of their time mentioning the name. I mean, if you didn't believe in the fellow, then why talk about it so much.

It's not something I do. Spend a lot of time talking or thinking about it. With only these few little journal entries to the contrary. But, I will argue that they were on specific points. Commenting on the argument that a missionary is just like a doctor visiting a third world country being one specific example. Evolution being a somewhat related example. Commenting on the trustworthiness of atheists. Talking about the inability to imagine death is sort of related since I mentioned that I wasn't of the heaven and hell school of thought. Oh, and the one about how a really good trick for the devil would be to convince people that they were going to heaven even though they were doing stuff like stealing money, beating up homosexuals, and toilet papering abortion clinics. There are probably more, but those are the main ones I can remember. So, that really isn't very many times I've drifted into the topic out of all the journal entries that I've posted on this here website.

So, it bothered me when I read this guy making a point about how we are all atheists when it comes to say the Ancient Greek Gods like Zeus and Athena and whatnot. It is kind of a clever point, I will admit. I figure the hope is that it will get people to feel a little bit like an atheist themselves and maybe start to think that those dirty atheists aren't so bad after all. The only problem being that it is such a clever point that it is really easy to miss. In fact, the first thing I thought was that it was a conversion argument. If you will admit to being an atheist about the Greek Gods, then it may not be too much of a stretch to realize that you are an atheist about all gods.

All of which reminded me of a point I tried to make a while back. In fact, it was my point in the journal entry when I mentioned the missionary/doctor analogy. My point, more or less, being that we shouldn't be arguing. Nobody learns anything. Nobody converts anybody. People only get more and more defensive and uptight.

This isn't to say that people shouldn't talk. It isn't to mean that there aren't points to be made. I understand that Abraham Lincoln once famously said something about the right to swing your fist at another person's nose. So, I'm about to elaborate on that argument until it looses all respectability.

You can stand there, flailing your arms wildly about all you want. While it is true that it may make me feel slightly uncomfortable watching you flail about since I don't know what you are going to do next. As long as all you are doing is standing there with your arms in motion, I'm good. Now, if you start to walk in my general direction while continuing to swing away like that, I'm going to get a little uncomfortable. If you get really close, I'm going to be get very uncomfortable. If you stand so close that you actually connect with all the flailing and swinging, then we've got a big problem.

It reminds me of a bit from the Simpsons where Bart stood, blocking the doorway, and told Lisa that she could leave the room but he was going to be pinwheeling his arms around the whole time. If she just happened to get hit, well that was her problem. She replied that she was going to walk out kicking her foot the whole time, and if she just happened to kick Bart, well that was his problem.

Which is kind of how it can all feel at times. Everybody is flailing their arms, and some people are playing chicken, seeing how close they can get before there is contact.

So, while things like putting "In God We Trust" on money is a flailing arms kind of thing, it doesn't really bother me. Complaining about it is almost like walking toward the flailing man, anyway. Thing to remember here is that a lot of people like seeing those words on the money. The funny thing about it is it was only done to show how we were better than those damn communist bastards or something.

Okay, I know I've got a point around here somewhere. Oh, right, this is kind of a no win argument. Not just the money thing. That was just an example. Forget about the money thing.

It's an argument. We need to stop arguing. We all need to realize that people believe different things. We need tolerance and not contempt on all sides.

Or, as I said before, we don't all agree, but we are all still here.

28 April, 2007

The only problem with working on something you don't want to provide a lot of random updates about is the fact that you wind up writing journal entries on some damn topic or other. This can be seen in some of the more recent entries I've done. Yes, I really should stay away from the topical bull-crap. Doesn't do anybody any good. Before you know it, I'll be discussing politics. Oh, horror.

The main thing is that I have been continuing to work on music, and there really hasn't been that much I've felt like saying. After all, how many times can you say that you are half-way through the second movement or something like that? But mostly, I didn't want to starting going on and on about how the new piano sonatina was going only to stall out and suddenly months are passing before there are any more updates.

So, yeah, I'm two-thirds of the way through my third piano sonatina, and if it just takes me less than a year to finish I'll be very happy. The Sonatina in D minor took a year. The Sonatina in F minor took a year, which really kind of pisses me off more than just a little. I'm really hoping I can finish this Sonatina in A Major before December, which if memory serves would mark the one year anniversary of the Sonatina in F minor.

I can sort of understand the Sonatina in D minor taking as long as it did to write. It was the first one back. There was a lot of rust and cobwebs to deal with. There was also a lot of crap going on at work, but that is neither here nor there. Oh, yeah, and I was still working on String Finger Theatre. So, I can understand that first one taking its sweet time. Doesn't mean it wasn't frustrating as hell. I mean I think I finished the first movement in something like two weeks. The second took a little longer, and the finale just took for freaking forever, which really pissed me off because it was the shortest part of the whole sonatina.

So, yeah, I'm working on a piano sonatina in A Major. The first two movements have a lot of chordal accompaniment because I wanted to push my luck. Of course, for the last movement, I've decided against that. I figure the first two are heavy enough with plunked cords and shit. Lighten up the texture and shit. See how it goes.

I'm still working on these sonatinas basically by writing out the melody first, which I'm starting to notice a limitation of. The melodies are too smooth. There aren't enough leaps and bounds and odd jumps, and I'm sticking too closely to whatever key I happen to be in at the time.

I would much rather approach the thing more holistically, for lack of a better word. Melody and harmony conspiring together. I think it would help in the jumps and bumps if I did that. Not that what I just wrote probably makes an ounce of sense to anybody outside of myself. That's the problem with writing out loud what I've been thinking in my own little head using my own little shorthand understanding of what I mean.

So, yeah, I'm more-or-less two thirds of the way through a piano sonatina in A Major. The plan is to do two more keyed sonatinas after this one. Then, I haven't quite decided how I want to proceed. I may decide on a full blown keyed sonata. I may throw in another instrument. The flute, oboe, violin and cello all spring to mind as possible choices for a sonata. I'm also kicking around doing some single movement medium to longer form piano works. I may even stretch back into going off key, but I'm still enjoying working in the world of keys and shit as much because I've always wanted to try as everybody saying you cannot do that backwards shit.

I still say it isn't enough just to study the fucking music. You actually have to write some of it yourself, and you cannot get hung up on the details of how it was done. There is a big difference between using the form and imitating it.

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