The arts of writing and the arts of creation and performance, over their whole range, are parts of the cultural process in all the different ways, the different sectors, that I have been seeking to describe. They contribute to the effective dominant culture and are a central articulation of it. They embody residual meanings and values, not all of which are incorporated, though many are. They express also and significantly some emergent practices and meanings, yet some of these may eventually be incorporated, as they reach people and begin to move them.
A relation of content may be mere reflection, but a relation of structure, often occurring where there is no apparent relation of content, can show us the organizing principle by which a particular view of the world, and from that the coherence of the social group which maintains it, really operates in consciousness.
Whatever might ‘cause’ an emotion – and the roots of the causes of emotion are a source of debate – once it gets going, it isn’t just a thought process. Emotion is meaty and full of pumping hormones and breath pattern alterations and gestures and rushes of fluid. Chemicals get released. Chemicals get washed away. Heart rates speed up and slow down. Our breath rises and falls and its patterns change. Digestion patterns speed up or slow down or get interrupted. What happens in the body affects the body. What happens in the body affects the voice.
Few today believe in progress as an inevitable law of human history. Whereas capitalism could once convince many that the future looked bright, such assurances are now hollow. The future as most imagine it is rising seas and wildfire, refugees at the borders and unemployed in the streets, killer drones and total surveillance. We lack any ability to imagine utopia, ambiguous or otherwise.
…music has – indeed, music arguably is – the capacity to create a set of common affects, enabling otherwise disparate bodies to resonate in harmony, with political consequences that can be either progressive or reactionary depending on circumstances.