Classical Music Forum banner
1 - 20 of 137 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,281 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So I was reading a biography of da Vinci and although it was enjoyable, I found the constant appeal to greatness to be quite insufferable. It's not just a thing with classical music, it's ubiquitous.

Why though? Is it just human nature, or is it cultural? When I was visiting Thailand a few weeks ago, the way some of the monks spoke about the attainment of enlightenment certainly reeked of the same stench.

I possessed this kind of ridiculous attitude when I was 16, but at 23 I already find it remarkably ignorant and cringeworthy.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
8,017 Posts
You may come full circle in another ten or twenty years and start feeling some (certainly not all) things are great again. But yes, many are overrated. May you find something truly great that is underrated you can then champion.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6,906 Posts
So I was reading a biography of da Vinci and although it was enjoyable, I found the constant appeal to greatness to be quite insufferable. It's not just a thing with classical music, it's ubiquitous.

Why though? Is it just human nature, or is it cultural? When I was visiting Thailand a few weeks ago, the way some of the monks spoke about the attainment of enlightenment certainly reeked of the same stench.

I possessed this kind of ridiculous attitude when I was 16, but at 23 I already find it remarkably ignorant and cringeworthy.
I'm not really sure where you're going with this. Are you saying that da Vinci isn't great, or that the biography of da Vinci isn't great?

Lots of people think that what they embrace is "Great". Thai Monks are certainly going to feel that attainment of Enlightenment is "great". MAGA cultists think Trump is "Great". Catholics think the Holy Trinity is "Great". KKK-ers think that White Supremacy is "great".

Some Classical Music enthusiasts, like, for instance, BrahmsWasAGreatMelodist, think Brahms is "Great". It's right there in his name. Oh, right; that's YOU, isn't it?

Yeah, we all consciously and subconsciously all rank stuff in our lives. I think Dawn is great (not the sunrise, it's always way too early. I mean the dishwashing liquid; it's the best. The "Greatest").

Is Greatness Overrated? "I Aspire to Be Average" . . . said no one, ever. If given the choice, nobody aspires to be a five out of 10.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,912 Posts
So I was reading a biography of da Vinci and although it was enjoyable, I found the constant appeal to greatness to be quite insufferable. It's not just a thing with classical music, it's ubiquitous.

Why though? Is it just human nature, or is it cultural? When I was visiting Thailand a few weeks ago, the way some of the monks spoke about the attainment of enlightenment certainly reeked of the same stench.

I possessed this kind of ridiculous attitude when I was 16, but at 23 I already find it remarkably ignorant and cringeworthy.
So, you seem to think that at 23 you have found great truth and wisdom on the subject. Maybe you have more living to do. There are few Leonardo da Vincis in the history of modern man.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,171 Posts
I think what Brahms meant to get at, is there is no one thing that is greatness. It seems to be an idea applying to many possible things, under many different contexts, most which are still highly unknown in our history and will likely remain so for a long time.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,040 Posts
So I was reading a biography of da Vinci and although it was enjoyable, I found the constant appeal to greatness to be quite insufferable. It's not just a thing with classical music, it's ubiquitous.

Why though? Is it just human nature, or is it cultural? When I was visiting Thailand a few weeks ago, the way some of the monks spoke about the attainment of enlightenment certainly reeked of the same stench.
Shouldn't this be the opposite in some ways? Buddhist "enlightenment" requires self-denial, renouncing the world and turning inward whereas most European "greatness" (especially since the renaissance) is self-enhancement, "improving" or enriching the world and has an outward direction. So I think you are abstracting too much and miss crucial differences.

I possessed this kind of ridiculous attitude when I was 16, but at 23 I already find it remarkably ignorant and cringeworthy.
Trust me, this attitude is still as cringeworthy and sophomoric as you now see your stance at 16. Two opposites can both be wrong (and often are).
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
556 Posts
So I was reading a biography of da Vinci and although it was enjoyable, I found the constant appeal to greatness to be quite insufferable. It's not just a thing with classical music, it's ubiquitous.

Why though? Is it just human nature, or is it cultural? When I was visiting Thailand a few weeks ago, the way some of the monks spoke about the attainment of enlightenment certainly reeked of the same stench.

I possessed this kind of ridiculous attitude when I was 16, but at 23 I already find it remarkably ignorant and cringeworthy.
it's interesting that people are so offended by the idea of greatness. why is that?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
12,352 Posts
I've no problem with using adjectives like "great" for those few who do work that just make me think "wow, where did that come from?". I don't think this involves belittling or failing to appreciate the many who paved the way.

But I do bridle a little against the casual use of the word "great". And therein lies the problem. We all calibrate differently and we have been again and again through discussions on this forum (they used to be common) that arrive at the conclusion that valuing a work of art is a wholly subjective activity. My own solution is to be happy with using the word great for those who seem to be extremely great (yes, Leonardo, yes, Bach). But, of course, I use the word a little more freely than that! In the end this discussion leads into ranking our favourites - and those discussions can often seem greatly tedious to me.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,281 Posts
Discussion Starter · #15 ·
You may come full circle in another ten or twenty years and start feeling some (certainly not all) things are great again. But yes, many are overrated. May you find something truly great that is underrated you can then champion.
It's not about things being "overrated" either. The discourse around that is equally tiresome and banal, it's just the other side of the coin.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,281 Posts
Discussion Starter · #16 · (Edited)
Shouldn't this be the opposite in some ways? Buddhist "enlightenment" requires self-denial, renouncing the world and turning inward whereas most European "greatness" (especially since the renaissance) is self-enhancement, "improving" or enriching the world and has an outward direction. So I think you are abstracting too much and miss crucial differences.


Trust me, this attitude is still as cringeworthy and sophomoric as you now see your stance at 16. Two opposites can both be wrong (and often are).
Of course there are key differences in the two. That was kind of my point; despite these fundamental differences there are still the same appeals which foster elitism and hegemony in both circles, at best it's just lazy discourse, at worst it's something a bit (not trying to exaggerate here) more sinister. I think it's just human nature.

Also say what you will but this attitude is not not sophomoric lol. "Greatness" is, by definition, sophomoric. And very tiresome.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,281 Posts
Discussion Starter · #17 ·
it's interesting that people are so offended by the idea of greatness. why is that?
I wouldn't say I'm offended by it; quite the opposite actually. I just find it quite dull and uninspired. It smushes the qualia of everything onto a single number line, how ridiculous
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,281 Posts
Discussion Starter · #18 ·
I'm not really sure where you're going with this. Are you saying that da Vinci isn't great, or that the biography of da Vinci isn't great?

Lots of people think that what they embrace is "Great". Thai Monks are certainly going to feel that attainment of Enlightenment is "great". MAGA cultists think Trump is "Great". Catholics think the Holy Trinity is "Great". KKK-ers think that White Supremacy is "great".

Some Classical Music enthusiasts, like, for instance, BrahmsWasAGreatMelodist, think Brahms is "Great". It's right there in his name. Oh, right; that's YOU, isn't it?

Yeah, we all consciously and subconsciously all rank stuff in our lives. I think Dawn is great (not the sunrise, it's always way too early. I mean the dishwashing liquid; it's the best. The "Greatest").

Is Greatness Overrated? "I Aspire to Be Average" . . . said no one, ever. If given the choice, nobody aspires to be a five out of 10.
We rank things as a matter of convenience, or because we do not really understand them on a deep enough level to recognize their intrinsic value.

It's quite a useful abstraction when needing to choose a dish soap brand, not so much, for example, here on this forum.
 
1 - 20 of 137 Posts
Top