Eating Skittles, drinking pineapple juice, and writing the outline for a paper on why the Shoah was 1. a betrayal and 2. a fulfillment of modernity.

  • Distortion of Enlightenment political theorists (Rousseau and Locke): 1. Natural liberty replaced with civic liberty. 2. Property rights –> suffrage worked against European Jews. 3. Aryan blood, in lieu of consent by inclusion, became the signature on the social contract.
  • Science as a utilitarian pursuit of progress (Bacon): rational questions with “final solutions”
  • A Protestant work ethic producing “specialists with spirit, sensualists without heart” (Weber): workers predisposed to finding the moral value of their existence in the technical performance of their labor with little to no consideration of the moral outcomes of actions.
  • Industrialization as a vehicle for human debasement: technical division and specialization of labor resulting in the commodification of man by other man to be bent and wielded to his purpose, ultimately losing his fundamental right to life.
  • The zeal of religion transferred in the French Revolution to one of unbridled modern nationalism – retaining the force of cohesion for a population.

It’s 1:30 am, but I’m more happy about this assignment than anything else I’ve done for a grade in the past 6 months.

That is all.

  • Track Name

    Black Motorcycle

  • Album

    The Emirati Album

  • Artist

    Jon Thompson

People often are disappointed when they ask me to play “Someone Like You” or another song making the popular rounds these days. I have to tell them, politely but firmly, that I don’t spend much time concerning myself with how to play the music of others.

Songs, after all, are stories. On one hand, you can spend your whole life learning someone else’s stories, mastering them to technical perfection. Or you can create and tell your own – a dangerous proposition, I know, since it involves getting messy and taking risks that might result in failure. 

To me, my status as a musician has always had so little to do with technical proficiency and so much more to do with creativity and freedom. I probably feel more free at the keyboard of this Kawai grand than I do anywhere else on the planet. And here, I conjure up and process the memories I don’t know how to label.

I have to remember that I came into this world in the arms of my mother, have since laid more than once in the arms of a lover, and one day I will die in the arms of still another. I have to remember that I’ve sinned and cussed and drank and smoked, and yet I still have a baby face and a childlike innocence by some divine grace smiling down upon me. I have to remember that I’ve fumbled away a thousand opportunities but I’m still working towards a brighter future after today. I have to remember that I am inherently flawed despite my thirst for perfection. I have to remember it all, and I remember it by bringing it to life on a piano.

I glanced at my music library the other day. It turns out that I’ve recorded 24 unique hours of my own music in the past four years. I’ve probably written 100+ songs. I’d call that a pretty solid output. 

I like this song too. It came directly on the heels of Narcissus, and I mean that I recorded it in one improvised shot within minutes of finishing the previous session. An outgrowth of a little pain with a lot of inspiration is what this is. It’s titled Black Motorcycle, because it seems solitary, sleek, and could carry me across a continent if you add saddlebags and a bed roll.

Let’s ride.

  • Track Name

    Narcissus

  • Album

    The Emirati Album

  • Artist

    Jon Thompson

I’ve developed a unique habit this semester. I emerge from my modern philosophy class on Monday and Wednesday afternoons, my mind lodged with two-hundred-year-old thought, and for lack of a better medium to release myself from the heaviness, I sit down at the piano to write music.

On this day, we had read Nietzsche, and I was struggling with the convincing argument for nihilism. I saw clearly how humanity overstates the importance of its own existence. In fact, out of nothingness, we had created aim, unity, and truth – illusions that we constantly were constructing, as bees in a beehive. I felt dead, as though the ballast had been stolen from my folds.

I needed to make sounds. So I did. This is the first recording from that session – unedited, unrestrained, passionate, fully improvised.

  • Track Name

    Vancouver

  • Album

    Sketches For My Sweetheart The Drunk

  • Artist

    Jeff Buckley

Buckley is the one young death that pains me the most. Not being able to see him live in concert will forever be a thorn in my side.

Here. Have some Rocky Mountains and the Garden of the Gods while I sleep in the desert and finish my last month of school in the Middle East.
Zoom Info
Camera
Canon EOS REBEL T3
ISO
100
Aperture
f/3.5
Exposure
1/2500th
Focal Length
27mm

Here. Have some Rocky Mountains and the Garden of the Gods while I sleep in the desert and finish my last month of school in the Middle East.

I’m reading the Bible with a renewed curiosity this week. Though I’m an outspoken Christian, scriptural study is not a common habit of mine. Paul’s Epistle to the Romans, in particular, is a very good read for me in this time, particularly this following selection out of Chapter 4:

"And endurance (fortitude) develops maturity of character (approved faith and tried integrity). And character [of this sort] produces [the habit of] joyful and confident hope of eternal salvation."

I’m typically a long-suffering person; I am persistent and principled. But recently, I’ve been tested in this aspect of my life. My faith, both in a God and in a purpose for living, has been worn down to the nub.

I thought I was losing my religion and my principles-based orientation in the world. And maybe I was. But Paul writes here that endurance in such times produces maturity (literally, an approved faith and confirmed integrity). I don’t think anyone who walks the road that I am walking comes out smelling fully like roses on the other side, but the fact that I’m still walking seems to critically count for something. What I’m looking for now is this maturity to produce a habit of joy and confidence in who I am – if I take my faith seriously, who I am is a person redeemed by the salvation of a Messiah.

Call me dogmatic, but I believe that this transformation is possible. Critics will argue that Christianity is a religion of the feeble and deluded, and humanistically, I suppose they have a point. But I know God, through my mind and through my spirit, and this is one thing you’ll never be able to argue me away from, because I require no objective proof.

So this is my journey, abbreviated. I’m far from perfect, but I suppose that’s not the standard I am looking for in the first place. You might find my musings overly conservative or uncomfortably religious, but in my honest opinion, if you’re not questioning who you are and why you’re that way, you have much more cause for discomfort than do I.

Anyways, have a nice Tuesday. Catch you on the flip side with more Istanbul and UAE pictures, along with some new songs I’ve written.

New policy: no schoolwork past 10:00 pm; from then until bed is my time.

Justification: despite my busyness as an undergrad, I need some designated time to step away from the workload and recharge.

Likelihood of successful implementation: essentially nil.

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