This article is inspired by having to put up with someone at my job playing music with a separatist message just loud enough to bother me while I am trying to work and sadly, by the terrible things happening and most recently the tragedy in Virginia this past Saturday. (Sorry I have no feature picture to put up for this).
I’m a bit concerned about something. As I have written previously, music unites people, communicates, heals, etc. I have been hoping that my blog, along with others out there would encourage people to listen to music more and more often as they are able and ultimately, as we see with the resurgence in vinyl records, to have another resurgence of folks getting together to enjoy listening to music with each other.
Sadly, I feel that is still not happening. With all the turmoil going on in the U.S. and around the world, we need music and activities of togetherness with it more than ever. I believe that without music, the world will destroy itself as we humans will destroy ourselves and each other. There is an old saying that says, “Music calms the savage beast”. I’m not saying that we are all savage beasts by nature of course, but that saying really refers to our thoughts and feelings. It is a fact that music affects us in our emotions, moods and thoughts as those things are intimately linked, in other words music also speaks to our souls. For example, put on a sad song and you will start to feel sad and think sad thoughts, put on an angry song and you will start to feel angry and have angry thoughts, put on a happy song and you will start to feel lighter and have pleasant or happy thoughts and so on.
Are you as tired of all that is happening in the U.S. (not to mention the world as well) as I am? I would think you should be by now, if not, check your pulse. The U.S. is on the brink of destroying itself, everyone is far too individualistic and the in-fighting has reached beyond epidemic and systemic proportions. Too many people in the U.S. seem to be finding ways to argue and fight. Discussions are no longer being had, just fights for superiority or something. There is almost no sense of community anymore and we are all afraid of each other and this spills over into the rest of the world. What I am saying is that I believe this is what a lack of music and listening creates. Of course, this does not apply to those who are trying to keep the ship upright as it were, but those of us who are doing that, seem to be losing ground I feel. There are no listening parties anymore, no candid discussions about music, etc. Its all superiority contests and arguing over unimportant things on forums, in person, etc.
We really are one people and one world when you stop and think. We need to work together to overcome and solve problems, but also making and having good company in an activity such as listening to music does wonders for all of us.
Listening requires learning and learning requires listening. Life is a learning process. Learning is a choice as well. Learning does not stop unless we choose to stop learning by closing our minds, being overly intolerant and too self-centered. Every country and everybody has problems, but there is a Russian saying that states: Many hands make light work. Literal meaning: Take hold of it together, it won’t feel heavy. In other words, we can easily overcome some problems that are small and perhaps help each other with the bigger ones, but only if we are willing to come together and listen.
Back in U.S, history for example, in the late fifties through early seventies in particular, people used to gather just to listen to music with each other, be it live concerts, in homes with stereo systems, gathered around a radio for a favorite or popular program, etc. What naturally came of this activity was people listening to and learning from each other, formation of communities, helping each other with problems and even changing society and governance for the better. I’m not talking about living in communes and eating berries and staring at flowers. (You can do that if you want). I’m talking about just average, everyday life then. The problem is that as music became more automated and more of a commodity rather than a form of communication and the art form that it is, we eventually lost our way, our sense of togetherness and even our sense of humanity. That said though, we can turn that around and bring things back the way they should be, if we are willing. One person alone cannot do that task, it requires “taking hold of it together”. (Continue next page)