There are many benefits we can realize from having music in our lives. Music helps us relax, and even fall asleep. Music helps us celebrate special occasions. A concert gives us a sense of elevation as we listen to the trained musicians performing classical pieces that have been handed down through time. Every culture is blessed with various genres of music that help express that culture’s uniqueness within the global community. Music helps us express our feelings. Music is what feelings sound like.
Another aspect of music is that it helps us understand how we can relate to each other in harmony. As we consider the complexity of a full orchestra with all of the various instruments and musicians that each contribute their part, we can have a sense of what type of cooperation we need to conduct life successfully within our communities.
We each have a different “instrument” to play. We each need to become skilled in “playing” our instruments. We need to follow the conductor’s leadership in bringing the whole collection together in a life performance that will be in harmony and timed well for the presentation of the piece that we have all come together to perform.
I was cruising through YouTube the other day and came across this video of a speech from Dr. Jordan Peterson.
Dr. Peterson was addressing the Alliance for Responsible Citizenship conference of approximately 1500 people from all over the world who had come together to discuss the possible solutions to some of the world’s biggest problems. Problems of poverty, environment, health, economics, and others were discussed with many solutions being offered. Dr. Peterson was giving the closing speech, and his challenge went beyond the particular solutions that had been presented throughout the conference. I would recommend that you listen to the speech in its entirety.
Dr. Peterson laid out the path for maturing into responsible citizens of our families, communities, states, countries, and ultimately, the world. As children, we start by being very self-focused. Hopefully, we are guided out of that into a state of beginning to realize our connection with those around us. That “guiding” begins to help us learn to serve those around us. We begin to see the needs of those we are connected with and look for ways to meet those needs in service.
As we mature, those “others” become an ever-widening circle. Our gaze should become broader; more focused on others and less focused on ourselves. Like in an orchestra, we find more “different” others to be in harmony with and the fullness of the music we produce becomes richer and more complex.
Dr. Petrson indicated that most of the societal problems of today are a result of people being brought up with their eyes focused on themselves. They are worried about what they don’t have. They are taken up with their “identities” or what they look like or think they are supposed to look like. They are caught up in trying to keep up with the latest fashion trends or social fads, and become upset if they find themselves out of step with what is considered the “must haves,” or they begin to think there is something wrong with themselves if they are not experiencing the same phenomena as their peers.
His challenge was for parents to take on the task of training their children to learn to serve others; to take the focus off of themselves and become more involved in observing others’ needs. He also challenged those who were already responsible adults to commit to becoming more “other aware.” There is a great need for more of us to take on the task of realizing other people’s needs; to take on what he termed, “the weight of the world.”
He gave an illustration of the biblical Jacob’s ladder which connected this earth to that higher world of the heavenly existence. This is an existence that has no poverty, environmental trouble, disease, or social strains. He showed that as we become more aware of those around us and that circle enlarges, we climb higher up the ladder toward that better world.
Dr. Peters pointed out that this climb is predominantly spiritual. It is made by committing to developing our spiritual sense of responsibility toward the others that fall within our sphere of influence. It must be engaged by choice rather than accidentally happening and it takes work and energy.
The music metaphor is powerful to help us understand how we can successfully relate to each other. If we can see ourselves as members of the larger “orchestra” and understand what our part to play is, following the directions of the conductor, that cohesiveness will produce the harmony and masterpiece that the world has been looking for.
Instead of looking for what other people need to do to help the world become a better place, Dr. Peterson challenged each one of us to take on the responsibility of what we can do personally. As we point at other people, more fingers are pointing back at ourselves than at others. The responsibility is ours, not someone else’s. The best program will be our responsibility to “take on the weight of the world.”
Dr. Peterson closed his remarks with an amazing statement. I believe that it sums up the true course and the only course that will make a difference.
“As a responsible citizen, bearing the weight of the world on our shoulders, we obliterate the need for tyrants and slaves alike.”
Think about it!