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Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Why do we want to become ever better?

One of the questions on my mind those days: as soon as people start to play an instrument they enter a domain in which it is taken for granted that they want to become better, and better, and better at it - better mainly meaning "higher, faster, louder". And they often start to judge the music they listen to in that terms. The power of music as a craft.

But why? Why is it so "natural" that people enter in this very specific relationship with music? Is it "natural"? Is it "cultural"? Is it both?

Tell me if you know an answer that says more than "that's the way human beings are".


  1. I think, a lot of people nowadays have lost their connection with what I call: musical insi(d)ght. As to say: music is something every human being carries inside the body and the mind, but the awareness of that is hidden somewhere deep down below the consciousnes. So, what remains is a quite superficial understanding of the 'power of music'......... It might even be forgotten in a world in which 'getting better and better, higher, faster, louder' is rule number one that counts if you really want to BE someone.
    I don't think it is naturally but a result of the way of thinking in the Industrial Age.
    We are about to make a shift to a new paradigm in which I think THE power of Music will show itself more and more by letting us REMEMBER its message which has got nothing to do with 'er' thinking but (in my perception)

  2. .....back to the inside to come to an insight......

  3. Thank you, anonymous.
    So it's cultural - I would translate your term "Industrial Age" as "Western modernity", and the argument would be that one of the core traits of modernity is its continuous stress on progress.
    To make this argument kind of convincing, it would be necessary to show that outside western modernity, this stress on progress does not exist, and that active musicianship in those kind of cultures does not base itself on ideas of getting better and better and better.
    And then there is the question whether there really is an alternative to this modernity that is "a-cultural" - because that seems to be what you suggest with talking about THE power of music. Is that not simply another power of music?