A most amazing thing, the world is listening. When I started this I knew very little about blogging. I saw that it’s everywhere now, it is easy to start one, and most people that are on blog sites don’t read much of what comes through. How could they, ‘it’s everywhere now.” Yet, to my surprise this little page is still growing. The Facebook page I made to publish research is growing too. It is so easy to become distracted by the force of everyday life, I wondered if I would keep it up. The best surprises are those that come from within; when we surprise ourselves one can see growth in the mirror. Huge deal.
I have been saying for a long time that one of the secrets to happiness is playback. Let me explain. As a musician who has spent his entire musical career trying to record original music, you learn that tape doesn’t lie. Television does, but when you are sitting in a studio room with microphones ready to catch your every mistake, one cannot hide. You cut the track, listen back, and will know beyond a shadow of a doubt how well it was executed. This can apply to almost every thing in life that you can record, which it turns out, is damn near everything.
Diaries have been kept since people could write. Diaries from antiquity are obviously confined to the richest and most powerful, but as time progressed and more people had access to writing tools there is the steady increase of information about less and less influential people. This of course works to connect us as these life stories turned into memoirs. Large groups of people could examine one life and see where the differences and similarities are. As more time progressed we gained the ability to record sounds and images bringing more of other peoples lives to us. So I would think that out-grouping would have died out a centuries ago, but unfortunately the instinct remains at a pathological level for many people. Psychology has known for years the antidote for this behavior is empathy. When you feel others’ emotions it is nearly impossible to see them as “the other.” That is a good and moral factor in life. Also, a crucial subject, and I’ve noticed it first hand.
I have never wanted to be an out-grouper: racist, bigot, woman hater, homophobic, you name it and I have never wanted to be a part of it. Sure, I have laughed a racist jokes. Does that make me a racist? I don’t feel racist. The other day in class I said that to not see grammar as a valuable tool for communication would just be retarded. The faces of those late-teen and twenty somethings went white and slack. I believe I herd someone mutter, “I don’t think I would use that word.” What “retarded?” Here we go: retarded: slow or limited in intellectual or emotional development or academic progress. (Webster)
First, I don’t see a single mention of a person in that definition. Second, the root word for retarded is “retard:” : to slow down the development or progress of (something) (Webster). Still no mention of people. Thirdly, why would we give a single word the power of being insulting. It’s just a word. It can’t possibly have the power to do anything like an insult. I guess a person could use it in a derogatory manner, but then that would be a person insulting another. This may seem like a digression, but stick with me.
We come full circle to a lack of empathy. If I called someone retarded to insult them I would be out-grouping at that point. Identifying the difference I perceive, and attempting to gain power over them based solely on the fact that they’re different. That sounds horrible. So how do we get more empathy?
Reaching out and exposing your own playback. When I write or make music for others to hear or read I am offering the audience my playback. Which of course I have to examine before it ever hits the virtual highway. A little allegory for everyone.
Once, back in my business man days, I was playing the new album by my band, Cover of Darkness (http://www.soundclick.com/bands/default.cfm?bandID=562005&content=music) when a young lady that was wandering the store approached the counter. She only paused a moment, before looking right past me and saying, “The music in here sucks.” She, of course, had no idea that I was in the band playing on the stereo. I had to smile. There was most likely more than one-hundred and ten years of music experience in COD. We may have been many things, but sucking was never our problem. What this moment really exposed to me was that she thought we were listening to something she could bash anonymously. There is no way in her mind what she was hearing could possibly be the large bearded man before her. What a compliment. Especially when you consider we did everything in house: writing, tracking, mixing, mastering. Everything but manufacturing. One of the most powerful memories I have from that time. This being my point.
I would have never got to have that moment without being vulnerable with my playback. The same thing is happening with my writing. I just keep at it. Talking about things that are beyond important and straight to profundity has opened doors. People from all over the world are reading, commenting, thinking all because I am willing to expose my ideas. They are able to see a portion of my consciousness. This draws people together as the walls that keep us out-grouped come crashing down at the feet of a world ready to get over it. I am so proud of us as a specie that after World Wars, plagues, genocide, and bad art we still seek each other. We may have an evolutionary path that leads us to pathological behaviors, but adaptation is the thing nature gave our species in spades. Cold outside, put a coat on. Can’t breed, go to a brothel.
So, I issue an official challenge, and solution, to all my readers and listeners. We need your playback. I know there are memes (I hate using that word in this context) flying all up and down everyone’s social pages these days, but that isn’t what I’m talking about. I want you all to create something and get it out there. Let us see you, even if you aren’t talented and you fail miserably, guess what, we’ve all had that experience too. There is no shame in putting yourself out there and not being a Kobe-fucking-Bryant or Adam-fucking-Levine. Those guys suck at a bunch of stuff too. We need your playback. Don’t make us guess what group you are in, show us, so we can realize, we are all in the same one.