Everyone is always more concerned with the inappropriate lyrics of contemporary pop music, but this article says that Plato and Aristotle “claimed that people generally and the young especially are influenced most powerfully not by the words of a song but by the music itself—the rhythm, harmony and tune.” The philosophers are not claiming that music forces the listener to do bad acts, but rather “they contend that music moves the passions,” which can make the listener have a harder time discerning right from wrong.
Plato and Aristotle believe the ultimate happiness is leisure time, but the question arises, does pop music “incapacitate the young for the kind of leisure that is at once more reasoned and truly fulfilling?” Critics today do not concern themselves enough with the effects pop music has on the human soul. The author claims that “intercourse itself is presented not only as a source of physical pleasure but also as an occasion for self-assertion, as a handy means of gratifying the body with the aid of another while simultaneously asserting one’s self by degrading that other” in today’s pop music. There is an obvious need for a call to virtue.
C.S. Lewis said that “civilization can only be preserved by people who care about things higher than civilization.” I think this is an amazing quote…we can only survive as a wholesome society if aspects in our culture, like music, reflect goodness.
This link makes some good points about music and morality, but also takes an odd twist on the flaws in contemporary pop music. He introduces the post by quoting Plato, who claimed that music expresses and encourages vice and virtue, with which I agree. He then makes the point that we live in an era in which “judging” someone is the ultimate evil, which I think is so true. Nobody can even make a comment about the obviously messed up ways of our culture with our being called a judger.
The author uses dancing to show that pop music nowadays is not music we listen to but rather music that takes over us. We are forced to dance rather than dancing with it. Therefore “if you do submit, the moral qualities of the music vanish behind the excitement; if you listen, however, and listen critically as I have been suggesting, you will discern those moral qualities.” In other words, the immoral themes of many current songs is drilled in our brains and is more able to influence our lives because of the type of rhythm and the extent to which we listen to it.
“Music is a moral law. It gives soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination, and charm and gaiety to life and to everything.” -Plato
I love this quote because it exhibits the beauty and purpose of music. The fact that Plato, one of the most brilliant minds, was able to see how powerful music really is makes it that more meaningful. There is something beautiful to music and there is a reason we blast it through our speakers everywhere we go. It isn’t just an unexplained feeling or a coincidence. Nowadays, the common way is to ignore the reason and rhyme that is behind our entire existence. Everything that is is for no reason. But God had and has a plan for everything that is, and to turn a blind eye to that is ignorant. The same goes for music. There are reasons that we enjoy it so much and it has been so prevalent throughout history…..
“Music can both establish and destroy morality. For no path is more open to the soul for the formation thereof than through the ears. Therefore when the rhythms and modes have penetrated even to the soul through these organs, it cannot be doubted that they affect the soul with their own character and conform it to themselves.” -Anicius Boethius
Boethius was a philosopher in the 6th century. I fins it very interesting that even then the effect of music was relevant. If we have known this for so long, there is no reason why we shouldn’t be more careful. It is an accepted fact that we are vulnerable to music. The answer to why that is is still up in the air…