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Chesterton on Background Music

We live in a world where music is pumped at us wherever we go. I tried to pump gas at a gas station the other day and an LCD screen starts blaring a music video at me. Why? Was I in danger of succumbing to an overwhelming wave of ennui if I were left alone with my thoughts while I pumped my gas?

Evidently this is a perennial issue. G.K. Chesterton was annoyed with background music while he was eating because it prevented proper conversation. Correspondingly, meals prevented proper attention to music. They are different things, to be enjoyed differently. Well, some people didn’t get Chesterton’s drift.

A fine musician might surely resent a man treating fine music as a mere background to his lunch. But a fine musician might well murder a man who treated fine music as an aid to his digestion.

Future Symphony Institute | Music, Digestion, and Modern Philosophy

About Christopher Ames

Pastor of Grace Baptist Church in Boyceville, Wisconsin. Bicycle owner and operator. I used to play in a Campus Crusade band.

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On Beauty and Salvation

3 Responses to Chesterton on Background Music

  1. All of Chesterton’s questions boil down to this: why does The Almighty allow us to be plagued by such things? i.e.; everything he’s said in the essay leads to the ultimate question of why a just God allows suffering.

  2. David,

    I suppose I could discuss what I am inclined to believe about suffering, but after reading the segment of Chesterton, I wondered whether Chesterton accomplishes anything for anyone there. With all due respect to Chesterton, the essay reads like a rant.

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