De Musica

Music is a moral law. It gives soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination, and charm and gaiety to life and to everything – Plato

In Plato’s view, music was a microcosm and its virtue lies in its ordering according to the natural order of the universe, the macrocosm. The most immediate point of intersection between the cosmic order and the soul is achieved through music. Not any music, of course, but music which studies to reflect the universal harmony has the power, the highest power, to order our soul by ordering the affections by which all things are moved. For the order of the universe lies in a correct motion, a harmony of moving parts, which parts are each moved by their corresponding desire.

Music is the movement of sound to reach the soul for the education of its virtue – Plato

As the self-assurance of a madman, so is that virtue which falsely congratulates itself on the possession of one or a few but lacks all the virtues. The sum of all virtue is proper love. So the order of the soul, the rescue from moral insanity, lies not in an aggregation of virtue that will overlook some one or other, but in the possession of a world-ordering power to love with ordinate regard to all things.

The dementia of seeking to aggregate one thing to another rather than looking for a more fundamental and all encompassing explanation is the lunacy of a smaller-than-possible world. But love believes all things, even those things it cannot explain. It is not thus limited, but is free, as music is free. Music orders our soul by teaching us the proportions of our loves, by showing us how a cosmic order can be restored in the innermost part of our being. This power was observed by T. S. Eliot.

You are the music while the music lasts – T. S. Eliot

There is an ontological connection, and in this connection lies the power of that music that aspires to the order of the kosmos to give soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination, and charm and gaiety to life and to everything. For that music which aspires to the order of the kosmos aspires to a natural law. And in ordering our affections according to the order of creation music is a moral law.

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