The Thursday Thesis - 1/8/2019
I once heard it said that “A fool sees only the differences, a Wise Man sees that things are all same”. I can’t remember where I heard it or from whom it came – but I remember thinking “Wow!” at the time, and thought about how true it was of music.
You see, way back (when God was a boy) I was taught that the music of Bach was different to that of Beethoven, which was totally different to that of Copland, Kraftwerk, Eno and Lemmy.
The same teachers informed me – and the rest of the class of teenage, spotty hormone-hostages - that Rock and Roll wasn’t “proper” music at all, and that The Sex Pistols were more or less scum, because the noise they made was so vulgar and they were mere musical simpletons - degenerates who couldn’t read music.
A whole load of crap, as I later understood.
The Academic Fool pointed to the differences they perceived between music from different ages, hanging their own labels on other people’s works – without even a by-your-leave from the composers and performers whose efforts they postured upon.
As fools and children do, I went along with it – soon nailing my colours to the mast by becoming a “Rocker”, complete with denim jacket emblazoned by band names (the more obscure, the better), my hair flowing in luxurious ringlets, and the biggest “Fuck-off Flares” you’ve ever seen.
The Rockers fought The Mods, who scrapped with The Skins, who bullied the Hippies... Oddly, everybody picked on the Funkateers, because everybody (except the Funksters) knew that Funk was for tossers.
Over time I began to see that every genre of music contains elements of other genres: every New Wave recycles the ideas, chord sequences, melodies and rhythms of all the music that was ever made and played before the New Wave rose up, repackaging and remarketing the simple and familiar to appear like the new and innovative.
It happens all the time: we spot the difference, not the sameness.
It’s dangerous, sinister and divisive, as well as foolish.
The same mentality that somehow got kids fighting over musical styles went mainstream and bullied its way to centre-stage in public life.
Today we have Fools who promote equality for all by pointing out the differences between us. It’s moronic to think that this can do anything but undermine recognition of our sameness.
Regardless of sex, skin colour, belief system and point of origin on the planet, we are all members of a very big Tribe: we are all fundamentally the same.
And so, as The Fools who pretend to Wisdom label us by race, religion, sexuality and anything else they can dream up, they pigeonhole us into their stereotypical categories and sub-categories, often causing us to overlook the most fundamental of all truths: we are human.
If we are daft enough to adopt their labels and definitions for ourselves, how can we not set ourselves in unconscious opposition to all that which we begin to perceive as “other”?
If I am foolish enough to accept the label of “White, Anti-Theist, European Male” then do I not automatically set myself apart from “Black, Christian, African Woman” or “Brown, Moslem, Asian Male” and all other people who are labelled as different from me, based upon their skin colour, sex and origin?
If you or I were to be so foolish, how could we see them as anything “other” than us, or they as “other” than them?
So, in this way, those Fools who scream and stamp their feet for Equality for race X, decry criticism of religion Y, and demand special Rights for their Flavour-of the-Month special interest group – oh, how they do make fools of us all, because to grant equality to one or other group creates and entrenches division.
We are all born equal, and we are all the same in the eyes of a Wise Man.
© Neil Cowmeadow 2019
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