Jun 222011

Happy Solstice, everyone!

The longest, most sunlight-filled day in the Northern Hemisphere feels like a good occasion to talk about visions. Visions by nature are somewhere in the distance, perhaps reachable, perhaps not. Where we stand right now is the result of past visions, some of them good, some of them bad, much of it in the eye of the beholder. Without vision, however, we stand still. This might be preferable to moving in the direction of blurred or destructive visions, but as change is the only constant in life, the best way to nurture and guide that change is to add our own vision to the grand pool of dreams and ideas.

As I’m looking toward the horizon, I see many things, some of them clearly, others a bit out of focus. I see views that may materialize by taking a couple of firm steps toward them, and others that may take quite a leap of faith. Today, on this solstice, I’m feeling inspired to take a big leap, a step so giant that it has room for a thousand “buts” and “dream ons,” a vision that sounds either too good to be true or too far out to be taken seriously. But what’s reality other than a current condition we all tacitly agree upon, for no other reason than the perception that everyone else acts as if that condition is “normal?”

So here it is, my solstice vision, with visuals and sounds to help look and carry us past the horizon:

What If Music Ruled the World?

Sunday Streets, The Mission, May 8, 2011
Drum and dance circle on Valencia St, photo Debra Baida

Music the Motivator

Nobody likes to be patronized. It’s been the downfall of rulers, leaders, and hierarchies throughout history. Sure, you can threaten and scare people into changing their ways but it’ll be a constant struggle. In fact, people get very creative in defying orders, not necessarily because they disagree with the content of the message, but because nobody likes to be told what to do and how to behave.

If music ruled the world, it would inspire people to do things differently because it’s fun and uplifting, literally…

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from The Fun Theory

Music the Connector

There’s not much we can achieve by ourselves on this planet, we all depend on each other, not just to survive but to evolve as sentient beings. All too often we get into quarrels because we don’t know each other and judge each other based upon assumptions made in the most lonesome corners of our own minds.

If music ruled the world, it would bring us all together more freely and more deeply…

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Stand by Me, from the award-winning documentary, Playing For Change: Peace Through Music

Music the Peacemaker

Some say that war is just part of the human experience on earth. If that is so, why does everyone keep talking about wanting peace? Even the most entrenched conflicts have a solution, but too often the same unimaginative people are in charge of finding them, with the exact same, stale methods over and over again. What if for just one year we would entrust the peace process in Israel to the musicians of Jerusalem, with negotiations to take place as part of a jam session? Sounds to me like the perfect recipe for taking a giant leap.

If music ruled the world, we would listen more to each other…

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video by Kutiman for Jerusalem Season of Culture

Music the Creative Force

Whether it’s politics, business, or public policy, we have a tendency to entrust the least inspiring bureaucrats with the biggest tasks of creating the fundamental changes we all know we need. Albert Einstein famously equated insanity with doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. Music is one of those rare forces that liberates our deeply ingrained thought patterns, opening up a deeper reservoir of inspiration we never knew about, whether we’re playing or listening.

If music ruled the world, we would come up with creative solutions to our most pressing issues…

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Sounds, sights, and sceneries during Cradle Duende’s performance at the 6th Bicycle Music Festival, the largest 100% bicycle-powered music festival in the world, at Old Cabin Meadow in Golden Gate Park.

and last but not least,

Music the Teacher

How often do we all find ourselves in situations where we want to make a point or convey a message but nobody is paying attention? How many good ideas have gotten lost or were never expressed because they just didn’t groove enough? Most of the important public policy presentations and speeches by our representatives across the globe go in one ear and out the other because they’re too boring.

If music ruled the world, we would pay more attention to what’s important…

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what price do we pay for all of our distractions
devices, and gadgets and box office attractions?
it’s a whole culture based on external consumption
hey now everybody, ain’t we missing something?
Use Less, by Mike Ehlers

This is my vision, what’s yours?

Happy Solstice