1/27/07

Felicity in Life - Music Criticism


Ben Franklin wrote of felicity, as in the enjoyment of life.
With that same goal in mind, let me address one little dimension in
the felicity of relationships. That would be music criticism among
friends and relatives. This goes for all kinds of arts. Experiencing
art is one of the graces in life. It involves active esthetic and intellectual,
as well as cultural elements in the individual. That's quite a complex
formula for anyone, in any locale or age. So, because all folks are different,
they will appreciate art and music differently.

If we're to live a life with the aim of promoting felicity, then we must
tolerate other people's tastes and preferences. One of the qualities
of being an acquaintance, or friend, or relative, is that the things we
say to each other are stored in our memories. There's no controlling
that. We remember. And because of this, we should try to limit our
criticisms of art and music to positive statements.

Negativity resides in people's memories to such an insidious extent,
that these remarks will be drawn from memory by that person when
they next experience their piece of music or art. That's a spoiler.
They don't want to think about that while they're enjoying art.
There's no cause to load negativity on the people we have in our lives.  If you don't like a piece of music (for example, in the film, Big Lebowski,
The Dude hated the Eagles music ). He should've just endured and not try to bring down his taxi driver. (see pic...the Dude gets ejected by his
taxi driver because of The Dude's negative music criticism)

Unthinkingly, I've made the mistake of blurting out my honest reaction to friends and relative's music, when I should have held my tongue.  Looking back,
I recognize this as a lack of wisdom. What to do, then,
when someone wants you to listen to an Eagles tune (again, just an example).

Nod your head as if you appreciate the tune, and try not to say anything.
If cornered, and they want you to verbalize about it, say little and act
distracted with something else, but avoid loading your friend's mind
with things they don't want to hear. This is about art, not life.

This doesn't apply to professional or even blog o' sphere criticisms, since
these sources are disconnected from people's relationships. There must
be artistic criticism, but in relationships in real life, our input is best kept
positive.

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