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Socrates on “Rock”

THE POWER OF MUSIC

By Peter Kreeft | June 1984
Peter Kreeft is Associate Professor of Philosophy at Boston College. His books include Love is Stronger than Death and Heaven: The Heart’s Deepest Longing. The above constitutes the third installment in a three-part series of articles drawn from his forthcoming book. The Desperate State Dialogues, to be released by InterVarsity Press this summer.

Socrates: Hello, Felicia. I told you we’d meet again. What is that strange device you’re wear­ing today? Is it some sort of medical therapy for your ears?

Felicia Flake: Hi, Socrates. Boy, you are out of it! This is my Walkman.

S: It does not seem to be walking. Nor does it seem to be a man.

F: I’m listening.

S: To what?

F: My rock.

S: Oh, dear. Perhaps it is more than medical thera­py that you need. You think your rock talks to you?

F: Rock is music, Socrates.

S: You think your rock sings to you? Am I wrong to take its stony silence for granite?

F: Silly! It’s not a rock; it’s rock.

S: The abstract universal essence sings to you?

F: Rock music means music that makes you rock.

S: Oh. Would it make me rock too?

F: Here. See for yourself. Listen.

S: (Listening) Oh. But when will the music begin?

F: That’s it.

S: I’m not rocking.

F: What did you hear?

S: Not the Muses, certainly. I would hardly know how to describe it.

F: That was hard rock. Maybe you’d like soft rock better.

S: Are soft rocks thrown less painfully at the ear?

F: You might say that. Here, try this one: it’s acid rock. And this one: it’s punk rock.

S: (Listening) Felicia, I would like to ask you a question that you might consider very strange.

F: Not from you I wouldn’t. Ask away.

S: Have you ever considered the possibility that this…this…

F: Music.

S: …that this sound might do any harm to you?

F: You mean the volume? Nah, I’m used to high decibels.

S: No, I mean the spirit.

F: What in the world are you talking about?

S: You do know that music has a magical power, don’t you?

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