Dev is famous primarily for being the one who “sings” the chorus of Far East Movement’s “Like a G6.” The chorus, however, is actually from one of Dev’s own songs. “In the Dark,” then, was effectively Dev’s second single after “Like a G6,” and made it to #11 on Billboard’s Hot 100. It was also the first of the saxophone revival songs whose saxophone part I actually liked.
The following video is visually interesting, but mildly NSFW (one sees much worse in contemporary music videos).
Ah, songs about nothing. Well, I mean, it’s about something. But she isn’t saying anything of value. It’s like the difference between “Wut” and “Thrift Shop” (both of which we just discussed). “Thrift Shop” is actually saying something.
The most philosophically interesting part of this vapid (though catchy!) song is the couplet:
Tell me baby if it’s wrong
To let my hands do what they want
Those familiar with St. Paul will be reminded of Romans 7:15-25, where Paul complains that his body seems to have a mind of its own. This is a very odd idea to anyone who’s hung around philosophers or cognitive scientists very long, since philosophers and cognitive scientists tend to think the brain is the only part of the human body that has a mind. Hands don’t have desires, on this view. Only brains do.
There is a strong counter current in philosophy called “enactivism” — which is related to another idea called “the extended mind” — however, which holds (roughly) that we think with our bodies as a whole, as we interact with our environments. I like this approach a whole lot and would suggest you look into Alva Noë‘s work if you are interested.
I recently finished the excellent YA novel Seraphina, by Rachel Hartman, which involves the idea that there are emotions you cannot have without having a particular kind of body. This relates to the important James-Lange theory of emotion, which we have discussed briefly before. It’s also similar the Harry Potter theory of emotion. (People in Harry Potter experience all emotions with their stomachs.) The feel of an emotion is, in large part, how it feels for various parts of your body to react and behave in various ways (e.g., when your heart races in fear or excitement). So, if you don’t have the necessary parts, or those parts are misbehaving, you might not be able to fully experience an emotion.
Anyway, the same may be true of thinking. Your perspective on the world changes as you grow up. Have you ever gone back to a place you remember from when you were a kid, and been surprised by how small it seems now? It’s the same size, of course, but now you’re seeing it from a several feet higher than when you were a child.
More subtly, wouldn’t you imagine that dogs think about the world completely differently from us in part because they experience it through their noses so much more than we do? And don’t we “see” things as “pick-up-able” without even realizing it, primarily because we have hands? (Imagine if humans had no hands. How would we see a stack of papers, or a bunch of toys scattered across the living room floor?)
This all makes me suspect that there really might be something to all the body positioning and posturing that happens in “traditional” religious services. You might have to adopt a particular physical attitude in order to adopt a particular mental attitude. You might have to do something with your body in order to do something with your mind.
(I hear Alva Noë has even started doing philosophy about dance.)
This is all kind of unsettling for such a reserved and sedentary person as myself. But it reminds me of when I used to give myself mini-concussions headbanging around the stage with my guitar. (I haven’t always been such a stick in the mud.) So, in addition to being unsettled, I’m also deeply fascinated.