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Vents about music.

I have this theory that there are three types of people who listen to music. No one is ever just one of them completely, we are all a mixture of two or three of them. Here are the types:

1. The Popularists
This is the person that falls under the class of people that listen to what is usually called "Mainstream." That is not to say that everyone who listens to mainstream music are one of these people, but that all Popularists listen to "mainstream". You get it? Good. At least I hope so. The point is that these people didn't actually like the music they listened to, at least when they started listening to it. But their tastes are centered around what is popular at the moment. They people have made The Jonas Brothers, The killers, the beatles, and several other even less worthwhile mentioning bands popular. Not to say that some mainstream bands aren't good, but that most of them aren't. These types of people follow the crowd (who ironically are also following the "crowd" I. E. the media) and have little taste of their own.
These people will even at times not listen to/keep off their iTunes library (or non-apple equivilant) music they enjoy simply because it would be enbarassing if one of their friends (or the people who "really" like the music they listen to, even though they indeed are just the same as said person) found out they listened to it.

2. The Anti-Popularists
This group of people can be described as the antithesis of the former group. They intentionally don't listen to what is popular, simply because it is popular. They can be accurately described as "Indie" music listeners. I've recently found an amazing website called "Stuff White People Like" that accurately describes these peoples personalities pertaining music. "If you mention a band you like and the other person has heard of them, you lose. They own you. It is essential that you like the most obscure music possible." (You can read his full article about Indie music here) It so happens he's right. Many people are obsessed with listening to the most obscure, different, unique music possible. And the minute it becomes no longer obscure, they move onto different bands. Most of these people view themselves (sometimes subconsciously) as better, or more "diverse" than the "Popularist" crowd. They have better "taste" than the next guy. The more obscure the music you can train yourself to like, the better.

3. The Individualists (Not in the normal sense of the word)
This is the small and truely unique group of people who genuinly enjoy the music they listen to. These people don't care if their friends don't like the music they listen to, if they like it, that's good enough for them. They listen to some indie, some mainstream, some middle of the road. Or maybe they listen to all mainstream, or all indie, but not because other people like it, but because they like it. The Individualist genuinuly has taste, whether it's good or not depends on the individualists around him or her. These people are the one's who genuinly love music.

I don't believe anyone is wholy one of them. For instence I am a combination of the Anti-Popularist and the Individualist, leaning toward Individualist, but once and a while that Anti-Popularist rears its ugly head. Now the question is, what kind of music listener are you? I'm sure all of you would at least like to think you're individualists, and I'm sure to some extent you are, but what other one are you?

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The Necessity of emotion.

In Plato's republic he attempts to created the perfect State, and the perfect citizen for that State. This included the elimination of the family, as well as any relationships whatsoever. Take a small snippet from Republic "Women - all of them shall belong to all men and none shall cohibit privately; they shall bear children for the state."
Now, it's obvious that this wrong. We get the knee jerk reaction of "what!". But then, the idea begins to make more sense if we look at it deeper. After all, if relationships (especially those romantic in nature) are nonexistent than we would not have any problems with clouded judgment. People would not vote based on appeals to pity, or against the Death Penalty because "it's cruel".
But to understand why this is truely wrong we have to go deeper still. Why is emotion necessary at all. in matters of State? Why should we allow our emotions to cloud our "judgment". Why shouldn't we simply allow Logic to dictate our actions?
Because without emotion, there is no conviction, there is no passion, there is nothing to live for. It is a basic truth that every mans ultimate goal is happiness. Every action in every mans life right down to drinking a cup of tea is based off of what he thinks will make him happiest. It should be noted that men often have conflicting wishes. Sometimes we desire greatly to do something, but don't because of fear of embarrassment, humiliation, etc. But still man does what he thinks will make him most happy. So how does this relate? My entire point for this post can be summed up in one sentence: "Logic is what makes us believe something, emotion is what makes us care." For instance, I am a solid Libertarian, now I know that logically Libertarianism is the best root. But why do I care? Because of emotion. Emotion is what gives me the passion to do something about my belief. Without emotion, logic is futile.

-J.S.

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What is beauty?

It's not exactly an original question, but it's one that has been pondered and written about for hundreds of years. And of course, like everything else, I have my own opinion on it.
In the modern world there are really two definitions of beauty.
The first is what I believe to be the true definition: "Beauty is a characteristic of a person, place, object or idea that provides a perceptual experience of pleasure, meaning or satisfaction." beauty is something that brings pleasure, usually to the eyes, but also to the ears, and in rare occasions to the nose. Ultimately the perfection of beauty is in God. (Psalm 50:1-2)
The second, and often more interesting, finds its origin in the phrase "beauty is in the eye of the beholder". This can be a variety of things, the first that comes to mind is romantic attraction. A lover often believes that there is no one more "beautiful" (In complexion, or in spirit) than their Beloved. A more accurate phrase, then, might be "Attraction is in the eye of the beholder" but even that is faulty. Because it is evident that peoples ideas of what is beautiful or appealing differ greatly. This is where this second definition fails. We know that the perfection of beauty is in Christ, therefore isn't there some standard for what is beautiful? Yes there is. But in everything there must be things that will never be explained. Unless we accept this one paradox we will get nowhere on the subject of beauty. So, accepting what we must we'll continue.
Since we understand that peoples views of what is beautiful differ the obvious question is why? What makes people enjoy different things? There are several reasons.
1. Personality. Someone with a quiet continence is less likely to think a Rock song with great lyrics to be beautiful, because the form clashes with their personality, than perhaps a more bubbly or "hardcore" person who might find the song greatly pleasing.
2. Experiences. This really ties back to personality, experiences are what shape our personalities. Someone who has experienced the hardship of poverty for example would would find Gods blessings of prosperity more beautiful than a King who was born into wealth and stayed there his entire life.
3. Association. Someone may find something beautiful, or vise versa based on what they associate it with. This is especially true of music. If a painting was first seen during a depressed time of your life, and then you see it several years later it is probable that you will find it displeasing, if not downright revolting. If you were in a state of extreme happiness when you hear a song for the very first time it is more than likely that you'll love the song for life.
So why is the second definition defective? If it's not beauty than what is it? Simple: pleasure. Enjoyment and beauty are not synonymous. Beauty is Christ, pleasure is self. The closer you are to Christ, the closer you are to understanding the true meaning of beauty.

-J. S.

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