Maynard James Keenan: Events and Rituals


If we're at all realistic about the nature of inevitable change and the impersonal universe in which we live, we have to admit that someday we may be without the Internet. (Hello , Sandy. We didn't really NEED pieces of Massachusetts in Michigan, but thank you I guess?) If we keep going down the path we're on with regards to digital vs. analog, there may not be as many physical personal diaries left to discover in a post-apocalyptic world. I think on some level we get this. And historically speaking, we have understood the power of oral tradition.

To accurately pass on the details of life saving/threatening events and rituals over generations in the form of rhythm and verse is no easy task. Especially if some of those details include obvious references to the "other side of the story" - the side opposite the status quo. But that side of oral tradition has more to do with secret society stuff. Yawn.

I'm speaking more about the inclusion of important historical details and Life 101 classes. I'm touching on the simple yet critical tasks, such as water purification processes in the form of tea ceremony (boiling water) or fermentation (wine-making), sewn into our daily routines and rituals because of our local lore and tale. Quite often you'll find some of these basic equations in the rhymes we teach our children, especially if the rhymes are as old as the hills. For those stories to accurately span multiple generations, the architect of the verse must have a firm grasp on the important details and be able to wrap them around archetypal frameworks that speak to our daily lives. And then the architect must also understand the importance of a compelling delivery. A skillful storyteller must be employed to pass down the story. And they in turn must be able not only to pass on the story, but also to pass on the skills necessary to effectively deliver the story.

I realize this may not appear to have anything to do with Mr. Coates staring longingly at Mr. Goggins as a tranny, but I assure you it sort of does. If what I'm suggesting is true - and I realize that's a big if - and oral tradition contains bits of pragmatic or utilitarian information which is meant to survive being passed down over generations, then it will take a skillful, imaginative, and expressive artist and performer to carry out this task.

If ever there were ever an argument to keep the visual and performing arts programs in our public education system healthy and well funded, it would be this. Developing and then flexing our imaginative, creative, and expressive muscle is what eventually led us to flying to and walking on the moon. It will also assist us in escaping those sticky situations that tend to pop up during the Zombie Apocalypse, many of which I'm about to watch on this week's episode of Walking Dead.

Chicken Little out.


Follow Maynard James Keenan on Twitter: @caduceuscellars, @mjkeenan, @puscifer. Read more of Maynard James Keenan's columns at Up on the Sun.

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28 comments
figuringitout
figuringitout

MJK has the ability and the 'rank' to change the world.. if only people would listen.. or he would maybe speak louder.. in other ways.. John Lennon and the Beatles did it.. i would love to see this happen..

Tonissa
Tonissa

Beautiful...

 

"For those stories to accurately span multiple generations, the architect of the verse must have a firm grasp on the important details and be able to wrap them around archetypal frameworks that speak to our daily lives. And then the architect must also understand the importance of a compelling delivery. A skillful storyteller must be employed to pass down the story. And they in turn must be able not only to pass on the story, but also to pass on the skills necessary to effectively deliver the story."

booboo
booboo

is it just me or does Mr Keenan sound like a Hunter S Thompson fan?

NOTaHippie
NOTaHippie

For those artists who tell stories other than by oratory, bravo! Quilts, painting, photography,songs, novels, plays and the millions of other ways to tell a story that doesn't involve something to be plugged in, in order to receive it, I commend you. However, Mr. Keenan is speaking about oratory. Those that have passed down time honored and universal themed stories generation to generation whether it be by stories told around a fire or in a theatre or in your mind as you read. Examples like, gee I don't know, Shakespear, or perhaps Mark Twain.  Then there are "modern" orators, Dylan, Joni Mitchell, Mr. Guthrie, Lennon etc....For me, it's not about "funding" so much as it is about valuing those who we choose to be the voices of our history. Nurture that value, elevate it as a society and as humans sharing the human experience - the funding will take care of itself.

 

Just a quick observation - 1st article garnered hundreds of comments. We are a fickle bunch :-)

xBuffix
xBuffix

Hmmm...very intuitive. Love the Coates/Goggins reference. I'm sure anyone watching that particular SOA scene was doing the same uncomfortable mental dance. I did as well...so I'm sure there wouldn't be much explaining necessary. I have a hunch she didn't marry due to your Moral Attributes. Besides, it's the surfacing of these situations that make or break it.

maxell0405
maxell0405

Interesting that you mention "B list" actors as among the best, as it seems most of the best actors are not "A list" celebrities, in part because being on the A list makes an actor so famous that his/her celebrity becomes a distraction from the storytelling.  I would love to hear your thoughts on this topic, Reverend, perhaps in a future article, as you are in a rare position to understand the effects of idolatry and fame on storytelling and art more generally.  You also know a thing or two (ahem) about transvestite mammaries, come to think of it.  Maybe not as good a topic.

scubiedoo
scubiedoo

Bravo, sir. Just picked up the war of art last night. Digging the muse.

Eli_Russell
Eli_Russell

Another day to size the day Carpe dium,to gather ye pollen as ye may. For what be fraught, and tossed away for yet another day Will only seep and quietly fade away. So take this moment, and take this time In life, to seek out and add your own rhyme. For as a moment is short, so are our lives No time to live life through vicarious eyes. For if the seed we do not plant, the plant shall not grow. So we only continue to starve, 'till our days grow old. Wanting and wishing our time not to be of waste We store and crush our visions, desires, nay! needs as a paste. For this mask we wear to look like all others Encasing ourselves deep, within our own slumber. Constantly chocking, steadily sleeping as we may. Oppressing our inner child, alas! Never again to let it play. So grab yet what life you have not thrown away, And gather ye pollen, carpe dium, go and seize the day!

e25_roa
e25_roa

@puscifer I really like your column and not because you wrote it. Its a good read through and through.

SantaCruz
SantaCruz

The Muse is not an artistic mystery, but a mathematical equation. The gifts are those ideas you think of as you drift to sleep. The giver is that one you think of when you first awake. (Roman Payne)

squid548
squid548

@mjkeenan @phoenixnewtimes if there were a weekly, say hour long Maynard rant/ commentary, I would dvr the shit out of that shit

musankdnas
musankdnas

"For those stories to accurately span multiple generations, the architect of the verse must have a firm grasp on the important details and be able to wrap them around archetypal frameworks that speak to our daily lives. And then the architect must also understand the importance of a compelling delivery."

 

Seems you're over-thinking it. The architects you're referring to are acting spontaneously; essentially "losing themselves in the charioting". Conduits of the archetype, magicians pulling the unknown out of their hat, surprising themselves and others simultaneously. It surprises me you'd put much weight on a rational approach. Who plans their dreams? 

 

And everyone: stfu about his itunes reference.

jojowhatever
jojowhatever

I could definitely do without the itunes reference. It saddens me that all music is somehow being bought from a computer company and making them wealthier than say, oh... maybe the musicians themselves.

But no matter what Maynard writes about, I can't help focusing on the "I've got 3 bands, a vineyard, and I watch Sons of Anarchy and Walking Dead. And now I'm writing this column." WTF, I don't think he'll be happy until he has so much to do he is unable to sleep, lol.

MotherRosetta
MotherRosetta

NIce article and point of view. One thing I have to disagree with is your reference to passing by crafts without a glance. If you think I can't tell a story with a quilt you're sadly mistaken. People who have some talent in the art world usually are gifted with more than one. In your case they would be music and wine making so far as I am aware. Try not to denigrate all forms of art, there may be more to it than your own understanding.

 

Keep up the good work and looking forward to your next blog. 

BloodEagle
BloodEagle

A free-market system doesn't give a shit about walking on the moon -- it required an arms race and government intervention(what you yanks call 'stalinism', ironically) to make that happen. If you want the arts funded because they have some long term gain then I suggest you re-evaluate your position on 'entitlement' (which is basically the same as what Reagan and Thatcher were saying -- and, hilariously, it was also a reaction to economic downturn). Again, free markets generally don't precipitate any long term contingencies. You'll have to accept a little 'entitlement', i'm afraid.

 

hysterical paroxysm out.

gcruz69az
gcruz69az

Interestingly I agree on all aspects. I'm glad I'm not the only one that wakes up to such thoughts. Thanks for the fuzzy feeling that I'm not alone .-)

roroism2
roroism2

good ethnographic observation. cheers!

ZPBSAUL
ZPBSAUL

Very inspiring article! I could not agree more with you on actors/actresses not being able to "be" the character they have been fabricated to do.  Yeah it would be hard to explain that one to the wife as well, ha! :)

MotherRosetta
MotherRosetta

 @NOTaHippie

 Oh I understand completely that Mr. Keenan was actually referencing the orators of our lives. The comment about passing without a glance torqued my jaw ever so sllightly. 

 

Might I also say, without any ill will, that I find it amusing your "modern" orators all seem to come from approximately the same generation about 40 odd years ago so I take it those are the voices of your particular history, I hope we have added to their names since.

Eli_Russell
Eli_Russell

From understanding comes ideas and guidance comes belief, from belief comes teaching and structure, from structure comes conformity, from conformity comes question, from question comes pacifism, from pacifism comes the desire to seek understanding, all things combined crushes the last wheel to bring the gift of new understanding, and the need to make a physical history on earth so intelligence, spiritual awareness, and self is not completely lost before what we have goes missing, making our time here a waste. Then generations from now, they can blame it on aliens, just as it is today. :)

MotherRosetta
MotherRosetta

 @jojowhatever

 Being against iTunes for a musician would be about as stupid as you working and not wanting a paycheck. This, combined with the rest of your comment, makes you seem a tad.... envious.

NOTaHippie
NOTaHippie

 @MotherRosetta

 Funny, I was born AFTER those 'modern' contributors actually contributed. That was an example list from an era that changed the world. I don't know yet, if anyone currently has changed the world - too soon to tell, for me anyways :-) Great storytellers are to be cherished and the cool thing is, all anyone has to do, is retelll the story, in their own way, to pass it on, and on and on. I would guess that the time honored stories we all know have been refined by the storyteller. I wish I could know what those stories sound like in a hundred years :-)

MotherRosetta
MotherRosetta

 @dingylamb

 Probably my husband's personal favorite. He doesn't know the name of the song or who sings it but he likes it nonetheless.

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