Leni Riefenstahl – A Great Artist – Part 4

Leni Riefenstahl Directing Tiefland

 

Leni Riefenstahl’s next cinematic work was very likely made
specifically for Adolf Hitler himself. The film was financed by Hitler through the
German government; it is a film version of Adolf Hitler’s favorite opera: Tiefland
by Eugen d’Albert.

Based on the great Catalan writer Àngel Guimerà’s 1896 play Terra
baixa; Eugen d’Albert’s Tiefland was his seventh and most famous Opera; though
not immediately popular, the opera would garner international acclaim shortly after
it was reworked by d’Albert in 1907.

Tiefland would be Leni Riefenstahl’s last full length feature
film. Once again she would direct, write, star, edit, and produce the film.
I’ve seen the film and it is a very high quality work, it’s a very artistic
film and I feel that Leni Riefenstahl’s vision is well supported, especially
taking into consideration that the film was created during such a hectic time
in her life, and of course a very hectic time for the entire world.

 

Leni Riefenstahl Writing Tiefland

 

While Tiefland is not quite as much of a breakthrough as
Leni Riefenstahl’s great work done in Triumph of the Will and Olympia; Tiefland
is full of extremely high quality, beautiful shots, and I believe it to be a
fine film overall.

The one draining issue with Tiefland is that some of the
actors were taken out of concentration camps and put to work on the film. Both
Sinti and Roma gypsies were taken from concentration camps nearby wherever the
shooting location was at the time.

It’s said that the actors in the film were later put to
death at some point after returning to the concentration camps. Whether that is
true is unknown to me, but it seems that it was likely unknown to Leni Riefenstahl
if it were true, as she denied anything like that ever happening. Regardless of
the fact that many of the actors in the film were gypsies, or whether they were
being forced into doing the work or not, or whether they were killed by the
Nazi’s at some point after the filming was finished; we have to realize that it
was a terrible situation for them, as well as many other people during World
War II, but it is a fact of Germany from that period in time, one that we have
to accept and deal with.

It’s unknown to me how Leni Riefenstahl treated her actors,
but I can’t see it as having been too bad, certainly not as bad as what was
happening to them inside of their concentration camps; taking into account the
fact that she was acting right there along with them. Who can say how they were
treated while in her presence and working with her though.

Leni Riefenstahl – A Great Artist – Part 3

Leni Riefenstahl's Portrait

Leni Riefenstahl’s next film was another work for Hitler and
the Nazi party, filmed and released the same year that Triumph of the Will was
released, 1935. It is another documentary / propaganda piece filmed at the
annual Nazi rally held in Nuremburg, entitled Tag der Freiheit! — Unsere
Wehrmacht! (Day of Freedom! — Our Armed Forces!). It’s a short film glorifying
the German army. It is not quite up to the artistic merits of her previous
works, especially Triumph of the Will, but it is a quality work for what it is;
basically it’s a showcase of the German army and how they operate.

The film was created due to the German army’s lack of
exposure in the brilliant Triumph of the Will. As such they were upset and
wanted a film of their own, they went to Hitler with their concerns and Hitler
accepted their idea and put it through to Riefenstahl.

Sadly the 1935 Nazi party rally in Nuremburg was the point
in which the Nazi ideologies on the Jewish people would begin to further come
to light and be implemented. Known as the Nuremberg Laws, they are one of the
first of many black marks on the history of Leni Riefenstahl and her work,
Adolf Hitler, the Nazi party, and much of the German population. The Nuremberg
Laws were of course some of the first official discrimination laws against the
Jewish people by the Nazi party.

 

Leni Riefenstahl Directing Olympia

Riefenstahl’s next film was Olympia, in which she
brilliantly documents the 1936 Summer Olympics. It is Leni Riefenstahl’s last
groundbreaking work in film (though not her last film). It is another
masterwork, along with Triumph of the Will, Olympia is her greatest work in
film; I can’t quite say for sure which one I enjoy more or which was more of a
breakthrough, both are cinematic masterpieces.

Olympia is a truly brilliant work. Known for its technical
achievements, Leni uses advanced techniques in the process of creating the
film, such as; tracking shots, everyone is aware of tracking shots today, but
they certainly weren’t as aware of them before Leni Riefenstahl; extreme
close-ups, everyone knows what an extreme close-up is now, but very few knew what
it was in 1936; smash-cut editing, which is now commonly used to give the
viewer a quick snap, a wakeup call if you will, they weren’t happening before
Olympia; as well as cleverly angled and designed shots and lighting techniques;
slow-motion techniques; and much more. The film showcases her absolute brilliance
as a director in film and as an artist in general.

Before Olympia the vast majority of shots in cinema were
done from stationary positions, little camera movement was involved and little
variation on top of that. Certainly there were plenty of other great filmmakers
both before and during the time of Leni Riefenstahl’s classic directing works
and I do not mean to discredit them at all. But the fact is that Leni
Riefenstahl truly was a great artist and a cinematic visionary; Leni Riefenstahl
was a pioneer and she should be seen and respected as such.

Leni Riefenstahl – A Great Artist – Part 2

Leni Riefenstahl Standing

During the filming of Das Blaue Licht, Leni read Adolf
Hitler’s Mein Kampf, and in 1932 she attended a Nazi (National Socialist German
Workers’ Party) rally, as a great number of Germans did; and as with a great
number of her fellow Germans, she was enthralled by Adolf Hitler’s rhetoric.
Shortly after she had a meeting with Hitler, who told Leni that he enjoyed her
work in Das Blaue Licht and elsewhere and would like her to film the upcoming fifth Nazi
party rally, in Nuremberg.

Whether she wanted to create the film for herself, or had
some sort of incentive or other motive behind its creation is unknown to me.
Certainly she must have known that it would be used as a propaganda piece for
the Nazi party and for her country; this isn’t something that we should be
upset over though, many great artists have created pieces for their countries
that are seen as propaganda.

Through the opposition of much of the Nazi party and with
the support of Hitler she was able to document the rally. The film that
Riefenstahl created out of the 1933 Nazi rally in Nuremberg was Der Sieg des
Glaubens (Victory of the Faith); which is a film that I haven’t seen personally,
but a film that I plan on seeing at some point in the future.

Shortly after its release the film was hidden away due to
Hitler’s orders to execute Ernst Röhm, the leader of the Sturmabteilung (the SA
or the brownshirts); as well as many of his lieutenants and other people
involved in the initial rise of Nazi power, and the rise of Hitler himself for
that matter. The incident is known as the Night of the Long Knives; during
which, over several days 90 people were murdered by the Schutzstaffel (the SS)
and the Geheime Staatspolizei (the Gestapo). Leni Riefenstahl’s feelings on the
situation are unknown to me, I’m not aware of her speaking a word about it
myself, but I can’t imagine that she was too happy over her work being hidden
away at the time.

Although the film had to be shelved, Adolf Hitler thought
positively of her and her work on Der Sieg des Glaubens and asked Riefenstahl to create another
film for the upcoming 1934 Nazi party rally in Nuremburg.

Leni Riefenstahl Directing

The film that Leni Riefenstahl created from the 1934 rally
was another breakthrough, this time both a cinematic breakthrough and an
artistic breakthrough. That film is Triumph des Willens (Triumph of the Will).  Riefenstahl shows her masterful control of
the camera here; thanks to her tremendous artistic vision, Leni was able to
create shots that had never been seen or even dreamed of with a camera. The
sheer technical detail and effort that went into making the film is incredible;
Leni used 30 cameras and had 120 technicians at her disposal; she had bridges
and posts built in the center of Nuremburg; all of the camera placements, the movements, the lighting gantries, everything was specifically set up to Leni Riefenstahl’s
exact specifications.

Triumph des Willens is truly a great work, one that Leni
Riefenstahl worked painstakingly to create to the absolute best of her ability,
to fully meet her vision in every possible way. She recorded just over 66 and ½
hours of footage of the rally. Of those sixty-six and one-half hours of footage
she edited the film into the brilliant 2 hour long documentary that we know
today. The film received many awards, including the 1935 Venice International
Film Festival Coppa dell’Istituto Nazionale LUCE award, the National Film Prize for 1934-1935, and the Medaille d’Or &
Grand Prix de France in 1937.

The film was lauded at the time of its creation around the
world and it has been highly praised by film enthusiasts, it is to this day praised by authorities of the cinematic and artistic realm, as it has from
its very first showing. It truly is a masterpiece in documentary and visual
filmmaking; no matter if it is considered propaganda or not, no matter if Leni
Riefenstahl meant for it to be a propaganda piece or not. The facts remain: The artwork and the mastery of Leni Riefenstahl’s work speaks for itself.

Leni Riefenstahl – A Great Artist – Part 1

Leni Riefenstahl


Leni Riefenstahl has been a very controversial figure for many years now. In
this series of articles, I will go over my thoughts and feelings on her life
and her work. This is part. 1, covering her early life and first foray into
film:

Born Helene Bertha Amalie
Riefenstahl
in Berlin, Germany on the 22nd of August, 1902; she
began her professional and artistic career as a dancer, her dancing style was
uniquely her own and widely popular at the time. She continued to express
herself through interpretive dance until she injured her knee in her early
20’s, at which point she began her acting career.

Her acting career began shortly
after the injury to her knee brought her career as a dancer to an end. She had
a couple of undocumented and minor rolls, until 1925 when she was finally given
the lead role in Arnold Fanck’s new mountain film: Der Heilige Berg (The Holy
Mountain) as the dancer Diotima.

Leni Riefenstahl Dancing


The role of Diotima was written by
Fanck specifically for Leni Riefenstahl. It is the first film that I watched in
which Leni Riefenstahl was in front of the camera rather than behind it; it’s a
quality work with a great many interesting shots and scenes, Fanck does a great
job filming the environment. At the time of my first viewing I was not familiar
with Leni Riefenstahl’s acting, as I said; nor was I familiar with Arnold
Fanck’s directing; and I must say that I was pleasantly surprised by both
aspects of the film.

Riefenstahl gives a lovely
performance as Diotima; the film also allows us a bit of insight as to what her
dancing style and abilities were, which is wonderfully interesting, and I can
only imagine that she was an even better dancer before her knee injury.

Leni went on to star in many other
mountain films that were also directed by Arnold Fanck, of which I have now seen
several. Generally she played an outgoing young girl, a very entertaining part
and one that she did very well, which perhaps gives us a bit of insight as to
what he personality was like in her youthful days.

Then Leni began her career as a
director when the offer was made to her. Her first attempt at directing
resulted in the breakthrough film Das Blaue Licht (The Blue Light) in 1932.
With the support of Arnold Fanck, Béla Balázs, the production team at Henry R.
Sokal-Film of Berlin, and many others; Riefenstahl was not only able to direct
her first film, but she also starred in the leading role of the film as Junta;
and not only that, but Leni also co-wrote the film, edited the film, and helped
to produce the film.

The work was an absolute
breakthrough for Riefenstahl. The film launched her new career as a complicated
director. One that would lead her to be both praised and criticized, one that
was undoubtedly one of the most influential in the history of cinema and film
making.

The Best Bands That You Don’t Know: Aloha

Aloha is a hardworking, crazy-touring mainstay of Polyvinyl
Records here in the States. Started by long time members Tony Cavallario
and Matthew Gengler while they were attending college during the summer of
1997 in Ohio; they have been working extremely hard for the progress of their
band ever since. Matthew and Tony, joined by Cale Parks and later T.J. Lipple
in the spring of 2003 make up the band as they are now.

With the addition of T.J. their sound was able to expand quite
a bit from the band’s earlier works; with his sound contributions of a homemade
Mellotron, Marimba, Organ playing, editing tricks, as well as his Drum playing
abilities; which allowed Cale to further develop his sound within the band.

Their expanded sound can be seen on their first album
together: 2004’s Here Comes Everyone,
which was released that winter. The beginnings of the album were written in T.J.’s
grandfather’s house in Pennsylvania shortly after the coming together of the band’s
lineup.

Their follow up album was the critically acclaimed Some Echoes, which was released in the
spring of 2006. The album was recorded and produced at the Silver Sonya studio
in Virginia, which is operated by T.J. and Chad Clark (from the DC band Beauty
Pill).

Some Echoes showcased
a further progression in their sound and was praised by nearly everyone that
listened to the record; I honestly do not believe that I’ve read a single poor
review of the album. It is an absolute classic and quite possibly my favorite
work by the band to date. The album was also streamed on their website for
everyone to listen to, but sadly the old band website is no longer available;
they now use their Myspace page for their website needs.

Their latest release is Light
Works
, an EP, released in late 2007. While not as progressive sounding as
the previous two releases, Light Works
is a light and fine work indeed, especially as far as EP’s are concerned; it is
a quality release without a doubt, it’s almost album like. Though it may be a
little unexpected at first to hear the piano and the acoustic guitar, you soon
get used to it and enjoy the quality of the work that is being done.

Aloha really is one of the hardest working bands making
music today, and they are grossly unappreciated for the amazing work that they
have done and continue to do. I have been to several Aloha shows over the years
and I am not joking when I say that they are one of the hardest working bands
around. They are in what seems to be a constant state of touring, recording,
writing and working.

They have played shows all over the world, from every corner
of the United States, to Japan and Singapore. They have a very loyal following
in their fan base, which will undoubtedly continue to grow as time passes by
and people continue to discover them. The band certainly deserves any and all recognition
that they receive.

Aloha: One of the best bands that you didn’t know about
until reading this article.

The Greatest Songs of All Time: Neil Young’s “Don’t Let It Bring You Down”

Released
on the 19th of September, 1970, on Young’s brilliant and now classic After
the Gold Rush
album; the song was written by Young and the album was
written and recorded between the summer of 1969 and the spring/summer of 1970.
Most of the album was recorded in the homemade recording studio thrown together
in Young’s home in Topanga Canyon;  a very popular and famous place to
live at the time for musicians due to its populace, attitude, and location in
Los Angeles County, California.

 

It’s
an acoustic song in the vein of Young’s work with Crosby, Stills & Nash, as
is much of the album; quite possibly due to the immense popularity of their
album with Young Déjà Vu, which was released earlier that year and
quickly rose to the top of the charts.

 

No
matter what the reasoning was behind Young’s decision to record the album the
way he did, he still created a great album. Though it was originally panned by
critics; it is now generally accepted as a great album, one of Neil Young’s
best, which I tend to agree with; and furthermore, it has several great songs
on it, including “Don’t Let It Bring You Down”:

 

 

Lyrics:

Old
man lying
by the side of the road
with the lorries rolling by
Blue moon sinking
from the weight of the load
and the building scrape the sky
Cold wind ripping
down the allay at dawn
and the morning paper flies
Dead man lying
by the side of the road
with the daylight in his eyes

Don’t let it bring you down
It’s only castles burning
Find someone who’s turning
And you will come around

Blind man running
through the light
of the night
with an answer in his hand
Come on down
to the river of sight
and you can really understand
Red lights flashing
through the window
in the rain
can you hear the sirens moan?
White cane lying
in a gutter in the lane,
if you’re walking home alone.

Don’t let it bring you down
It’s only castles burning
Just find someone who’s turning
And you will come around

Don’t let it bring you down
It’s only castles burning
Just find someone who’s turning
And you will come around

 

It is a beautiful work with beautifully simple and
extremely vivid lyrics; which are powerfully brought to the forefront of the
song via Young’s voice and the simple playing of his acoustic guitar.

Why Are Atheists So Pompous?: The Problem With Atheism

The Problem with Atheists

 

The problem with modern atheism is that its followers do not
seem to have a firm grasp on the fact that religion is a part of our modern
culture. We have people making outrageous claims and making attempts at
refuting religious beliefs, and denying the fact that many religious values and
concepts are ingrained in our culture as a people.

Many atheists are so against having a belief in God that
they would infringe on the rights of others who do choose to believe in God.
Many atheists will persecute any and all people who freely choose to follow a
religion and have a belief in God. They will bring up petty, minor, nearly irrelevant
issues such as whether or not the word God is used in our Pledge of Allegiance;
or that In God We Trust is printed on our money and used as a motto; simply to
continue their efforts to persecute and look down upon those that choose to
believe in God and follow a religion.

Certainly some people are going to disagree with our
feelings on religion and beliefs in God, and they should of course be free to
do that without being persecuted for it. Just as you or I, or Richard Dawkins
should be free to at the very least state our feelings, our thoughts, and our opinions
on the subject. I just feel that a great many atheists are very invasive with
their beliefs, and that stems from the more popular atheists in the world.
People see Richard Dawkins being extremely arrogant with his opinion everywhere
that he goes, increasing his popularity with these extreme atheists, and indeed
they are building his ego up as they continue to follow in his footsteps, which
is just going to make the issue worse. It’s a vicious circle.

Of course there is an issue if and when religious beliefs somehow
change our policies and laws, in our free country, in these modern times. I do
not agree with that at all, and believe it to be a much greater issue than the
word God being in the Pledge of Allegiance, using the example above; or the
fact that many of our and much of the worlds holidays take place on dates that
are particularly important to various religions throughout history, or are for
various figures of Christianity and other religions. Religion is an undeniable
part of our history and culture as Americans and of humans as a whole, and it
should be respected as such.

The top three reasons why Oil prices are so high

Why Oil Prices are So High

 

  1. The first reason that I will mention is that Oil is
    priced in US Dollars. That’s why when you see the value of the dollar fall; you
    see the price of oil rise. The people that produce the oil are generally
    getting US dollars in return for their product. As such, when the dollar falls,
    they are making less money on their product, even if the amount of dollars that
    they receive for their oil is equal, and so the price goes up. This applies to
    the people buying and selling the oil beyond the producers as well, who are
    also simply trying to profit. There are of course several other reasons why oil
    continues to rise, and why the dollar continues to fall. I was just pointing
    out why the dollar and oil currently move together.    
  2. The second reason is that many people are and
    have been investing in Oil as it has had quite a run up as the US Dollar has
    dropped like a rock. Investors, having a good feeling that the Federal Reserve
    would continue to cut interest rates, have continually bought into Oil to make
    some profit off of the amazing bull-run that it has had. 
  3. The third is an ever increasing growth in the demand for Oil.
    This isn’t the 1970’s where we can simply stop using as much Oil here in
    America, and prices will fall in relation to our drop in demand. No, these days
    the entire world is using more and more Oil. As countries continue to develop
    and expand into modern times, there is an ever increasing demand for Oil. This
    is the key reason that Oil will never again be as it once was.

2. 

Those are the three main reasons as I see them. There are of
course other factors behind the rising price of Oil, such as turmoil and lack
of security in many Oil producing lands, to things such as the weather, which
can cause rather large jumps in the price of Oil in its own right. But those
three issues that I listed above are the key factors behind the current of Oil;
they should be known and understood by everyone.

We all realize that Oil usage is a problem for us here in
the US, and that we need to find a viable alternative, regardless of the
current price of Oil. The heart of the issue is how we move from our high use
of oil, to something better. Clearly the way that the US as a whole operates
has to change, the whole car culture that we have built and glamourized to the
rest of the world has to change. People need to realize how ridiculous it is in
the first place, they have to realize that it is not sustainable in the long
term, and that something has to be done about it, and the sooner something is
done, the better off all humans will be.

I don’t have all of the answers myself. But it is clear to
me that more public funds need to go to public transportation, and other,
better forms of transportation. A huge amount of money is spent rebuilding
roads in the US every year so more and more cars can drive on them. This is an
utter waste of public funding and in reality should not be done. That money
should be spent towards better forms of transportation for all people, not just
those that own cars. Sadly a majority of people want better roads, so they can
drive their SUV’s and other vehicles down the street.

Driving is a part of our culture and it’s what most people
want to do, but that in no way makes it right or good for the future progress
of our country, or humans as a whole. I realize that driving has given people
much more freedom than they previously had, and that is not a bad thing in any
way. But it is an undeniable fact that there are and were better options to
allow all people the freedom that they want and deserve, that is completely
sustainable for a very long length of time. I can’t blame past generations for
wanting to drive and to exercise their freedom to travel around on their own
will, as they didn’t have the insight that we do in our current time. But now
that we do have such information and understand that driving huge vehicles all
over the country on expensive roads is a waste of resources and is not
sustainable in the long term, then something must be done about it.

Every day that passes wherein people continue to go with the
flow and majority feeling is setting back humanity as a whole. It’s setting
back our future generations by hurting our stability and our environment. We
have to step up as a people and bring it to an end. We have to sit down and put
our minds towards progress, rather than selfish deeds, for the good of our
country and the world. We have to realize that suburban sprawl is not necessary
and has only led to us having to rely more and more on our vehicles to get us
away from and back to our homes.

There are better, more modern forms of transportation
available to us right now. They are more efficient and are more sustainable in
the long term, which will lead to a better life for our future generations.
Anything at all will help; simply moving away from overly large vehicles that
are completely unnecessary would be a huge improvement. And I do realize that
we are beginning to move in the right direction, but there is undoubtedly resistance
in many areas that we need to overcome. It has been too long already and it is
time to help our fellow citizens along.

Theological Thought

From Various Thoughts on Philosophy and Religion

===

We can’t say for sure that early religious beliefs were not accepting of dissenting views and new ideas. In fact there is clear evidence that various religious ideas have melded into one another and then became a very much new idea that was generally accepted by those people. Whether they were persuaded somehow to accept these new beliefs is up for debate, but I’m sure that they would have been influenced by those that were in power and leading their people. We can use things from earlier in this thread as an example; Such as the Romanization of the ancient Greek Gods, to the acceptance of many Pagan traditions even now in our modern Christianity. I do agree in saying that these things were done to somewhat pacify the people, to make them happy and give them what they want, thus causing less problems for the people in charge. So knowing these things, I do not think that we can say that all or even a majority of humankinds past religious thought was as closed minded as people like to think, and some of that is certainly warranted, there has been much bloodshed for religious beliefs alone and that is the only side that many people like to look at the discussion from.

I also agree that it is very much a possibility that the very first religious beliefs came about through the fear of the people of their surroundings. But even if that were the case, we would not be able to say that they were also not trying to understand what was going in those surroundings at the very same time. There’s no way that we can say that fear was the sole or even the main reason for the first religious beliefs to come about.

Of course you make a good point in saying that philosophical thought is a better tool for us to use in deducing the truth of our surroundings than ancient religious beliefs and religious thought in general. But I would say that it is generally safe for us to assume that these ancient religious beliefs far predate any philosophical thought. I find it hard to imagine that ancient people with their scavenger-hunter-gatherer ways had much of a chance to sit around and have discussions using a philosophical thought process, rather they would, quite possibly out of fear, discuss ways to make their very difficult life easier. Why this turned into worshiping river, forest and sun Gods, or what have you, I do not know for sure. But it does seem fairly obvious to me that these people were making use of what they had, much like any other animal they just wanted to lead their life and have as few hardships as possible.

You mention Socrates and make another very good point. At some point in time there will be no need for religion, when there is nothing left that we as humans do not know, then I see no reason for religion to exist outside of it’s cultural value. It’s stories and superstitions would no longer have a reason to be taken seriously (not that I believe they do now). But until that point in time comes that science can prove to all of humankind that religious beliefs are no longer necessary, then I feel that we as tolerant human beings must accept religion and make sure that it is only used for good in the world, rather than any past evils that it may have been the cause of.

I also believe that the very heart of religious thought is to know the unknown. I honestly do not believe that these general ideas came about as a means for the then leaders to control their populations. It isn’t clear exactly, but I believe that it is an easily arguable point that religious thought is nearly as ancient as humans themselves. I can envision a group of people, a family, living somewhere in the wilderness of Africa gathering food, scavenging the kills of other animals, and even hunting for their own kills. These people communicate their family’s/tribe’s past beliefs and superstitions to their newest generations, teaching them what they know of the ways of their surroundings. That is how I see religious thoughts arising in humans, not with agriculture and the leaders of civilizations but with a small group or family of people, passing down what they think that they know about the land, the assumptions that they have made and the beliefs that they now have, to their children. They were simply trying to explain things that they could not even begin to understand.

That is why I think that religious thought should be respected. I detest the thought that religion is all bad, and was something simply invented by the leaders of humankind to take advantage and hurt the average person. That is just such a ridiculous thing to believe, at least when it comes to truly ancient religious thought. These were people that didn’t have the luxury to sit around as Socrates did and have in depth discussions on such things. No, these were people that were simply trying to survive in the harshest of environments. And as such, we can not blame them for their beliefs that may seem silly to us now.

Continuing on: Those beliefs demand to be respected by all intelligent beings. Because at the very heart of such beliefs we must see the absolute brilliance of their thought process, the want and yearning to know what they do not know, to understand what they do not and can not understand. That is a beautiful thought process to have, and one that is most certainly not an innate human ability, as we can clearly see by the misuse of our brains in both modern and ancient times. It is the thought process of a brilliant person, or a brilliant group of people. The first group of people that decided that there was something to the rain falling down on them, there was something to- as you said, those orange and grey spheres in the sky that we can and then suddenly cannot see. These unknown people made the first and most brilliant observations in our history as human beings. An absolute breakthrough and something that should be respected and taught to every person throughout the world, no matter what they believe.

It’s not even about beliefs. It was an abhorrent task for humans to take to cloud and tear apart these first brilliant observations from seam to seam. I completely disagree with how religion has been misused throughout our history. This is the very sad reason that a great many intelligent people will not even make the attempt to understand what is at the true heart of religious thought. It isn’t Jesus Christ or the Pope, it isn’t Muhammad, and it isn’t the Torah. It’s a group of people, perhaps many groups of people, making the most noble of attempts to understand what was going on in the world around them. That is what should be respected and looked at when people discuss religion, yet it’s never even brought up.

That isn’t to say that I am either for or against modern mainstream religions though. I fully understand that they have done many good and bad deeds both past and present. For these reasons I understand why some people dislike one or the other, or even all of them. But I would argue that most of our popular religions have done more good for humans than they have done bad. And I believe that most religions should be respected for their intense amounts of cultural value. Many great things have come about through the means of modern religious beliefs.

One story, that I’ve just tried to google but wasn’t able to find anything. But I was told (or read) once that Michelangelo said something along the lines of “God put the image of David in the marble” – and all he did was bring it out and make it visible for all of us to see. That’s as close as I can recall to what was said, and of course I have no proof of that, but it seems like a reasonable thing for Michelangelo to say. As it goes along with the fact that a belief in God has been an inspiration for some of the greatest works, both artistic and not, of all time.

The Greatest Songs of All Time: The Diamond Sea

From Various Thoughts on Music

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I’m going to write about some of the greatest songs of all time. Some
songs are not only classic, but they are also musically, lyrically,
artistically pure and genuine, beautiful. I will discuss what the songs
mean to me, why they are great, as well as information about where you
can listen to these songs, when they are from, where they are from,
where they were recording, as well as other miscellaneous information.
It should be fun!

The Diamond Sea by Sonic Youth

The song itself is from 1995 and was written by Thurston Moore. It
was first released on the brilliant Washing Machine album. There are
three versions of this song: The album version which is 19 minutes and
35 seconds, a radio edit which comes in at 5 minutes and 26 seconds,
and an extended version which is an amazing 25 minutes 50 seconds. It
was released in 1995 as the first single from the Washing Machine
album, the single has the radio edit and the extended version of the
song, as well as the song My Arena. There was a video created for the
song which used compiled footage from the 1995 Lollapalooza tour, Spike
Jonze and several other well known directors were involved in the
creation of the video.

The lyrics read:

time takes its crazy toll
and how does your mirror grow
you better watch yourself when you jump into it
cause the mirror’s gonna steal your soul
I wonder how it came to be my friend
that someone just like you has come again
you’ll never ever know how close you came
until you fall in love with the diamond rain
throw all his trash away
look out he’s here to stay
your mirror’s gonna crack when he breaks into it
and you’ll never ever be the same
look into his eyes and you can see
why all the little kids are dressed in dreams
I wonder how he’s gonna make it back
when he sees that you just know it’s make-believe
blood crystallized to sand
and now I hope you understand
you reflect into his looking-glass soul
and now the mirror is your only friend
look into his eyes and you will see
that men are not alone on the diamond sea
sail into the heart of a lonely storm
and tell her that you’ll love her eternally
time takes its crazy toll
mirror falling off the wall
you better look out for the looking-glass girl
cause she’s gonna take you for a fall
look into his eyes and you shall see
why everything is quiet and nothing’s free
I wonder how he’s gonna make her smile
when love is running wild on the diamond sea

To me, these are some of the greatest lyrics ever written. The
combination of the lyrics and the music make for not only one of my
favorite songs of all time, but a song which I believe is one of the
greatest ever recorded. The music is simply gorgeous, a masterful
composition of sound invading, pummeling it’s way down your ear canals.
At some points you won’t know if you want it to stop or not, but you
will most certainly continue listening, waiting for that breakthrough
of pureness and beauty that we are all so hopeful for. At times the
song can seem a sonic stillbirth, an amalgamated abortion of sounds
destroying your eardrums and you know it, yet you turn it up a little
louder.

The lyrics are much the same. They are an expansive
journey inward and within ones deepest self, tickling our egos and
insecurities in ways that we never thought were, and hoped not
possible, especially from this punk band from New York. What were they
doing writing like this, playing 20 minute explosions of emotion,
touching us on nearly every level? This was unchartered territory for
the band, a new and great discovery to be shared with everyone that
wanted to expand their musical horizons.

Lyrics written,
interpreted as I may, looking, digging, finding, deep within oneself,
some deeper meaning of what is of a real, actual value, and what isn’t.
Exploring how not only this revelation affects you, but how others
around you, in your life and out, affect you just the same. Discovering
and overcoming whatever insecurities that you personally may have had
by ripping them to shreds with words and feedback seemingly from
another planet, certainly from another level, a level that we were most
definitely not on until The Diamond Sea.

Then in the end, we
come to an understanding and hopefully even an acceptance of what we’ve
come to realize by the end of the song. We have been a witness to true
artistic beauty and that can never be taken away from us. In one single
song we have learned to search, find, explore, and then understand and
accept the innermost feelings that we allow to be affected.

That’s just it: The Diamond Sea, just like any other music, is what it
is, and is what you make of it. If we allow ourselves, then we end up
seeing and understanding that these things are not of any great
importance, and only then are we able to break from our bonds and
prejudices, whatever they may be, and truly be free.