Monday, October 29, 2012

SHORT FEATURE: KATE BUSH – EXPERIMENT IV

The attempt to read through the Catechism in one year as part of the Year of Faith continues, and as often happens around these parts, my brain is making some pretty weird pop culture associations. For instance, the reading for Day 15 immediately brought to mind this old sci-fi influenced music video…

So, I suppose you might be wondering what in the world a woman warbling about weaponized sound could possibly have to do with the Catechism? Well, just take a gander at paragraph 102:

“Through all the words of Sacred Scripture, God speaks only one single Word, his one Utterance in whom he expresses himself completely: You recall that one and the same Word of God extends throughout Scripture, that it is one and the same Utterance that resounds in the mouths of all the sacred writers, since he who was in the beginning God with God has no need of separate syllables; for he is not subject to time.”

I’m pretty sure you can spot the dichotomy that set my mind to musing. While Kate’s song is about a single manmade sound that induces instant death, the Catechism, riffing on St. Augustine, describes The Word as a single-syllable utterance by God that echoes throughout eternity and brings life to us all. You know, the Catechism might not delve into poetic territory too often, but that image of Jesus as God’s single note that sparks all of creation is vividly expressive. Is it any wonder that C. S. Lewis appears to have co-opted Augustine’s train of thought with his description of Aslan’s creation of Narnia through the use of song in The Magician’s Nephew.

“In the darkness something was happening at last. A voice had begun to sing… Its lower notes were deep enough to be the voice of the earth herself. There were no words. There was hardly even a tune. But it was, beyond comparison, the most beautiful noise ever heard.”

Nice, huh? I like that there’s passages in the Catechism that brings these type of associations to mind. It’s too easy to fall into the trap of thinking that what we’re reading through is nothing more than a bloodless textbook when in fact it can be a guide to some of the most beautiful things that “whoever has ears ought to hear.”

8 comments:

Cari said...

Boom.
This post right here is why everyone should read your blog.

Rocket Scientist said...

I agree!

EegahInc said...

Thanks for the kind comments. I have to say though, this post is really proof you should pray before you blog. I actually had a long diatribe on OM I was about to tack onto this, but after my nightly rosary something said just post it the way it is.

romishgraffiti said...

Never knew much about Kate Bush except that she is unflaggingly photogenic and that she had some kind of thing with Peter Gabriel.

As far as the single sound that kills instantly, how about sound that kills over time? Cardinal Ratzinger:

On the one hand, there is pop music, which is certainly no longer supported by the people in the ancient sense (populus). It is aimed at the phenomenon of the masses, is industrially produced, and ultimately has to be described as a cult of the banal. “Rock”, on the other hand, is the expression of elemental passions, and at rock festivals it assumes a cultic character, a form of worship, in fact, in opposition to Christian worship. People are, so to speak, released from themselves by the emotional shock of rhythm, noise, and special lighting effects. However, in the ecstasy of having all their defenses torn down, the participants sink, as it were, beneath the elemental force of the universe. The music of the Holy Spirit’s sober inebriation seems to have little chance when self has become a prison, the mind is a shackle, and breaking out from both appears as a true promise of redemption that can be tasted at least for a few moments.”

And while we are at it, I notice in the video we get the trope of the reluctant scientist being pressured into contriving morally repugnant weapons for the military. The fact is, while you will get a few anti-war squawks from them, scientists have been the enthusiastic vanguard of abortion, IVF, ESCR, and rewriting the moral codes to accommodate sexual perversion. (See Percy's Love in the Ruins.

Scott W.

Anonymous said...

Scott, one of my profs, a devout Catholic, put it more succinctly when teaching "The Bacchae": "Dionysus is the only pagan god who was real. At heavy metal concerts, the simultaneous experience of exaltation and visceral self-hatred is exactly the dionysian religious experience."

Xena Catolica

EegahInc said...

This is probably opening a can of worms, but the tone of some (NOT ALL) of the charismatic concert-style services I attended during my protestant days would fit in with that description of the dionysian religious experience.

Cari said...

Awwww man....no one bit at the charismatic chum in the water? *sigh*

EegahInc said...

Well, again, I'm not picking on all charismatic churches. But there are some... I attended one Pentecostal church in particular that had lots of yelling and dancing and collapsing (being slain in the spirit) and continuous speaking in tounges (which I never could manage). It was as exhausting as any rock concert I've ever been to. But, in all seriousness, I can't tell you anything they taught other than you weren't a real Christian if you didn't speak in tounges (I don't know if that belief is common to all Pentecostals or just that particular church). It was pretty dionysian in my experience.