Charles Zhang

20190723 Where is Music

Original Draft Date: 2019-07-23
Original Publish Date: N/A
Last Update Date: 2022-08-21


Today while I was listening to Jay Chou’s music on Youtube, I came across a song named Princess Syndrome. It shocked me how similar this felt like dealing with someone who’s everything you expect, talented and beautiful, yet so delicate and sensitive and biased in her way of pursuing life. At first I thought watching MV really felt different from just listening to the song - the visuals, the images, the impressions - it sort of completely “ruined” the way how I would had imagined the meaning of the song. Then I realized this was exactly like reading a literature, hanging out with a girl, or interpreting meaning of someone else’s words - it was this sense of “breaking the imagination” through seeing a broader truth that enabled us to see what the author originally intended to convey, rather than our own vague feelings. This is less of an respect, but more of listening to the truth and seeing the reality.

I personally don’t listen to pop music much. I tend to interpret it, and it tends to arise emotional response in me. I don’t like becoming biased or emotional. I use music when I need inspiration for my creative work. I avoid listening to music when I am quietly studying. Maybe I was wrong. You can always learn, you just need to know where to look, and getting closer to reality automatically conveys a sense of truth the very information itself contains. That’s why in order to learn and develop our own style we cannot rely on studying stylized contents - that way we will never know where we are going and always get lost in all the complexity others bring to us.

Getting to basics is hard, but I want to create my own music.


So what’s new and special about this article? What special and specific information does it convey?

My best friend Muhriz Ting from secondary high today argued with me learning from Wikipedia doesn’t teach us anything real - except it creates a sense of fake feeling as if we know a lot more after reading the article. I would argue that is indeed the case, but only if you don’t remember anything from it, or you don’t dig any deeper and don’t build any connection to the information it contains - i.e. forming your own knowledge and opinions. Opinions matters - but only if it’s your very own, very original. I actually learn from dictionary sometimes - directly by reading it one item at a time, randomly - not just to learn the vocabulary, but also the meaning, context and maybe the story it conveys (How much I wish I could just keep reading like that!). I think my friend and colleague Jerry puts this very well: he once told me each poem from Three Hundred Tang Poems took him more than 30 minutes to read. It took me around 40 minutes to read, comprehend, write notes and finally memorize Du Fu’s poem Strolling along the Riverside Enjoying Flowers (5) (and I forgot it already when I wrote this article and took me more than 20 minutes to find the title) - and it’s only 28 (Chinese) characters in length. I used to wonder how come it worth many people’s many years of effort to study one novel - Cao Xueqin’s Dream of the Red Chamber - and give this study a name as Redology. I used to laugh at this idea and I still do, but nowadays I am deeply impressed.

By the Huangshi pagoda the river flows east; The languishing charm of spring prevails in the breeze, A cluster of ownerless peach trees bloom in luxuriant splendor; Which are more lovely, the red flowers or the pink? Strolling along the Riverside Enjoying Flowers (5), Du Fu, Translated by Wen Shu, Wang Jin Xi, Deng Yan Chang

That argument about how do we learn from our friends around us originates from the idea that, as social media develops, we are drawn more to news and information that we are interested in, and thus we become more ignorant about things we are less familiar with. To conclude, I think the issue is not that we are presented (by computer algorithm, or by people) with many many similar ideas, but rather how we digest it - do we spend time disgesting it at all, or do we just read through it and pretend we learn anything? Do we care finding out the original source of news or ideas, or do we rely on second-hand sources to teach us what have happened? How many people will actually spend time writing their own understanding after reading something, or is it too difficult to think on our own that we tend to read, filter, and let it go - or maybe give a thumb up to show our effort👍?

About Music

Dancing is the coolest thing one can do with his body, and singing is the most beautiful thing one can do with her voice. Lots of people nowadays study machine learning because they feel it’s the trend, it’s popular, it sounds cool, it makes money, or it’s the future (and I guess this kind of learners don’t go far in this path - but hey does it matter how people get started?). I admire and envy those who actually have goals in their life - to me I never know the one single thing I “actually want”. I always want too much, and I don’t have a goal in my life. I first started learning about artificial intelligence with the help of Michael Negnevitsky’s Artificial Intelligence: A Guide to Intelligent Systems, and I first started writing my own chatbot Airi in C. I didn’t even know Python at that time.

I tried to learn guitar briefly during middle school and didn’t pursue that path because I found standing out against rules more easily attracted girl’s attention. It might sounds impractical for someone not even proficient playing any instruments, but I want to write my own song. (So what?) I believe even the most utilitarian people begin with curiosity. I want to write songs for my favorite girl, I also want to finally be able to appreciate music.