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Orpheus: The DJ & The bartender Orpheus: The DJ & The bartender
by Apopseis.gr
2013-04-18 09:30:41
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We live in an insecure,hollow world riven with chaos and strife, where instead of enjoying the fruits of the industrial revolution, modern life has become a little cynical,mechanical and lifeless.

Where the daily news flashes across CNN and Bloomberg spew out an endless stream of bad economic data, news,violence and protests; announcing the stagnation and end of the developed world.


The industrial revolution was meant to bring an age which brought free time to the masses, where people could educate themselves and enjoy a leisure time that humanity has not had thus far in its history.

But in the process, we seem to have lost the joy of living, in the partaking of the simple pleasures for its own sake,whereby the sense of innocence has left us; and the question has to be asked why is this so?

What is the magic ingredient?

Can it be that something so simple as music can restore our joy in life?

In the golden age of heroes of Ancient Greece, Orpheus was the pre-eminent musician, whose song and music would enchant the trees, birds, rivers and mountains; who would play his music whilst reclining by the side of some mountain stream under the shade of the flickering haunting cypress trees, like the fingers of some ancient god thrust through the earth like the broken columns of some long abandoned temple wreathed in ivy, with the river nymphs surrounding him enchanted by his song.

For Orpheus was the son of a muse, who graced his age with his presence; but who is our Orpheus? Who will sing for us in the idyllic, bucolic havens of our subconscious?

Music, which comes from the Greek 'mousike' (art of the muses) was the first language of humanity, for before we learnt how to speak, we listened to the sounds of nature and mimicked these sounds to eventually develop language; whereby music is intimately linked to two of our major biological perceptual attention devices - sound and hearing.

Therefore music is the first primal, biological language of all of humanity; whereby music is a social glue, where music is used as musical therapy to improve the physical, emotional, mental, social, aesthetic, and spiritual wellbeing of people: whereby music actually improves the cognitive functioning of our brain.

If music is so important, then why has it lost its pre-eminence in our world civilisation?

We see the geopolitical tensions increasing daily and yet our world leaders have not once communicated through the primordial joyful language of music; Where instead,President Obama is trading political shots with the Iranian leader Ahmadinejad,where Angela Merkel is the protagonist of Francois Hollande in their increasing EU feud due to their differing socio-economic theories;where the ever present tensions are kept high by the Turkish President Erdogan who boxes with the Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras over the Aegean to his great shame.

Bereft of the divine gift of music, our leaders and middle aged ruling class have consistently fumbled and have heaped tension and misery on this world of ours; causing famine,war and strife.

But how have we lost this gift of music?

The answer of course is innocence, the innocence of a child; like that time in our lives when we were children once and an ice-cream truck would pull up in front of our street with a jingle playing from its loud speakers announcing its arrival, and our parents would give us some change and the neighbourhood children would gather around the ice-cream truck consuming an ice-cream cone.

Where the sun would cause the choc-topped  ice-cream cone to melt slowly to drip down our face; yet in that one moment in time,we didn't care if our faces were messy, we didn't care if people laughed at us, for we had the innocence of youth.

That beautiful faculty which allows one to perceive and enjoy the positive and beautiful things of this world without any evil or cynicism in our hearts; and it is this very faculty of innocence that we seem to lose as we became adults  - to our great lament - and something that children still have.

The muses of Olympus - the nine daughters of Zeus - have been with humanity since the ancient times inspiring the procession of generations through the ages in the various arts: inspiring the the resonant chamber harpsichord music of the Baroque period; to classical music and the majesty of Bach,or the power of Beethoven,or the enchantment of Mozart, or to the gypsy passion of Liszt.

Then onward to the modern age to the serene beauty of Gershwin's 'Rhapsody in Blue'; or John Coltrane's piece "My favourite things" which cleanses  one's psyche cathartically,and to the present age to magnificent composers such as Mikis Theodorakis.

From that day to this, humanity has been blessed with a panoply of musical talent and colour, a veritable ' Moveable Feast', and if I may quote Ernest Hemingway;

"“You expected to be sad in the fall. Part of you died each year when the leaves fell from the trees and their branches were bare against the wind and the cold, wintery light. But you knew there would always be the spring, as you knew the river would flow again after it was frozen. When the cold rains kept on and killed the spring, it was as though a young person died for no reason.”

The spirit of human vitality and renewal is our last bastion against the forces of defeat and cynicism;one of the great wellsprings of power intertwined into our DNA, and with this hope,does man have a chance to rediscover its youthful innocence.

But where do we rediscover our innocence?

It is in our children, in the young people of this world, who with joy and innocence in their hearts sing their songs,and burn with impatience to cleanse themselves that one day of the week on a Saturday night; preening themselves and going out dancing in a swaying mass hypnosis with laser lights threading the air above them amongst the tendril wisps of the smoke machine ; jumping to the joy, light-filled dance music played by the DJ: while the crowd waves snapped luminous fluorescent glow sticks in the air,their sweat-drenched faces beaming with happiness.

So by subjugating our egos, and sitting at the feet of our children, man might just have a chance to rediscover youthful innocence, and therefore the magic of music; for Orpheus does live in this modern age , in every DJ of the world.

What would happen if the leaders of the world decided to settle their arguments and differences through music and dance rather than political conflict?

Imagine if Angela Merkel and Francois Hollande settled their EU differences in a'EU idol song contest'; Angela Merkel would sing "Take my breath away" by the musical group Berlin, and Francois Hollande would sing back to her 'The wind of Changes ' by The Scorpions: or if the US President squared off against the Iranian President Ahmadinejad, and in a break-dancing contest, or sang 'You got it- The right stuff' by New Kids on the Block, and President Ahmadinejad sang back to Obama 'Ice Ice Baby' by Vanilla Ice; and finally,if the Turkish President Erdogan settled his differences with the Greek Prime Minister Samaras, in a best-of-three Greek 'blues' Zeibekiko dance-off contest.

Wouldn't the world be a better place if its differences were settled by musical therapy rather than the infantile ego-centric geo-political games?

Now that our innocence has been rediscovered,whenever one finds oneself beached in some inviting inner city bar like the rooftop  'Skybar' at the 'Poseidon Hotel' at Paleo Faliro Athens; there would be no better choice than sipping on a Pina colada cocktail whilst reclining back on the roof-top open-air lounge under a canopy of silver constellations that flash like a Peacock's tail whilst irregular shooting starts dissect the night-time sky; and where the Island of Salamis - right before one's eyes in the distance - and its ancient Persian naval battle, plays out in the projector screen of our mind.

Or to find oneself beached in the top of the rocky cliff tops of Santorini, one could not ask for more than stopping in at the 'Suites of the Gods' health resort spa, and asking their friendly bartender Kris to make you a fresh herbal green Mojito cocktail,to sip slowly whilst inhaling the magic of the night time Santorini caldera,surrounded by lavender scented  candles burning brightly ascending and descending falling gently into the ocean of our soul: or to the last stop at the 'Pure Platinum' club in Sydney Australia,entertained by the fabulous DJ's Kieran and David,  surrounding by their dancing nymphs.

The power of music and the joy that it can bring, or of its ability to change the present geo-political situation in our world is within our grasp, we just need to suspend our cynicism and mock-seriousness, and give in to our innocence; for as things are at present, trying this musical therapy cannot hurt at all, for we have tried everything else!


Nikos Laios, North Sydney, Australia

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Emanuel Paparella2013-04-18 12:37:05
Thank you Mr. Apopseis for this poignant poetic description of the human condition, the existential dread and sickness unto death, the innocence of children, the healing power of music. Plenty of food for thought here. I am already ruminating on it. It brought back many thoughts and feelings to my mind and heart. I’d like to share them with you and the Ovi readership.

You certainly have the correct diagnosis and the prognosis as did the likes of Rousseau, Kierkegaard, Nietzsche and Heidegger. They all saw the horrible predicament modern man is in. It was Heidegger that once quipped that in the era when logical positivism and technologism has triumphed and the muses are silent, “not even a god can save us now.” So, sadly, he joined the Nazi party, thinking that he had heard the voice of being in Hitler. Now we have the neo-Nazis who have also heard some kind of voice…and are getting ready to repeat the history whose lessons they do not know or do not wish to know.

But you are right in suggesting that we cannot give up on Orpheus and its healing power. I would only add that the common dance of the world’s leaders ought to be in the buff, for in the vulnerability of nakedness they would surely come to a quick solution of our predicaments. Come to think of it, Orpheus is the story that begins Opera in Italy in 1606. They thought they were going back to the ancient Greeks but in that return to origins discovered something wholly new. They certainly did not re-invent the wheel…

In the 60s when I was in college everybody was reading a book by Herbert Marcuse titled Eros and Civilization. He suggested that the era of innocence was upon us, but suggested sports, rather than music as a substitute to incessant military economic strife. The Romantic had already suggested the contemplation and the worship of nature. And so the hippy movement was born in all its initial glory buttressed by music. They thought they had “suspended cynicism and mock-seriousness and given in to innocence” but alas, we soon found out that the movement and its idealistic communes had a dark side and was not so innocent after all. Enters Charles Manson who still thinks he was innocent as a child then and is innocent now. And so we are back to Rousseau’s paradox: man is born free and innocent and everywhere I go he is in chains. Perhaps Agustine has it more on target. Human nature is good and can be noble, but it is also flawed.

Vico would agree with you: before man can speak and think, he sings and dances. Perhaps we need to go back to those origins but I would insist on the dance being done naked for if it is conducted in costumes we’ll be talking about inanities such as who is wearing the most colorful costume, is it a Versace? or perhaps what does your palm reveal today… what is your horoscope and your crystal ball, and what have the stars destined for you? In dancing naked and in revealing our warts an all, there wouldn’t be time and leisure for those inanities.

What I particularly like about your analysis is the insight that children play games for their own sake and that is integral part of their innocence and great appeal to the cynical adult awash in rationalism devoid of imagination and emotions. I wonder if Lance Armstrong and company are listening. Indeed, let those who have ears, let them hear.

Nikos Laios2013-04-18 13:09:06
Thank you Mr.Paparella for your kind words.The human condition is an absurd one, and whilst rushing headlong into the headlights of our mortality, it sometimes takes the innocense of children to remind us of the beauty of this ephemeral moment.How easily does society forget that small moments of irrational beauty like music and the innocense through children's eyes can give us a moment of levity?. Do we take life too seriously? I try to infuse not only my writing with the poigmancy of the human condition, but every part of life. What if we all dwelt for a moment in this breeze? We would be reminded to be more gentler and kinder to each other,and enjoy this moment while we can ........

apopseis.gr2013-04-18 14:44:43
Thank you for your king comment but I am inclined to inform that the article has actually been written by Mr Nikos Laios and was published at apopseis.gr. Kind regards from Greece.

Leah Sellers2013-04-20 06:54:01
Mr. Nikos,
Thank you for the Living Truths within your article, dear Sir.
Music truly is the Universal Language of Mind, Heart, Body and Soul.
And it also helps to be able to maintain throughout one's Life the ability and capacity to continue to see the World around us with inspiring Wonder and Awe.

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