All the things that fortune favours become fruitful and pleasant only if those who possess them are also in possession of themselves and not in the power of heir property. It is a mistake to judge fortune responsible for anything that is good or bad for us. Fortune merely gives us the material for good and bad things—the preliminaries for what will turn out to be either good or bad within us.
Facts stand wholly outside our gates; they are what they are, and no more; they know nothing about themselves, and they pass no judgement upon themselves. What is it, then, that pronounces the judgement? Our own guide and ruler, Reason.
Marcus Aurelius (AD 120 – 180), Meditations (9.15)
Bach’s music needs to be unlocked; its emotional content, when discovered, is somehow in and of itself, and uniquely musical. Much of it is deeply confessional. By contrast, Romantic music now seemed to create a broader emotional landscape: that of falling in love, spending a night on a bare mountain, suffering in turmoil or throwing oneself off a parapet. Instead of experiencing those things for ourselves, we are given music that stirs and excites the corresponding emotions within us. Thus the refrains of the Romantics are often more accessible, yielding their power more or less immediately. Those of us who prefer the earlier mode might even say this emotional mode became a mere substitute for experience, and that the unique, private experience of music was diminished.
Derren Brown, Happy (p152)
On a separate note, I love the above portrait, borrowed from DerrenBrown.co.uk. It’s so rich. And, I’m not at all jealous of the laddered library, nor of the impressive amp in the background. No, I’m not.