Guitarist, composer, arrangement writer, producer, writer and poet Şevket Akıncı graduated from Berklee College of Music in 1994 and released his first album “Uçurumda Açan” in 1996. This song album, which is a compilation of his own lyrics and music enrobed in an austere, elegant and somewhat sad atmosphere, planted the seeds of Şevket Akıncı as we know him and started his journey that inclined towards a more jazz-rock, electronic music and ultimately free improvization since 2001.
The musician recorded many different genres of music, from avant-garde (John Cage Songbooks, Sound Migration) to modern jazz (Lifeline, Weed, Tarabya Ensemble), classical Turkish music (Elektronik Kumpanya), electronic ambient (Mugwump, Sputnik Sweetheart, Nehirdeki Melek, Alien Lounge), free jazz and free improvization (Islak Köpek, Century, Konjo, EarAfter, Holy Ghost), contemporary composition (Mutant, Escher Chronicles), hardcore noise (Dead Country). He gave concerts, produced and arranged five albums (Şirin Soysal, MAAN, Ruşen Alkar, Öykü Aras). He released poetry books Hezeyan Sözlüğü (Artshop-2008) and Tersine Zeus (Sub Press-2018) (source www.kalan.com). His book “Caz Tarihi” (History of Jazz) is expected to be released in 2020.
Who is Şevket Akıncı according to me? My dear teacher. A multi-faceted musician. Şevket Akıncı is someone with whom you can talk about Baudrillard, discuss about Aşık Veysel; someone who is well read and the only person I know who has listened to all sorts of music and much of it. Şevket Akıncı is a father, who has raised two great human beings who are as inquisitive and thoughtful as himself, a man in love with his wife. Şevket Akıncı is a fantastic teacher who has just as strong an explanatory power as his perception about people. He questions his every move to be sure of himself. He loves telling things and learning things. He is the happiest when people understand what he is talking about. He is so caring that he is 20 minutes late to class in order to save a stranded cat nobody else cared about. He always aims for more and that’s why he always progresses; he is never static. Yesterday’s Şevket is differet than today’s. He possesses an ever-active intellect which keeps his creativity intact. He is open, he opens the minds of those around him as well. Şevket Akıncı props others up constantly in a world where selfishness is commonplace and repetitiveness overtakes relationships of all sorts. He believes in being a “good person”. He is real, he is who he is. He is one of the most influential people I know. I wish everyone could get to know him and would suggest you go and say “hi” to him if your paths ever cross.
I am really happy about the release of his latest album “Radyo Ekoton”, which I was partially able to follow during my years as a student. Şevket Akıncı presents another album in which he sings once again after 24 years. Ecotone means “Intersecting Ecosystems”. Known as an “experimental” musician, Akıncı’s album was recorded, mixed and mastered entirely by Cansun Küçüktürk in a house environment. This album has the touch of many of the musician’s friends such as Sumru Ağıryürüyen, Ruşen Alkar, Duygu Argın, Ülkü Aybala Sunat, Orçun Baştürk, Selin Baycan, Gülce Duru, Anıl Eraslan, Zeynep Kaya, Esra Kayıkçı, Ceyda Özbaşarel, Saadet Türköz, Nihal Saruhanlı, Şirin Soysal, Özün Usta, Başak Yavuz and Yıldırım Yalçınkaya. I listened to the album at the airport for the first time at 6:00 in the morning. It seems that I had instinctively picked a venue in which the spirit of ecotone the best. Earphones on, I listened to the whole album without talking to anyone in one of the most creative spaces I could be in to observe others. I was really impressed. By its austerity, the “charge” in the lyrics, Akıncı’s musical accumulation, by the vocals, my teacher’s low vocals, whose tone range I still cannot decide since 24 years, by the stories of the songs but above all, by its realness. Here are some questions that we discussed with my teacher Şevket Akıncı about life-philantropy-music; some of which has been answered and some will remain as mysteries. Listen to the album, you will surely find something that belongs to you!
What kind of an emotion accompanied the title “Radyo Ekoton”? Which feeling in particular was responsible?
My dear friend Orçun Baştürk came up with the name Radyo Ekoton. Ecotone means “intersecting ecosystems”… Radyo Ekoton is an album in which many musical attitudes intersect, it isn’t an ordinary song album, it seems like a transitory area where sensibilities intersect with perspectives and intermingle. My favorites albums have always been those that cannot be categorized. For example, Fred Frith cannot be put under rock, or jazz or classical sections at a music store; his music stays in between these sections up in the air.
We always talk about “taking responsibilities”. I know that you value this concept. Taking responsibility of the notes you play, the steps you take in life, the words you speak. Can you explain the idea that “there are no wrong notes” within the framework of “free improvization” from this aspect? Does taking the responsibility of taking a wrong step –relatively– in music or life make one feel freer in a moral sense?
Who can decide whether a sound is good or bad? There is a relevant example given by John Cage: “If I am listening to Mozart, the sound of the street seeping from the window feels like commotion, but if I am listening to the street then Mozart is that.” It is relative to history, geography, psychology, sociology. Music is a rather relative thing. Louis Armstrong was the symbol of modernism in the beginning of last century, now his music plays at Starbucks as a nostalgic value, Gamelan music in Bali is considered the folk music of Indonesia while it is a source of inspiration for modern composers in the West. A loud music we listen to the night before can be painful to listen to in the morning. Sounds are relative as well. The sound of the hairdryer might be rumble for an adult but might be soothing for a baby since it is reminiscent of the sounds of a mother’s womb. There are many of these examples. Since music is so relative, the only reference point is the subject; “me”. The majority cannot decide whether a sound is good or bad. What matters is whether you want to make that sound or not. It is about wanting, it is about will. But for me, the main motivation that activates that will is to free myself; yes I can do what I want, I think what I want but I take the responsibility of what I do and think and most importantly; question them. The process of questioning takes place after the decision and execution for me. If you question the music you are playing during the process of creation, your brain kicks in and overpowers other forces that creation depends on and that’s when music is no longer music. The result is flawless but boring. At least that’s how it is with me. It might be the right thing to decide on the framework of the music you will make but it should be your ears and instincts that come up with this framework; not only your mind and the judgement it imposes. It is the situation while making music, but the opposite applies while performing it.
You really enjoy teaching and I know you always question yourself as a teacher. Your classes are shaped according to the general formation of that class and are never the same. It is more like “private lessons” even during group lessons, even if the title and content is the same every year according to the curriculum. What do you think about this?
Teaching is to bring out the best version of Elif Seven from Elif Seven for me. One needs to teach how to be curious for this. Curious people take steps forward, and move on with their own will. And this will I mention is the will of the curious person, not those who are content with what they are given, leaving the responsibility of thinking to the others. My aim as an educator is to show that there are things to be curious about, to teach how to question, to take responsibility, to analyze and to research. Giving information is only the details of this process. And I have to be examplary myself in addition to what I explain in my guidance. Subjects are forced upon in our education system, not explained. Information upon information piles up, especially during high school. But most of it is eventually forgotten and only those you are curious about remains, because knowledge does not possess you; only you can possess the knowledge you choose.
You wrote a book on jazz history “Caz Tarihi” and it will be published this year. It is a very valuable reference book which includes a lot of listening suggestions from the beginning of jazz to our day. Can we talk about this?
I have been writing this book for ten years and unfortunately it took a long time with periodic pauses. Because I threw the towel many times. I started the book to explain about free improvization, because little was known about it and uneducation opinions were forming. I also wrote it to teach myself. The book was supposed to carry the same name as my radio program on Açık Radyo that has been going on for 11 years–“Öteki Caz” (the Other Jazz). I had to explain about jazz and contemporary music while explaining about free improvization; the developments in these two areas in the mid-60s were exemplified in bands like AMM, Spontaneous Music Ensemble, Musica Elettronica Viva etc. The book got longer because I realized I was trying to explain the new happenings in the Western music. What is “new”? It is a discovery, a synthesis or an interpretation. Or a combination of these three. It naturally became harder to put a limit on this book as I learnt and researched more. It will be done this year and I will do somersaults on Barbaros Boulevard when it is!
I know you spare a lot of time to listening to music. You let your students experience a quintet in a deconstructive way with the drums, bass, piano and winds separately in your Jazz History classes. You believe that listening is just as important as making music, don’t you?
Listening is even more important than making music. Here are three reasons why: 1) If a musician’s goal is to be free; you can only distinguish between what is original after listening to the unique musicians. 2) You need to know the past if you want to be a part of the future. It is necessary to listen to what was done in the past. This applies to everything. You cannot only merely read about music; music touches the ears first, not the eyes. Jazz history, harmony, ear education and similar theoretical classes help in order to understand the certain context in which someone is making music. 3) Every musical idea that you play or compose comes from an pool of ideas in your head and that pool is filled the most with what you listen to. You pick and choose your ideas from that pool. That is why listening has always been very important to me. Of course I mean to listen and not to merely hear.
In Adorno and Horkheimer’s “Dialectic of Enlightenment” there is a great sentence under the topic of “The Culture Industry”: “Culture today is infecting everything with sameness”. “Spotify culture” makes it easier for millions to listen to a new piece simultaneously but does it result in the people listening to similar things, resulting in art suffering from this sameness as written in the mentioned book “…Radio (Spotify or similar in this case) democratically makes everyone into listeners, in order to expose them in authoritarian fashion to the same programs put out by different stations”?
We try to make decisions without being able to distinguish right from wrong due to the growth rate of change in big cities like ours today. So our decisions end up being similar, we don’t have the time to think and contemplate. It seems like the “system–the invisible hand”, or we could call it the economic and political order, control this fast pace, and with the technology changing in a head-spinning pace, and decide where and how we will experience these things, does it not? The nature of culture that is distributed changed with the changing of technology in the cultural sphere. We imprison the culture in much shorter time and spaces. Most people listen to music alone with their headphones instead of their music systems these days or listen to it quietly from their speakers in their workplaces. Or when they actively decide to listen, this is on Spotify tracks they skip after listening to it for a few seconds or on Instagram posts that last a minute. Music is broadcasted in 15 second intervals on Instagram stories–most only listen to 2-3 seconds of this and skip to the next track anyways. Music suffers greatly from the slap of that invisible hand I mentioned that controls the speed of consumption. We feel the pressure of this invisible hand of the system on concert venues as well; the places in which music can be distributed with integrity. The way these venues, which constantly face the danger of being closed down, make decisions on art changed a lot in the past 10 years. We see the closing down of venues that do more research, innovation and creation more and more frequently. Those that don’t have to make many cultural or financial sacrifices. We have to distribute culture with a technology that portrays it as an image or promotion if we don’t count these concert venues. There are more people with iPhones and they communicate mostly through technology without human-to-human intraction. There is work being done on restoring the traditional functions of things in all spheres of life such as lost talents, lost bodies, lost communities, or lost tastes of food… Youtube: a virtual concert hall, Spotify: a virtual medium. Putting virtual ticket booths for virtual shows, making everyone pay for what they listen, making listeners even lazier, the value that a consumer puts on what they get without spending effort. On the other hand, concert halls and clubs can function as showcases. Jazz festivals are filled with people who like their way of listening to this genre instead of liking the music they are listening to. “I went to this concert” “Did you watch that?”; these are things that are done with image concerns, they don’t go further than providing small bites for friendly conversation for some. Writer Edward Said summarizes Adorno’s ideas on “regression of listening”: Many years ago Adorno told his readers in his famous essay “regression of listening” that there is a lack of continuity, concentration and information that would allow genuine focus on music: Adorno was criticizing things like radio or records that slowly and sneakily disable the usual concert listener from playing an instrument or reading a partition. The situation is even worse today, the listeners have everything spoonfed to them. The abundance of choice makes the decision making process harder and people lazier. We view the things that have been put out by Steve Jobs in the recent years as the sole means of interaction and distribution. iPhones not only squeezed us in a tight and lonely space but also turned us into a society whose members are lonely even in crowds. The days when people would gather up around a music system to listen to an LP are long gone. This luxury only belongs to those who can afford to buy rather expensive vinyls today, doesn’t it? Some artistic choices are shaped according to the critiques of those who buy these records which are put out by musicians who cannot afford to buy the vinyls themselves. Not long ago, in the 80s and 90s, one would buy a cassette tape and listen to all of it. One would need to listen to songs that might be considered “mediocre”. But that was the only way that artist could be internalized truly. Today, people can be mistaken in thinking they internalize musicians by downloading their discography. We “internalize” without paying attention to how much of Miles Davis’s work we are knowledgable about and have opinions without questioning the quality of our experiences. A younger crowd, unaware of the effort and time required to distribute and receive culture, is used to a system in which being content with what’s given is the norm while the faculty of thought is left to an authority. Therefore they cannot see the relationship between the intellectual and physical aspects of effort needed to listen to music.
One of my friends told me “I have listened to and fell in love with a piece for the first time on an Instagram story” when I shared a piece from your album through Spotify on my Instagram. Isn’t this one of the pros of digital platforms, despite we are encouraged to consume fast and move on to the next piece after listening to the first 20 seconds?
Yes, but I prefer to see the bigger picture, if there is an exception that doesn’t concern the object but the subject. It depends on the perspective. I am naturally happy to hear your friend’s words. But I wouldn’t prefer that, these times are forcing this on us. The middlemen between the CD, cassette, LP producers and listener/customer have lost their jobs with the disappearance of recording labels. The person producing the music is now the distributor, the seller, the logistics, the advertisement company and the HR. But the musician sells his own image the most through his responsibility as an advertiser. The image used to be a showecase that directed towards the content but now it is empty content lead by the likes of Instagram, Facebook, Youtube. The person only consists of image now. There are occupations like Youtubers, Instagram phenomena and influencers. The number of the exceptions get smaller. Even personal traits like sincerity and being natural become unnatural reflexes on virtual platforms–they become personas that do not correlate to the truth. It becomes hard for the musician to look sincere when he tries to promote his work in such a situation. Andreas Huyssen says: “Just as artwork is transformed into goods and positioned as such, the goods themselves are transformed into image, representation and spectacle in the consumer culture. Packaging and promotion replace the purpose. The result of commercification of art is the aestheticization of the goods”. Therefore we aren’t sharing the art when we do so on Instagram, we share the promotion, or we share our way of promotion, we made this form of promotion an art in itself. We do so within the boundaries of the capitalism system that aims to constantly increase the speed of consumption. Music is shared within the 1 minute limit of Instagram. 1 minute music. Even worse, this limit is 15 seconds in Instagram stories, and keeping in mind that people only pay attention to the first 2-3 seconds of these stories, we are forced to diminish all the images we conjured up, all the allusions, inspirations, our accumulations in the most alluring and compact way within those 2-3 seconds. If this situation doesn’t show the pressure applied on time-dependent art branches like music and cinema by the system in control of the speed of consumption, then what does it show?
Living abroad for so many years must have had its effect on you and your music. What are these?
Living abroad during my childhood and teenage years made me realize values are relative at an early age. I lived in the Soviet Union and USA. The definition of culture changes with the geography. The contents of what we call civilization do as well. I can look at music from a wider perspective due to this, I am lucky in this aspect. But I cannot view this experience solely from the music perspective; I got to know about racism and insincerity at a very early age when one cannot pick and choose people they encounter, especially in Europe. The feeling of lacking “roots” is added on that trauma as well. This feels “spoiled” to many when told this way.
Quincy Jones says “your music can never be less or more than you, as a human being” in his documentary. I believe the “effortless mastery” needed to be “unique” comes from the fact that a person’s art is “never less or more than” him. What is uniqueness and unique music to you?
Eevrybody is similar, but there is 1 out of 100 who doesn’t. That’s what you have to discover, shape it within your art; this isn’t something schools can teach. You have to do this yourself. And this requires courage, internal reflection and the strength to fight prejudice. I have been alone for a long time ever since I learnt to be myself.
You are very comfortable and open about the subject of “improvization”. I know your interest in psychoanalysis and would like to expand on your statement “there are no explanations to the reasons that accompany my musical choices, the choice comes first and then I find the reason” that you gave during another interview. “Free improvization”–what comes from the subconscious are actually the reflections of a fantastic accumulation. What should be done to develop this improvization and creativity? This isn’t easy for everyone, especially in societies where social and individual trauma is heavy.
I really enjoyed something Derek Bailey said in his BBC documentary on improvization: “I’m interested in playing as opposed to performing”. I liked it because: you can measure a performance whereas playing cannot be measured. You have to look at cultures other than the West while trying to define culture. The word for “art” and “play” is the same in some African languages. This was adapted by some European languages: “I play music” “Je joue de la musique”. I was really happy to realize this detail. Because the feeling of discovery was what attracted me the most about music, that’s why I find music to be similar to a trail than a path. A path leads you to somewhere, where you arrive is important, but the journey is more important on a trail, that’s why I like improvization. Creating through playing. I understood that improvization and composition are two different sides of one coin as the time passed, the processes and time needed are maybe different: what is a composition if not a slowed down improvization? Improvization is a fast composition in this sense. There is a human aspect of improvization, especially that of collective improvization: there is a discipline of reciprocal help, you learn to control your ego while learning about the lack of a hierarchy, improvization forces you to accept the people you play with; not only their strenghts but also their weaknesses. It is your responsibility to turn those weaknesses to strenght because everything you do is ultimately a result of a collective effort. You can accept the quirks of other musicians and turn that into power. That’s why we encourage whatever comes from the subconscious. My friend Anıl Eraslan has a project called Dream Works which I am also a part of. It consists of a unified composition that stems from the dreams of the musicians involved.
Let me reply the question “What should be done to develop this improvization and creativity?” by trying to emphasize a point of view… A person who sees a work by Picasso can say “I can do this too” or “This hasn’t been done before, it is unique and is like nothing else”. These completely opposite views are born from perceptive and intellectual differences. These depend on whether one has an outlook on the situation. There is such a thing as “Better judgement”. It is useful to know some of the things also known by the artist in order to appreciate his effort, creativity and uniqueness. Personal taste can be regarded as an attempt to have an opinion. This effort is connected to the research done to understand and internalize that art to find pain or pleasure in it; looking into its sociological, philosophical and even economic connections. The exchange between the object (art piece) and the subject (me) should be investigated. The moment of seeing an artwork is when the subject starts to change and we have to regard that change as a chain of different progresses. And every process requires faculty so let’s define these faculties and processes: the first faculty is perception, the ideas have to be percieved to connect to the external. For example, an autistic person might not be able to make an abstract connection with an object. People on the spectrum usually can percieve objects but do not attribute these to anything abstract, they categorize objects as tangible things. Serious psychiatric illnesses like schizophrenia suffer from an abundance of perception. The body needs to have an immaterial quality in order to form an idea and opinion about works of art. Existentialist philosopher Heidegger says a person is made up of their perceptions. The second faculty is those of the mind. Kant differentiates three different faculties in the human brain. One is the faculty of knowing. The design in the subject should be compatible with its object in this faculty. For example, you need to know that a sea urchin is not a hallucination when you look at it. And the design in the knowing subject (me) and the known object (sea urchin) causes the known object to change. For example, opening the urchin to eat the orange content inside. The second faculty is desire and curiosity according to Kant. The faculty of desire and curiosity: the desifn in the knowing subject’s mind either enchances the subject’s faculties or diminish them. If it increases the libido (I really like this sea urchin and I would like to eat it again) or decrease it (I killed the poor animal due to my gluttony or I didn’t like its taste, I won’t eat it again). Kant says that the third faculty is pleasure and pain. What should be asked is this: Will the mind pursue the object while synthesizing its designs? Will the mind discover its own power through this object? If the person in question is in pain due to the object, he will be unable to proceed to the mental stage. Kant’s philosophy of critique is extremely important at this stage. Kant tells us some things about the processes of the mind. In the faculty of knowing, the mind is occupied with however much we are defined by it. It is not interested in anything further. It is only interested in what announces it. It is an indicator. This is called “apparatio” in philosophy. These three processes of the brain help one another and present each other with material. We learn about things when we are curious about them. Or let’s say we acquired knowledge about something and that thing gave us pain or pleasure, we are curious about that. We will research and gather more knowledge if it gives us pleasure and we might want to know the reasons if it gives us pain. You cannot want something without knowing about it. If you want to know about something the first two activities of the brain are engaged. What is good is desired: an object worthy of desire is in question here. It isn’t about the enforcement of the subject. The only faculty that changes the subject is the faculty of pleasure and pain. The will to want has to be in collaboraton with this faculty. “Intellect” is engaged after the “mind”. The faculties of intellect are these: The faculty of understanding, that of imagination and of thinking. We make connections between concepts relating to the subject with the faculty of understanding. For example, if we want to understand John Cage or Jackson Pollock, we have to understand the concept of randomness. If we want to understand the music of Ornette Coleman, we have to understand concepts like freedom and the lack of hierarchy. Imagination works with the images. For example, Max Eastley imagined up “sound sculptures” starting with the concept of randomness. He designed autonomous instruments that made sounds in the wind. Ideas exist within the faculty of thinking. For example, what we call “new” is an idea. It can be a discovery, a unique interpretation or a synthesis that we haven’t encountered before.
If the intellect does not hand over its faculty to understanding, it has to accept both. But it is always the intellect that has to find what is worth desiring and to judge it. This mean the intellect cannot hand over its authority to imagination or the power to understand or the capacity to comprehend. “Perception”, “Mind” and “Intellect” is followed by “Affect”. Spinoza’s ideas take over at this point. According to Spinoza, an emotion is decided upon by ideas. Because an object about which we have no idea, image or opinion about will give us neither pleasure nor joy. Leibniz says that perspective doesn’t mingle with opinion because that is a property of the object. Therefore, perspective is not an opinion of the subject about the object. We need a third faculty in addition to perspective or opinion. Spinoza calls this “affect”. He claims that we have to accept that there are differences between some concepts; idea-affect, affect-impression, idea-image. The idea is formed by the impressions formed by the images of what we see. Affect is what we feel about the thing we see or hear; it is a situation that adds or subtracts from our power of existence. Therefore an image forms in the subject before the object. These images can form ideas by coming together with knowledge and this is an idea that carries objective reality, it is encyclopedic. Or a chain of affect that is dependent on subjective experiences creates an impression on the subject. In addition to these, there are affectios, bodily impressions. This is a bodily change rather than a visual image or mental affection caused by the encounter between the subject and the object. A work of art can cause changes from giving the spectator goosebumps to making them sleepy. It could cause laughter, or a piece of music can make the body feel like suffocating, it could cause discomfort. There are two images in this process: The image during the encounter between the subject and the object and the mental affection or bodily impression caused by this image in the subject. The piece of art creates an image during the moment of encouter, creates an affection in the mind and an impression in the body; therefore changing and transforming the subject from this moment of encounter. The subject researches in a direct correlation with the faculty of wanting to know in the intellect, goes a step further, looks into the historical, sociological, economical and philosophical aspects. He positions himself within the perspective of the artwork with the faculties of imagination. He might want to go even further, using the faculty of thinking, and want to create a similar piece. But the subject needs to use a lot of data to position himself within this perspective. It isn’t enough to form an opinion, the spectator is required to think thoroughly. Having an opinion isn’t as easy as assumed. It isn’t taking a peek at Jackson Pollock’s work and saing “is not working for me”.
The students need to be taught to be courageous while increasing creativity. To explain that the only point of measurement about a work isn’t “pleasure”. “New” is a different criterion for example. I would recommend the students who want to be more creative to know themselves and others well. Lao Tzu has an insight that knows himself, he said those who know others are clever. Intelligence and insight are important. And you have to distinguish what can be new if you want to create something new. Invention, interpretation, synthesis. All new music is one of these three, a combination or adaptation of them, right? However an artist approaches the creative process of music, one of these three activities are engaged and somewhat intertwined. For example, you could synthesize two music genres that existed before: baroque and mambo. These two genres have different methodologies and the way you combine them will become a unique methology on its own but it will continue to embody the values of these two genres. For example, counterpoint from baroque and rhytmic liveliness of mambo. But with this condition: you have to be able to interpret both these genres separately in order to use the materials existent in these two methodologies. If we were to but these three activities in hierarchical order in unique music, synthesis is in the bottom, and interpretation is above it and invention is at the top. Because in making a synthesis there is a requirement to transform two preexistent methodologies. This is hard and takes time. Interpretation is an ability of expression, meaning that a mastery over everything that came before, including the synthesis, is needed. Invention transforms any idea into something original. And this is done independent of synthesizing, interpreting or any combination of these two. Invention in free music happens either individually or collectively. This requires calculation, analysis and material. It requires you to ask these questions: what is this? Why? How? Why is this material so important to you and how will you use it? What is the music style? What are the techniques and material required to perform this music? What kind of an interpretation will you bring in practice, presentation and culture and where will you share this music with whom?
What is your aim in life?
To be a good person. But you always face dilemmas, but your choices aren’t the only things that define you; those you didn’t make also do so. Sartre gives this example of a dilemma in his book “Existentialism”: Paris is under siege and a young person has to choose between two things: to look after his old and lonely mother or to join the resistance. Both choices are ethical but you have to sacrifice one good for the other. We all face dilemmas. Our choices define us. Nothing is perfect, whatever the aim is, you will never achieve perfection. We are conscious of our existence until animals and we also know we will cease to do so as well. That’s the worry. People find goals in life due to this concern. My goal for a long time was to create something that would outlive me and I had to keep the curious, inventive child inside alive in order to achieve that. These still apply today but there’s this: we have moved on from the era of permanent things, everything I do, we do, is like writings on water. The days when people were heroes are over; those heroes and legends are antics of old. If Mahler or Jimi Hendrix were to live today, their stars would go out like all the other pop stars. I might be wrong but that’s how I feel. Desperation is a price that is paid for this awareness but working despite this feeling, working, working, just like Sisyphos who carried the rock up the mountain no matter how many times it rolled down. The goal isn’t a moment or a point to reach. The goal is a process that consists of a life time, and that is the effort you spend to make a meaningful life. To gather the energy to show this effort. Seneca said this: A lifetime is required to learn to die. The fear of death has always been the pushing power in my prodictiveness, and now I work in making the approaching death a “noble” one. If there is an aim, that’s it.