In a world that sometimes seems to have gone mad, it’s reminder of what human beings can accomplish when they are free to live, create, work together … and sing.
Here’s the English translation of Friedrich Schiller’s Ode to Joy (written in 1785), which Beethoven adapted and used in the symphony, the composer’s “musical representation of universal brotherhood.”
Oh friends, not these tones!
Rather, let us raise our voices in more pleasing
And more joyful sounds!
Joy, beautiful spark of gods
Daughter of Elysium,
We enter drunk with fire,
Heavenly one, your sanctuary!
Your magic binds again
What custom strictly divided.
All men become brothers,
Where your gentle wing rests.
Whoever has had the great fortune
To be a friend’s friend,
Whoever has won a devoted wife,
Join in our jubilation!
Indeed, whoever can call even one soul,
His own on this earth!
And whoever was never able to, must creep
Tearfully away from this band!
Joy all creatures drink
At the breasts of nature;
All good, all bad
Follow her trail of roses.
Kisses she gave us, and wine,
A friend, proven in death;
Pleasure was to the worm given,
And the cherub stands before God.
Glad, as His suns fly
Through the Heaven’s glorious design,
Run, brothers, your race,
Joyful, as a hero to victory.
Be embraced, millions!
This kiss for the whole world!
Brothers, above the starry canopy
Must a loving Father dwell.
Do you bow down, millions?
Do you sense the Creator, world?
Seek Him beyond the starry canopy!
Beyond the stars must He dwell.
From Marshall McLuhan’s The Medium is the Massage:
We have now become aware of the possibility of arranging the entire human environment as a work of art, as a teaching machine designed to maximize perception and to make everyday learning a process of discovery.
I’m putting together resources for a research paper on the cultural and social impact of photography. McLuhan’s Understanding Media: The Extensions of Man is one of my sources, but I also picked up The Medium is the Massage, because it looked interesting (and, for a change, SHORT).
McLuhan’s books are full of gems like this. I just started browsing through them and didn’t know what to expect when I started; but nearly every page strikes me in some way or another. This particular quote leads a short piece that expresses admiration for the potential of technology, but simultaneously contains the warning that we aren’t good at grasping the effects of technological transitions. We lock ourselves in psychological and intellectual straightjackets, McLuhan suggests, because “the interplay between the old and the new … creates many problems and confusions.” McLuhan’s remedy:
The main obstacle to a clear understanding of the effects of … new media is our deeply embedded habit of regarding all phenomena from a fixed point of view….
The method of our time is to use not a single but multiple models for exploration….