Mozart's Sexuality

 

    History paints a number of portraits of Mozart, each one in a different type of light, accentuating flattering and unflattering detail, casting or dispersing shadows. This light is Mozart's sexual morality. Was he a good husband? Was Don Juan modeled after his own flights of indiscretion? Did Constanze drive him to an early grave with her failures as a wife? Did Mozart's frequent sexual activity further weaken his immune system and distract him from composing? These questions are somewhat frivolous considering the small amount of mostly unreliable information available to scholars, especially soon after Mozart's death, when much of the popular mythology about him was being inferred and disseminated. It has become obvious to me, reading excerpts from numerous biographers speaking of Mozart's amorous proclivities, that their interpretations were more telling of their own opinions and affected prejudices than of the man they told of.

    Was Mozart, as some biographers claim, a lecherous man, who cared little for his wife? Biographers John Naglee Burk (Mozart and his Music), and Eric Blom (Mozart) certainly seem to think so. Those two state with uncalled for confidence that Mozart was frequently forming illicit relationships with women of ever social plateau. They also are unabashed in their stating that Constanze definitely knew of these infidelities and was not just numb to Mozarts confessions but was amused by them. The subject of Mozart's infidelities to Constanze can be trace back to Abert and Schurigs biographies, though these refer to violent uproars as a result of the adulteries. Looking back through other biographer's works for the source of these claims one comes to a dead end at Niemetschek, whose word are vague and refer to 'petty sins', which could refer to monetary indiscretions, or a number of other things, including sexual ones. Mozart was also accused of sleeping a Masonic brother's wife. This was known as the Hofdemel affair. After Mozart's death Hofdemel wounded his wife with a knife, and then applied the weapon to his person, ending his own life. This tale however was fraught with incongruencies. For example Frau Hofdemel was have supposed to have lent 3000 florins to Mozart to support his composing the Rquiem, but that is patently false as it was Count Walsegg who had commissioned it. The list of singers who Mozart purportedly slept with grew as the years after his death passed, often drawing on the mood of pieces as evidence of the illicit liaisons.  (1-7, William Stafford, All about Eve: Mozart and Women) There is a letter to Baroness Waldstatten that suggests he was hiding their communication from his wife but one has to infer that it was one of the bedroom, rather than friendly flirtation; either are distinct possibilities. All in all letters point to their being some likelihood that Mozart slept around, and was at the very least and habitual flirt. As to how these flirtations effected Mozart's marriage, we cannot guess with any confidence, as the evidence is both for and against the existence of tumult.

 

    The nature of the circumstances that led to Mozart's union with Constanza are vague and scholars have been more than a little contentious over whether it was an auspicious event. 

In a letter to his father, Wolfgang more or less clears up matters if we can assume that he is being honest with his father. This is an excerpt from Braunbehrens paraphrasing of that letter:

 

    'Mozart undoubtedly loved his wife Constanze. His pain at her distance is evidenced in his letters to her, and he only traveled abroad without her twice. Braunbehrens examined not only the letters of the Mozart family, but the personal circumstances of Mozart and his wife and the broader historical circumstances affecting all those living in Vienna at the time. He writes: 

               ". . .Constanze Mozart had indeed other standards for judging, such 

          as her affection for Mozart, the love of music that she undoubtedly had 

         (one that did not emerge only with the exchange of letters with music 

    publishers after Mozart died), and her readiness to go along with an 

       unconventional existence in connection with the theater, with musicians, in 

           short, the life of an artist. . . .To all appearances, the marriage was a very 

           affectionate one. Mozart constantly wanted to have his wife nearby, liked 

         to have her talk to him as he was composing, regarded her as an essential 

           part of his life”  ' ( P. 4 -5 Renate Welsh, Constanze Mozart: Eine unbedeutende Frau ) 

 

    We have not until recently begun to bridge the gap between biological function and subjective experience with any degree of specificity and reliability. The little that we do know is not enough to lay down a reliable code of sexual ethics, which would have to take into account perspectives from all frames of reference. The further back in history one goes, the more ignorant even the best scholars are, for that have far less information to draw from, and usually are apt to plug into a successively smaller frame of reference. It is not at all clear that humankind will, in the foreseeable future, be able to judge sexual ethics based on scientific evidence. This would require a more holistic and more mature form of psychobiology, that is one that has enough wisdom to value subjective experience as much as results, and sophisticated enough technology that it can more accurately measure, and thus infer from, subjective experience, then and only than will a truly useful sexual morality be common knowledge. Unless that day comes, historians, philosophers, artists and casual observers will fall prey to the mores of their time, whether that means accepting or rejecting somewhere along the spectrum of relative self-societal awareness.  

 

  

Scientist Mario Vs. Religious Zelda

I’m tired of the constant debate of Science vs. Religion. Science isn’t better than religion because they’re not two boys competing at Super Smash Bros Melee. Religion does some things better than science, and vice versa.  Both attempt to explain the world, but their motivations and methodology are different. Science and Religion perform unique, but equally valuable services.

 

 

Science is a bad-ass. It be like, blam! You got robots. Blam! We found an earth-like planet. Blam! Superposition of electrons and shit. Science is just trying to figure out how the universe works, and how to apply that knowledge. Scientists, unlike Saints, describe reality mathematically. Math-addicts say, their language is the most precise at describing universal laws (Math-heads would say that! That’s like a poop salesman saying we can only understand the world by building models out of poop.)

On the downside, Science is like an H-bomb or an eccentric-yet-brilliant fart - sure it’s powerful, but it’s indiscriminate in its aim. Science is working on robot doctors that won’t make you feel awkward when they touch your junk, but those same robots may eventually grab your junk and rip it mercilessly from your quivering, ‘idiotic body’ (robot’s words, not mine). Science doesn’t really care about how happy you are. Sure, certain scientists do but, like corporations are all about profit, science is all about truth. Certain ethical guidelines steer science away from dangerous experiments on humans, like Facebook. Those guidelines do not protect against weapons development (read, the ease of manufacturing bio-weapons, or weaponized AI).

 

Religion is like your Grandma: at times she makes you feel all warm and fuzzy when the world seems dark and cold, and sometimes she’s a racist, sexist, jerk. Yes, religion can help bulk-up your happiness lats, but can it also make you dumber by encouraging less rigorous thinking. If you believe there’s a “‘“‘“god’”’”’”””” watching out for you simply because it feels right, you’re more likely to look for other convenient truths.

Is the tradeoff of truth for happiness worth it? Probably, but only at an individual level (and herein lies the adobo seasoning). Once large swaths of the population start believing  what’s easiest, the few can easily manipulate the many (like they do now). BUT, let’s not throw the baby Jesus out with the Watergate.

Prayer (as in a conscious strengthening of will and motivation towards goals, not as in, “Dear God, please let my neighbor get his dick lopped off by his lawn mower,” meditation, and a sense of community are all things religion provides that are key to a balanced society. There has to be a way of promoting compassion, and community, and introspection, while not overlooking the benefits of scientific epistemology.

 

Like the Hermetic and Vedantic traditions, we need to find a happy medium between science - which doesn’t give a shit about your feelings - and religion - which is sloppier than a gymnast with diarrhea. We need to take the math, technology, and experimental methods of science and combine it with the humanism and respect for subjective experience of religion. The result will be as beautiful as a bi-racial underwear model. What will we call this new cultural behemoth? I nominate, Sriligence. Or, Human-Sauce.

 

 

How To Make Sadness Your Ex-Best Friend. (Or, How To Be Happy.)

     Happiness is all about having the right amounts of certain chemicals in your brain. No, not two shots and four beers! I’m talking about dopamine and serotonin, the Venus and Serena Williams of emotional tennis. But we can’t measure our levels yet, so we’ll have to get creative to remedy our deficiency. What comes to mind? Money? Yes! Sex? Yes! Thick, juicy relationships? Of course! Don’t wait any longer to patch things up with your Mom, Dad, friend, or wife’s ex-lover.

 

     Are you eating like crap and crapping like shit and shitting like diarrhea? Stop that. And exercising will also help your happiness because there is nothing more pathetic than accidentally eating your remote because you spilled so much melted cheese on it that you HAD to eat it.

 

Okay, I’m assuming you read the first two paragraphs a week ago, and that you’ve completely overhauled your life by the time you’re reading this paragraph, because now it’s time to go deep. It’s time to get spiritual. Sometimes the only way to find happiness is to ask yourself some tough questions. Why do I always leave the cheese out of the fridge? Why do I have friends who keep bringing me to rehab, but won’t give me a ride home halfway through? Why haven’t I finished my novel - Catcher in the Rye 2: Pitcher in the Oats?

It can be very difficult to figure out what you want to do in life. Being motivated isn’t easy in a universe that keeps expanding and expanding until it will ultimately spread out so thin that all energy is depleted and life can never exist again… but you can re-motivate yourself by finding a 4.5 star shaman on yelp, have him take you on a vision quest, and ask a 7 dimensional alien-ghost-faerie what you should sell on your website.

When you get home from Namibia, after realizing you are both an individual, and part of a larger organism, most of your old comforts will seem as hollow and joyless as everything else once did. Don’t worry! You can forget everything you learned and start to believe you enjoy bad sex, food, and TV again! You might even rekindle your taste for remote control au gratin, if you’re lucky.