Autobiography

A PHILOSHOPICAL INTERLUDE

Me At 45Before I continue with the next part of this story - the years dealing with the production of the band's first album, In the region Of The Summer Stars, until the last shows with Steve Stewart in 1988, I want to move forward in time to the mid 1990's, my years of confusion and self doubt. So much of what occurred in the early days of The Enid will be more easily understood by the reader with the benefit of some insight into the future "me".

Composing music does not come easily for me. In fact it is a struggle and I find both the writing and the recording process traumatic and exhausting. Not only do I find myself continually questioning the quality and merits of my work as I am doing it, I often cannot bear to listen to any of it when its finished for many months;  years, even. So why do I do it? Probably because I am mad!

Although "Art" as such is largely ignored by most people, it is all around us and it plays a crucial role in not only reflecting the human condition but also by the process of feedback, determining it. For me, the most important effect (as differentiated from purpose) of art is that it often reveals profound truths about the world without ever having to resort to facts.

The phenomenon of creativity is the prime manifestation of what is to be human. And love, (in all its qualitative forms), is the outward sign of the inner spiritual energy that drives the process. Not only is artistic expression a specific aspect of this phenomenon, it is also sometimes the only way in which a person can be creative thus making such artistic endeavour compulsive.

One cannot fail to be deeply moved when listening to the last piano works of the aged Johannes Brahms. His unrequited lifelong love for his best friend’s wife, Clara Schumann, is expressed in these works with such overwhelming tenderness and surrender to pain, that we are somehow made privy to an intimacy of a friendship truly made in heaven which both substitutes for and transcends sexual consummation.

In a different example, the naughty Richard Wagner, having run off with the wife of Hans Von Bulow, his best friend, sought to resolve his guilt in his operas Tristan and Isolde and more specifically in Act Two of Parsifal. Wagner’s approach is subtle in that he is somehow able to both atone for and justify this act of betrayal in the same breath. As one might expect from such a gigantic creative genius, he succeeds in enlightening us all with his insight into the human condition. The contents of these works are nothing less than the precursor to the psychology later developed by Freud and Jung.

The mystery of libido and the male dynamic lies at the heart of all compulsive artistic endeavour and is the key to understanding the true purpose of creativity in mankind. “What about womankind?” - I hear a strident call from the politically correct gallery. (The unmitigated catastrophe of PC, Liberalism and "The Closing Of The American Mind" constitute the subject another story for another day)

This type of knee-jerk reaction demonstrates that the caller does not understand the components of the human psyche. As Richard Wagner intuited, the male dynamic is just as present in woman and has its feminine counterpart (just as present in man). This idea has its roots in our most distant mythic past and has been immortalised by Carl Jung in his concept of archetypes, specifically Animus and Anima - the Spear and the Vessel (wound) - the difference between “wilfulness” and “willingness”. [I refer you to the probably best layman’s book about Jung “Jung And The Story Of Our Time” by Laurens van de Post].

Since my early years, I been a compulsive thinker and driven to “do” music for reasons I have only lately sought to understand. In my own case, the “doing” of art rather than the “being” an artist has been a ritual healing process. A procreative act. The musical works I have created are my children. They are also allegorical confessionals that contain the answers to questions which I am still afraid to ask myself. My early adulthood was  characterised by such stuff as obsessive love, betrayal, rejection, sexual jealousy and loneliness. I say this not out of self-pity but as simple fact. Although I wished that my friendships might be free and easy, without the unwanted intensity of emotion and longing which were so much a feature of my personality, I intuitively knew I would just have to except things the way they were and wait for sunnier days.

As I waited, I pondered the underlying dynamics of my condition. Because I am a so- called “enlightened” homosexual, I shall probably always feel incomplete emotionally. This knowledge in itself has not been a source of misery for me although much of my behaviour in connection with it has. I have always been “well adjusted” to being gay and have suffered none of the guilt or repression so characteristic of people with my sexual orientation growing up in a largely hostile and uncomprehending social environment.

The real problem for me has been in learning to love myself for who and what I am rather than in spite of it. I have never really taken to heart what I know with my head, that "ideals are like the stars which guide the mariner". It has been the falling short, the lack of perfection in myself (and therefore my inability to tolerate it in others), my inability to live by self set ideal standards of love and friendship that have caused me the most trouble. Writing music has enabled me to make a map of my psychological makeup without having to confront head on those fearful “questions” I have already mentioned.

I have since learned that what seemed incomplete cannot have been so by definition. How can a particular person be less than that particular person? The conscious sense of I AM is a completely holistic experience of being. All that remains is the journey of greater becoming.

It seems to me that there is no such thing as an unselfish act or an unselfish thought. There is only “do to others as you would have them do to you” and “Love your neighbour as you love yourself”. These ideals (or guiding lights) transfigure human relationships in the context of man's unavoidable selfishness. This can be the only purpose and the only meaning of love. For if the “self” did not exist, then love would have no meaning and therefore no existence. I now know, that the only way we humans can expect to achieve maturity and emotional security is by a process of natural development and growth.

And my sunnier days did eventually arrive.

To be continued

 
 
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