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Do you listen to miserable music because you are miserable or...

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How would an Objectivist respond to the question this guy asks in this video?



Do you listen to miserable music because you are miserable or are you miserable because you listen to miserable music?


I think that people listen to the music that suit there sense of life, therefore, I think you listen to miserable music because you are miserable.  I do, however, remember Peikoff saying in Understanding Objectivism that you can respond to tragedy without having a tragic sense of life, and if you do have a tragic sense of life that isn't necessarily immoral corrupt or evil.



Also this reminds me of how some people say certain kinds of rap music make kids do and think irrational things.  For instance, it may influence them to gang bang or hate homosexuals.  Obviously, not all kids who listen to violent rap music turn to gang banging and become homophobic, so what is the difference between them and the kids that do turn to these things?

Edited by dadmonson
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Been wondering this myself lately. I'm a big fan of gangster rap and electro-industrial, but there's plenty of negative elements in both genres; not just in lyrical content but in the overall energy of each song.

Sometimes it's nice to unwind while listening to piano and violin, sometimes it's nice to rock out and get pumped, but it's probably best to suit the music to the mood.

Rap's lyrics depict a lifestyle that some people actually live. Maybe they see more into it than we do.

Edited by NeuEv
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I think it's both. If you're already miserable, you'll probably like and listen to correspondng music. If you become un-miserable later on, a lot of that old music can still be enjoyable and fit different listening moods than before, now that the sounds have a history with your life, even if you wouldn't have enjoyed the same music had you discovered it in your new, more positive personal state.

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Emotions, feelings, and artistic tastes are not intrinsic, uncaused, parts of one's psyche and they are not as such, independent of (let alone diametrically apposed to) what you think.


In some sense it does not matter whether the music or the "mood" came first.  Seeking out and enjoying the negative, because it is negative, bleak, full of angst and anger ... IS an indication of something, hopefully something temporary, which can be overcome... so one can get back to... or to discover and start... to LIVE.

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As a big fan of music I can tell you after too many hours of driving on the road and chewing on music as a value, I can say that music projects the emotions of the writer as well as the listener independently.  The artist expresses ideas and the listener does another.  Many times the great artists actually bring you into their world, for example Frank Sinatra had the ability to make you feel what he was feeling. 


But other times the listener sees their ideas or emotions.  As Dee Snider put it bluntly to the Senate Committee in the 80's, "I wrote a song about fear of surgery and that is what I hear.  Mrs. Gore went looking for S&M so she found it." 


I am a hard rock and heavy metal fan, for example.  Some people hear thrash and think it is anger or noise. I hear the sound of the industrial revolution and a "Who is going to stop me?" vision that makes we want to win.  To each his own as it reflects your values. 

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