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Music isn’t seeking to comment on the experience or transmit some finding about it – it is only seeking to express it. The vicarious experience is much more accessible. We all recognize the sound of that howling, because we all have a similar howling inside of us, however we heed it or hold it or muzzle it or repress it or live in bondage to it.
Certainly the most obvious . . . example of the strictly infantile essence of America’s all-conquering mentality greets our eyes daily, anywhere and everywhere, in the guise of the tabloid newspaper. The tabloid newspaper actually means to the typical American of the era what the Bible is popularly supposed to have meant to the typical Pilgrim Father: viz. a very present help in times of trouble, plus a means of keeping out of trouble via harmless, since vicarious, indulgence in the pomps and vanities of this wicked world.
However long the horror continued, one must not get to the stage of refusing to think about it. To shrink from direct pain was bad enough, but to shrink from vicarious pain was the ultimate cowardice. And whereas to conceal direct pain was a virtue, to conceal vicarious pain was a sin. Only by feeling it to the utmost, and by expressing it, could the rest of the world help to heal the injury which had caused it. Money, food, clothing, shelter – people could give all these and still it would not be enough; it would not absolve them from paying also, in full, the imponderable tribute of grief.
In a dispassionate comparison of the relative values of human and robotic spaceflight, the only surviving motivation for continuing human spaceflight is the ideology of adventure. But only a tiny number of Earth’s six billion inhabitants are direct participants. For the rest of us, the adventure is vicarious and akin to that of watching a science fiction movie. At the end of the day, I ask myself whether the huge national commitment of technical talent to human spaceflight and the ever-present potential for the loss of precious human life are really justifiable.
It would be hard to conceive a system of instincts more nicely adjusted, where the constituents should represent or support one another better. The husband has an interest in protecting the wife, she in serving the husband. The weaker gains in authority and safety, the wilder and more unconcerned finds a help-mate at home to take thought of his daily necessities. Parents lend children their experience and a vicarious memory; children endow their parents with a vicarious immortality.
The vicarious responsibility for things we have not done, this taking upon ourselves the consequences for things we are entirely innocent of, is the price we pay for the fact that we live our lives not by ourselves but among our fellow men, and that the faculty of action, which, after all, is the political faculty par excellence, can be actualized only as one of the many and manifold forces of human community.
As popular culture becomes more presentist, we move away from entertainment as the vicarious experience of a narrative – as watching someone else’s story – and much more toward enacting one’s own story. Moving away from myths and toward fantasy role-playing games, away from movies and toward videogames.
The teachings of Christianity – from vicarious redemption to the love of enemies, no thought for the morrow need be taken, that no thrift or care or family or society or solidarity is necessary – these are immoral teachings that have done and continue to inflict untold moral and physical harm on our species. And until we outgrow this nonsense, we have no chance of emancipating ourselves.
If moral precepts alone could have reformed mankind, the mission of the Son of God into all the world would have been unnecessary. The perfect morality of the gospel rests upon the doctrine which, though often controverted has never been refuted: I mean the vicarious life and death of the Son of God.
People’s conceptions about themselves and the nature of things are developed and verified through four different processes: direct experience of the effects produced by their actions, vicarious experience of the effects produced by somebody else’s actions, judgments voiced by others, and derivation of further knowledge from what they already know by using rules of inference
You thought I was that type: that you could forget me, and that I’d plead and weep and throw myself under the hooves of a bay mare, or that I’d ask the sorcerers for some magic potion made from roots and send you a terrible gift: my precious perfumed handkerchief. Damn you! I will not grant your cursed soul vicarious tears or a single glance. And I swear to you by the garden of the angels, I swear by the miracle-working ikon, and by the fire and smoke of our nights: I will never come back to you.
This has increased with the tremendous technological advances in communications. We have a vast new world of images brought into our sitting rooms electronically. Most of the images of reality on which we base our actions are really based on vicarious experience. This has increased with the tremendous technological advances in communications. We have a vast new world of images brought into our sitting-rooms electronically.