Metaphysics: The Spotify playlist.

Metaphysics is the branch of philosophy that investigates the general nature of being or reality, especially the being of the sensible world, God, freedom, and souls. It is sometimes synonymous with “ontology”, though some philosphers would shun me for saying this.

In case you are like me and need a special amount of time each day considering metaphysical questions like: Can there be aspects of reality that are in principle unknowable?What is consciousness? Is it purely physical?Do we have those immaterial bodies known as souls?What is intentionality? Could it be a purely physical phenomenon?If so, then what on earth would ethical culpability involve?Is reality determined or does free will have a place in causation? What is freedom under these circumstances? then, here is the playlist to match the mood.

After the playlist, I added a few notes about each song and its potential as rubric or vehicle for metaphysical speculation. Because I’m crazy like that.

“I wanna see the thing in itself, I don’t wanna see nothing else.
I wanna see the thing in itself, I don’t wanna think no more…
One suchness, ten thousand things”

Akron / Family is serious about metaphysics.

Eef Barzelay makes me wonder how we can feel something as intentional as “love” towards something we declare to be “unknown”. Is there anything that is actually unknown enough to give rise to “love”?

The Stars want you to “use that head and stop to think a little, just cause you’re crazy doesn’t mean that you’re free..”

Devendra Barnhart really stumps me with the “eyes are the stems of space” thing.

Rancid ventures into the diving area with their little quip- “nihilistic feelings are movin’, if I try real hard, I’ll see right through them.” I want to keep this at the level of metaphysics without wandering into the realm of superhero syndromes and I resent Rancid for making it difficult for me to keep them separated.

Willy Mason wants me to think that “the cards are stacked” and that I “don’t know what I’m running from”. His hard-edged fatalism leaves little room for manuveur.

Quantic really flirts with epistemology unless you take this song to be about the nature of consciousness. Specifically, is “a presence felt” a way of knowing or is it a symptom of thinking and imagining? How do feelings relate to consciousness?

PJ Harvey’s instrumental, “The End”, sits you squat face-to-face with the big question- What is the end?

The Pixies make an interesting connection between watching TV and the destruction of the atmosphere. Considering this requires something akin to consciousness.

Goran Bregovic’ and Eugene Hutz (of Gogol Bordello) offer their take on utopia. Quantum utopia, like most utopias, lies on the cusp of questions about free will and determinism. Does the setting up of a specific rules system model have any chance of working effectively in the realm of human social and political behavior? Is human free will the penultimate party pooper for social schemers?

The Cowboy Junkies take a hard line on the question of the supernatural. For them, the supernatural does not exist apart from the mind which creates it. Their conclusion: Demerol is more chemically accurate and ascertainable than God. I can think of a few existentialists who would disagree with their method while accepting their conclusion.

The Dave Matthews Band, as suggested by the King, throws a wrench in my speculations since I am now forced to consider how my species’ evolutionary history turns consciousness into a spectrum.

Bright Eyes wants to know about time, and he doesn’t avoid astrophysics. I like that in a song.

M. Ward and Zooey Deschanel distract me with the ethereal fuzz. I spend a large amount of time trying to decide if my shadow is a separate object with its own existence or merely an adjective to describe the way the light occupies the space around me.