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There are so many ways in which Praxis resonates with me as a concept - in this triptych, it’s the Aristotlean notion of ‘action’ as the third part of the activity of humanity (along with Thinking and Making) - doing things! I like putting things into practice, I like demonstrating the sum total of my thinking and theorising by actually getting out and making it happen. Not so much as an action towards ‘making stuff’ (read the Poeisis essay for more on this) but just as the culmination of a particular set of thoughts. Make plans, do things, make more plans, taking into consideration the things that you did before... This is where the more contemporary usage of Praxis becomes SO inspiring - it being “the process by which a theory, lesson, or skill is enacted, embodied, or realised.” - the sum total of all thinking, in action.
For about 15 years I’ve described my philosophical position as one of ‘pragmatic assurance’ - behaving as though what I currently think is right, while being perpetually open to the distinct likelihood that I’ve got it wrong - the reason for this is that to live in perpetual doubt is to inhibit our ability to get on with things. Whatever your motivation, not doing something means it doesn’t get done. That much is obvious. So we do what we think needs doing, while actively resisting the human pull towards hubris and unnecessary certainty.
Likewise, we need to be open to the mystery, while still actually getting shit done. Exploring the wonder of what it is to be human is awesome, but at a certain point, we need to actually get involved, both in the stuff of living, and the dirty work of looking after those who’ve been abandoned by the system. Creativity, at it’s best, is a way of exploring the nature of what it is to be human in ways that will inspire us, move us, challenge us and entertain us, that will celebrate the joy of being alive while also somewhere along the line prodding that nagging inside that we need to get connected to those around us.
“With great power comes great responsibility” said Uncle Ben. The world of music-making is one that make it so easy to become disconnected, to disappear into a narcissistic fug where no-one tells us that we’re being self-absorbed assholes and we’re not actually helping anyone or anything. Praxis is the mechanism by which ideas about who we are, about what it means to be creative, about what role music can play in the theatre of humanity are expressed and explored, music is made, and its reason and utility is challenged and refined. Ever onwards, ever upwards. Rinse, repeat. :)
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