Tohu and Bohu

Before creation, there was Tohu and Bohu - confusion and emptiness.

Each day of creation banished tohu and bohu more and more.

Light established clarity, where darkness brought confusion.

Light revealed the subsequent creations - plants, birds, fish animals - and a world so far from empty as to be full of goodness.

The creation of man was the final abolition of confusion, for man was commanded to rule Eden. With the order for all creatures and life to be fruitful and multiply, the world was to be less empty, every day, every year, everywhere.

The Way things are

Without law, there is confusion.

Where there is no meaning, there is emptiness.

Looking at the trends in concert music today, it is hard not to come to the conclusion that humanists would like to undo the work of Creation, if they could.

Emptiness has become an explicit musical aspiration:

Why not write a piece that is neither original nor unoriginal, but simply indifferent to originailty as a value? The idea would be to occupy an intermediate zone between the equally dubious categories of "original work" and "pastiche",and in so doing to acknowledge as fully as possible the network of dependencies and alliances that both categories necessarily dissemble. The state of mind involved would be good to imagine, even if the piece itself were not good.

(Lawrence Kramer in Musical Meaning: Toward a Critical History page 270)

Confusion is the effect of modern music.

... by the time we come to the last movement of Mahler’s Ninth Symphony, the sense of oppression is overwhelming. For all that the musical idiom has the sweeping exaltation and surface brilliance of high Romanticism, the cumulative effect is a sense of crushing chagrin, almost of calamity. By symphony’s end, the audience feels as though it has just concluded an especially traumatic session with the psychiatrist: drained, nerves jangled, and yet still with no answers.

At the core of the experience, finally, there is a hollowness. One feels that it has not been any more satisfying for the composer than it has been for us - the search for answers has ended in the realisation that the questions were all wrong, or, worse, that it was not permitted to ask them. The composer’s yearning has expanded to the outer limits of the universe, which he finally comes to feel cannot contain all that he yearns for, because the universe is precisely himself; what he longs for most is to transcend and escape his own selfhood. Yet there is no place left to wish for, no exit possible, because his yearning, his wounded soul has absorbed every atom of what is. The artist became the victim of a cruel paradox: even as his self-conscious sensibilities grew ever more exquisite, the objective image of the universe being pictured by science left less firm ground for him to stand upon.

(Jamie James in The Music of the Spheres page 213-214)

When Chaos Rules

It is no accident that today humans are spoken of as just one of the animals in the world. Environmentalists use the expression to reduce our authority to the same level as the worm.

Men who hate their Creator want to supplant his power by challenging the way that Creation functions. It is ultimately futile, but it is not always obvious, so we must be careful to see it where it is.

When men are empty and confused in their hearts, when they are empty and confused in their view of the world, then it would be highly surprising if they were not also empty and confused in their artistic expressions.

Tohu and Bohu are to be repelled in every sphere.

Listen to music with new ears and do not accept what does not conform to Creation. We compose within Creation, as creatures of that Creation, to glorify the Creator. All else is empty, confusing noise.