Billy Bolton

Student - B.A. Music, Hon. Theory & Composition
Ottawa, On, Canada

About Billy

Languages

English

Areas of Expertise

Music Theory, Sound and Music, Composition (Music)

Universities

University of Ottawa

Favorite talks

Comments & conversations

205181
Billy Bolton
Posted over 1 year ago
Will we eventually have one global language?
Tomasz, what you're asking here is along the lines of a similar thought I've had for a while, not so much targeted at language but rather concerning diversity at large. Indeed, technology has socially connected people and their cultures from all over the world, and I often wonder to myself what will happen when the differences among us become blurred as a single race. I think this connection, exposure, and "blend" of our different cultures through technology is important, and I agree that technology is definitely changing the way we communicate with each other including the way we manipulate language, but I don't think this is a bad thing. Invented acronyms used in mobile texting (such as, lol, :-) , etc., -- what I call "chromatics") help to efficiently express an emotion or set a specific tone, whereas the lack of these chromatics can make a message vulnerable to being misread. In essence, these inventions colour words with an intended affect that couldn't otherwise be as easily evoked unless delivered verbally. With all this said, as a supporter for transhumanism, I believe in evolving side by side with technology. Some people say that we (society) have already become cyborgs in the way that our cell phones are attached to us almost constantly, as if they were an extension of our own bodies, and even realities. (You could find some TED talks about this if you're interested.) What I fear though is similar to the very question you're asking, that being, "would losing other languages trigger a decline in culture-dependent though diversity". What I fear is that perhaps technology is not blending our cultures together, but is rather creating a new one through an inflation of self curated personas and thus collective social groups that abandon the classic forms of what we regard as cultural identities . This scares me for a variety of obvious reasons, but also b/c defending the idea of nationalism/culture was one of the primary archetypes explored under WWII conflict
205181
Billy Bolton
Posted over 1 year ago
Define beauty.
Sources for post below: (1) http://www.huffingtonpost.com/susan-ann-darley/positive-effects-of-music_b_3968922.html (2) http://www.ted.com/talks/denis_dutton_a_darwinian_theory_of_beauty.html (3) Osgood, Charles E., Richards, Meredith M. “From Yang and Yin to and or but.” Language 49, No. 2 (1973), pp. 380.
205181
Billy Bolton
Posted over 1 year ago
Define beauty.
Susan Ann Darley from the Huffinton Post recently published an article(1) pleading that people should listen to more beautiful music to help cope with the physical, emotional, and mental health of their everyday stressful lives. With a cliché, she reminds her readers that music, “is the language of the soul,” and even states that its power to heal is equal to the effects of “natural painkillers”. Although this article’s underlining idea is a lofty way of summarizing the study of music therapy, Darley still falls short from justifying what “beautiful music” really means. Indeed, many academics would agree that “[beauty] is in the culturally conditioned eye of the beholder”.(2) Denis Dutton, author of The Art Instinct — a book that explores art aesthetics in relation to evolution and social structures — disagrees with this perspective, that “beauty” is not so ambiguous as it seems, and even states that our regard for what is considered “beautiful” is in fact embedded within the very nature of human life. In short, Dutton continues to defend this idea by explaining that the first pieces of art known to human history were hand axes that took on the shape of a teardrop. These objects were used by the male homo erectus and ergaster to "woo" a female into mating, similar to how a man may propose with a teardrop-shaped-diamond ring today. In essence, the teardrop shape represents the formula for timeless beauty: a perfect balance between masculine and feminine traits, as seen in the ancient hand axe: the voluptuous curve on the bottom of the teardrop is a feminine contour and is balanced by a stark point on top (a masculine aesthetic), which is connected with a transitional tapered edge. This shape is the epitome of contrast, a familiar ideal related to the symbolism that the Chinese Yin Yang embodies also: a balance of positive and negative elements. (3) Thus, in short, beauty is the balanced contrast of all things: from the prime form to the inversion of itself.
205181
Billy Bolton
Posted over 2 years ago
Malcolm Gladwell: Choice, happiness and spaghetti sauce
This talk was very intriguing. I loved the food metaphor as-well. I'm still very curious what Malcolm's story represents, though. I'm wondering, if we embrace diversity within cultures (through technology), will these groups (cultural identities) become diluted, or perhaps even democratized? Synthesized? I feel that because social and geographical boundaries are being pushed down by the internet, the cultural identities we have now will inevitably be replaced by a newer common one -- one that isn't so much associated with the properties of a nation or a social group, but rather one as a globe. Unfortunately, I don't think this global culture is as organic as it sounds . In the way technology will dilute cultures (if it hasn't already), it will also implementing its own. This new "global" culture will be an invasive force to what it means to be human. In other words, I feel by embracing diversity via technology, we are normalizing cultures with a façade in order to understand and accept them, but in doing so displace the properties that define these cultural identities with the face of technology. It's quite ironic really... I wonder what it will look like?