I have been doing a lot of thinking about the present direction of our society. Not just in this country but throughout our entire world. Our priorities have changed drastically. The ways in which we satisfy our needs and interact with others also have changed drastically. Our day to day living is blurred. Our balance is off. Some examples: right/wrong, mine/yours, old/young, rich/poor, light/dark, etc. The way we now view these or choose to ignore them is significantly different from a decade or two ago. The preceding examples used to be distinguishable, now they are blurred. We have lost touch with our societal roots. Our balance is teetering daily due to over communication and over-exposure to the news of the world which is spooned out to us by a self-censored media. All of this affects our balance, our mind-set and even our integrity.
With all of our voluminous daily flood of input from texting and social sites such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, we now have a loneliness epidemic. A What!!? A loneness epidemic. Why? We are bloated with information. We are over-exposed to almost everything from our phones, TV, and the endless commercials that constantly break up our train of thought into small segments and make continuity a fading memory of the past. So, not only are we lonely, but we are segmented. There are so many distractions in our lives that we are forgetting how to interact with living humans. There are those who talk to their pets more because they don’t talk back. They just acknowledge your presence and moods without judgment.
What happened to free, unfettered thinking? Is it possible or just blurred by our present culture? Is innovative thinking becoming less frequent and discouraged by our present circumstances. Are our cultural norms, habits, rules and guidelines now a help or a hindrance to our thought processes? Maybe we can answer some of these questions and maybe not. Maybe we are just too close to them, immersed in such a way that our lack of balance makes creative thought anywhere from just difficult to impossible.
Along with all of the above thoughts about balance and blurred thinking are the basic ideals we have so enjoyed in the past which have also faded. We have either lost or are rapidly losing our respect, honor and civility to each other. Is this due to the loneliness epidemic or just advances in technology in general? We are not as nice as a society anymore. Instead there is a spirit of meanness. This is harmful and in some cases even shameful. All too common are hurtful actions such as: men to women, women to men, insensitivity to authority which we as a nation have set up, and ignoring the aged and the downtrodden. None of this is helping us to advance as a civilization. We shout and pray for peace, but ignore it at every level of our society. Our loneliness and removal from social interaction allows us to objectify which also allows us to be mean and hurtful with impunity.
How do we heal and repair our blurred outlook and our precarious lack of balance? In a word – music. Real music, not the mass of mediocrity dictated by a business that only cares about numbers and sales and image and merchandise. This type of music can’t heal any of our ills. It only exacerbates them. It is intended to keep us off balance and blur our thinking and promote antagonism to authority. It is a good part of the problems we are now facing.
Music that can heal and repair contains form and balance and continuity. It makes possible coherent thought by its inherent creativity. I wonder if this kind of valuable music ended in the early 20th century. There has been very little innovation in music since then that stimulates thinking instead of trying to control your thinking. And it is not style or acoustic or digital or vocal or instrumental that makes the difference. It is substance. So how do any of us recognize what is substance and what is not? It takes education in music which is now missing from all levels of our school systems. Exposure to music which is based on creativity and innovation is vital. We need to find it and learn from it. It is in concerts by symphonies and chamber orchestras and ensembles of all kinds that we can awaken to true art and innovation and creativity. And it is then available on iTunes or YouTube or Amazon, etc, to purchase or download or stream. If enough people start this process then maybe, just maybe we can reboot and re-adjust our society and regain our balance and re-calibrate our moral compass as a society and a civilization. Maybe…