"It's amazing how much 'mature wisdom' resembles being too tired." --Robert Heinlein

The Church of Reality




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Insights from Lost & Found

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Dead Performance

Recording music is like drowning that prehistoric dragonfly in amber and displaying it on a shelf millions of years later, excised from its context. It's dead. It's never going to sound different, it's never going to grow. Recording music fossilizes sound, trapping us in a past.

But, then, so is writing, a form of recorded speech, it's dead. As soon as I finish typing this, it's dead. As a photograph is dead, a motion picture is dead. A painting or sculpture is dead. I never thought of it all this way before, but if you aren't interacting with others, give-and-take in real time, you're surrounding yourself with the dead.

Growing up, when I spent my school bus commute reading books instead of interacting with my fellow students, I was retreating into a world of the dead. More literally so when reading an author who was no longer alive, but the published work of a living author is no less dead. Think about what we mean when we say we're attending a "live" performance. How did that adjective come to fit our description? Perhaps when recordings first arose, people experienced them as voices of the dead.

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