Have you heard of the ‘Swan-song phenomenon’? Psychologist Dean Keith Simonton of the University of California studied 1919 musical compositions written by 172 classical composers and compared how highly the works were rated by musicologists with how close the creation of those works came to the composers’ deaths.
Main finding: compositions that were written later in the artists’ lives – when, as Simonton wrote, ‘death was raising a fist to knock on the door’ – tended to be briefer, with cleaner, simpler melody lines, and yet scored high in aesthetic significance according to the experts. (Time, ‘The Art of Living’, September 23, 2013, p. 42).
I’m 77 this year, and it’s about 20 years since my last book was published. This little contribution is my best effort to say in a ‘cleaner, simpler’ fashion what I believe about the most important questions facing humankind. Writers these days can put their words together in a ‘cryptic teasing’ fashion: if the reader wants to know more about something, they can simply check with everyone’s friend Google Search.
As my Gmail auto-signature says…
Shalom! Salaam! Pax! eirene!