Music and Philosophy and Psychology18 Dec 2010 11:56 am

The name of my first band was Ekstasis and while I was aware of some of the reasons I chose that rather exotic name for a rock band, many other reasons have been realized through the years. While I was trying to make an artistic and personal point by the name, in many ways Ekstasis has become a symbol of a lot of my life’s purpose. In some ways the concept of Ekstasis has been an underlying thread of my life adventure.

Way back in the early 70’s I was a precocious lad who like most adolescents felt a little out of synch with society and my peers. The bulk of my early years I was relatively intelligent and academically lazy person who favored sports, socializing, and activity over books and reading. Though a straight A student through all of elementary school and most of high school years I rarely, if ever, read my text books. My natural gifts with numbers and my ability to maximize class lecture time allowed me to succeed in classes and tests with ease.

Yet, late in my high school years my rebellious ways led me, with the help of my older brother, to take delight in philosophical thought. By senior year, when not engaged in sports or conversation, I spent the bulk of my time reading phenomenology, comparative religions, psychology, structuralism, mythology, cultural anthropology and the like. I seldom read any fiction and most of that was either negative utopias or existential philosophical literature.

Due to a lack of constant sexual relationships and an excess of mundane conversation I began to feel alone and misunderstood. In the realm of physical activity and sport I continued to feel properly stimulated and rewarded. Yet, when it came to interpersonal relationships I felt deprived and somewhat stagnant.

During the last year of high school I began to write essays and poems which were an expression of my desire and discontent while at the same time a plea to my contemporaries to live life more passionately. I had friends from a variety of artistic and philosophical attitudes and did greatly enjoy dialoguing with them. Yet, in the long run I felt many of our conflicts and disagreements were petty and were a sign of intellectual distance and not really grounded in how we felt and experienced life.

In had noticed that many of the intellectual conflicts I had with females disappeared the more physical our relationship became. It seemed that the more they really felt and experienced me the more they understood what I was really saying. Likewise I found camaraderie much easier on the basketball court than through any abstract discussion regarding sport or any specific game plan.

At was at this time that I began to have the courage to sing at parties. A friend of mine remarked that my voice was more expressive and powerful than most but my sense of pitch was woeful.

He gave me a guitar and told me that playing and singing would probably solve the pitch problem. Within months I was writing songs on a regular basis.When I was in my 20’s I wrote over 20 songs a year and even now in my 50’s I still manage to write between 10 and 12 a year.

During this time period I was reading about the thoughts of Socrates and Plato in the context of the birth of rational thought. This is where I stumbled across the difference between the cults of Apollo and Dionysus. In simplest terms the cults of Apollo revered the rise of rational thought with emphasis being placed on perfection, purity, the sublime, absolutes, and the Platonic ideals. The Dionysiac cults were very visceral and whose goals were more pagan and cathartic, where ecstasy and a sense of unity was the goal.

The texts I was reading talked of a ceremony called Ekstasis where the goal was to get beyond oneself, to alter the static and forge a union with the other. In these states all divisions between people’s vanished and they were organically and ecstatically united with each other.

What I particularly found fascinating with the description of Ekstasis was how the goal of getting beyond oneself and ecstatically merging with others was achieved. The cult was known for its fusing of many different artistic elements, there was poetic performance, percussive and rhythmic dance, along with a crescendo of music and even the performance of a play. This unrelenting sensorial and mental barrage of stimuli allowed the participants to go into a semi-trance state and merge in a world with no demarcation between body and mind, or the self and the other.

In my writing I had begun the skeleton of what was to become my philosophy of intimacy (you can read Exploring Intimacy in the words section of this site), in which I see intimacy as an inherent basic human drive. In this drive we are always oriented to become closer to and strive to merge with not only others, but knowledge, our self, music, nature or whatever else attracts our attention and interest.

The ceremony of Ekstasis spoke to the very goal of my music. I wasn’t just trying to entertain through my music, but to transform my audience into experiencing the very pulsing of visceral life. The goal of my music was to generate a merging of performers and audience into an ecstatic experience celebrating the wonder of life and our drive towards human intimacy and deep connection.

Where I often found myself feeling misunderstood in intellectual abstract conversation I felt that the same ideas presented in lyric and accompanied by the emotion of voice and instrumentation better succeeded at accomplishing deep expression and intimacy. Petty debates over terms and syntax were erased by the fullness and rawness of a musical/theatrical celebration of life.

On stage I wasn’t just heard I was experienced. In order to effectively accomplish this task I began to refine my presentation by taking jazz dance, ballet and mime. Even though I felt good about my music and the energy and ambiance created by the band, I do feel the exoticness of the band was often difficult for a club environment.

In the seventies the orgiastic music dominated by pounding rhythm seldom contained any intelligence, and songs with thoughtful lyrics with aspirations of social change fell into either the folk or high brow camp. Most people who went to the bars and local clubs were into getting drunk, getting laid, dancing or being engulfed by a wall of sound. While some people enjoyed the power and theater of my music few appreciated or even heard the lyrics. Those who were into thoughtful and poetic words were often turned off by the power and rawness of the music.

I have often referred to my music as art posing as music, and I realized that most local clubs were meat markets where people went to be entertained and not to be transformed. Though we had some good nights, the band never succeeded at creating the orgiastic environment of my dreams.

I probably would have had more success if I stayed more loyal to the corybantic nature of the Dionysus Ekstasis. There were plenty of metal bands whose driving rhythms did accomplish a form of hypertensive ecstasy. The theatrical element was difficult to pull off in small clubs and was better suited for larger venues which some of my performing idols such as Bowie, The Tubes, Jethro Tull, Peter Gabriel and Roxy Music were able to successfully integrate into their music.

Yet, what I hoped to accomplish was both the Apollo and Dionysus aspect in a single format. Dionysus without Apollo can become chaotic and blind ecstasy. It can quickly become pure escapism or potentially violent chaos. I wanted a balance of forces.

I felt that intelligence without the body can become empty and arrogant and that ecstasy without thought can become destructive and irresponsible. When I sang on stage I thought of myself as Apollo performing at a Dionysiac Ekstasis.

In my life I worried of becoming too self-absorbed and just living in my head. I saw the sciences as becoming too absorbed in being objective and divorcing themselves from the real world. In fact I perceived science often treating the planet, animals, and even others as just objects to be studied and manipulated for abstract principles and logical ideals.

Likewise I saw religion and spiritualism avoiding real lived reality by finding refuge in the eternal or the universe. Even though Science and Spiritualism posed themselves as opposites I saw them as two horns of the same animal. In both cases real life was objectified and transcended. Science and spiritualism had absolutes and eternal Truths, which portrayed life as an illusion and unworthy of our respect. Science has mind, and spiritualism has spirit and both have a tendency to devalue and sometimes even demonize the very body which makes experience (life) possible.

In the objectified scientific and transcendent spiritual worlds terms such as mind, spirit, god, thought, intuition, the absolute, supreme being, logic, truth, consciousness and Platonic Ideals are all refined and superior to the body and/or have separate existences that transcend of will outlive the body. For me, then and now, life is a wondrous process whereby all my perceptions and experiences are housed and made possible by my having a body.

My body, the world and my consciousness are all aspects of my experience. None are expendable or inessential. The world is not separate from me, and is not fully outside of me. There is no clear demarcation of where the world ends and my body begins and where my body ends and my consciousness begins. At every moment I live because I breathe, and at every moment I’m breathing in the world which sustains me and creates the experiences which create my sense of self and my personal history. When I exhale I give life to plants and trees just as my perceptions have me sense the aliveness of others and nature.

These are the kind of observations, perceptions and thoughts which make Ekstasis possible. At every moment I dance with life, I suck in its essence as it awaits mine. The gaze of others, birds and animals prevent me from feeling alone and keep me sane.

What need do I have to transcend or overcome? If you ask me to choose between human experience or perfection, I choose the ecstasy of the human life world.

How about you?

Here are some lyrics that pose the interactive beauty of a sensorial life that “makes sense” rather than seeks Truth or Absolute Essences. You can hear this song on the Go! CD in the music section (tab).

The World Touches Me

What I do see is more than I see everyday
What I do feel is more than I sense
Sometimes the world touches me
Keeps me company while I think

I shoot out thoughts like a Tommy gun
Words pour out in rapid runs
Painting the world that is me
Making the world I am to be

Wonder fills my joy
Laughter seasons the stew I’m steeping
Every day is a feast
So much to taste of which comforts and awakens
Sometimes the world touches me
Talks to me while I think

Sharing all our days
Gives my life dimension widens my perception
Listening to the rain
The rhythm is dreamy soothes like honey

Every breath I take
Is filled with wonder new world to uncover (discover)
Everything takes shape
Random seeks order when the world touches me

Jim Guido

Music21 Apr 2010 11:20 am

Here are the lyrics for my last three songs. I hope you enjoy them and it inspires you to check out my music tab where you can choose from some 150 or songs to read and listen to.

The Pleasure of Your Embrace 4/7/10

Mighty is the power of an emotion
It can fill you up or tear you down
It can be as deep and as blue as the ocean
Or drift aimlessly like a billowed cloud

Some let feelings be their master
Jerked about like a puppet on a string
I treat feelings as an artist
Their vast colors paint my being

As I wake I breath in deep
Feel refreshed from my deep sleep
I linger awhile holding you
It sets the mood
provides the glue
for what we do

I feel life dancing at my fingertips
A warm glow pulsing from deep within
I walk about in a state of bliss
The endless joy of making sense of all this

What I feel and what I think
In rich earth tones and relaxing tints
Talk to me of what others seek
I find few answers but plenty of hints

In ecstasy
Is how we live
when we stay
inside the day
find time to play
let love hold sway

Baby, time is a fire that
Kindles our thoughts and desires, yet
Someday we’ll run out of fuel
So precious this makes our every move

Eyes are such fickle companions
The new and the supple attract its gaze
Yet, I can’t imagine another body
My hands would rather touch
or my arms would rather hold

I want to feel the pleasure of your embrace
Be your comfort everyday

I Remember 3/6/10

Somewhere south of Eden a man laughs at his pride
Standing in front of a mirror a woman loathes her smile

The master of his desire is his never aging bride
The goal of her devotion is the light in her child’s eyes

Parched and languid evenings plague the restless mind
Watching her sweet baby to her lover’s gaze she is blind

He so wants to please her the treasure of his life
He yearns to be the hero of his family and his wife

No matter what he does he feels so outside
His presence seems a bother his affections denied

Weak and suffocated by the weight of hubby’s needs
She turns to her children to give life meaning

I remember times feeling free
Running fast and skinning knees
I remember endless motion

I remember days of play
Fewer now than yesterday
I remember becoming me

I remember days of passion
Trapped in the trance of satisfaction
I remember your rosy cheeks

I remember making you glow
Having you laugh giving you hope
I remember being your center

I remember feeling infatuation
Aching so bad for your complete attention
I remember but that’s not all
I don’t have to remember
No I don’t have to remember
Do you?

More Hope Less Expectation 2/15/10

Sometimes I wander out loud
Ask questions to fathom the crowd
Pick out the shiny or gray
Add them to life’s wondrous display

Between the sighs and insipid goodbyes
There are moments that transform the real
It could be smiles or the look in one’s eyes
That supply my heart with wings so dear

What did the heroine say?
Did she say it in a masculine way?
Is that why they’re cheering so loud?
It was never that upside down

I multiply instead of divide
Find joy in the depth of things
Tendencies rise as certainties fall
As change and familiar embrace so dear

Each moment I feel the same
Let’s me see it a different way
More hope less expectation
Give hearts some validation

It’s not really good or bad
Just healthy choices that make me glad
More hope less expectation
Kind words give inspiration

Some say they know
Well I say it flows

Amidst all change
Somehow we remain

We feel life
It’s beauty and its strife

It’s alright
Don’t need no paradise

Every time I love
I give myself a hug

Come sing with me
Create more harmony

The rhythm we awake
Create bonds we celebrate

I am currently working on a post which should be up in a few days.
Anyone care to comment on the lyrics? I’d love to hear your impressions.

Jim Guido

Music and Philosophy and Psychology28 Sep 2009 01:49 pm

The lyrics of a song I wrote over two decades ago deals with some of the issues of perception, spiritualism and experience that I’ve been talking about.
Fictional Space is the ability we have to not only live in the present but to anticipate and imagine. Fictional Space is about our ability to not only be in the actual, but to live in the possible. After reading the lyrics you can read comments I’ve made on selected lines which highlight some of the points and observations I’ve made in recent posts.

Fictional Space

There’s something of the mind which plays off circumstance
Like a servant pampered king it can be wise of frivolous
Unencumbered one used for strategy or evasion
Place me straddled on this life
Vision gives me power and might
Bash their monstrous heads, the survivors scheme
Lovers engulfed orgasmic anticipation
The hunter laughs at the snap of the trap

Fictional space

There’s something that’s the style which I won’t represent
It’s a feeling of denial wan discouragement
Harlots of the soul lost in merriment
Visceral drives buried by excitement

Moments take pride in invention
Problems provoke awkward hesitation
Solution, look to friendly vistas
The future beckons the agile dancer

Fictional space

Make me alive set me on fire
Make me alive celluloid fire

There’s something of the mind which plays off circumstance

This something is our ability to anticipate, mold, create and invent off the events life hands us. It is a freedom we have because we aren’t totally locked in the present.

Like a servant pampered king it can be wise of frivolous

Since this ability is a freedom allowing us to play with life, it is like a king in its freedom and power. We can use this power to be a pampered idiot or a wise man.

Unencumbered one used for strategy or evasionVision gives me power and might

The panoramic vision afforded a being able to see the past, present and project oneself into the future provides us with great opportunities.

Bash their monstrous heads, the survivors scheme
Lovers engulfed orgasmic anticipation
The hunter laughs at the snap of the trap
There’s something that’s the style which I won’t represent
It’s a feeling of denial wan discouragement

There’s a popular modern belief system which I feel weakens our joy of life. This attitude looks at the ego and life as obstacles to overcome. It constructs positive belief systems based on a negative view of our humanity and sense of self. It looks to God, spirit and essence as ways of finding joy while subtly denigrating the way we naturally experience life.

Harlots of the soul lost in merriment
Visceral drives buried by excitement

Harlots of the soul whether they be hedonists or spiritualists miss the beauty of our humanity by focusing on spiritual or sensual ecstasy devoid in one way or the other on the conscious experiencer separated from the experience. They both focus on the immediacy of the experience while missing the ego/self which savors and processes the experience. The ability of fictional space, the ability to live in the possible while living in the actual, is what gives experience its dimension and fullness. This refers to the “thickness” of human experience I’ve discussed in recent posts.

Moments take pride in invention
Problems provoke awkward hesitation
Solution, look to friendly vistas
The future beckons the agile dancer

The above lines highlight situations in which our ability to live in time enriches our experience. At each progressive moment (the future) our joy and satisfaction is highly influenced by our agility in blending (dancing with) time. Our present actions are guided by the wisdom of our memories and our ability to anticipate possible outcomes. That is why I contend that the desire to be present or immersed in the moment is a false goal, which when taken literally or made into a practice strips life of its fullness and meaning.

If you want to listen to Fictional Space click on the music tab and go to the I Rock Therefore I Am CD.

Jim Guido

Music31 Aug 2009 10:30 am

After some technical problems loading the music and lyrics and getting them published, I finally succeeded at getting it done.

The new CD is entitled Go! and can be accessed by clicking on to the music tab, and then clicking on the Go! album.

Once on the Go! album page click on the mp3 icon to hear song and click on the lyric to read the lyrics. To be able to read lyrics while listening to the song click on mp3 icon first and than click on lyrics (lyrics will appear in a separate window).

I’m in the process of updating some of my mixes. Let me know if there any particular mixes you want me to redo, especially if they are muddy or lack separation of sound.

Please take the time to listen to a number of tunes, since they are quite diverse musically and lyrically.

Also take some time to read some of my books. Currently Exploring Intimacy is the only book fully downloaded to the site. Two of my novels Public Relations and A Twist of Faith will be complete in a few days to a week. Each book already has a number of chapters ready and by the time you complete them, the rest should be up and ready for your eyes.


Jim Guido

PS I should have my next blog up in a day or two.

Music and Politics and Social Issues20 Aug 2009 07:41 pm

I am baffled and saddened by the anger and fear which is dominating the debate regarding health care. In the US we never have a discussion, but always a debate. A discussion sounds hopeful of finding an agreeable solution to a problem, but a debate is one step from an argument it is seldom viewed or portrayed as a vehicle for harmony. We are being trained and provoked into battling each other through fear and hatred. We are being encouraged to be close minded and judgmental and emotionally outraged by the words “of the other side”.

Words no longer evoke thought but rather provoke emotional reactions. Any word uttered is immediately pigeon holed into some ideological caricature fraught with emotional negativity. No one can speak without being labeled a socialist, communist, neoconservative, or conspirator due to the vocabulary they use.

I don’t feel doing the right thing or trying to be a caring and empathetic individual is beholding to any particular ideology. I’m not sure what the solution is, but the problem is pretty clear. We have far too many people in this country who have no health insurance. Wanting everyone to have the basics in life to survive such as food, shelter, clothing and health care should not make you into bleeding heart or a Pollyanna. It should not be ethically tolerable for the wealthiest nation in the world to deny its citizens the basics of survival.

Supplying all citizens with access to the basic needs of life should be a given. One can earn many things, and one should take a responsibility for many things, but the necessities of life should be given to all, because it is the humane, just and right thing to do. We shouldn’t let greedy people goad us into fearing and hating the unfortunate even if they could have done something to at least partially prevent it. Most of us are very fortunate to have the lives we do and thinking ourselves better than our neighbor helps no one including ourselves.

Access to life’s basic necessities should be available for all people on the planet. The following song lyrics are from Denizens of Danger and can be found on the Edge of Eden CD in the music section of this site.

Denizens of Danger

I may not look like you
I may not talk like you
I may not show love like you
I may not believe as you
We’re all denizens of danger

I may not behave as you
I may not debate like you
I may not die like you
I may not show faith as you

We’re all denizens of danger

I want to live
You want to live
We want to live
That is why we keep on trying

I want to live
You want to live
We want to live
That is why I give

There’s no truth for all to agree
For you’ll be you and I’ll be me
A common goal a mass decree
In our lives we must feel free

We’re all denizens of danger

I want to live
You want to live
We want to live
So let’s live

I’m not going to give up trying to live

Jim Guido

Music and Politics and Psychology28 Jul 2009 06:59 pm

In my last post I used lyrics from my song Mob Rule to point out the similarities between modern Democracies and mob rule. In both cases it really is the majority which has the power whether that be noble or bigoted. Obviously most people are just part of the heard so in actuality it is the people who motivate the herd who have the power. Likewise in mob rule the same holds true the power is in the mob, but mainly in who incites the mob.

In Puppeteers I deal with another aspect of rule and influence and that is the power of the audience. Modern democratic elections are little more than popularity contests with a great deal of attention paid to polls and presentation managed by handlers. Political platforms are more fashioned by public reaction than personal conviction. Speeches are molded by public reaction as a politician fine tunes his speeches based on applause and poll information from previous addresses.

The only thing that keeps modern politicians from becoming complete slaves to the voting public’s reaction to them is their ability to use perceptual management techniques (propaganda). In this regard people are conditioned to support or reject views and policies of the candidates and the government in general.

Modern politics is a blend of power of the political machinery through perceptual management in which emotions such as fear, hatred and patriotism are molded and the  power of the populace as a voting machine. The only true power we have as a group is in our role as voting audience in which our politicians are truly public servants dancing to our tune.

The following lyrics are from  Puppeteers a song I wrote years ago when I was performing out. The song was born out of my recognition of the power of my audience. It was their applause and indifference which molded my stage performance and guided my artistic development. No matter how revolutionary of an artist one considers oneself one is always beholding to one’s audience no matter how iconoclastic that audience may be.

This song was written in the late 70’s. You can hear it by choosing the TeenAngster album in the music section and clicking of the mp3 icon for Puppeteers.


I did pace all night long as others celebrated
Everything felt all wrong, my fears elongated
I just read a book by a man so educated
The inner workings that usually hide, his vision penetrated
But where is he now, where is his voice?
My vision is not so complete, yet I’m compelled to speak
My insight is far surpassed by I cannot, I will not live this way
If I could I would remain quiet, and modest, aloof from your gaze

Fearing losing my form to the puppeteers
My steps, you take, you’re mistaken you tug at my strings

My body shivered in the sweat that grew from my compunction
I thought and thought and prayed, till I could no longer function
I wish somebody else would take my place
For my body is folding under the force of your weight
Please don’t pump me up, have me look at what I’m saying
As I gain I lose control, the power to make a statement

I’m not sure where I begin, I’m talking, you’re talking, I’m talking again
Like my silhouette on the shade it’s growing, it’s shrinking
The light cuts my shape

Fearing losing my form to the puppeteers
My steps, you take, you’re mistaken you tug at my strings

Take these strings from the top of my head

Jim Guido

Government and Music and Politics23 Jul 2009 08:57 am

Our current form of Democracy has more in common with mob rule and anarchy than one would think. The following lyrics to Mob Rule highlight some of these similarities. You can listen to the song by clicking on the music section and going to the album Edge of Eden. Mob Rule will be the second song.

Mob Rule

My life keeps reaching away from storm
But who’s that teaching a hateful scorn?
Wisdom’s flame will blow out one day
When fools keep talking their winds of decay
I wonder if they know?
What is believing if not adorned
With wreaths of feeling one’s love restored?
We need a leader today
Who leads the herd not held in its sway
I sit here waiting for you

The people’s man keeps shaking hands
Plays the crowd like a slick magician
His words of hope there is no antidote
He speaks our words so we believe him
Makes me angry, makes me sad
Makes we proud to live in this land
What we want over what we need
Seduces us into feeling free

Feeling ecstasy, popular people telling popular stories
Of comfortable change, popular people telling popular stories

In limousines and dairy queens
The cameras focus on smiling faces
What is shown is all that’s known
Along with words meant to please everybody
Seeking pleasure, needing change
The crowd’s excited just the same
The torch’s ablaze, the mob’s enraged
Self-righteous truth fuels the flame

Mob rule ain’t that true? mob rule it’s what we groom
Mob rule it’s who you know, mob rule to get control
Mob rule just step in line, mob rule and let the anger fly
Mob rule it’s how you act, mob rule now that’s a fact

What’s right is right if you got the votes
In a democratic land that called control
Mob rule we’ve been had, mob rule it’s so sad
Mob rule just one big bang, mob rule let’s wave the flag
Where have all the heroes gone like the sheriff at the courthouse?
Speaking words of justice to calm an angry lynch mob

Jim Guido
Can we have a modern democracy which doesn’t fall prey to endless popularity contests, opinion management (propaganda), and mob rule?

« Previous Page