came across a quote the other day about ego traps, that if you think yerself ‘better’ than others because you think the music they listen to isn’t as ‘spiritual’ or “good” as what you listen to, that’s an ego trap… i feel shame to say that i have fallen into that some times in my life.
it sucks when people try to make someone feel bad or somehow inferior for liking a certain song or style of music. people with their sweeping generalizations and their judgements of ” i don’t like rap/country/rock/jazz/pop/classical music”. or people who declare that one genre of music is better than another, adamantly. critics with their expert opinions on what album/song/musician is best… acting like they’re being objective. like, this one guy had zero poker face and gave me an incredible look of confusion, disgust and disdain while asking why i was talking about Tupac… … it was funny to me tho, cuz, uh… music is one of the most subjective things. ever. and each genre has its own forms, its own instruments, its own rhythms and beats, its own language and its own message, that all reflect the realities from which they come.
music brings people together, it makes ‘em feel good and smile and talk and dance and sing and feel inspired by it all… as Kendrick Lamar said two years ago at Osheaga – “it’s pure energy and nothin’ else”. and it’s good energy. it incites good times and good vibes. it doesn’t necessarily incite illicit behaviour, music issa conduit to help release all the pent up energy like sadness and anger and joy and love over the honest truths and brutal realities and sense of community and collaboration and hope and inspiration and beauty that the artists share… and then all the energies combine to create what can only be described as looking and feeling like peace and love.
music is ultimately about community, where the skilled artists can get us up in the air to see and feel all the beauty in the crazy patterns of this world. it’s not a distraction so that we forget about what can feel at times like a “bug’s eye view”*, but rather helps find the beauty in it, or at least make some sense of it. sometimes it can only be found in music and the movie screen in your head and the way it makes you feel. sometimes it’s the soundtrack to what’s going on in real life, but feels like a movie… or a sit com…
in what more pithily sums up the many words i wrote about music and truth in my Religion honours thesis, (… 30-40pages dissecting how so-called “sacred” or “absolute” truths about the world can be understood as being determined through value systèmes that are created by our own individual understandings and feelings of the words and images that are used to describe these truths and therefore ‘truths’ are not simply found in so called sacred texts, they can be found in every kind of text and every kind of music and every kind of art) … if music don’t contain some sort of truth and it don’t create some sort of sacred place of congregation, then i dunno what does. and it’s not just one type of music. truth can be found in all genres of music. from polka to post-rap… just like truth can be found in all religions. and all texts… even a cookbook.
*Bug’s Eye View reference from the spoken word sample in the song Harmonic by Hex, off the album Cold Krush Cuts, Ninja Tunes, 1997, is originally from the album Four Dreams of Man by Dr John Furbay, Columbia, 195?.
“Now those people who fly have a different point of view of the world from those who spend their whole lives on the ground. Don Blanding wrote a poem once, when he was flying, and he called his poem “The God’s Eye View” and he said it was so different from the view he always had on the ground, which he called the Bug’s Eye View…
Now I thought about that bug’s eye view when I over in Teheran in Persia. They told me an old Persian legend about a bug, who spent his entire life in the worlds’ most beautifully designed Persian Rug… All the bug ever saw in his lifetime were his problems; they stood up all around him, he couldn’t see over the top of the them, and he had to fight his way through these tufts of wool in the rug to find some crumbs that somebody had spilled on the rug… And the tragedy, of the story, of the bug in the rug, was this: that he lived and he died in the worlds’ most beautifully designed rug, but he never once knew that he spent his life in something which had a pattern.
That’s why I want to get you up in the air tonight… to see something the old bug couldn’t see in the rug. Because even he, this bug… if he had once got above the rug so that he could have seen all of it, he would have discovered something, that the very things he called his ‘problems’ were a part of the pattern.
Have you ever felt like that bug? That you are so surrounded by your problems that you can’t see any pattern to the world in which you live? Have you heard anybody lately say that the world is a total mess? ….. That’s the bugs’ eye view… …. seeing only a little of it, we might think that….”
Next Week: music – part deux…