On Novelty

  1. Nothing is original in popular music.
  2. Look at those tracks or albums for which no apparent precedent can be found.
  3. They’re influenced by unpopular music. Or non-musical arts.
  4. So our ideas about what is original are limited to the cultural sphere in which we’re dealing. Everything has some kind of precedent, but our knowledge and awareness are always so limited that a sudden, unexpected and apparently sourceless inburst from another realm is perceived as original.
  5. This applies to ontology as well as to culture.
  6. So, all ‘originality’ is an interpenetration of spheres—a crossover—a bridge between worlds. All originators are walkers between worlds—shamen.
  7. Thus, novelty as ‘density of connectedness’.
  8. However, some separation must be maintained, so that the ‘novelty’ of connection with another sphere is maintained.
  9. Novelty = Connection + Separation
  10. That’s static. What’s the process?
  11. Novelty is the motion from separation to connectedness.
  12. At a certain point, the lack of separation will turn novelty into its opposite.
  13. Habit? Yes, habit: when there is nowhere new for novelty to come from.
  14. On a personal scale, there will always be somewhere new, a place from which other things can come and intrude on habit, or a place to which you can go to escape habit.
  15. On a cosmic scale, there has to be a swing back towards separation, which can for a time be seen as novelty—when there is still enough connection between spheres.
  16. Eventually, novelty will decrease as the links fade. Habit will prevail until spheres begin to run out of solutions to their internal problems.
  17. When the tension of separation reaches a certain point, the process will reverse. Novelty—bridges from other spheres—will burst through like water pouring into a dry vacuum.

For I am divided for love’s sake, for the chance of union.

Aleister Crowley

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