The inspiration that is Nick Cave
I recently listened to an interview with Nick Cave on youtube. There was no mind blowing moment, more so he stirred a quiet roar within my soul and a deep sense of familiarity. I felt like he’d given my innards a voice. Isn’t it funny how you can share your life with music, musicians and know nothing about them. Funny is definitely not the right word – is it selfish? Is that a consequence of art?
Nick Cave has been a constant on the peripherals of my adulthood – his music has always been there but never in my direct gaze. When I think back now, I could sing along to just about all of his songs but I’ve never thought about the meaning/intention behind any of them until recently. Anyway, I digress.
I listened to this interview by a shallow British reporter and for the first time, I think I truly heard Nick Cave. He mentioned the Red Hand Files and I dutifully subscribed. Recently, I’ve been giving a lot of consideration to how I consume information these days and find myself turning further and further away from the noise in order to find the things that move me. This moved me.
In his latest email, he talked about song lyrics, god and chatgpt.
In the story of the creation, God makes the world, and everything in it, in six days. On the seventh day he rests. The day of rest is significant because it suggests that the creation required a certain effort on God’s part, that some form of artistic struggle had taken place. This struggle is the validating impulse that gives God’s world its intrinsic meaning. The world becomes more than just an object full of other objects, rather it is imbued with the vital spirit, the pneuma, of its creator.
ChatGPT rejects any notions of creative struggle, that our endeavours animate and nurture our lives giving them depth and meaning. It rejects that there is a collective, essential and unconscious human spirit underpinning our existence, connecting us all through our mutual striving.
ChatGPT is fast-tracking the commodification of the human spirit by mechanising the imagination. It renders our participation in the act of creation as valueless and unnecessary. That ‘songwriter ‘you were talking to, Leon, who is using ChatGPT to write ‘his’ lyrics because it is ‘faster and easier ,’is participating in this erosion of the world’s soul and the spirit of humanity itself and, to put it politely, should fucking desist if he wants to continue calling himself a songwriter.
He’s such an interesting fella to listen to and if you’re looking for a monthly addition to your curated inbox than can I suggest subscribing to the Red Hand Files. Wouldn’t it be lovely if he was on substack too!