February 4, 2016
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February Focus

I was born in a steel town in Ohio.  My grandparents and most of the townspeople in our area were immigrants from all over Europe, and many other places.  They all came for one reason – work.  Make money, get married, raise a family, drink beer on the weekends.  The latter wasn’t one of the best qualities of most of the men I knew, especially when they overdid it, but everyone most of the time got along.  I lived within walking distance of the steel mill, and so grew up with its constant sounds: trains – to & from the mill, the blast furnace, sirens, screechings & scrapings & bangings  – all very loud.  Within this area everyone lived side by side; caucasian, black, asian, european, slavic, etc.  You get the idea, a melting pot.  The town was a mix of everyone as were the schools & churches and everything else you can imagine.  I didn’t understand racism then and I don’t understand it now.

Racism is unnecessary.  It is the sign of a sick and out of control mind whether it is direct or in reverse.  It doesn’t make sense with people living together with the same objectives.   The difficulty is that people who possess these sick minds look like the rest of us, but they seem to be wired differently.  They see other people in a different way, an irrational way.  They should at least have to wear some visible warning label giving normal people a chance to avoid them.  And these people come in all shapes and sizes, ethnicities, religions, genders, and temperaments.  Unfortunately their negativity is sometimes magnetic.  They attract others who may be borderline, but now receive a nudge into darkness.

Where does the initial negativity come from?  How does it transfer to ethnicity?  How do we deal with it or even erase it?  If we think of it as a disease or a virus it is easier to imagine its origin and uncontrolled spread.  Parents and grandparents, cultures with their traditions, even churches can, even unknowingly initiate racism and hate in a much softer version.  Anyone within who feels marginalized or downtrodden or has been ridiculed or is just unhappy with another person or group of people can start this negative ball rolling. And once it is rolling, it is very hard to stop.  Once these hurts and slights take root in small-minded people, a self-serving agenda is formulated which caters to more and more of the same negative personalities and finally we have a full-fledged epidemic of hate which can be manifested as racism or hatred of the rich or the educated or intelligent, or anything other than the self.

How do we stop this cycle of hate or neutralize it or redirect it?  No one has found the answer yet.  And many have tried over many millennia.  The problem:  race-baiters and people-haters have found ways to make a decent living doing what they do.  In a litigious society all you have to do is point a finger or start a rumor.  True or false doesn’t matter.  Once the ball has started rolling, everyone else is on the defensive.  The more disruption, the better.  And the haters do not want anything to heal because they lose the opportunity for large amounts of income, hopefully with no end.  All of this is made easier in a politically correct society with a socialistic direction which makes it easy for parasites to exist.  The parasite uses blackmail & intimidation as easily as lying and cheating to work the system with impunity.

What can we do to begin a reversal of anything and everything that is based on hate?  There are some proven and time-tested techniques that can reverse negativity and hate.  But they seem so simple, even so simplistic that we lose heart and faith too quickly for the effects to be seen.  Just seeing things through someone else’s eyes for a change can do wonders.  Just listening to someone else’s viewpoint sometimes can cause a change of heart, just because you took the time to listen.  Choosing music that is not based on hate, but something or anything that is positive can begin a change.  Something very small and seemingly insignificant can start the ball rolling that can cause change, maybe not immediately, but a small change in direction that, as it grows, eventually is earthshaking.

Think of the great moments in our lives that involve large amounts of people, but without racism or hatred.  Music:  a great song, show, recording, performance.  Sports:  the winning point, teamwork, exceptional athleticism, or sportsmanship.  Film:  a great story, being moved from laughter to tears and back.  Exceptionalism in science, business, politics, law or government.  All of these in their pure forms are above negativity and racism.  Until there is perversion.  But, realizing that nothing is perfect, we can never stop caring and being vigilant.  And carrying with us at all times the antidote:  love.

January 1, 2016
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January Joie de Vivre

As usual, the first day and month of the new year bring on a new bout of philosophizing.  This is probably to avoid making firm New Year’s resolutions.  When I do this, I feel like I am sitting on top of a high precipice and gazing down first at the old year we have just left, and then looking ahead to the new year set to unfurl.  This is the time to learn from the mistakes of the past year and to try to eliminate them from the next twelve months.  In order to do this one’s concentration must be honed to a fine edge and be able to weed out all irrelevancy.  This provides a level playing field between the past year and the year to come.  Here are my thoughts:

PAST YEAR

I believe that most of us have been living in a world that worships make-believe and by doing so avoids reality.  This world tends to also avoid responsibility for its own actions.  Someone else is always to blame.  This world believes that we should be free to do whatever we please without consequences, and the inhabitants of this world don’t care who they hurt or who they cheat or who they best or who they beat.  In this world we are all insular beings built on ego first and conscience last.  I tend to feel the sting of the above, even if I am not totally  involved.  But, just reading a newspaper or watching any television news means that you are somewhat involved.  Just thinking of this should make anyone want to forget the past year and move on.  Hopefully to a much better place by not making the same mistakes over and over again. But we all deal with this day to day. It makes our lives difficult when they should be simple.  This world wants us as new inhabitants, and we make decisions daily to avoid it… “if” we remain thinking individuals with a conscience.  We can do this by re-booting or re-orienting our lives and thinking (deeply) on the first day and the first month of each new year.  We also need to establish or re-establish our “Credo,” our basic beliefs at this time.  Here are mine:

NEW YEAR

I believe that we are here on this earth to evolve, and that our sole purpose is to evolve.

I believe that we are here to make ourselves better, others better, and the world itself better.

I believe we are here to fix things, to cure and heal things, to discover things, and to discern the meanings of things.

I believe that furtherance is our task and “pushing the envelope” is our duty; growing is our need and drive; maturing is our destiny.

I believe that we have intelligence and logic and instinct; we have a choice between good and evil, and we have the means to know the difference.

I believe that our awareness (our soul, etc.), is meant to join with God when it is separated from our human body, and:

I believe that it is our job, even our mandate, to make all of this happen:

For:   We are the human race.  We come in all shapes, sizes, colors and temperaments, but we are all humans.  And we need to start acting like it.

Let’s all have a Happy, Healthy, and Prosperous New Year!

 

December 1, 2015
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December Celebration

December is a holiday month.  Everything we do is pointed toward Christmas Eve and Day, and New Year’s Eve and Day.  Shopping for gifts, food, decorations, Christmas trees, spirits of all sorts, clothes for the winter weather, or at least a slight change of season, and all sorts of items for parties continues throughout the whole month.  Ideally this is all for relaxation and celebration, good times with friends and family, and welcoming in the New Year.  It would be nice if everyone everywhere was as light-hearted, but nothing on this earth is perfect.

All holidays, celebrations, sporting events and large gatherings of people for any reason are possible sites for terrorism at this time in our history.  There is a remote and underlying feeling that beauty and revelry can be turned in an instant into death and carnage.  World peace?  Not while there is an attitude of terrorism in sick and twisted minds among us.  And the obvious question becomes: How do we prevent evil things from happening anywhere?  And the only possible answer is: Security.  Security at all levels of our society .  Law enforcement becomes crucial from security guards to police to all types of military organizations.  Everyone craves safety and security, and usually this implies restrictions that we might resent in our daily lives and our travels to other cities, states and countries.  But these restrictions are the price for safety and security for our parents, our children, our friends and extended families, and our country in general.

When safety and security are assured, then good times, celebration, relaxation, peace and prosperity are all possible at any level of society and in any place on earth.  This is a discipline that we all must re-learn to bear from childhood through adulthood.  We are a people of laws.  We make the laws and then live with them.  Democracy and our republic demand that we participate in this continuous process and pass it on to our children.

Another of our disciplines is faith in a higher power, belief in God, unfettered worship as we choose.  Without this discipline our laws tend to weaken and crumble through lack of confidence in a being or an entity more powerful that we are, without whom there is no life anywhere.  When tenets of this freedom and discipline start to weaken and disappear we need to sound the alarm and push back.  In our form of government, apathy begins the process of handing over the keys to the kingdom.  And this thinking brings us back to Christmas!

Christmas is a time to push back.  It is a time of belief in a God greater than us.  A God who assures  us that when we pass away we can be confident that “away” is somewhere safe and secure, a place where we can celebrate and relax with music and the arts, and finally enjoy unfettered peace. An existence without qualifications. A place with the unlimited potential for our hopes and dreams.  All religions are similar in this faith, which means that there should really be no conflict in our individual views of eternity.

So, as we progress through this season of celebration, let us keep its reason for being in mind, and keep our faith alive in the spirit of Christmas and the coming New Year and in the music of our lives and our songs.  And may our assured safety and security provide the foundation for our faith and our beliefs. And may these all make possible the peace and prosperity that we who live on earth crave.

Merry Christmas and a Happy and Prosperous New Year to all of us!

November 2, 2015
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November Concepts

My memories of November are etched in my mind from childhood in Ohio.  They include tangible items with my associated feelings about them.  Trees (bare), leaves (fallen), weather (bleak), sky (dark), mood (somber), and colors (gray).  Quite an indictment of the month of November.  In my mind these represent a stark grounding and reality that sets up the light-hearted and fanciful holidays through December, and looks toward the coming New Year and a hard winter.  Anticipation. This is my concept, however narrow, of the month of November.

We are faced with many concepts in our daily lives.  Some we can comprehend and deal with , and some we deal with with absolutely no comprehension.  For example: a trillion, a terabyte, a light year, the universe, and, the Creator of our universe.  We use these terms daily, but the actual concepts are too immense to really understand, or even to comprehend.

We handle electricity everyday, but do we understand it?  We listen to organized sound (music) everyday, but don’t really understand the infinite variety of vibrations per second (pitch or frequency), width and depth of dynamic range (loud & soft), or the cosmic connection of rhythm (regularity of pulse).  We think we have control because we manage these things daily.  But if the regularity of anything in the micro or macro range changes, we are only caught up in its vortex, but definitely are not in control.  We can only hope to manage, not control.  Weather encircles the earth.  It consists of wind, rain, snow, fog and variations in humidity, and we depend and deal with its effects.  But we don’t control it or even manage it.  The earth’s crust which we exist upon daily is subject to the shifting of its tectonic plates over vast periods of geological time.  We neither control nor manage any part of this process.  We barely understand the laws of nature, physics, chemistry, and science in general.  We use the principles, but we manage them, not control them.  We manage some of what we comprehend, and when more is revealed to us, we manage that, but again, without control.

It seems like we know just enough that we can either damage ourselves or keep moving toward some measure of control.  Historically, the problem with moving ahead has always been ultimate control by weak minds that can’t comprehend the micro and the macro as we know it, but just want control for its own sake.  It is in this situation that everyone suffers.  We need a new “Age of Enlightenment,” an attempt to comprehend the incomprehensible.  Now we only exist by the illusion of control.  We need to increase our in-depth and far-reaching knowledge to gain some measure of actual control.

Music and the arts illustrate this attempt to make tangible the “intangible,” by controlling only what we can comprehend. The fine arts are the arts of “fine tuning.”  The ultimate existence of humanity will depend on our ability to gain control of that which we don’t now understand.  So when you listen to music of all types, think of the micro and the macro and stretch a little farther each time into the depth of vibrations, volume and pulse. The human race may depend on this for its very survival!

October 1, 2015
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October Moments

Fall, Autumn, is my most favorite season.  I especially like the changing of the colors of the leaves as they mature.  The myriads of colors from individual trees contrasting and blending in areas of the country where this regularly happens are beautiful, inspiring and awesome.  Wouldn’t it be much the same if people changed colors with their individual seasons as they grew and matured?  Wouldn’t it be a beautiful, inspiring and awesome sight?  And if everyone were doing this, then wouldn’t a lingering problem that we still experience disappear?  Racism based on skin color would be meaningless.  Everyone would be beautiful, especially when contrasting and blending together just like trees, only constantly moving, unlike trees. We find this kind of blending in music and various forms of art: painting and sculpture, and even some forms of dance.  Thinking beyond our normal parameters into speculation and “what if.”  So, hold that thought!

Creativity is a lot like the above.  It is a constantly moving, ever changing, individual view of any particular subject.  It resides in all aspects of our lives from cooking and other seemingly mundane jobs to science and math and quantum physics.  All of our minds are wired for it, but it becomes dormant if not recognized or used in some way.  Creativity is the force that has shaped our world from the earliest human footprint,   and creativity will take us to the stars and into the still hidden layers of the atom.  But we must embrace it.

There are times in music, science and everyday living that we experience moments of true  and total clarity.  A rush of inspiration.  The uncluttered answer to a problem.  Usually these moments are brought on by periods of feeding pertinent information, sometimes to the point of saturation, and sometimes over a very long period of time in the elusive search.  If or when the answer appears, it is usually a “golden” moment, a moment to be savored and cherished, for these moments are very infrequent.  And things in our lives then move forward another increment.  Progress is either made, or the foundation is laid.  And we move on.  Hold that thought!

The month of October is also reserved for all of us to remember to respect life.  All life.  This is not an easy concept, and does take some thought to understand what we live with and in every day of our lives.  In our busy, hectic and cluttered lives, this is not easy.  Finding time to really think about anything is also not easy.  But when we do, this is another “golden moment.”  And we should enjoy the moment itself and even the process itself that allows us to experience such a magical or spiritual event.  So here’s a toast to those “golden moments.”  They lie nestled in amongst the myriads of colors of the changing leaves in our lives.  The search is on! The game is afoot!  Happy harvest!

September 1, 2015
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September Streams

Our entire culture is experiencing, either individually or in various groups and in one form or another, a loss of faith..  This is manifested in ways that have started small and have grown larger in many different aspects of our culture. When faith starts to erode, the foundations in every part of our lives start to become shaky.  Ultimately there is nothing stable and we become fair game for the next easy fix, the next fad, food, religion, cult or any organization that promotes with an easy appeal.  The PC movement is trashing our cultural symbols, icons, slogans, conservative thinking and anything that doesn’t say equality, sameness, and the lowest common denominator.  There must be no anger.  We must love everyone and everything no matter what the circumstances. There must be no extreme highs or extreme lows; no white or black, just the mid-range rainbow of the spectrum. Due to this thinking and pressure, we will become merely cogs in the wheels of society.  No rich or poor.  The rich will fund the poor (and become middle class), and the poor will take the dole (and become middle class).  This equality will cause everyone to become happy and content with their lot in life.  Until the money runs out.  At that point everyone is in trouble.

We prevent the above situation by education, awareness and unwillingness to swallow everything whole.  In other words, by thinking about the ramifications and consequences of the many ideas presented daily to us by the media.  Let’s look at some of the consequences of our creeping loss of faith.  Then think about prevention and reversal.

Loss of faith in God means that you no longer have any hope, that this one life is all you have.  Then there is nothing.  This is why some members of our younger generation have been able to kill large numbers of people.  They have no conscience because there is no cosmic penalty, no cause and effect. They just give life their best shot, then they are gone.  Without a moral compass, the future effects of this are impossible to predict.  But the end result with no change doesn’t look good.

Loss of faith in country is the swiftest route to socialism in its worst form.  A younger generation who doesn’t care what happens will let the strongest, richest, most charismatic politician take over.  All he or she must do is to make appealing promises to large groups of  people which will make their already meaningless lives even easier.  This is being done more and more frequently.  Patriotism becomes just a father figure who provides necessities and asks nothing in return.  There is no longer any “quid pro quo.”  No “come to the aid of your country.”

Loss of faith in self means that one becomes literally selfless and unable to think critically or make meaningful decisions or creatively “think out of the box.”  Dependency is the norm. Neither yourself or anyone around you can be permitted to “rock the boat.”  Questioning authority  could result in a loss of the status quo which could cause a disaster.  Again, there can be no “cause and effect,” only stasis.

Loss of faith in children means a disconnect with education at all levels.  The children of the younger generation no longer have parents, they have guardians.  Parental discipline is almost forbidden by the parents themselves and by any figure of authority.  If the parent doesn’t allow discipline, then no one can.  School rules are thought of as restrictive and destructive as are the law enforcement of city, state, and nation.  “No one touches my child.” Result:  No cause and effect and no discipline. And very little actual learning or education.

We are experiencing the above in many ways.  And these attitudes are fiercely protected by “political correctness.” a nameless, faceless entity who uses intimidation and blackmail along with the court system of judges and lawyers to silence any non-participants with the threat of ruination by loss of their livelihoods, jobs, families and even their opinions until loss of faith in “anything” is the result.

Is there a solution that we can even talk about?  Are there enough people left with faith who are willing to stand up, state a position and face the consequences?  Faith means that we believe that there are, that we have hope, and that we trust that the younger generation will wake up and, using the “common sense” left over in small areas and groups of people, take control of their own individual minds.

AND, we need to demand music, both instrumental and vocal that expresses the above. Positive, uplifting, inspiring, spiritual songs and pieces that help us to think of our God, our country, ourselves and our children.  Our art doesn’t have to just reflect the seamy side of life. It can also help lead us to a better place in out thinking and even renew our faith.  Let’s look for some new and exciting songs…!

August 3, 2015
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August Augmentations

THE EARTH:  RECYCLED

There are two processes that could help solve a great many of the problems we experience everywhere on earth if we can expend the time, money, and creative thought processes to make them practical and available cheaply to all countries:  Desalination and efficiently recycled waste.

Desalination:  All countries on every continent would benefit from pure water for drinking and cooking, agriculture and for solving basic problems of drought and desert conditions wherever they occur.  With this solution everyone, everywhere benefits,  from the rich to the poor. All would benefit economically and culturally with the advantages of plentiful crops, the beauty of plants, trees and flowers, and even ponds and lakes, both natural and artificial.  Water is essential to life, but with climate change occurring throughout the history of the earth, there are times when rainfall and snowfall just don’t fall where they are desperately needed.  However, with three-fourths of the earth’s surface covered with water, there is no reason to have to depend on rainfall or snowpack.  Technologically advanced peoples are capable of learning how to remove salt and other impurities from sea water to make it useable.  But this must first become a priority.

Recycling waste efficiently:  Throughout the history of the earth, humans have deposited their waste back into the earth and its lakes and streams.  This works, but it takes a very long time for the earth itself to accomplish the recycling process.  We technologically advanced peoples with our advanced creative abilities on the other hand should be able to accomplish this in a comparatively short time.  By reducing our waste products to a basic state that can be used again in many areas, it could become the fundamental for new plastics, metals, ceramics, etc, that would make it possible to make new building materials  for housing, new and more efficient machines, and cheaper and more efficient clothing.  All of these would become easier once again to recycle.  This would lessen the need to use natural materials and help to preserve the environment, and this should give nature the opportunity again to replenish and grow naturally.  The jobs that this would open would then be in completely new areas which could grow into new ways of producing materials for space travel, lighter and stronger building materials for space, and new possibilities for society’s needs in vehicles, clothing, food, water and medicines.   And, as new sources of power and drive are discovered, this in turn could facilitate cheaper and more ubiquitous space travel.  The probability then increases of reaching distant planets and galaxies where these same techniques for recycling would apply.

Socially, when everyone has enough to eat and is satisfied, territorial tensions of all sorts tend to decrease.  When you have enough, then the desire to take someone else’s (the grass is always greener tendency) decreases.  War just might become obsolete or at least no longer viable.  At this point a sort of calm could ensue.  Mind altering drugs for escape should no longer be as necessary, at least to the extent and for the reasons we now experience.  Peace of a sort may just be within reach.  (Maybe not perfectly for we are still human).  But in this way, science, religion and free creative thinking could all coexist.  The arts could once again bloom and flower.  And all of this could conceivably occur because of two processes:  desalination and efficient waste recycling.  Is this even possible?  Everything starts as just an idea…

Musically, we are increasingly dealing with recycled notes, forms and patterns.   There is very little that is new or innovative.  Creatively we are stuck in a system that is hundreds of years old.  Long, long ago only melody was necessary to express the ideas of the time.  This lasted through the ancient Greeks and Romans.  At some point 4ths and 5ths became consonant and relaxing to the ear.  Then there was a gradual change to the consonance of 3rds and 6ths which has continued through the present day.  Though there was a brief trial of the 12 tone system, it was still part of the scale system we still use. As with desalination and efficient recycling, the problem we deal with musically is how to get to the next stage of development.  How do we build upon the accomplishments of preceding generations?  It is never easy, but it happens.  The organization of sound, the sounds themselves and the use of language and the human voice will all be recycled into something new that will satisfy the new needs of those humans living on this and other planets.  The possibilities are endless.  There are no limits, only creativity.  Thoughts precede realization.  Think about it…

July 1, 2015
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July 4 Independence

There are people who talk about peace (talk is cheap). There are people who tear things down and pillage and burn (you know them by their actions). There are people who sit back and watch from a distance (armchair critics). There are people who “tough it out” each day and do their jobs no matter how dangerous or unpopular (they “suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune”).  There are people who lead (contribute), and people who follow (those who criticize, blame, disparage and talk constantly, but show no responsible actions).

The point of this is: Who are you?  Do you support mindlessly those with the biggest mouths who are supported by media with no conscience and the wealthy with slanted ideals? Or do you start with a clear, unbiased conscience and selectively add information to your thinking that is supported with facts?  Are you an individual or do you need to be “led by the nose” by a governing body at any level that decrees and mandates and demands your unquestioning obedience?  Are you a free-standing patriot or simply a “cog in a wheel”  turned by a machine that levels everything to the lowest common level?  We all need to answer these questions while we still can.  You are either self-motivated and think for yourself or unmotivated and consequently let your thinking be controlled by a person or persons who will dictate your very thoughts.

Socialism kills!  It neutralizes your thoughts along with your music, the arts and all creativity.  In socialism, those who think outside the machine must be eliminated so the vast playing field of non-thinkers (cogs) are not disturbed.  At this point the thinker is driven underground, and becomes an outlaw, living a dangerous existence in order to keep some semblance of sanity alive.  All experiments in various types of socialism have ended in major conflict between the creative (thinker) and the cogs (sheep).  We are getting dangerously close to a rift in our own culture, our religions, and our society in general with those who would eliminate all traces of individualism, and civility.  Everything is pointing to this.  And it has all been done before with the same disastrous consequences, for it in fact,  becomes war.  A war between the individual mind and the mindless mass.

All people need to wake up now!  There is no later!  Teach your children to think (well and early) before it becomes impossible, for this is where we either win or lose.  Independence becomes so very dear only when it is eliminated and we at last realize what it is that we have lost. It is then that the battle begins to regain what we have lost, yet again, with the blood of our sons and daughters whose lives are the most dear to us.

For the love of God and our nation, pledge your allegiance again and again  –  and mean it!   With every fiber of your being!  Our forefathers and mothers, after much study,  had it right, not the charlatans who ridicule our worship, our culture, and our society.  Heed their distant call with renewed respect.  Respect our flag, our National Anthem, our Pledge of Allegiance, our Constitution, our Declaration of Independence, our Bill of Rights, and our laws, privileges, and responsibilities.  Respect our officers of law enforcement and first responders who keep us safe, our teachers who lead us to knowledge, and our religious leaders who keep our morals and ethics grounded. Our freedoms and liberties are not free or doled out. They must be worked for responsibly.  Earned and treasured.  Never taken for granted or assumed.

Take the month of July and think about what we have as a nation, and how we must work together to keep it intact.  Patriotism must be instilled in every heart so that it can grow and toughen and demand leaders that represent “We the people.”  At this point, the government in all of its forms works for us, and it will remain that way as long as we can still lustily and all together,  sing “God Bless America!”

 

June 1, 2015
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June Jumble

The beaches in Southern California traditionally make a transition from May gray to June gloom.  The gray stays the same, it’s just the month that changes.  Even though the sun appears in the afternoon, I still enjoy the gray, blanket-like feeling of the cloud cover.  It seems peaceful, even tranquil in the beach communities.  I know it’s just an illusion, but I enjoy the feeling anyway.  At times like this I become pensive, even philosophical, and start looking for the meaning of life and answers to the difficult questions.

The concepts of past and future are illusions of a sort.  The past is composed of memories, sometimes accurate, sometimes faded and idealized or mixed or telescoped together with many other incidents, even dreams.  But the past has already happened.  The future is uncertain, wishful thinking, fear of the unknown, or pasted up with yellow stickies or “To Do” lists.  All of this in the past or future is in a gray area.  It is unreachable and mostly incomprehensible.

Only the present is valid in our day to day living.  Our life styles will not permit daydreaming under normal circumstances.  Our lives are too complicated.  We learn to deal with this as we age, and everyone ages.  We accumulate experiences, ideas, techniques, patterns, and schedules which help us make it through days, weeks, months and years.  We create customs based on the patterns of our parents and grandparents and pass these on to our children and grandchildren.  When we are younger, we weed out the inconsequential and keep what is really important in our lives, and then start to think about what in next in our lives.  As parents we draw upon our experiences, both good and bad to help our own children to mature.  And each next day, the present becomes the past and the future becomes now.

There is always an exception.  Those among us who are able to live in the past, present and future.  They include the creative:  the thinkers, seers, innovators, writers, composers, inventors, artists, sculptors, designers, researchers, scientists, mathematicians, etc, who daily live to some extent in the gray area of life.  Some of these people deal with processes and some deal with values, some with history past and some with history extrapolated into the future.  All are valuable to us for the broadening of our thinking.  Our task is to temper the ideas and values presented to us with our own common sense.

Our own common sense is based on our own experiences and perspectives which have worked for a period of time in our own lives.  There are many changes that we face every day.  These changes eventually begin to coalesce into common sense values from which we can assimilate and then pass on to our own children . Think of the style changes in music from the beginning of the twentieth century until now.  These and the other arts and sciences tend to illustrate the above points.

From the 1900’s and into the 1950’s, music was acoustic.  There was nothing electric until the microphone and recording took over.  This affected what music was written and how it was performed.  Within these restrictions music reflected to moods and changes in society at that time.  When electricity took over in the mid 50’s, music took over, but there was a symbiotic relationship with music and society. Who was influencing who?  We are getting close to another change in music which brings it even closer to us.  Maybe this is good. This is a gray area for the moment, but style changes are more and more frequent.

This brings us back to values and common sense.  It is easy for us and our children to get lost in abundance.  What used to keep us grounded now floats in virtual reality.  Our society is reflecting this.  We must look to the past before we let ourselves be pulled into the future.  We need to make sure that the new and compelling songs we hear are not sirens whisking us to a place we would rather not be. Listen to the present and sing of the present before venturing into the unknown.  Let us be grounded in common sense.

May 1, 2015
by admin
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May Mind Noodling

Sometimes in the month of May I ponder too much.  Then I wonder as I ponder, and this usually leads to random “mind noodling.” In this particular May my thinking has been circling and circling, becoming a vortex which has come to rest with the words accountability and supervision.  Or maybe supervision and then accountability.  Whatever the sequence, a lot of the problems that we face daily are caused by a “lack” of accountability and a lack of adequate supervision. And these are two sides of the same coin. The structure of our society is based on these two terms, and when they break down we face serious problems.

In education, roughly speaking, this sequence is: parent-student-teacher-principal-school board-superintendent, etc.  In our cities and towns: citizens-police dept.-fire dept.-city council-mayor, and on to the state and national governments.  Each of these structures, and many more,  includes supervision and accountability, and problems begin when they are interrupted or lost.  Parent to child or teacher, worker to boss, boss to manager or owner, elected officials to their superiors or constituents, all are vital to our very existence. Without the structure and supervision and accountability, we face chaos, anarchy and returning to the law of the jungle with its  survival of the mentally and physically fittest.  And living day to day without a strong infrastructure doesn’t last very long.  In this situation the only accountability left when all else fails is to our God, in whatever form we choose to believe, as our ultimate supervisor.

Many societies have risen and fallen in the past on this same earth that we are inhabiting.  Small cracks started appearing, unrecognizable except to a very few voices lost in the din of daily living.  And who even listened to them?  Some of the signs were the break-up of the family, mores loosened, perversions accepted, and day to day living over regulated to the point of claustrophobia.  Everything was being done for the individual, leaving no room for self-reliance, self-management, creativity or free-thinking.  Then the cracks widened into religions and customs and government, leaving no room for either supervision or accountability.  Who benefited?  Only those at the very top of the food chain where the accountability stopped.  At this point absolute rule of some kind takes over.  A dictator or a king or a despot rides in to rescue the society.  Religion and education have to be controlled or eliminated.  And that is the end of individuality.

This process is so slow that it is almost unrecognizable in day to day living. It has happened many times before in the history of our earth, and it is happening now.  There are cracks appearing and occasional breakdowns not only in our own society, but globally.  Families are being restructured to fit any situation.  Christianity, and religion in general, is being systematically erased from public view (forced to go figuratively underground), every little thing is being legislated, but penalties for large offenses are being diluted so that accountability is also being relaxed.  In other words, both supervision and accountability are being lost for the individual.  We are being forced into the law of the herd where we mindlessly follow whatever leadership is the loudest or the most compelling.  And the question becomes:  Is this process preventable?  Can it be reversed?  Individually, yes.  Collectively, maybe.  As long as the majority of people in a society are content to be passive recipients of life’s necessities, the collective “maybe” will change to “no.”

Common sense is the foundation of any solution, based on facts, not emotions.  Accountability and supervision and a willingness to recognize self control and self motivation are vital.  Read a book entitled “The Death of Common Sense” (How Law is Suffocating America) by Philip K. Howard, pub. 1994 by Warner Books.  For over twenty years we have ignored warnings which are now becoming part of our existence.  That’s long enough.  Now we need to get serious.

Musically speaking it’s time to D.S. (Dal Segno), or go back to the sign which indicates where we have been and the firm foundations which once permeated our society.  We need to get rid of “political correctness.”  It has only been used by those with questionable agendas to blackmail and intimidate, and anything that has these for their mission statement must be stopped.  Bringing back supervision and accountability will help all facets of out society to re-adjust our thinking and our actions.  And we need these in order to survive.

Also in music, when there is a conductor there is supervision, and all of the musicians are accountable to all of the various sections in the group and also to the conductor.  Beautiful harmonies and musical structures are possible.  The same is possible in our lives.