From the Archives: MOBY | THE GOD FACTOR INTERVIEW
From our live event at the Barnes & Noble Union Square, NYC on June 29, 2006
Long promised, and well overdue, here is the transcript of my live "God Factor" interview with Moby, June 29, 2006 at the Union Square Barnes & Noble in NYC.
My thanks to Moby for his gracious participation and candor. Hope you find it as intriguing as I did.
MOBY: Um, before we start talking, I have a question: How come I’m not in the book?
CATHLEEN: You might want to ask your people that. I called about trying to get you in the book last summer.
MOBY: I was on tour.
CATHLEEN: That’s what it was.
MOBY: This feedback is very relaxing, isn’t it.
[Crack B&N AV techs change out the microphones]
MOBY: I think that’s going to be better.
CATHLEEN: Can you hear me?
MOBY: One, two.
CATHLEEN: So you were asking me why I didn’t have you in the book.
MOBY: I didn’t mean to put you on the spot or anything. Because you have a lot of really fascinating people in here. I was backstage and I was reading David Lynch’s and Barack Obama. He’s pretty impressive. I didn’t know he grew up in Indonesia.
CATHLEEN: Yeah. He’s got a really interesting checkered religious past that he kind of still uses within his Christian practice.
MOBY: And David Lynch. I thought, was really funny. Because his quote was, ‘Bliss is everything?’ GOD GIRL: Pure bliss? Oh no, it was ‘Bliss is our nature.’
MOBY: Bliss is our nature just made me think of the scene in ‘Blue Velvet,’ [He pantomimes putting on an oxygen mask with wild eyes a la Dennis Hopper in the fisting scene.]
Yeah, that’s blissful. It’s a really nice book, though.
CATHLEEN: Thank you. I wish you were in it, but I’ve got you here tonite.
You all know the premise of the book, right? One loud woman in the audience, clearly from Queens: NO!
CATHLEEN: Well, I’ll tell you. I love New Yorkers! I’m the religion writer for the Chicago Sun-Times and about two years ago I started a series called “The God Factor” in the paper, and yes, the title was partly to pimp Bill O’Reilly. And the first “God Factor” interview I did, which was me sitting down with well-known people – we call them ‘culture shapers,’ people who shape our culture in various ways – was Barack Obama.
We did a number of those. Expanded it out past Chicago into the arts and letters and sports and lots of other places. What I was trying to accomplish was to invite more voices into the increasingly interesting – at least from my perspective – dialogue about faith and spirituality and beliefs and ethics and morals and values and philosophy or whatever you want to call it , that has been happening and that’s being dominated, I think, but just a few rather bellicose voices. And I think there should be more people in the conversation.
So that’s the concept behind The God Factor. There are 32 people in it, all of whom I spent time with one-on-one talking about what they believe and why and how it affects their lives. And so, MOBY is here with me tonite, to have that same kind of conversation.
CATHLEEN: Brace yourself, Bridget.
CATHLEEN: I’ll begin with the same question I started almost all of the God Factor interviews for the book with, and it’s a purposely vague question: How would you describe yourself spiritually?
MOBY: Um, it is a very vague question and the only way I can even began to answer it – for years I had a very specific answer. From the time I was maybe, let me think, 14 until 18 I was a Taoist because when I was 14 I had a huge crush on a girl who claimed to be a Taoist.
CATHLEEN: Like ya do.
MOBY: And so I thought if I was a Taoist . . . So I bought some Alan Watts books and I read up on Tao to impress her. And then I was sort of a fierce agnostic/atheist and then I became this sort of strange pantheist where I believed kind of everything. Some friends and I invented a religion that really does make a lot of sense. It’s called the “prognostics.” Etymologically, if you break it down, it’s “pro-gnosis” so, it’s just, “pro-belief.” ["Pro-knowledge," actually.]
So the foundation of the religion we invented is that you believe whatever anyone tells you. So if someone comes to you and says, ‘I’m a Satanist,’ you’re like, ‘Oh, me, too.’ If someone says they’re a Muslim, ‘Yeah, so am I.’ You just believe whatever anyone tells you.
Then I had some friends who were youth ministers and they got me to read the Bible and something in it really resonated with me. So then I became a really egregiously annoying Christian for a long time.
CATHLEEN: How would you define ‘egregiously annoying’?
MOBY: I thought I was right and everybody else was wrong. But I was that way with everything. I was that way with environmentalism, I was that way with veganism, and spirituality – whatever I believed was right, if you agreed with me you could join my club, which was a very sad lonely club of one. And everyone else who disagreed with me, well, they were infidels.
CATHLEEN: How old were you when you ‘became’ a Christian? I don’t know if you would use that language …
MOBY: At the time I would have. I was maybe 21 or 22. And then about 10 years ago I had this minor epiphany where I was looking at the world around me and I recognized that if the world is a very complicated, intricate place, how could our belief systems be simple? And if the world is unknowable – utterly, absolutely unknowable – how can we claim to know anything?
So, that’s my long-winded way of answering your question, which is I had my own very simple beliefs – I really love Christ and I love the teachings of Christ. I’ll never argue that I’m right. Because basically whatever belief I have is predicated on a broader belief that I can’t know anything.
CATHLEEN: Was there a time when you felt like you sort of shook off an arrogance, a spiritual arrogance?
MOBY: I still think I’m trying to do that.
CATHLEEN: Would you call yourself a Christian?
MOBY: See . . . OK. When I was in college I was a philosophy student and I focused mainly on linguistic philosophy. And one of the goals of linguistics is trying to figure out meaning, the meaning of a word. And the one thing you can’t do – I mean, [Ludwig] Wittgenstein, when he wrote his Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus – how can we actually have a conversation that is meaningful, where the words are not vague, where the words are very specific?
And ‘Christian’? On the one hand it’s a very specific word. It means someone who ostensibly recognizes the divinity of Jesus Christ and believes in it. But it’s a meaningless word because no Christians ever agree with each other.
I mean, put a Southern Baptist in a room with a gay Episcopalian and a Greek Orthodox and a snake handler and a Moonie – they’re all ostensibly Christians, but they’d have a fist fight and kill each other, like fighter fish.
CATHLEEN: And then you’re just left with the snake.
MOBY: What’s that?
CATHLEEN: And then you’re just left with the snake. MOBY: That’s right.
That word ‘Christian,’ I almost won’t use it because it means such specifically different things to different people. And my own, personal Christianity is so weird and subjective it’d just be exhausting to try and sit down with every person and try to explain what it was.
CATHLEN: We started to almost talk about this this afternoon, about some people trying to reclaim certain spiritual words, particularly in the Christian tradition, whether it’s ‘Christian,’ or evagelical or born-again … We stopped talking about it then so we could talk about it here. I’m wondering if -- and I understand your reticence to not use the word because it is so misunderstood and automatically makes people think of one particular kind of religious person – but what if you tried to reclaim it?
MOBY: Yeah, I mean you can. One thing you can certainly do is, it’s very hard to say what a Christian is. It’s pretty easy to say what a Christian is not. And that is what I at times am either enraged by or just marvel at, that you have a United States right-wing Christianity that has absolutely nothing to do with the teachings of Christ. You couldn’t invent a religion that has less to do with the teachings of Christ.
I mean, for George Bush to call himself a Christian is like for me to call myself a meat-eater.
I marvel. During the entire last election, if George Bush had called himself a vegan, and all of his followers called themselves vegans and they were all eating at Burger King, the media might have stepped up and said, ‘Huh. Don’t think your actions are kind of inconsistent with your professed beliefs?’ But all these people who called themselves Christians and who are pro-death penalty, pro-war, pro-capitalism, anti-environmentalism, anti-rights-of-the-poor, but yet they call themselves Christian.
I’m not even judging them. I’m just saying believe what you want to believe but why call yourself a Christian if you don’t even for a second profess the teachings of Christ?
CATHLEEN: How does your frustration – at least it sounds like frustration and it’s one that I share and that I’m sure other people in faith traditions, when they see people who are calling themselves the same thing behaving badly or not doing what they believe the faith calls them to do – how does that affect your own faith?
MOBY: In many ways it doesn’t. See, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with behaving badly. The one thing we’re not called to do is behave badly and say that we’re not behaving badly.
The teachings of Christ are fairly specific. ‘You want to behave badly? OK, that’s your choice. But be humble about it.’ Be contrite. It’s the fact that you have right-wing Christianity, which is marked by the complete lack of contrition, the complete absence of humility, and it’s just the vicious, arrogant, money-hungry institution. If you did have to point to the existence of evil in the world today, it would be contemporary Christianity. Like, right-wing Christianity.
They’re killing people. They’re taking money and health care away from the poor. They’re decimating the environment. I mean, they’re destroying God’s creation and they’re acting in a way that is completely antithetical to the teachings of Christ. And if you were the Devil, wouldn’t the best thing you could do be to start a religion, name it after your enemy, and then have all the people follow your beliefs?
CATHLEEN: Wow. When you were first a Christian, and I think I’ve seen you describe yourself elsewhere as a fundamentalist, and I think you just did – a fundamentalist about a lot of things – how did you come to understand Christianity as it’s supposed to be, in your view and in mine? And your own Christian faith now, how did that change, or has it? If so, how did you figure it out? Who explained it to you?
MOBY: I had this for many years I had this wishy washy idea of Christ as Santa Claus. He was this friendly guy who would pat you on the back and play guitar and sing Kumbya. And then a friend of mine who was a youth minister, ironically enough at the Bush family Episcopal church in Greenwich, Conn., -- I lived nextdoor to the Bushes in Connecticut. We have a long history. Yeah. And that’s why it galls me when he calls himself a cowboy. It’s like, you fuckwit! You went to Andover and Harvard and you grew up in Greenwich, Conn., where there are no cowboys!
That’s also where the media failed us. He bought the ranch in Crawford, Tex., in 1999. No one bothered to mention that. I mean, Karl Rove said, ‘Hey, you need to be folksy. Buy a ranch.’ ‘OK.’ He’s as Texan as I am.
Going back. OK. So your question …
CATHLEEN: How did you figure out the faith as you understand it today? Did it change? Who told you how it was really supposed to be?)
MOBY: At first, when I went through puberty I felt really guilty so I tried to go to church just to assuage my guilt and that didn’t last too long.
CATHLEEN: Sexual guilt?
MOBY: Yeah. Sexual, pubescent guilt. And then years later, a friend of mine got me to actually read the New Testament. And the thing that struck me is, I just read it and [thought], ‘No human could ever come up with this.’ It’s just too .. .it’s the logic of it. Its’ so … well, I guess it’s divine.
For example, turning the other cheek. If someone comes to you and attacks you, the human inclination is to do one of three things: 1) To run away; 2) To fight back; or 3) To try to rationalize, to talk to the person
No human being in their right mind would ever think to just stand there and let them continue to hit you. Fight them. Is there a human being who’s ever been born who would come up with that notion? No. Because it ostensibly is the dumbest thing you could think of. If someone is attacking you, you’re just going to let them keep attackign you?
But then I thought about it: What’s the best way to actually get the person who’s attacking you to actually reflect on what they’re doing? I was like, Oh, that’s the best way to do it. If you run away, they’re going to chase you. If you fight back, their adrenaleine is going to get going and they’ll fight harder. If you try and rationalize with them they’ll just get annoyed and punch you until you be quiet.
Whereas if you say to them, ‘OK, I’m not going to fight back, just keep punching me,’ all of a sudden they become much more self aware and they become aware of what they’re doing. And I found that logic so consistent through the teachings of Christ in the New Testament. It was like, you know, subjectively speaking, I don’t think humans could come up with that.
CATHLEEN: So your understanding then and what’s happening now, was it an intellectual process for you? Was it some kind of epiphany, you mentioned an epiphany, which sounds like a spiritually transcendent experience. )
MOBY: Yeah. Something happened after about eight years of being a Christian, and that was eight years of very uptight Christianity. So I had my conversion experience, where – and it’s a good story. I was reading the Gospel of Luke, or maybe Matthew, and the teachings of Christ seemed so harsh. That’s the thing – the teachings are unbelievably rigid and strict. Saying not only should you not kill someone, you shouldn’t even be angry with them. If someone wrongs you you have to forgive them an infinite number of times. I was just reading this kind of stunned at how harsh it was. And then there’s a quote that says, ‘Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am humble and lowly in spirit and with me you’ll find rest for your souls.’ And I was like, ‘Oh, that’s nice.’ After all the harshness that put it into much softer focus.
And then a week later I was in a used bookstore and I opened some random book and a tiny piece of paper with that quote written on it fell out of the book. And so I kept it with me in my wallet.
CATHLEEN: Like a sign?
MOBY: Who knows? Maybe. It was enough to convince me.
CATHLEEN: That’s pretty good.
MOBY: I’m not going to battle you and say that God put that piece of paper in that book and that he made it fall out, but it impressed me.
But then the epiphany — about eight years later. So I became a Christian and then it was like, well, what do I do? I started looking around and I said, OK, Christians are supposed to be evangelical and go out and convert people, and we’re supposed to hang out with other Christians. So I tried that for a while and I was just really annoying and uptight. Because it seemed more like a club …
[LOUD CLAP OF THUNDER]
… It seemed more like a club than a bunch of humble people who believed in the same thing. It seemed like it had more in common with other human institutions. There’s this tendency, when humans get together they congratulate each other for being members of the club, they have a codified system of rules, and I found all of this to be the case with Christianity.
And so I had my long, rigid period. And again, I just looked at the world around me and I said, ‘It’s complicated.’ And it’s ancient and it’s vast and I can’t even understand one-trillionth of it so whatever belief I have has to be informed by my understanding of the world as an intensely complicated place.
CATHLEEN: So there was a time, if I understand it correctly, when you were quite pious, which might not be a bad word to use. Don’t drink, don’t smoke, you were celibate, all that stuff. And then . . . MOBY: Yeah, tried to be celibate. That was interesting. I had a girlfriend at the time who was also a hardcore Christian. And when we would slip up and have sex we would pray afterward for forgiveness.
I’m not proud.
CATHLEEN: So then did you get to the if-you’re-going-to-sin-sin-boldly place?
MOBY: Then, OK. Then suddenly I realized, or I thought I realized, that ethics only affects what you do if you force your will on other people. That’s when ethics come into the picture. If you force your will on animals, that’s where ethics come into the picture. If you force your will on the environment, I think that’s where ethics come into the picture. If you’re doing something to yourself it’s between you and God and I don’t really think you can apply Judeo-Christian ethical criteria to that, which is where I really really part company with the religious right.
If you want to kill yourself, kill yourself. If you want to get tattoos, get tattooed. If you want to get a first trimester abortion, it’s your body, it’s your fetus, go ahead. It’s between you and God. It’s only when you force your will on another sentient creature that the body politick has the ability to step in and say, ‘No, that’s wrong.’
CATHLEEN: Where does faith fit into your life? Some people compartmentalize and will say, ‘That’s spiritual and this is secular. That’s my private faith and then they’re my public place or my job.’ And I don’t see the world that way. I think we’re inherently spiritual people and everything is spiritual, so when we start to make those divisions we make ourselves crazy. That’s just what I think. I’m curious what your perspective is on your spiritual life. Is that all of your life? How does it affect your work, your activism, your politics?
MOBY: It’s hard to say. My first sort of glib answer is: What didn’t God make? From a quantum perspective, if there is a God He-She-It-They ostensibly made everything. We push their stuff around. But they made everything. How can we compartmentalize? We can pretend to compartmentalize but it’s all the same material, it’s all the same energy being transformed by our actions. So I don’t know that there is a secular world or a spiritual world. There’s just the quantum world made up of stuff that we can’t understand.
CATHLEEN: And we break it down further and further and it gets more and more complex and more and more random.
MOBY: As humans we’re almost congenitally compelled to create meaning, to try to understand things, to give things order, give things structure. So we have our box of spirituality and we have our box of secular stuff. So it’s all the same.
CATHLEEN: So you have one box.
MOBY: Yeah. I’m human so I’m very far form being enlightened. It’s not like Keanu Reeves in ‘The Matrix,’ where all of a sudden he sees the numbers. So I compartmentalize as well, but I try not to take my compartmentalizing too seriously.
I realize that compartmentalizing is just something that makes us comfortable.
CATHLEEN: So, do you have a spiritual practice these days?
MOBY: Mmmmm, in my own simple way, to try and live according to the teachings of Christ and falling short across the board.
It’s just, I can’t say it’s impossible because I’m sure some people can do it, but for me, it’s impossible.
I’ll still try, but it’s impossible.
Apart from that, to just keep my eyes and mind open and to try to recognize that the world as we perceive it is not the world as it is. It’s what I learned in Philosophy 101: our sense perceptions are so utterly flawed that the actual objective nature of the world is so far beyond us we can’t even begin to speak about it.
CATHLEEN: What about grace? What’s grace?
MOBY: My understanding of grace is it’s like a benevolent parent. A child might do something, might do a lot of awful things, and the parent is always going to forgive him, because the child doesn’t know what he is doing or doesn’t know what she is doing, or can’t know. Grace is just that state of constant forgiveness. It’s not a license to go out and do bad things, but it’s an endless well of forgiveness. GOD GIRL: Do you pray very often? Do you have an active ‘prayer life’ as some might say?
MOBY: I don’t even know. I mean there’s conventional prayer, which is getting down on your knees and praying to an old man sitting on a chair, saying, ‘I hate my neighbor; smite him.’ I don’t do much of that. I mean, my recurring prayer, and it’s a hard one, is always like, ‘Assuming that you’re out there, you probably know how things should be, so do what you want.’
Your will be done.
CATHLEEN: Help me get out of the way?
MOBY: But I like being in the way. Again, it’s like being a parent. When I was five years old, if you had let me do whatever I wanted to do I would have had Oreos for breakfast, I would have had chocolate ice cream for lunch and I would have had chocolate ice cream mixed with Oreos for dinner. The parent steps in saying, ‘Well, I think I know better.’ So, regardless of who or what God is, I assume that God has more objectivity than we do and thus must understand a little bit better how things should be.
CATHLEEN: How long have you been a vegan?
MOBY: Twenty years.
CATHLEEN: Was that a spiritual decision?
MOBY: Well, there’s my favorite quote about being a vegan and I didn’t make it up. I’m not a vegan because I like animals, I just really like plants.
CATHLEEN: That’s cute.
MOBY: No, it was a simple equation that I couldn’t get around, which was if I like animals, why would I be involved in any practice that would cause them suffering?
You can’t take it to a crazy extent because life is everywhere, life is microscopic. I just read an article recently that every human has more non-human cells in and on them than they do human cells. So in terms of actual numbers, you are more non-human than you are human.
CATHLEEN: That’s going to take me a second to process.
MOBY: Like, for example: There’s you. Your skin, your bone, your nerve cells. And then there’s all the bacteria and then all the flotsam and jetsam floating around in and on you.
MOBY: So, in terms of cells, the flotsam and jetsam outnumber you about three to one.
CATHLEEN: Which, I suppose, would give you a different perspective on what humanity is.
MOBY: Yeah. Your stomach and your digestive system has more cells than who you are. Yeah. More bacteria is in there than the rest of your cells.
CATHLEEN: So you are what you eat. Ish.
MOBY: To an extent. There’s a sect in India called the Jains. They sweep the bugs out of the way. It’s a nice gesture but it’s a little crazy, because every time they bathe they’re committing genocide because they’re killing millions of single-celled organisms.
So, all I do in my own simple, little ways is if I know that an action of mine is causing suffering, I try not to commit that action. And that’s why I’m a vegan.
All matter gets recycled and all creatures die. In some ways I’m not a vegan because I’m offended by death, I’m just offended by suffering.
Death is unavoidable, but suffering is avoidable. The fact that there’s this agribusiness – if they’re going to kill animals, that’s one thing. Why make them suffer before they die? I think that’s unconscionable.
CATHLEEN: What do you not know spiritually that you wish you did? Do you have a nagging question? Something you keep coming back to over and over again?
MOBY: OK, the nagging question is: Is it possible to have a life with meaning?
CATHLEEN: Is it possible to have a life with meaning?
MOBY: Not what makes for a meaningful life, but is it possible, is there anyway to have a life that has even an iota of universal, objective, absolute meaning?
CATHLEEN: And what makes you think that life doesn’t have meaning?
MOBY: Well, we live . . . OK, if there’s a single-celled organism and it exists for 10 seconds, can you say that that single-celled organism had a meaningful life? Because from a universal perspective, we don’t even exist. I mean, the universe is 15 billion years old and we’re around for 60, 70, 80 years in a universe that’s comprised of a trillion galaxies with a trillion-to-the-trillionth-power solar systems. We’re nothing. We’re so much less than nothing that describing us as nothing is almost undo flattery.
But, that’s looking at it from a slightly more objective view. We all think our lives have great meaning. Perhaps they do.
CATHLEEN: I’m wondering what you hold onto from the Gospels, let’s say, about even how precious we are, beautifully and wondrously made, that God knew us in the womb … How does that play into, or does it play into, your question: Is it possible to have a life with meaning?
MOBY: What’s the central icon in all of Christianity?
CATHLEEN: The cross?
MOBY: Yeah. It represents two things. When you ask a Christian what the cross represents, it represents the sacrifice Christ was willing to do; and it also indicates that Christ didn’t care too much about his body. Walk into every church and there’s a body, a dead body up there saying, ‘Look, we’re all gonna end up like this, so why get too attached to it?’ Ya know?
Christ even basically said, to paraphrase, ‘The body is like a business that you know is going to go bankrupt.’
CATHLEEN: So that’s the body. What about the eternal part? Do you think there’s an eternal part, the soul, the spirit?
MOBY: See, when people ask me questions like that, what I do is I think to myself, ‘I don’t know where my fingernails come from. I have no idea.’ I look at my fingernail and I know it’s gonna get bigger, I know it’s gonna grow, but I have no idea. I can watch television, I can watch the Discovery Channel and they can have a show on fingernails and they can teach me, but I still don’t understand it.
I don’t understand how two cells in a womb can come together and through a bunch of weird raw material and DNA make a fingernail that looks after itself.
So if I don’t understand my one simple fingernail, how in the world can I even begin to talk about an eternal soul?
CATHLEEN: I love it. That’s a great answer.
MOBY: I can hypothesize.
CATHLEEN: Only if you care to.
MOBY: The fingernail keeps me humble.
CATHLEEN: Put that on a t-shirt. I like that. . . . What inspires you spiritually?
CATHLEEN: Or what inspires you, period.
MOBY: Honestly, and it’s not a vague answer, just everything. There is not a single thing on the planet that if you spend enough time looking at it and thinking about it that is not just miraculous beyond comprehension.
I think one of the greatest failings of humans is that we’re ever bored. We get bored. I get bored. But the other day, I was sitting on my roof reading a book, doing nothing, and a fly landed on me. Normally, our instinct is to brush it off, but all of a sudden I just sat there and looked at it and I thought, the flies are so much better than us.
Look at all the things they can do that we can’t do. They can fly, for one. They can eat everything. And human beings, there isn’t much we can eat. Put us in the middle of a desert and we starve to death. Put a fly in the middle of the desert and he’ll eat sand. OK, maybe not sand.
Their eyes are better than ours, they’re about a million times stronger, they were here long before we were and they’ll be here long after we are. What I mean is, take a minute and think about things that we just take for granted and you realize: Everything is miraculous.
Being on the subway looking at all the people going to and from work, to and from school, it seems like it’s just utter mundanity.. But then you think about what’s going on inside that person. Their body is regulating itself. And the chances that a 15 billion year old universe would create a single human being or even a single fly or a single fingernail or anything, it’s beyond miraculous.
CATHLEEN: Now, if we had this conversation a year ago and you just said what you said, the title of the chapter would have been, ‘Everything is miraculous.’
MOBY: I probably wouldn’t have approved the use of the chapter in the book.
CATHLEEN: You didn’t get a chance to. Can we talk a little bit about music? I wrote a story last week about a DJ in Chicago where we talked about how music has this quality – for many of us it’s the fastest vehicle to get us to some sort of spiritual epiphany or whatever it is. What kind of role does or has music played in your life in that way? Has it in that way? And what are you trying to do as a musician?
MOBY: Um, as a musician I’m trying to make music that I love in the hope that other people might love it as well.
Music is, it’s the most central recurring part of my life. I’ve been making music for 31 years. It’s pretty much all I do and all I know how to do.
When I try and think of one of the reasons music is so powerful, the thing I come back to is that it’s the only art form that exists when you close your eyes. You can turn your back on a painting, you can close your eyes and not see a sculpture, you can turn your back on a building. Music penetrates you and it penetrates every part of your body. Most other art enters our bodies through our eyes.
You look at a painting and it’s just the cells in the back of your eye sending a message to your brain. Music literally does physically pass through your body. It’s the most intangible. It’s the only art form you can’t touch. You can touch a painting, you can touch a sculpture, you can put your hands on a piece of plastic that contains the binary code that represents music, but you can’t touch music.
And I think in that way, it’s the most spiritual art form because it’s like spirit. You know, you can’t touch spirit.
CATHLEEN: You just experience it. Is there a song, a piece of music, an artist who moves you in a special way? I know you have a great appreciation, obviously, for lots of kinds of music. Music is a huge part of my spiritual journey and always has been, and there are certain things I find myself going back to, kind of like a home. Do you have something like that?
MOBY: Mmmm, I listen to more things than I could possibly talk about. I wouldn’t even know where to begin. Everything from George Gershwin to Bach, from the Bad Brains to the Clash, to Public Enemy. I wouldn’t know where to start, and it all, for me, it all has a spiritual component to it. Whether it’s ‘Jesu Joy of Man’s Desiring,’ by Bach or whether it’s ‘I Feel Love,’ by Donna Summer – to me they’re both very spiritual works of art.
CATHLEEN: One last question: It’s a big one. What do you think God’s like?
MOBY: Hmm. I have to say being a fan of 'The Simpsons,' in my mind I’ve started to think of God the way, you know, he’s started to make cameos on 'The Simpsons.' He’s 25-feet tall with a big basso profundo voice, interested in pop culture. I’m not saying that’s who he is, but in my mind, I think that would be nice.
CATHLEEN: Me, too.