Musical Thinking: Clearing Space in the Midst of Mystery

In the last post, I mentioned that one of my thought highlights – indeed, the highlight – of Tony Kelly’s Laudato Si’: An Integral Ecology and the Catholic Vision was his idea that thinking is clearing a space in the midst of mystery. Perhaps this spoke to me so much because I had just been thinking a few days earlier that I had enjoyed a concert so much in St Monica’s Cathedral largely because it was an opportunity to sit for a couple of hours with nothing else to do but listen. The concert had some big-ticket Romantic works, Mussorgsky’s Night on a Bare Mountain, Tchaikovsky’s Piano Concerto, and Dvořák’s New World Symphony – not my preferred concert program (the music is at least 100 years too late!), but great to hear some live music.

During the concert, at times, I closed my eyes to the distractions of the conductor. I found myself drifting off thinking about things that I had not made time to sit and ponder, and my mind wandered through a whole range of different terrains. It got me wondering if this is perhaps one of the reasons why I miss music so much in Cairns (there are not a lot of high quality classical concerts) – no musically-created thinking space. So I began to consider the potential impact of not going to concerts, with reduced opportunity to clear a space in the midst of mystery.

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