I’m finding out that my best attribute, my creative mind, might also be my worst distraction. As I practice, these music ideas keep popping into my brain. It’s more then that though, as I’m writing this, like a string of fireworks or perhaps shotgun pellets, thoughts keep firing through my head. They’re all meaningful - it’s just there are so many …
Last night, actually the second time within a week, I was reminded just how tenuous existence can be.
Walking back to a parking garage after a Baltimore Composers Forum concert downtown, I tripped over a gas main cover jutting up from the pavement in an area under construction that was poorly lit. There were flag markers, but not in the section a person had to walk down.
I fell flat, hard. Luckily my only injury was scrapes to my left palm, but what if there had been a chunk of rebar or some other object? I might not be here writing this.
A couple days ago as I was walking out of a parking lot to a store sidewalk, this car zooms from my right through the lot entrance a few feet in front of me. Luckily I'm in the habit of looking both ways before crossing and had paused. Lucky to that no one else walked into it's path. Twice in my life I've seen people hit by cars, and it's not a pleasant experience ...
~ From an Earlier Conversation ~
One person was so anti-Trump, that it practically floored me when he wrote recently that maybe we should listen to Trump with regard to how we treat each other. Usually such a statement is laced with all sorts of cynical overtones, but this was straight forward.
I think some of us eventually gain the insight that complaining, other then ego fulfillment, in the long run accomplishes nothing, and in fact generates animosity - which is the antithesis of what has to be achieved in order to bring about genuine social progress - which is Tolerance.
As Orwell might have written, somewhere in the effort to liberate the masses, the importance of social tolerance was manipulated by power-hungary groups and individuals so as to become a weapon to denigrate those who were regarded as being intellectually and morally inferior, which of course is the opposite of tolerance.
Orwell predicted this distortion of ideals in 1984: War is Peace - Freedom is Slavery - Ignorance is Strength.
In order to retain your power and to control your masses, whether Democrats of Republicans, you need an enemy, a scapegoat, to draw attention away from your party’s flaws. Hence the unrelenting propaganda and animosity that’s evolved in the U.S. over the past several decades, not that propaganda is anything new, but a downside of social media is that hatred of others can be spread so easily these days.
However, with regard to your observations, we sometimes forget in all the despair, that there is another side to the human equation, which IS Tolerance,
While not delving into his divinity, that’s one of the things that Jesus taught, forgiveness. In order to forgive, you must be tolerant. In order to be tolerant, you must become aware of and acknowledge your own flaws. Orwell made this very same observation in his essay, Notes On Nationalism, that while people can’t free themselves from the bias they have, they can at least understand and work at migrating its influence.
This is what you might be seeing. We may be witness to a new mass movement that hopefully will discern the underlying psychology that compromised the original progressive tolerance movement of over a century ago, and avoid some of the entanglements. We’ve already seen hints of it with America’s Progressive Era of the early 1900s, and people like Gandhi, King, and Mandela.
The trick will be to have a movement without a leader, because once you have a leader, you have power, which attracts people who crave power and their supporters, and the cycle gets repeated.
"The masses, it seems, have vague aspirations towards liberty and human brotherhood, which are easily played upon by power-hungry individuals or minorities. So that history consists of a series of swindles, in which the masses are first lured into revolt by the promise of Utopia, and then, when they have done their job, enslaved over again by new masters." ― George Orwell, James Burnham and the Managerial Revolution (1946)
Don't place one's morning pills on one's digital piano's keyboard, as it will attempt to and successfully claim the small blue one as one of its own ...
One of my daily issues is that of concentration, which I’m beginning to think might be the result of too many distractions.
The curse of distractions is the lure of their siren songs, which became readily apparent after I awoke today, and the day before, and the day before that, etc., etc., etc ...
As on so many mornings, I began with a clear vision of the day ahead: coffee, practice, reducing clutter with accompanying better organization, and so on - to repeat as often as necessary.
It’s bad enough dealing with all the things falling out of my equivalent of Fibber McGee’s closet,* but then there’s the Internet! ... So many things to read and to look at and read again.
As was suggested eons ago by one of my headshrinkers, I’m going to, and in fact have started a journal (of sorts), to see if I can discern a pattern and possibly better traverse the candy store of my mind.
*Fibber McGee's Closet - https://youtu.be/h9FGC68YcwM
It's extremely rare that I have this type of experience, but as I was just practicing, my mother gave me a brief hug of encouragement.
What's significant about it is that my parents detested my becoming a musician and in fact, they seemed to detest just about everything I did.
My father never did forgive me, but at least in her last months she relented and said that I must really like what I do. For me, it was the equivalent of Hitler admitting he had made a mistake in judgement.
I've been plagued for decades by mental health issues as the result of being raised by bigots, and maybe this is a "crack-in-the-mirror" in a positive sense. After all, I've been working on untying knots for decades.
"How do I understand A Hanging written by George Orwell?"
After graduating from Eaton, Orwell returned to Burma (now Mayanmar), the country he was born in. He’d already encountered class intolerance while growing up in England, and his experiences here seemed to have pushed him inexorable towards becoming a democratic socialist.
As for the story itself, I don’t believe the “crime” is mentioned, which is reflective of the way the British colonials regarded native populations. There were many infractions they could be punished for, that I suspect were often not even criminal in intent, like stealing to feed a starving family.
Another thing that stood out to me was that more attention was given to the dog, and the fact that it was interfering with the deliberate taking of a human life. How dare it interfere with the business at hand!
This disconnect from what’s happening also shows up at the end, where the officers are discussing the inconvenience of having to pull on hanging bodies
“Write a description about yourself”
As the image suggests, most of my life has been that of a composer/jazz pianist, though it’s not my only interest.
I’ve been interested in science and nature since a kid. As an adult (if you want to call it that) it’s been science fiction, history, geology, visual art, photography, people watching, Orwell, the psychology of bigotry, hatred and intolerance, etc.
Besides performing my 650+ compositions, and an assortment of jazz standards, I also promote the work of other jazz composers, especially here where I live. I’m competitive, but I also believe a strong, supportive community benefits everyone. Besides, it’s a great way to pick up new ideas :)
One of the things I'm working on is organizing all the thoughts in my brain, and putting them into perspective. For example: I'm putting together a list of previous compositions to master both in solo-piano and ensemble performances for 2018 - and the list just keeps growing.
What makes matters difficult is the memory-pit I struggle with daily: a combination of age, marijuana addiction in my youth, and PTSD.
If it were just the music aspect, I could probably master it, but there's all the artwork and photos, and fossils, and projects that have to be dealt with too ...
I've generally been loathe about the idea of a diary where I post the minutiae of my existence, as if people are dying to know of all my thoughts, ideas, struggles, ambitions, and what-nots.
While it won't be here though (Facebook), I've finally convinced myself that such an endeavor may be of value on a personal level as a form of psycho-therapy: as a way of harvesting and then examining what lies within all that grey matter that exists in the area behind my eyes and between my ears.
I think of it as my Diary Farm ...