Sunday, May 16, 2010

Dylan paper

“Only an horizon ringed about by myth can unify a culture”
Friedrich Nietzsche

                        “Music takes us out of the actual and whispers to us dim secrets that startle
our wonder as to who we are, and for what, whence, and whereto.”
Ralph Waldo Emerson

            Music is almost everywhere in the modern life. One is awakened by an alarm clock tuned to a favorite radio station, only to drive to work perhaps listening to a new CD, whereupon actually reaching work one will use an iPod or internet radio to help the hours pass more quickly; even on break, Muzak hums in the elevator and murmurs in the background at Starbucks or the grocery store.
            This saturation is clearly a condition only of modern life; until little more than a century ago, hearing recorded music would be an extraordinary event. This is not to say, however, that music itself is unique to modern life; indeed, precisely the opposite is true. Music is a human universal with, as we shall see, very deep roots indeed in human history. If music is part of what makes us human, why does it exist? It is my intent in writing this paper to provide a couple of possible answers without claiming that I will actually answer this question.
            The evolutionary approach has of late gained some momentum in literary circles; I propose to inch it towards the arena of musical scholarship as well. I say inch because my proposed object of study, Bob Dylan’s 1963 album The Times They Are A-Changin’, is closer to literature than is most music; Dylan is frequently referred to as a poet, and his lyrics have been considered by some as equally valid participants in the tradition of Keats, Whitman, Rimbaud, and Eliot. Moreover, this album offers particularly topical and narrativistic songs, to which I hope to analyze using a combination of theories of evolutionary criticism in literature (primarily from Boyd and Gottschall) with music scholarship, biography, and biology.
            I will argue that music itself is an adaptation to a specific environment, then that folk music and The Times They Are A-Changin’ in particular exist because they are extensions of these adaptations. After giving a brief background on the origins of music, I will examine theoretically and then in practice several adaptive explanations for musical practices in human beings. I will examine “The Times They Are A-Changin’” in relation to the creation of unified cultural mores; “North Country Blues” in relation to theory of mind; “When The Ship Comes In” in relation to status; and “Boots of Spanish Leather” in relation to romantic love.

The Origins of Music
            No one is really sure how music actually originated, and no one knows what form the first music must have taken. Any evolutionary exploration of music must realize that “music and dance are inseparable” (Levitin 257); evocriticism must concern itself with origins, and it seems very likely that music did not first exist independently of dance. “In preliterate societies” whose environment most closely resembles that of our ancestors, “singing is rarely, if ever, done without accompanying rhythmic movement of some kind” (Dissanayuke 117). Moreover, if ontogeny repeats phylogeny, it is useful to note that “preschoolers between the ages of three and five do not sing without moving their hands and feet simultaneously” (Dissanayuke 117).
            Dance and music are not the only two arts which coincide in this way: poetry, too, seems to have existed originally in a sung form. Poetry, of course, is the art of the manipulation of words, and some consider music to actually prepare infants for language. If this is so, it makes sense that music—which is especially adept at capturing attention—would be used as a vehicle for training infants for language (Levitin 260).
            It is impossible to know what kind of environment the first music was produced in. Indeed, it would be a difficult enough task to demarcate what the first music was, even if one had a complete record of human history. It is possible, however, to examine the music of today for adaptive benefits, then compare the parameters of the adaptation with our best estimates about the past in order to confirm the evolutionary basis of a particular characteristic of music. For example, because we know that humans are today extremely social animals, and because our best guesses about the past indicate that humanity has always occupied the cognitive niche amongst its competitors and has derived its evolutionary advantages from sociality, it would seem that any benefits to sociality that music has now were probably also in place in the past.
            This is in fact an appropriate place to note a paradox of the human evolutionary situation: the countervailing pressures on the individual to promote himself and to cohere with others. Evolutionarily, the individual would like to make sure that his own genes are transmitted to the next generation, and will go to any lengths to do so. However, because of the nature of humanity’s chosen niche—the cognitive, social niche—the individual must also be certain not to alienate himself from his fellows lest he be left on his own. Even the most fit human alone is no match for the threats of the wilderness. One exemplary model for reconciling these opposite selective pressures—for individual achievement and for social cohesion—is provided in the model of the hero folksinger (Hill, Guthrie, Dylan; Marshall 78). Ultimately Dylan’s music is powerful and pervasive because of its powerful ability to communicate messages promoting social unity while simultaneously engendering cognitive development in individuals, even while solving problems for its creator.

Music and the Creation of a Social Community
            Greil Marcus proposes in his 1997 book-length exploration of Bob Dylan & the Band’s Basement Tapes that the album is little less than a summary of the American spirit. He traces the roots of the album to a kernel of Americana, the Anthology of American Folk Music, and proceeds to suggest that the album is a recreation of the spirit of Winthrop’s “city on a hill” as well as an encapsulation of the Civil Rights Movement (Marcus 87, 209). Clearly, there is an audience that will entertain the notion that music can foster community, but heretofore so far as I can tell no one has applied a biological approach to Dylan’s perceived knack for creating community.
            Music has been an especial object of study for evolutionists ever since Darwin highlighted it in The Descent of Man as possibly analogous to birdsong, and therefore an instance of sexual selection (Boyd, Theories 155). This idea is worth some further exploration, which will be addressed below; but neuroscience and other developments have made it possible to view music in light of not only sexual but also natural selection.
            Firstly, one must remember that human “behavior and psychology are adapted to the life conditions of our hunting and gathering” past (Gottschall, New Humanities 22). Whatever ingrained processes exist in human psychology are by and large left over from the Pleistocene, even though things have changed drastically since then. It is very hard, however, to know what exactly the environment and psychology of our ancestors was actually like; it is something, to critics, which “we can never know and about which we can only idly speculate” (Buller 81). Because of this legitimate criticism, just-so stories about the adaptability of music are not useful; for example, some have proposed that dancing and music coevolved as a form of exercise to display one’s fitness at hunting. Unless we know more from the archaeological record than we do about our ancestors’ hunting and dancing practices, however, this is only speculation.
            One thing, however, seems fairly certain: humans have always occupied “the cognitive niche” (Boyd, Origin 89). The competitive exclusion principle predicts that different species occupying the same environment will segregate to different niches; our ability to survive and procreate is dependent on intelligence and sociality, in the same way a cheetah’s is dependent on its speed. “Ultrasociality” is a hallmark of the human race in comparison to other species (Boyd, Origin 14).
            Folk music is performance; it is inherently dialogic and social in that there is a performer and an audience. Though Dylan was often a solo artist, he also often played with bands as large as the 12-member Rolling Thunder Revue. Musicality requires coordination between individuals, so practice at music could require skills of cooperation that proved useful in the hunt. Surely it takes cohesion for such a band to produce a singular product for consumption in the audience’s ears. One needs only listen to concert tapes to realize that Dylan’s striking refrains are often taken up by audiences in time with the singer. Music dissolves “boundaries between the self and others” (Zuckerkandl 51), creating a “supra individual state is created in which singer and listener can exist together, joined in a common consciousness of common pattern of thought, attitude, and emotion” (Dissanayuke 119). For these reasons, Levitin argues that “collective music making may encourage social cohesions—humans are social animals, and music may have historically served to promote feelings of group togetherness and synchrony, and may have been an exercise for other social acts such as turn-taking behaviors” (258).
            American folk music and Dylan’s work in particular is full of examples of works that promote social bonds. One is wont to speculate whether folk music is perforce unifying because it emphasizes place and therefore community; the folk music of Madagascar will not translate to Appalachia, and vice versa. Folk music is the music of a specific people. It is differentiated by the culture it is associated with as much as by its tone color or other musical characteristics. Folk songs spurn complex instrumentation and displays of talent in favor of flexibility of reproduction. As Levitin begins to note in This Is Your Brain on Music, folk is differentiated from classical music on one side and rock on the other because it explicitly rejects the idea of an authoritative rendition of a particular song (148); as a genre it is concerned less with talent and more with ideas of authenticity[1]. Folk music is the music of campfires, porches, and cribs; it is a kind of music that no one makes alone[2]. The title of ‘folk’ describes not some set of internal conventions embraced by all musical works receiving this description but rather an attitude present in their reception. Their content, in the traditions that they reference, however, is particularistic: folk songs, while perhaps reflecting universal themes, are clearly of a particular culture. “This Land Is Your Land” might express sentiments that humans across the world agree with, but divorcing it from its place as Woody Guthrie’s Dust Bowl response to Irving Berlin’s “God Bless America” robs it of the vitriol felt by its author and his audience during the American Great Depression of the 1930s. The Times They Are A-Changin’, while drawing upon various traditions (blues, country, gospel), falls squarely in the camp of American folk music (Dylan 19).
        Using the problem-solution model of evolutionary analysis (Boyd, Origins 324), it is clear that the problems Dylan addresses fall into two camps: his own and those of his audience. Though I believe the origins of music and especially of folk music are more concerned with population-wide problems, one must confront Dylan’s individuality in one way or another. For that reason, the first two songs I analyze deal with music’s ability to enhance group cohesion and train human sociality, whereas the second pair are more focused on the presentation of evolved instincts in humans (status and romantic love) and how Dylan “designs artifacts to ends [he] desires” (passing on his genes; Boyd, Theories 153).

The Times They Are A-Changin’: Reverse Dominance and Social Cohesion           
            The Times They Are A-Changin’ is especially full of moral messages, from the critiques of merciless capitalism in “North Country Blues” to indictment of American exceptionalism in “With God On Our Side” to condemnation of racism in “Only A Pawn In Their Game.” The rousing anthem “The Times They Are A-Changin’” serves as a call to arms but also a condemnation of those who fall to heed the call: “for he who gets hurt/will be he who has stalled.” Throughout the album Dylan cultivates a particular moral attitude towards the problems of America in the sixties. In this way he contributes to solving a problem facing America in the sixties and beyond, which Marcus locates in the question of whether Americans exist “as members of the same body” (212). Dylan’s The Times They Are A-Changin’, with its lyrical themes of social justice, emphatically answers yes, locating Hattie Carroll’s rich killer within the same moral framework as poor Carroll herself[3].
            The songwriter who would go on to perfect the sneer[4] already exhibits discontent with the world as it is in The Times They Are A-Changin’, but to what evolutionary end? Dylan’s protest era and “The Times They Are A-Changin’” in particular demonstrate an attempt at reverse dominance—a strategy noted by anthropologists in hunter-gatherer societies as a mechanism for rebutting social hierarchies (Boyd, Origin 109). By drafting an anthem with unifying properties for the community that saw him as a “shambling boy genius” (Benson 14), he (consciously or not) harnesses the biologically unifying power of music to power the “Negro protest movement” (Benson 19).
        Dylan was aware of the power of the creation of a moral community; in Chronicles, he astutely observes the similarities between singers and preachers (77). Religion and folk music may even both be adaptive responses to the same selective pressure, the overwhelming need for humans to “motivate cooperation and master coordination” (Boyd, Origin 103). In the song, he invites everyone to join in, even those who are ostensibly less likely to join (parents, Congressmen). A society with shared moral values, promulgated through folk music, is more likely to avoid division over important decisions: should we attack this tribe? How should we worship? What should be considered moral? By avoiding division, time and resources are conserved and chances of survival increased.
            These assertions have valid basis in science. To begin with, consider the response of mirror neurons to music. Mirror neurons are special neurological units which “fire when we see others act or express emotion as if we were making the same action or emotion” (Boyd, Origins 103). They are the key to empathy, and a key driver of human sociality in that they assist us in understanding others. In 2006, researches discovered mirror neurons which fire not only upon visual but also upon auditory cues, suggesting that an audience’s physical and emotional reaction—tapping one’s feet in time and sharing the singer’s “prophetic voice trumpeting a changing order” (Shelton 212)—is actually physiological (Levitin 266). Furthermore, neuroscientists of cognitive disorders have linked sociality and musical ability in their study of Williams syndrome and autism spectrum disorders (ASDs). Individuals with Williams syndrome are hypersocial and hypermusical, though they suffer from dramatically lowered IQ; the symptoms are reversed in individuals with ASDs (Levitin 259). This dichotomy underscores the link between sociality and music.
            For the reasons above enumerated, it is clear that musical practices increase social cohesion. By playing music, one becomes adept at cooperation, a skill which is integral to hunting among other human pursuits. By listening to music, an audience receives a shared experience which, in the case of Dylan’s music, carries serious moral messages that effectively cultivate a cohesive community. Boyd realizes this, stating “societies that coordinate more closely could outcompete those with less coordination… there is good reason to think that on average societies with shared…song, dance, and heroic or admonitory story could coordinate better than those without” (Origin 153). It does not seem unlikely that biological adaptation contributes just as much as Dylan’s famously inclusive opening (“Come gather round people/Wherever you roam”) in creating a community around the values of the Civil Rights Movement.

North Country Blues: Theory of Mind and Perspective in Folk Music
            Dylan’s primary musical influences are the American folk—Pete Seeger, Dave von Ronk, et cetera—and Southern blues, as developed by sharecropping legends like Blind Lemon Jefferson and Mississippi John Hurt. Narration in the folk tradition tends to be omniscient (though Woody Guthrie is an exception), whereas the blues often use the first-person in their lyrics (Marshall 32). The Times They Are A-Changin’ includes all of these: straight third-person in “Only A Pawn In Their Game,” first-person in “Restless Farewell”[5] and a novel experiment in second-person in “The Ballad of Hollis Brown.” Unlike the rest of the album, “North Country Blues” is written from a first-person perspective that is “distanced” from Dylan himself (Shelton 214), requiring the audience to differentiate between Dylan the person and Dylan the performer (in ways they continue to find difficult; c.f. Marshall 96).
            The song begins with a relatively traditional opening, nearly identical to the more-famous first lines of the title track: “Come gather round friends/And I’ll tell you a tale.” It is compositionally conservative in meter and chording. Musically, the song has significant vocal shape to it, but there is no clue in the introduction to indicate anything different about it. Dylan hides the bombshell of the narrator’s identity until the last line of the fourth stanza: the narrator is a woman, married “to John Thomas, a miner.”
            Why is this so significant from an evolutionary perspective? Camus wrote of Sisyphus that “the rock is his thing.” An evolutionary biologist speaking in this vein would say of humanity, “sociality is its thing.” Humans derive nearly all of their competitive advantages from cooperation with other humans: even the smartest, most physically fit individual human would not survive alone against the wilderness. This is especially so if one considers that nearly all useful skills for such a scenario would have to be learned through social interactions with other humans.
            Cooperation is enhanced in social species by the exercise of ‘costly signaling’ (Boyd, Origin 117). Even when certain sets of rules for cooperation are in place, there remains the issue of making sure that every individual will follow them. One way of doing this is through art. Though art takes up valuable time and resources—it is ‘costly’—it also signals the adherence of the creator to the community (when art is produced in institutions, as Boyd argues it is in his definition; c.f. Evo Theories 148). Folk music is especially well adapted to solve this problem because it is produced socially and has an emphasis on easily-understood lyrics that serve as aphoristic reminders of the rules of the community (think “I’d hammer out love between/my brothers and my sisters/all over this land”).
            Skill in navigating social relations (social selection), then, is really one of the most important skills a human being can possess, both in terms of surviving and reproducing. “In a species as highly social as humans, social selection affects us throughout life, impacting on our survival to reproductive age, our chances during sexual selection, and our chances of supporting children to their reproductive success” (Boyd 157). This skill cannot exist without a theory of mind. Theory of mind is the ability to attribute beliefs, motivations, and moods to others that differ from one’s own. Imagine trying to do anything social without recognizing that others do not share our knowledge or background: dates would be disastrous, teamwork terrible, and conspiring impossible.
In another song on the album, “One Too Many Mornings,” Dylan succinctly demonstrates an understanding of theory of mind: “You’re right from your side/I’m right from mine,” a complex sentiment that requires an understanding of different perspectives.
            “North Country Blues” requires, firstly, a theory of mind from Dylan that allows him to inhabit the persona of an impoverished woman—quite a stretch for a male folksinger who was famous enough to march with MLK and smoke with the Beatles within the year of the album’s release. Secondly, and perhaps more importantly, “North Country Blues” requires even more nuanced readings from its audience: they must parse and track the ‘minds’ of both Dylan and the unnamed narrator. If they can do so, they arrive at an understanding of “economic realism” (Shelton 214) that is necessary if the community Dylan is speaking to (America) is to truly understand itself.
            The listener gains practice in theory of mind, which gives him or her an advantage in social competition. In this way, folk music functions as a sort of play: disguised as an aesthetic exercise, “North Country Blues” effectively teaches empathy in a way that keeps the listener’s attention long enough for the lesson to be absorbed. By training a theory of mind, “North Country Blues” demonstrates aptitude on the part of its composer and “increases social attunement and social cohesion” in his audience (Boyd, Theories 153).

When The Ship Comes In: Status, affront, and access to resources
            In this instance a particular reading is called for á la Boyd, one which “examines the specific problem situation of the author composing this story” (Boyd 322). Though the song contains culturally relevant imagery such as allusion to Judeo-Christian traditions and to Brecht (Threepenny Opera), the conditions of its composition are especially interesting from a biological perspective.
            As related by Joan Baez, Dylan wrote the song immediately following an encounter in which Dylan was refused room at an inn due to his unkempt appearance. Enraged at the establishment, he channeled his anger into the startlingly triumphant vision of vengeance presented in “When The Ship Comes In.” He sings finally of his oppressors coming to account: “like Pharaoh’s tribe/They’ll be drownded in the tide/And like Goliath/They’ll be conquered.”
            At the core of the anecdote related by Baez is an affront, simply put, to Dylan’s status. The proprietors of the establishment reckoned Dylan’s status too low for their standards, and because status is constructed through social relations, their rejection of him actually does lessen his status. Individual status has biological results on the species-wide scale: “Homo sapiens is very clearly a creature for whom differential social status has been associated with variations in reproductive success” (Gottschall, Rape 49). In other words, “we reward one another in the currency of status” (Boyd, Origin 111). By distributing status unequally but in such a way that fitness can count towards it[6], humanity institutionally avoids constant conflict by deciding potentially violent battles over resources beforehand according to whichever individual has greater status. It also means that the ways in which a culture distributes status, especially amongst competing males, will have a directional effect on the genetic makeup of a species.
            The nature of the story that inspired the song is actually very useful in illustrating this point. It is undeterminable whether Dylan and Baez had already begun their relationship at the time of the incident, but undisputed that for some time between 1963 and 1965 they were involved romantically. The refusal to grant Dylan entry in front of a potential reproductive partner, due to a perceived lack of status, could easily have had a detrimental effect on Dylan’s (hypothetical or not) attempts to procreate with Baez. “From a biological perspective, the pursuit of high social status is a proximate means to the ultimate end of higher reproductive success” (Gottschall, Rape 83); status transfers into advantages in both natural selection (statusàresourcesàsurvival) and sexual selection (increased attention from individuals of the other sex due to ability to provide for offspring; c.f. Origin 110). Dylan is able to recoup the damage done to his status through musical performance, because art “raises the status of gifted artists” (Boyd, Origin 381). For the problem-solution method proposed by Boyd (Origin 344), and considering that this analysis has been shaped around the particular interests of the individual, Dylan effectively uses art to get ahead socially and, by using status as means to resources, assure himself of reproductive success.

Boots of Spanish Leather: Romantic Love & Sexual Selection
            The examples I have presented have thus far primarily considered music in relation to forces of natural selection (though status corresponds with both natural and sexual selection). Just because music probably does not have origins in sexual selection does not mean it is not today acted upon by sexual selection. All adaptation is local, and environments are dynamic. Boyd rejects sexual selection as acting on music and states that, because singing lowers testosterone levels, an association between musical output and success in attracting mates is mistaken (Theories 159). This may be true, and in the Pleistocene music probably was cooperative rather than competitive. Why, then, does music seem to be dominated by men of fertile age singing songs that seem to work wonders for their attractiveness to mates?[7]
            “Boots of Spanish Leather” is a love song, or perhaps more accurately, a song about love. In Literature, Science, and a New Humanities Gottschall uses statistical, cross-cultural analysis to demonstrate that romantic love as a literary theme is a human universal (163). This means that romantic love has a biological rather than culturally constructed basis, as is often thought in the humanities. If this is so, Shelton’s assertion that “Boots” is a “universal plaint” (214) is more than musical criticism but a scientifically analyzable hypothesis, and, moreover, one with history in the Pleistocene.
            “Boots” satisfies Gottschall’s definition of love as expressed on p. 161, and its emotional effect relies especially on emotional dependency, a reordering of life priorities, reciprocal exclusivity, and desire for union. In “Boots,” (written as a conversation) a woman must leave her lover, defeating the possibility of physical union and endangering the certainty of exclusivity. One speaker repeatedly reorders his motivations to forsake stars and diamonds, gold and silver, only “for your sweet kiss/For that’s all I’m wishin’ to be ownin’.”
            Dylan’s song, then, gains relevance in part from its appeal to a universal aspect of humanity: the drive for romantic love. In this way it is expressive of something else which is adaptive, but might not itself be adaptive. His songwriting, however, does seem to carry some degree of adaptive benefit, located in the arena of sexual selection and derived from his musical ability. As human history progressed and adaptive practices became encoded not only with genetic but also with cultural material, human societies undoubtedly took note of the correlation between social skill and musical practice[8]. In order to encourage musical practice, musical skill was reified in cultural institutions like status. By the time the twentieth century rolled around, it seems commonsense that music be associated with sexual selection: it is, after all, called sex, drugs, and rock n’ roll for a reason. It is probably no coincidence that Dylan has had at least four wives.
            Is music actually equivalent to the peacock’s tail? To start, production of music requires a quantity of luxury time[9], a reliable index of ability to care for young. Because the female of the human species is so invested in rearing offspring, indicators that a mate will 1) provide good genes and 2) be good at rearing young are especially salient to sexual selection. The narrator indicates his (or her) desire to stay with his correspondent, crooning that he wants more than anything to have her carried “back to me unspoiled/from across that lonesome ocean.” Sexual selection has been known to act upon musical practices in other species; for example, female birds “ovulated more quickly in the presence of a large birdsong repertoire” (Levitin 265). A similar effect can be observed in humans: at peak fertility, “women preferred the creative but poor to the not creative but rich man… for a brief sexual encounter” (Levitin 255)[10]. The “brief” caveat may explain the prevalence of songs not only boasting of one’s fitness (factor 1 above) but also be a good parent (factor 2 above). It seems that creativity as well as masculinity is a desirous trait in fathers, negating Boyd’s contention[11].
            In historical context, a particularistic approach is again useful in explaining the relevance of this explanation. “Boots of Spanish Leather” is usually considered to be about Dylan’s girlfriend, Suze Rotolo, and her trip to Italy, where she studied art and nearly moved to. Through his music and play with biological pattern (romantic love) he is able to display his continued love for Rotolo, in what Christopher Ricks called “Dylan’s finest love song” (Shelton 214). If this really is the “the best courtship display of all” (267), Dylan has found a solution (singing love songs) to his problem (keeping Suze)[12].

            Folk music is adaptive because it enhances cooperative ability in human groups as well as trains cognitive ability in individual humans of Bob Dylan’s The Times They Are A-Changin’, a paragon of the sixties folk revival in America and a touchstone for popular musicians around the world, is fertile ground for analysis on several levels:
            -  firstly, in terms of its ability to solve particular problems existent for its                                           audience at the time of its creation (sociality and cohesiveness; “The Times                                   They Are A-Changin’” and “North Country Blues”)
            -  secondly, in terms of its ability to solve particular problems existent for its                                  creator at the time of its creation (“When The Ship Comes In” and “Boots of                            Spanish Leather”)
            -  thirdly, in terms of its ability to play with biological patterns and norms (all)
It is important to remember that “adaptations can have multiple functions” (Origin 113). It is likely that folk music arose diffusely as each of these three levels built upon one another to make folk music a worthy endeavor for the human race. As narrative, The Times They Are A-Changin’ easily satisfies Boyd’s arguments for the adaptivity of narration (Boyd, Origin 381) even while using a biologically ingrained mechanism he dismisses (music) to enhance its adaptivity.

Works Cited & Consulted

Benson, Carl. The Bob Dylan Companion: Four Decades of Commentary. New York:             Schirmer, 1998. Print.

Boyd, Brian. ""Literature, Evoluotion, and Cognition: Questions, Answers, Questions."
            A Lecture by Brian Boyd. Hance Auditorium, Davidson, NC. 22 Apr. 2010.             Lecture.
Boyd, Brian. "Evolutionary Theories of Art." The Literary Animal: Evolution and the             Nature of Narrative. Ed. Jonathan Gottschall and David Sloan. Wilson. Evanston,             Ill.: Northwestern UP, 2005. 147-76. Print.
Boyd, Brian. On the Origin of Stories: Evolution, Cognition, and Fiction. Cambridge,             Mass.: Belknap of Harvard UP, 2009. Print.

Buller, David J. "The Four Fallacies of Pop Evolutionary Psychology." Scientific American Jan. 2009: 74-81. Web. 12 May 2010.

Dissanayake, Ellen. Homo Aestheticus: Where Art Comes from and Why. New York: Free, 1992. Print.

Dylan, Bob. Chronicles: Volume One. London: Simon & Schuster, 2004. Print.
Dylan, Bob. The Times They Are A-Changin' Rec. Fall 1963. Tom Wilson, 1964. Vinyl             recording.

Gottschall, Jonathan. Literature, Science, and a New Humanities. New York: Palgrave             Macmillan, 2008. Print.
Gottschall, Jonathan. The Rape of Troy: Evolution, Violence and the World of Homer.             Cambridge (NY): Cambridge UP, 2008. Print.

Heylin, Clinton. Dylan: behind the Shades. London: Viking, 1991. Print.
Heylin, Clinton. Revolution in the Air: the Songs of Bob Dylan 1957-1973. Chicago, Ill.:             Chicago Review, 2009. Print.

Levitin, Daniel J. This Is Your Brain on Music: the Science of a Human Obsession. New York, N.Y.: Dutton, 2006. Print.

Marcus, Greil. Invisible Republic: Bob Dylan's Basement Tapes. New York: H. Holt &,             1997. Print.

Marshall, Lee. Bob Dylan: the Never Ending Star. Cambridge: Polity, 2008. Print.

Shelton, Robert. No Direction Home: the Life and Music of Bob Dylan. New York:             Beech Tree, 1986. Print.

Appendix A: Lyrics
All songs © Bob Dylan, 1963

The Times They Are A-Changin’

Come gather ’round people

Wherever you roam
And admit that the waters

Around you have grown

And accept it that soon

You’ll be drenched to the bone

If your time to you is worth savin’

Then you better start swimmin’ or you’ll sink like a stone

For the times they are a-changin’

Come writers and critics

Who prophesize with your pen

And keep your eyes wide

The chance won’t come again

And don’t speak too soon

For the wheel’s still in spin

And there’s no tellin’ who that it’s namin’

For the loser now will be later to win

For the times they are a-changin’

Come senators, congressmen

Please heed the call

Don’t stand in the doorway

Don’t block up the hall

For he that gets hurt

Will be he who has stalled

There’s a battle outside and it is ragin’

It’ll soon shake your windows and rattle your walls

For the times they are a-changin’

Come mothers and fathers

Throughout the land

And don’t criticize

What you can’t understand

Your sons and your daughters

Are beyond your command

Your old road is rapidly agin’

Please get out of the new one if you can’t lend your hand

For the times they are a-changin’

The line it is drawn

The curse it is cast

The slow one now

Will later be fast

As the present now

Will later be past

The order is rapidly fadin’

And the first one now will later be last

For the times they are a-changin’

Ballad of Hollis Brown

Hollis Brown
He lived on the outside of town
Hollis Brown
He lived on the outside of town
With his wife and five children
And his cabin brokin' down.

You looked for work and money
And you walked a rugged mile
You looked for work and money
And you walked a rugged mile
Your children are so hungry
That they don't know how to smile.

Your baby's eyes look crazy
They're a-tuggin' at your sleeve
Your baby's eyes look crazy
They're a-tuggin' at your sleeve
You walk the floor and wonder why
With every breath you breathe.

The rats have got your flour
Bad blood it got your mare
The rats have got your flour
Bad blood it got your mare
If there's anyone that knows
Is there anyone that cares ?

You prayed to the Lord above
Oh please send you a friend
You prayed to the Lord above
Oh please send you a friend
Your empty pocket tell you
That you ain't a-got no friend.

Your babies are crying louder now
It's pounding on your brain
Your babies are crying louder now
It's pounding on your brain
Your wife's screams are stabbin' you
Like the dirty drivin' rain.

Your grass is turning black
There's no water in your well
Your grass is turning black
There's no water in your well
Your spent your last lone dollar
On seven shotgun shells.

Way out in the wilderness
A cold coyote calls
Way out in the wilderness
A cold coyote calls
Your eyes fix on the shotgun
That's hangin' on the wall.

Your brain is a-bleedin'
And your legs can't seem to stand
Your brain is a-bleedin'
And your legs can't seem to stand
Your eyes fix on the shotgun
That you're holdin' in your hand.

There's seven breezes a-blowin'
All around the cabin door
There's seven breezes a-blowin'
All around the cabin door
Seven shots ring out
Like the ocean's pounding roar.

There's seven people dead
On a south Dakota farm
There's seven people dead
On a south Dakota farm
Somewhere in the distance
There's seven new people born.

With God On Our Side

Oh my name it is nothin'
My age it means less
The country I come from
Is called the Midwest
I's taught and brought up there
The laws to abide
And the land that I live in
Has God on its side.

Oh the history books tell it
They tell it so well
The cavalries charged
The Indians fell
The cavalries charged
The Indians died
Oh the country was young
With God on its side.

The Spanish-American
War had its day
And the Civil War too
Was soon laid away
And the names of the heroes
I's made to memorize
With guns on their hands
And God on their side.

The First World War, boys
It came and it went
The reason for fighting
I never did get
But I learned to accept it
Accept it with pride
For you don't count the dead
When God's on your side.

When the Second World War
Came to an end
We forgave the Germans
And then we were friends
Though they murdered six million
In the ovens they fried
The Germans now too
Have God on their side.

I've learned to hate Russians
All through my whole life
If another war comes
It's them we must fight
To hate them and fear them
To run and to hide
And accept it all bravely
With God on my side.

But now we got weapons
Of the chemical dust
If fire them we're forced to
Then fire them we must
One push of the button
And a shot the world wide
And you never ask questions
When God's on your side.

In a many dark hour
I've been thinkin' about this
That Jesus Christ
Was betrayed by a kiss
But I can't think for you
You'll have to decide
Whether Judas Iscariot
Had God on his side.

So now as I'm leavin'
I'm weary as Hell
The confusion I'm feelin'
Ain't no tongue can tell
The words fill my head
And fall to the floor
If God's on our side
He'll stop the next war.

One Too Many Mornings

Down the street the dogs are barkin'
And the day is a-gettin' dark
As the night comes in a-fallin'
The dogs'll lose their bark
An' the silent night will shatter
From the sounds inside my minds
For I'm one too many mornings
And a thousand miles behind.

From the crossroads of my doorstep
My eyes start to fade
As I turn my head back to the room
Where my love and I have laid
An' I gaze back to the street
The sidewalk and the sign
And I'm one too many mornings
An' a thousand miles behind.

It's a restless hungry feeling
That don't mean no one no good
When ev'rything I'm a-sayin'
You can say it just as good
You're right from your side
I'm right from mine
We're both just too many mornings
An' a thousand miles behind.

North Country Blues

Come gather 'round friends
And I'll tell you a tale
Of when the red iron pits ran empty
But the cardboard filled windows
And old men on the benches
Tell you now that the whole town is empty.

In the north end of town
My own children are grown
But I was raised on the other
In the wee hours of youth
May mother took sick
And I was brought up by my brother.

The iron ore poured
As the years passed the door
The drag lines an' the shovels they was a-humming
'Til one day my brother
Failed to come home
The same as my father before him.

Well a long winter's wait
From the window I watched
My friends they couldn't have been kinder
And my schooling was cut
As I quit in the spring
To marry John Thomas, a miner.

Oh the years passed again
And the givin' was good
With the lunch bucket filled every season
What with three babies born
The work was cut down
To a half a day's shift with no reason.
Then the shaft was soon shut
And more work was cut
And the fire in the air, it felt frozen
'Til a man come to speak
And he said in one week
That number eleven was closin'.

They complained in the East
They are playing too high
They say that your ore ain't worth digging
That it's much cheaper down
In the South American towns
Where the miners work almost for nothing.

So the mining gates locked
And the red iron rotted
And the room smelted heavy from drinking
Where the sad silent song
Made the hour twice as long
As I waited for the sun to go sinking.

I lived by the window
As he talked to himself
This silence of tongues it was building
Then one morning's wake
The bed it was bare
And I's left alone with three children.

The summer is gone
The ground's turning cold
The stores one by one they're a-foldin'
My children will go
As soon they grow
Well there ain't nothing here now to hold them.

Only A Pawn In Their Game

A bullet from the back of a bush took Medgar Evers' blood
A finger fired the trigger to his name
A handle hid out in the dark
A hand set the spark
Two eyes took the aim
Behind a man's brain
But he can't be blamed
He's only a pawn in their game.

A South politician preaches to the poor white man
"You got more than blacks, don't complain
You're better than them, you been born with white skin" they explain
And the Negro's name
Is used it is plain
For the politician's gain
As he rises to fame
And the poor white remains
On the caboose of the train
But it ain't him to blame
He's only a pawn in their game.

The deputy sheriffs, the soldiers, the governors get paid
And the marshals and cops get the same
But the poor white man's used in the hands of them all like a tool
He's taught in his school
From the start by the rule
That the laws are with him
To protect his white skin
To keep up his hate
So he never thinks straight
'Bout the shape that he's in
But it ain't him to blame
He's only a pawn in their game.

From the powerty shacks, he looks from the cracks to the tracks
And the hoof beats pound in his brain
And he's taught how to walk in a pack
Shoot in the back
With his fist in a clinch
To hang and to lynch
To hide 'neath the hood
To kill with no pain
Like a dog on a chain
He ain't got no name
But it ain't him to blame
He's only a pawn in their game.

Today, Medgar Evers was buried from the bullet he caught
They lowered him down as a king
But when the shadowy sun sets on the one
That fired the gun
He'll see by his grave
On the stone that remains
Carved next to his name
His epitaph plain:
Only a pawn in their game.

Boots of Spanish Leather

Oh I'm sailin' away my own true love
I'm sailin' away in the morning
Is there something I can send you from across the sea
From the place that I'll be landing ?

No, there's nothin' you can send me, my own true love
There's nothin' I wish to be ownin'
Just carry yourself back to me unspoiled
From across that lonesome ocean.

Oh, but I just thought you might want something fine
Made of silver or of golden
Either from the mountains of Madrid
Or from the coast of Barcelona ?

Oh, but if I had the stars from the darkest night
And the diamonds from the deepest ocean
I'd forsake them all for your sweet kiss
For that's all I'm wishin' to be ownin'.

That I might be gone a long time
And it's only that I'm askin'
Is there something I can send you to remember me by
To make your time more easy passin' ?

Oh, how can, how can you ask me again
It only brings me sorrow
The same thing I want from you today
I would want again tomorrow.

I got a letter on a lonesome day
It was from her ship a-sailin'
Saying I don't know when I'll be comin' back again
It depends on how I'm a-feelin'.

Well, if you, my love, must think that-a-way
I'm sure your mind is roamin'
I'm sure your thoughts are not with me
But with the country to where you're goin'.

So take heed, take heed of the western wind
Take heed of the stormy weather
And yes, there's something you can send back to me
Spanish boots of Spanish leather.

When The Ship Comes In

Oh the time will come up
When the winds will stop
And the breeze will cease to be breathin'
Like the stillness in the wind
'Fore the hurricane begins
The hours when the ship comes in

And the seas will split
And the ship will hit
And the sands on the shoreline will be shaking
Then the tide will sound
And the wind will pound
And the morning will be breaking.

Oh the fishes will laugh
As they swim out of the path
And the seagulls they'll be smiling
And the rocks on the sand
Will proudly stand
The hour that the ship comes in.

And the words that are used
For to get the ship confused
Will not be understood as they're spoken
For the chains of the sea
Will have busted in the night
And will be buried at the bottom of the ocean.

A song will lift
As the mainsail shifts
And the boat drifts on to the shoreline
And the sun will respect
Every face on the deck
The hour that the ship comes in.

Then the sands will roll
Out a carpet of gold
For your weary toes to be a-touchin'
And the ship's wise men
Will remind you once again
That the whole wide world is watchin'.

Oh the foes will rise
With the sleep in their eyes
And they'll jerk from their beds and think they're dreamin'
But they'll pinch themselves and squeal
And know that it's for real
The hour that the ship comes in.

Then they'll raise their hands
Sayin' we'll meet all your demands
But we'll shout from the bow your days are numbered
And like Pharaoh's tribe
They'll be drownded in the tide
And like Goliath, they'll be conquered.

The Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll

William Zanzinger killed poor Hattie Carroll
With a cane that he twirled around his diamond ring finger
At a Baltimore hotel society gath'rin'
And the cops were called in and his weapon took from him
As they rode him in custody down to the station
And booked William Zanzinger for first-degree murder
But you who philosophize disgrace and criticize all fears
Take the rag away from your face
Now ain't the time for your tears.

William Zanzinger who at twenty-four years
Owns a tobacco farm of six hundred acres
With rich wealthy parents who provide and protect him
And high office relations in the politics of Maryland
Reacted to his deed with a shrug of his shoulders
And swear words and sneering and his tongue it was snarling
In a matter of minutes on bail was out walking
But you who philosophize disgrace and criticize all fears
Take the rag away from your face
Now ain't the time for your tears.

Hattie Carroll was a maid in the kitchen
She was fifty-one years old and gave birth to ten children
Who carried the dishes and took out the garbage
And never sat once at the head of the table
And didn't even talk to the people at the table
Who just cleaned up all the food from the table
And emptied the ashtrays on a whole other level
Got killed by a blow, lay slain by a cane
That sailed through the air and came down through the room
Doomed and determined to destroy all the gentle
And she never done nothing to William Zanzinger
And you who philosophize disgrace and criticize all fears
Take the rag away from your face
Now ain't the time for your tears.

In the courtroom of honor, the judge pounded his gavel
To show that all's equal and that the courts are on the level
And that the strings in the books ain't pulled and persuaded
And that even the nobles get properly handled
Once that the cops have chased after and caught 'em
And that ladder of law has no top and no bottom
Stared at the person who killed for no reason
Who just happened to be feelin' that way witout warnin'
And he spoke through his cloak, most deep and distinguished
And handed out strongly, for penalty and repentance
William Zanzinger with a six-month sentence
Oh, but you who philosophize disgrace and criticize all fearsv
Bury the rag deep in your face
For now's the time for your tears.

Restless Farewell

Oh all the money that in my whole life I did spend

Be it mine right or wrongfully

I let it slip gladly to my friends

To tie up the time most forcefully

But the bottles are done

We've killed each one

And the table's full and overflowed

And the corner sign

Says it's closing time

So I'll bid farewell and be down the road.

Oh ev'ry girl that ever I've touched
I did not do it harmfully

And ev'ry girl that even I've hurt
I did not do it knowin'ly

But to remain as friends we need the time

And make demands and stay behind

And since my feet are now fast

And point away from the past

I'll bid farewell and be down the line.

Oh ev'ry foe that ever I faced

The cause was there before we came

And ev'ry cause that ever I fought

I fought it full without regret or shame

But the dark does die

As the curtain is drawn and somebody's eyes

Must meet the dawn

And if I see the day
I'd only have to stay

So I'll bid farewell in the night and be gone.

Oh ev'ry thought that's strung a knot in my mind

I might go insane if it couldn't be sprung

But it's not to stand naked under unknowin' eyes

It's for myself and my friends my stories are sung

But the time ain't tall

Yet on time you depend and no word is possessed

By no special friend
And though the line is cut

It ain't quite the end

I'll just bid farewell till we meet again.

Oh a false clock tries to tick out my time

To disgrace, distract, and bother me

And the dirt of gossip blows into my face

And the dust of rumors covers me

But if the arrow is straight

And the point is slick

It can pierce through dust no matter how thick

So I'll make my stand

And remain as I am

And bid farewell and not give a damn.

[1] For proof, one need only consider the folk establishment’s vicious reaction to Dylan’s ultimate statement of individuation and talent—going electric with the defiant “Maggie’s Farm” at the Newport Folk Festival in 1965.
[2] It might legitimately be pointed out that really not much music is made alone. I am trying to mean the background music to life in a particular culture. In defining ‘folk’ I am trying to encompass something broader than the sense that any genre of music could become folk if it became pervasive and particular enough.
[3] There is also an element of race to be considered, but Dylan’s song never actually refers to the race of either character.
[4] C.f. later classics “Like A Rolling Stone,” “Positively 4th Street,” and “Idiot Wind.”
[5] Dylan the person and Dylan the performer are particularly difficult to separate on this track, which ends “So I’ll make my stand/And remain as I am/And bid farewell and not give a damn,” seemingly leaving the traditional folk community behind.

[6] This presupposes the argument below that artistic talent is attractive (c.f. 16-17). Furthermore, this statement should not be construed as claiming that status directly correlates with fitness; it just means that social mobility exists, and is determined by factors which are also biologically important.
[7] C.f. Mick Jagger, who is not the best looking guy in the world but by all accounts got plenty of “satisfaction.”
[8] This correlation eventually becomes reified in the institution of status, as I stated above.
[9] Though, as I have noted, this is less true in folk music than in other forms.
[10] It is enough for my purposes that this be regarded as a biological fact, but Levitin provides an argument that this preference is due to a uniquely human differentiation in female preference for men with good genes as fathers and men with money as child-raisers.
[11] The next step would be to ask women which they prefer, the creative or the hypermasculine, for a brief sexual encounter. However, the point here is not that either is more adaptive, but that they both are.
[12] Dylan is famously private about these things, but the apocryphal story is that she did indeed return to him until he started spending more time with Joan Baez. 

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