Mirror in the Mirror

Second only to the question “Batman or Superman?,” I like to ask people what they think the most beautiful thing in the world is. Most people, I think, find both of these questions unsettling.

The word “thing,” of course, is a sort of placeholder for the word “object,” or something like it. I’m continually delighted by the fact that my answer to the second question is this song, because the words “thing” and “object” are odd designations for something that wants to defy the sort of objectness that the word “thing” wants to impose (a song is less spatial, more thoroughly temporalĀ insofar as it is fleeting, it fleets, slips away, is connected more to the concept of “event,” etc.).

Similarly, I’m fascinated by my reticence to call it a song- not out of some reverence or desire to elevate my most beautiful thing to something sacred or divine, but because this word also seems not to be the best one for it. It seems to me that “songs” like this are most often referred to as “compositions,” and I’m happy again because I think it’s wonderful that what we call this thing when we refer to it foregrounds its very creation, or the fact that it is created in a certain manner: it’s put together, assembled, crafted as a sort of assemblage of many things, but is, by its very nature, impossible to grasp. Especially this one, which is so quiet that I can’t even really hear it as I sit in this busy coffee shop.

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