Sunday 15 August 2010

Where I come from 6: It makes me wonder

Would you be surprised, Freddie, if this were my last letter to you about Led Zeppelin? Relieved perhaps? After exactly two minutes, the song ain't nowhere near over.

I'm quite sure I could say something relevant with regards to “it's whispered that soon if we all call the tune / Then the piper will lead us to reason”. And though I'm not so sure I could make something of the “bustle in your hedgerow” and the “spring clean for the May queen”, I don't think I have to. If I stood any chance of opening up an insight towards philosophy, this is where it should happen:

Ooh... it makes me wonder.”

You probably know that in one of Plato's later dialogues, Socrates says that all philosophy originates in wonder. And though I would love to give Charlie the benefit of the doubt, he didn't seem to question anything. He wasn't baffled, surprised or taken aback by anything. Nothing made him wonder – because he kept piling up fairy tales and far fetched explanations instead. His attitude is the exact opposite of wonder, of not understanding and not knowing a way out of it.

I hope I've showed that it does happen in the first two minutes of Stairway to Heaven. Plant has touched on the pragmatic and the semantic theory of language and finds himself not able to ignore the musical aspect of language. And that makes him wonder.

He doesn't articulate “it makes me wonder what language is”, he doesn't say “it makes me wonder about language” - but that doesn't take away that admits he doesn't have a clue, doesn't know, isn't sure – and wonders. Unlike the lady who knows all that glitters is gold; unlike Charlie, who is convinced that God spoke to him when he was in prison and that Jesus joined the Hells Angels in Essex soon afterwards.

And in case you're still wondering what I did those six years in uni: I learned to focus on a text and suspend judgement; to admit that I don't understand something, that I don't know what's going on, without covering it up and without turning away from it either. By not waffling my way out of every tight spot, I try to give a wide berth, try to allow something relevant to reveal itself.



  1. I wonder what happens to people like Charlie. Does reality ever knock them on the head or are their beliefs hermetically sealed?

  2. I reckon he's been knocked on the head a few times too many and has become immune to wake up calls. But that's okay; he's an interesting/amusing lad to talk to in the pub.

  3. thanks for stopping by my blog ... will come back for a read :)

  4. Thanks for the "follow" Debbie! Wanted to see your Dutch blog, but blogspot doesn't let me:(
    Saw on your music list, one of the favorites of one of my kids: Radiohead:)

  5. @WarmSunshine, you're welcome :)

    @jeannette, I don't have a Dutch blog! I often have trouble finding time to write for this one, let alone a second one!