José L. González Solorio, aka J. González Solorio is the newest voice at the Santa Ana Sentinel. I discovered José to be a natural writer and generator of constant and briefly-written thought-provoking ideas, similar to the proverbial bits found in the Eastern writings of Confucius and Lao Tzu or in the Judaic writings found in the Book of Wisdom or the Proverbs. I invited José to write for the Santa Ana Sentinel to give him a broader canvas so to speak, and for others to come to know him and to witness the thought-provoking nature of this Santa Ana product’s writing. José, like other Santa Ana writers like Samuel Muñoz and myself, is also a musician.
Santa Ana Sentinel: Where did you grow up?
J. González Solorio: I was born in Michoacán, México, but have been raised in Santa Ana since I was just 3 months old.
What schools did you go to?
K-2nd: Russell Elementary in Santa Ana (but part of Garden Grove Unified School District), 2nd-5th: Edison Elementary in Santa Ana, 6th-8th: MacArthur Fundamental Intermediate in Santa Ana, and 9th-12th: Saddleback High School
How’s the band? Can you tell us about how that came together and how you got into music?
Within the Minutes has been inactive for about a year and a half now. There was no official ‘breakup’ and it wasn’t caused by any friction between us, I think we simply coincided that perhaps the project had run its course. The band was really a hybrid of two bands coming together—Anwar/Jerry and Javier/José to form WTM.
Javier is my cousin, he first met Jerry when he (Javier) was a band instructor at Century High School and Jerry was one of the students in band about 4 years prior to the formation of WTM. I first met Anwar at a Battle of the Bands competition at the Santa Ana Bowl with my previous band, Andromeda, around the year 2000. Shortly after, I met Jerry through Anwar. I came to run into Anwar now and then over the next couple years, until I hired him while I was a manager at the Discovery Science Center. Shortly thereafter, I also hired Jerry, and from that point on, all three of us became good friends (though Jerry and Anwar had been friends for some years already). I left Andromeda in mid-2002 and from that point, I was not in a band again for 3.5 years. New Year’s Eve of 2006 Anwar and I, after some discussion about wanting to get back into music, formulated a plan to bring together the four of us into one entity, though the main test was to hear Javier’s answer, since he’d not felt such a project would reap much benefit when we’d thrown out ideas about it in the preceding months. In the following weeks, we had some jam sessions and bonded as a group of four, and, being that we’d been friends for some time now, found the chemistry we felt would ease our transition into the new project. Thus, Within the Minutes was born.
You’re a pretty naturally gifted writer. Do you write songs?
Yes. I brought roughly 2/3 of the original ideas for what turned out to be WTM songs, with Javier contributing most of the remaining 1/3 of ideas for songs. I’m a self-taught guitarist, though my time in marching and concert band in school did come in very handy, making my transition into a guitar band much easier when I first started in Andromeda as a senior in high school. I never write any music down, it’s all in my head, though I am notorious for needing my mind refreshed by my bandmates when going over a new song the next time we play. I’m a stream-of-consciousness player, I have perhaps a half a dozen or a dozen different progressions, riffs, or different motifs circulating in my mind most of the time, and they normally surface at rehearsals, when we’d first tune and warm up. That’s how most ideas for songs were born, though there have been a few songs which have come during allotted ‘songwriting time’. Javier and I basically worked out the structure of the songs once an idea was brought in, working out the guitar parts and chord progressions. Javier, having been a tuba player in school, and playing bass for over 5 years in Andromeda, naturally wrote the bass parts for the music and taught them to Anwar. Jerry, with Javier’s input, would create the drum parts.
How did you get into philosophy? What philosophers do you like or read? How did you get into eastern (Asian) philosophy?
As far back as I can remember, I’ve had a very inquisitive mind, and thought of philosophical concepts, without knowing them as such. As a child I remember bewildering myself in thought by contemplating existence, and trying to fathom ‘nothingness’. It would at times bring this moment of zen, in which I’d be struck with a hyper-real sensation of being, feeling engulfed by the immediate moment. That mind-blowing feeling really appealed to me, and it must have been 4th or 5th grade when I first remember purchasing ‘Beyond Good and Evil’ by Friedrich Nietzsche. The ideas inspired thought for me, and I couldn’t get enough of it. I still can’t, and Nietzsche remains one of my very favorites to this day. With time, I’ve had ample opportunity to delve more into philosophy.
In all honesty, my first exposure to Eastern philosophy came through a sort of process. I remember purchasing the ‘Sergeant Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band’ album when I was a freshman in high school and listening to the track ‘Within You, Within You’ with great interest. The sitar and eastern motifs sounded so entirely different than anything else I’d really heard up to that point. Soon thereafter I dug into learning about India and Hinduism, which, for me, wound up being simply the door to all Eastern philosophy, including Buddhism, Taoism, Confucianism, yoga, and meditation. I feel a welcoming embrace in Eastern thought, in its spirituality, and in its acceptance. For me, it has certainly had the appeal of being a mindset that one can carry about while going through our day. It is not constricting and patronizing, which is the way I’ve felt Western spiritual tradition to be, or at least those who’ve served as representatives of such spiritual inclinations.
Western Philosophy: Socrates, Plato, Kierkegaard, Nietzsche, Jung, and Sartre
Eastern Philosophy: Confucius, J. Krishnamurti, Osho
Other: Alan Watts, Timothy Leary, Robert Anton Wilson, Terence McKenna
What has contributed to forming your political ideology? What is libertarianism to you?
I feel I’ve had a skeptical and somewhat cynical outlook since I first began understanding government and politics. Our country’s continuous involvement in aiding war, occupations, and war itself throughout my life and the public relations campaigns which have been used to justify them all have been most influential and have helped formulate my view on motivations and propaganda. I tend to hold very passionate convictions when it comes to government opacity, the deliberate diversion of attention , and the engineering of consent. I feel power has detrimental effects on a great majority of human beings, regardless of how benevolent their intentions may be at the onset. It is for this reason I feel a system of checks and balances is best suited to properly manage power, limiting abuse, and allowing influence from more than one facet of government.
I am a stark individualist and it’s why I feel intuitively connected with the ideals of libertarianism. I feel government needs to be kept small, and out of a great majority of our personal lives. I agree with government’s involvement in a modest police force that is at the service of the population (not the other way around), a fire department, some basic health and transportation agencies to provide low-cost services, and in helping curb the abuse of the weak by the powerful (eradicating monopolies, extortion, intimidation, maintain acceptable work conditions, etc.). Government should be out of our personal lives and out of our pockets. When the rights and liberties of the individual are intact, the individual is best-equipped to create, influence, and prosper. Our present government is a run-away bureaucracy of waste, disorganization, and meddling. It’s for this reason that I feel we are at meaningful crossroads in the coming election.
What type of literature do you like beyond philosophy and why?
In addition to philosophy, I enjoy learning about psychology, herbal medicine, ethnobotany, quantum physics, consciousness and the mind, meditation, humanism, and history. I feel very fortunate in being naturally inquisitive, for it means that I am seldom bored. Each day it seems the hours run out, I’m consistently driven to learn something new, and as I learn that which I seek new questions arise which assure I remain in the journey for answers. I wouldn’t like to have it any other way, it’s a great deal of fun and keeps my mind working and creating new concepts with which to observe it all.
How did you get into Noam Chomsky?
If I remember correctly, I first learned of Noam Chomsky when I picked up a book of his, ‘Secrets, Lies, and Democracy’, at a bookstore while I was a sophomore in high school, by nothing more than mere coincidence. It took perhaps two paragraphs to realize there was somebody out there who told the other side of the story, the one I often thought, but had never really seen outside of my mind. It was a natural attraction to his unyielding analysis of motivations which drew me back to his writing from there on out.
What is it about ‘Principia Discordia’ that makes it one of your favorite books?
Its very character largely exemplifies my personality, in its quirks, insatiable inquisitive curiosity, humor, absurdity, sarcasm, cynicism, and mystery, for its very mission is very much up in the air. It allows for one to lend the mission one feels most drawn to on the particular occasion you find yourself reading it. It’s a playground for the mind, the imagination, and whimsy.
José has contributed ten pieces to the Santa Ana Sentinel. To read these, click on the category “Discordia.”