The present generation, curiously enough, no longer makes the highest demands on music, those which were made on music a mere fifteen or twenty years ago. The reason is that listening to music has become a trivial everyday affair as a result of technical progress. Listening to music is nothing out of the ordinary any more, you can hear music wherever you go, you are practically forced to hear music, in every department store, in every doctor's surgery, on every street, indeed you cannot avoid music nowadays, you wish to escape from it but you cannot escape, this age is totally accompanied by background music, that is the catastrophe, Reger said. Our age has witnessed the eruption of total music, anywhere between the North Pole and the South Pole you are forced to hear music, in the city or out in the country, on the high seas or in the desert, Reger said. People have been stuffed full of music every day for so long that they have long lost all feeling for music. This monstrous situation of course has its effect on concerts you hear nowadays because all music all over the world is out of the ordinary, and where everything is out of the ordinary there, naturally, nothing out of the ordinary remains, indeed it is positively touching to see a few ridiculous virtuosi still taking pains to be out of the ordinary, but they are so no longer because they can be so no longer. The world is through and through pervaded by total music, Reger said, that is the misfortune, at every street corner you can hear extraordinary and perfect music on such a scale that you have probably blocked your ears long ago to stop yourself going out of your mind. People today, because they have nothing else left, suffer from a pathological music consumption, Reger said, this music consumption will be driven forward by the industry, which controls people today, to a point where everybody is destroyed; there is a lot of talk nowadays about waste and chemicals which have destroyed everything, but music destroys a lot more than waste and chemicals do, it is music that eventually will destroy everything totally, mark my words. The first thing to be destroyed by the music industry are people's auditory canals and next, as a logical consequence, the people themselves, that is the truth, Reger said. I can already see people totally destroyed by the music industry, Reger said, those masses of music-industry victims eventually populating the continents with their musical cadaverous stench, my dear Atzbacher, the music industry will one day have the population on its conscience, it will most probably ultimately have the whole of mankind on its conscience, not just chemicals and waste, believe me. The music industry is the murderer of human beings, the music industry is the real mass murderer of humanity which, if the music industry continues on its present lines, will have no hope whatever within a few decades, my dear Atzbacher, Reger said excitedly.
Saturday, September 23, 2006
Pathological Music Consumption
Another exemplary passage from Old Masters by Thomas Bernhard, pp. 139-140: