United Nations building, Geneva
I have been saddened lately by a strong sense of national disharmony. By a screaming, aggressive, desperate atonality. By a discordant barrage of sharps and flats that not only hurt the ear, but the soul. In fact, I think it has never been this bad before, though I do acknowledge that the shrill bombs of hatred and hostility have been with us always. They just seem louder now.
Right now, it feels like it’s never been worse, though undoubtedly in the past it has. Either way, I ponder and am depressed by reality, the waste, the senselessness. The sheer ugliness of the decibels.
Disunity and disharmony is a wrench in the gears of the metropolis and the countryside. Not because we should all be the same — far far from it — but because we are exaggerating our differences and building walls between one another that needlessly make life more difficult. It especially makes life more difficult for those not in the majority, and we should all know better than to do this. We should know better.
I think much of this has to do with the lack of great art on display, the lack of making great art, the lack of focusing on formal (and informal) beauty in all of its manifestations. In the 60s, they used to say, Make love, not war. I’d add to that, Make art, not war. Bow down to the magnificence of nature. Gaze at the profundity of words, images and sounds. Create and recreate. Focus!!
When people gather together to sing and dance and laugh about the whole scene, they aren’t likely to be aggressively involved in beating one another to a pulp. When we sit down and read a great book, we’re not likely to take a bat to one another or launch yet another insane war. Of course, if the creative work in question is incendiary propaganda, the reader may drop the book and find that bat … but then it wasn’t “great” in the first place. It was birdcage liner.
As mentioned on this site before, I believe strongly in the healing powers of art. I wish this huge and rich nation would put its considerable weight behind far greater support for the arts, elevate them, celebrate them, teach them, instead of celebrating tabloid life. Celebrity life. This absence of the great, and this celebration of the tawdry leads to anger, hatred and bitterness. In my view, rather than creating a Republic of the Arts, we’ve been living in a dictatorship of the cheap and trashy. A radical reevaluation of current ways and means is long overdue.