Hakuna Matata: an Experiment in Phenomenology

(This experiment should take you ~25 minutes if you listen to most of the songs all the way through. You'll probably have a lot of fun, too, but that's entirely up to you.)

I keep running into this song--It came up at least three times in conversation yesterday. Rather than becoming paranoid about Disney's diabolical plan (carried out by their co-conspirators, the Masons) to influence my DVD purchasing habits, I've decided that this is a great way to combine The Weekly Poll! with something useful (useful for me, perhaps for you as well): a refresher in phenomenological methodology.
(If this is all because I'm a Cylon... Well, there's nothing I can do about that. But do let me know if you've been hearing the same song.)

First, a brief overview of what I'm trying to accomplish:

Literally, phenomenology is the study of "phenomena": appearances of things, or things as they appear in our experience, or the ways we experience things, thus the meanings things have in our experience. Phenomenology studies conscious experience as experienced from the subjective or first person point of view.
(From the Stanford Encyclopedia.)

I'll try to describe this better later, but perhaps it's best if we just carry on with the experiment.
First, listen to Hakuna Matata. (If you don't see it at the top of this post, then you probably don't have flash installed.)
Now listen to these songs:
(You don't have to listen to each one all the way through, but try to get a "feel" for what the song is saying with words and with music.)


Now, select which of the songs you experienced in a way that fits with Hakuna Matata.

Which songs are most like Hakuna Matata? (pick two or three that fit better than the others)
It's OK
Baba O'Riley
Better Days
In My Life
Ain't Gonna Work Today

To put Husserl's methodology into a sardine can: Hakuna Matata is a Noema, something that we are intending in our experience. Noesis, the "intentional process of consciousness", is the process we are engaged in when we look at the world. The point of this experiment is to find out how many of these songs fit into a similar Noema; how many of these songs say "Hakuna Matata"? Once we can answer that question intuitively, just by listening and getting "back to the songs themselves", it'll be easier to step back and understand why they fit together, and possibly to understand the Noesis that attends to "no worries".


naomi said...

Interesting experiment! I think Jr. Brown's song definitely fit best into the noema of Hakuna Matata, in both message and style. To me hakuna matata has an noesis of "it doesn't matter", which is used to take advantage of the moment. Ain't Gonna Work Today at least aknowledges that there are important things to be done, but that they don't really matter right now because taking a break is important too.
A quick question about the experimental design - do you think the order of the songs makes a difference? I think it is interesting that It's OK has so many votes (one is mine too!)

Daniel Jackson said...

Heh, the funny thing about phenomenology is that there's really no point to controlling responses in an experiment like this--in fact, to call it an "experiment" was a bit of a joke on my part. You can try to get to noema in a solid sort of way--to get "back to the things themselves" as Husserl would say--but noesis is always going to be individual. Rather than trying to eliminate subjectivity from epistemology and find an absolutely "real" description of an event/object/song, Phenomenology studies the subjectivity and intentionality of our experiences.
Yes, changing the song order should make a difference. Unless the person listens to the song out-of-order. So... maybe?

I think the first person who took the poll (and who shall remain nameless) literally picked the "top three songs" in the list, so in that case the order made all the difference.