Well thanks, everyone, for your comments in the discussion on ethics. It's probably the best discussion on the subject I've been a part of, and I learned a lot. Though the discussion's certainly not ended, I've come to some clarity on the whole subject.
The points raised lead me to consider that we may be moving towards a new system of music production, distribution, and consumption. A system based on responsibility and ethics rather than tightly-controlled market capitalism. Whereas the old system looked like "I want this music, so I have to buy it so I can enjoy it," the new system looks more like "I love this music and respect the artist. I want to support the artist as a way of showing thanks and making sure they can continue making it." The new system rewards quality rather than marketing, since it comes from a place of gratitude rather than desire.
Of course, it may be a frightening prospect to musicians and record labels, because there is no control: if people don't want to pay, they don't have to, and they can get the music just the same. But of course nothing is being taken from the artist; data is being copied, so all they lose is potential sales (while gaining potential fans). Because ultimately, music is sound, and sound is vibration, and you can't own vibration. But musicians are people, and people need to eat and be housed and express themselves, which in our society requires money (or goods/services exchange). So, it is our opportunity in this generation to show that a new system based on trust, gratitude, and understanding can be more effective than the old one.
Here are some 2 particularly poignant excerpts from the discussion:
" Your blog is one of my favorite places to find out what soul is, how people in far-away places relate to life, and to otherwise make connections with myself and with my fellow humans teetering on the brink of habitat eradication. Thank you so much for the education and for the joy!" - Joe
"more to the point on ethics is that there are many millions of people with far too much leisure time on their hands. I myself thanks to the new wonders of high-speed have amassed more music than I could ever listen to in my lifetime, beyond making time for my own music-producing capacities. think of the huge potential for time and energy applied, if all those privileged people with time to kill downloading music would commit their concerns about ethics to real-world activities like nuclear disarmament, saving watersheds, food security, restructuring government etc." -psbIt's easy to get lost in the vast sea of buried musical treasure out there. Remember, while there's nuggets, plenty of it would be best left buried, lest it bury us. I've wasted away plenty of my precious youth in pursuit of music and art that speaks to some kind of feeling (joy, sorrow, passion, rage, love, etc.), rather than experiencing life and feeling those things for myself. Pleasures of the senses, however majestic they are, can be a distraction from the experience of the divine self/world. So hopefully, having recognized this, we'll all be able to enjoy the pleasures of music and learning about distant cultures and times, and allow the music and knowledge to bring us together as people in a planet, for we have important work to do, and it should be done joyfully.
So, having said all that, I will get back to posting, as long as I can do so in a healthy way. And I may post non-musical things from time to time as well. It's about expanding horizons, right?
And as for all of you, thanks for your insights and comments. It's great to be reminded why I do this. I hope you've gotten as much from it as I have, and I hope you're balancing music-consumption with life-engagement better than I have. If not, go take a walk, find a tree, sit down, and listen. They make music too...
Oh, and the Seamus Ennis album is back. Hopefully it'll stay.
The Satisfied Sea-rat.