This is dedicated to Mike, who recently disseminated some reflections from Erik Satie:
“We cannot doubt that animals like and practice music,” Satie wrote. He further proposed that this system, divergent from ours, is inherited; therefore, imitation. Birds are endowed: “the beak brings them close to the clarionette, and the flageolet,” whilst fish: “these poor beasts cannot even think of it.”
Mike proffered that it was moderately Emersonian. Whilst Emerson did not compose (pun intended) extensively on music, he frequently drew comparisons between nature and art; my cognition and his (and now Mike’s) often meeting and converging in what I have previously termed a “thread of interconnectivity.”
There exists a palpable correlation between the animals of Satie and Emerson’s Nature. The origins of language — ideograms — were dependent upon nature; therefore, these enduringly and unremittingly reach and speak to us, and as such, every person has the capacity to communicate seamlessly with another, regardless of world view, education, social standing, etc., and those with uncorrupted minds may correspondingly interact thus. This language was the first and is hereafter, the last. Emerson observed:
“Because of this radical correspondence between visible things and human thoughts, savages, who have only what is necessary, converse in figures. As we go back in history, language becomes more picturesque, until its infancy, when it is all poetry; or all spiritual facts are represented by natural symbols. The same symbols are found to make the original elements of all languages. It has moreover been observed, that the idioms of all languages approach each other in passages of the greatest eloquence and power. And as this is the first language, so is it the last.”
As “every revolution was first a thought in one man’s mind,” every word was, by origin, a stroke of genius, whether ideogram or assemblage of characters. The brilliancy in the genesis of every word extends to distinguishing both the first speaker and the first hearer. As the earth subsumes shells, fossils, etc., language constitutes icons. Poets entitle things because they see them, in much the same manner as language is assembled of things contemplated. Emerson on words and language:
“…the poet is the Namer or Language-maker, naming things sometimes after their appearance, sometimes after their essence, and giving to every one its own name and not another’s, thereby rejoicing the intellect, which delights in detachment or boundary. The poets made all the words; and therefore, language is the archives of history, and, if we must say it, a sort of tomb of the muses.”
~ The Poet
Art and language are not merely extensions of nature; they extol it. When I first contemplated Yorkshire Wolds, I distinguished a stained glass window; to me, the parallels between this work of art and an additional art form are palpable. So they were for Emerson. That is to say, these assuredly would have existed were he to have viewed the painting today. It raises the question of what Hockney contemplated in a winter sky whose continuity was fractured by barren trees, or whether he predicted the observer to glimpse the same in the scene; conceivably, did he envisage that two divergent people existing in two different generations would discern the same…image? And, for that matter, how many countless others? Emerson and me…meeting and converging:
“In the woods in a winter afternoon one will see as readily the origin of the stained glass window with which the Gothic cathedrals are adorned in the colours of the western sky seen through the bare and crossing branches of the forest.”
The aforementioned, appropriately titled and expanding “thread of interconnectivity” prevails proportionately in this contemplation of music, art and nature.
Is it worth noting, in this space, the relevance of the brazen bull, which produced “music,” Satie-style, so as to obscure the tortured cries of the encased?