A Musician Seeks His Own Level
When describing the potential for human achievement, it is often cynically and offhandedly stated that, where groups are concerned,
“Water seeks its own level." It is my purpose, in this article, to do battle with this shallow truism, and to show that the average-seeking characteristics of water (i.e. the physical dimension) are not necessarily those of human consciousness—human consciousness is physical but also spiritual, and therefore it is individuality-seeking not average-seeking. It is a basic premise of this article that human beings are spiritual beings and do not need to be limited by the laws of the physical universe unless they choose to be; that by choosing to make more of themselves, people and groups can transcend the group-created self-limiting concepts and can become more than physical laws normally allow. By seeking his own level, finding and realizing his own unique spiritual identity, an individual contributes to group identity that is more than the sum of its parts-that is on a higher energy level than the average of its parts.
I recognize "pride" as a significant motivating factor behind my indignant attitude toward this statement. I'm exceptional, and have tried not to allow myself to let the lukewarm energies of my peers make the fires in myself burn less brightly, though this is not been an easy task; indeed, my struggle with making mediocrity (in the literal " middle seeking " sense of the word) is ongoing and seemingly endless. The story of my battle with mediocrity in various contexts constitutes the main body of this article. It is my desire to demonstrate, using myself as an example, that it is not necessary to submerge one's uniqueness for the sake of a group identity; rather, that the group identity is enhanced, by the raised consciousness of all the members of the group, of their own beautiful, singular individuality.
I do not represent myself as an ascended master holding the secrets of divine power. I'm just a man struggling to find himself in a society where self’s widespread alienation from self has not only become accepted as normal, it has become a moral standard for proper social behavior. Where I am concerned, I find that even when I get free of the mean-finding tendencies of social organizations, there is still the mediocrity in myself which I must unceasingly attempt to transcend; I am still quite far from achieving that great goal. Oh well, this is not such a terrible thing from the standpoint of this article, because I'm not attempting to write some fascinating account of my personal confessions, nor am I attempting to make the reader want to be like me (much is my petty ego might like that). I am attempting to make the reader aware of a materialist social consensus; this consensus is materialist because it treats man as though he were merely physical, and subject absolutely to laws governing the material world. I wish to describe (also to condemn) the social phenomenon that works against the integrity of the individual as a social being and is a spiritual being endowed with the infinite potential for achievement, for the creation of good. The expression “Water seeks its own level”, suggests that human organizations can only achieve ends determined by the desires of the average of the members of the group. It is a self-limiting concept that is blindly accepted by millions, when it might, by an act of will, be overthrown, thus freeing individuals to seek their own unique level, and revolutionize the quality of excellence that people and groups normally experience.
I admit it, I'm a musician, and the personal experiences I'm about to relate come mostly from the contexts of professional music-making; that makes this article of interest primarily to musicians, in a way. I would hasten to add, however, that the fundamental issues of this article are not about music, and I beg the non-musician to be patient and try to see that the psychological patterns I'm describing are by no means specific to music. Although I will be describing situations that musicians will be able to relate to most easily, is my hope that the reader will perceive the musical context as microcosm of the way people in all kinds of groups perform their social functions; the inspiration I seek to offer to apply to the process of serving on a Parks and Recreation planning committee, just as well as the process of playing in a string quartet.
It was somewhere during grade school that I embraced the philosophical attitude that individuality was good. I think I learned it in school, it might of been from television, I might have just known it intuitively. Anyway, the idea being my own person, doing my own thing came naturally to me. My father was not the slightest bit interested in my doing things my way, but he was very interested in doing things his way, so I was provided with a model I would come to emulate more and more as time went on, my different drummer thrum- thrumming louder and louder.
Was not really until junior high that I began to realize the tragic paradox that was to become a major theme of my life, namely, the individualist, much-glorified in word and song was, in daily life, a much-maligned social entity. Almost every element of my public education was in some way self-contradictory on this point. We would read Thoreau, that magnificent phrase-maker, then be instructed as to exactly what to think about him, and what school-speak phrases we were allowed to write about him. It was during an oral report on Brave New World, that rhapsodic lament on the death of individuality, that the teacher actually said to me, “Who are you to criticize Huxley? " "I am me," I replied, I'm grammatically. The teacher was unconvinced. Whoever heard of someone that wasn't famous having a valid opinion about anything? To her, I was a slot in a great book, and my application for a poetic license (among other things) was denied on the grounds that there was no room to notate such irregularities in my slot. “Why, " I wondered, "do they give us this stuff to read if they consider the content to be untrue? "
In music class there was a different atmosphere. There, my talent and leadership abilities were appreciated and nurtured by the teacher, who thought that it was so good to have someone who could play and keep going that any quirkiness in my personality was indulged is a fair trade for my positive impact on the class. I realize, now, that I was lucky in this respect, for I have known many tremendously gifted music students who been shot to pieces by less-gifted teachers.
So, lucky me, I came to consider music a haven from the hypocrisy of society and the educational system. I progressed rapidly and developed many strong soloist equalities, which distinguished my playing from those around me. I was also singled out of a pack of kids at music camp, to be taught privately by a world-famous teacher, who happened to be a great genius and a great pioneer. His influence caused my playing to become more individualistic than ever, because of certain technical innovations he had created in his laboratory. It was agreed by all, that, by the time I finished college, I played "pretty good".
So, I jumped out of the ivory tower nest and tried my wings in the professional world; almost immediately things began to go bad. I was hired as a "ringer" in various community orchestras, did a fair amount recording, and was fairly well respected by a number of contractors, so that I kept getting hired; but an annoying pattern began to emerge, that began to get more telling every time it happened: I would be playing my heart out, making beautiful sounds, when, out of the blue, someone would tell me to tone it down. There were variations on this theme, some more polite than others, but all of the same underlying message: I was doing something that was different enough to be noticed by the players (by no means would this differentness be obvious enough to be discernible by the audience, except, perhaps, visually) and they wanted me to stop it. There were never any real musical complaints, it was more like an aura of confidence and superiority that they didn't like; they wanted me to be one of they wanted me to be one of the guys, to fit in, to seek their level.
Once I was actually kept out of an orchestra that badly needed strong players on the instrument, because the conductor thought I was "too flashy", that I would alienate the other weaker players around me. I've already admitted that he was right, in a sense, and will continue to cite further examples of how right he was, but, in a larger moral sense it was wrong that he was right; he should not have been right, it was bad for him, the orchestra, and me that he was right; and I later proved him wrong about what he had been right about, by joining the orchestra later (under a different conductor) and eventually by playing under him, and receiving the unanimous approval of the orchestra and lavish praise from the conductor himself.
Another time I had a section leader tell me, “You’re section leader material, but you do not have a section leader position,” ergo, I should stop playing like a section leader, i.e. with confidence, tone, and personality. The idea was that it was okay for him to play well, but not me—I was a follower, a little tin soldier, and I should know my place. A covert implication of this whole line of reasoning was that this section leader didn't want anybody else sharing the spotlight, and this, not even out of any particularly egomania, but merely because this is "the way it is done".
Here, we begin to arrive at the crux of the matter. In musical organizations, and, if I'm correct, all social organizations, a group consensus is arrived at, unconsciously, as a consequence of an averaging process (sort of like democracy), whereby the average energy level of the group comes to be interpreted as the standard energy level, such that all significant deviations from the standard are taken as socially obnoxious. Through inference, "socially obnoxious" comes to be interpreted as "musically obnoxious", even though the only musical offense may be merely this stepping outside the established social boundaries.
To be more specific: there are, in the music world, certain geographic areas where a certain style of playing predominates over other styles which are to be readily encountered and accepted in other geographic areas. These styles are, after all, mere variations on a theme, with no fundamental differences; however, the exponents of these various styles cling to their specific eccentricities with passionate intensity, and, like devout churchgoers, proclaim their style to be the only true style. Therefore, when a social deviant from out of town arrives on the scene, there will naturally be some ruffling as the new man seeks to integrate himself into the system. If the home folk recognize the out of towner as a legitimate player, with something to contribute, there is an enriching of the two styles as their energy amplitudes are added to each other. Sadly, prejudice and religious fervor all too often eliminate the new player and the richness before has had a chance to gel.
There have come to be elaborate rationalizations ("schools of thought ") to justify this average-seeking phenomenon as proper musical behavior:
One word that is much bandied about among the mediocre is “blend". The term “blend" has come to refer to the depersonalization of the individual sound quality in favor of a group sound that is even, neutral, and usually bland and innocuous. The theory is pretty simple-if you play without any personality "you will fit in with a bunch of other people playing without any personality. When you sound very nearly like everybody else " you are "blending", and when you sound different you are marring the “blend".
The idea of “blend” refers primarily to sound quality, which is the single most personal aspect of playing an instrument; to reject a musician’s sound can be thought of as the most personal rejection a musician can experience, and it is on a personal level rejection is felt, causing the sound-offender to suffer great loss of confidence and personal motivation.
Now, no reasonable musician would promote the idea of people playing a piece and contradictory styles at the same time-the idea of a section is to sound like one big instrument— but the definition of contradictory styles has become too narrow in many people's minds, such of the sound that is different is automatically considered contradictory, even though it might, with a modicum of acceptance, be seen as truly complementary, and in a glorious, truthful way.
Style is not the same as sound in the vast majority of orchestra playing contexts (excluding musicological efforts with original instruments, etc.); therefore the questions of sound and style are very separate issues; very many different sound qualities are acceptable within a given style, as can be demonstrated by the recordings of great masterpieces produced in widely divergent geographical locations, and (now, in 1988), several different time periods. A largeness of mind on the subject of sound quality will result in an attitude of acceptance toward sound variations, since no connoisseur of discography can reasonably reject the playing of Elman or Kreisler in favor of Heifetz, Oistrakh, or Perlman, though serious examination of these artists will reveal more fundamental disagreement in terms of sound than of style.
The element of style most critical in section playing is to be seen in the area of rhythm and nuance; if these elements are uniform throughout the section, the ideal of sounding like one big instrument will be achieved regardless of the level of richness of sound. In terms of style, the extent to which musical performances correct is the extent to which it remains faithful to known musicological facts having to do with articulation, embellishment, tempo, etc.; however, the extent to which a musical performance is alive is wholly due to the personal commitment of each player to giving his best self to every moment of the piece. I am, in this argument, attempting to show that just by making yourself sound like everybody else, you do not necessarily make the section sound like a single instrument, as you can, by undercutting your own energy, make the section sound like a wimpier instrument; by lowering your personal energy level to accommodate the group level, you rob the orchestra of a dimension of his potential group identity.
There is a long list of great conductors who encourage their players to play like soloists. These conductors have been big enough themselves to see that the music gets its life from inside the hearts of the people playing it; these conductors have recognized that they will only reach their own level of peak artistic expression by allowing the players to achieve their own level of peak artistic expression. I'm not saying that playing music is all cathartic fun and feeling, no, the Apollonian constraints placed upon musicians are numerous and necessary, since the mind is often the round-about road to the heart; a musical group must be led to a piece of music through a keen intellectual alignment. But the SOUND is where the player’s soul meets his instrument in a glorious Dionysian and revelry that cannot be understood or controlled intellectually without repression of energy.
Let us examine the term repression a little more closely. Since art is understood largely in psychological terms, the idea of repression as an element in the truthful representation of the human condition must play a part in developing an attitude toward repression in the interpretive act of playing. The music, the composer is often objectively describing the feeling of repression; just as often the composer is actually feeling repressed himself, as he struggles to overcome some personal issue which is the subject matter of his composition. In either case, the end result, the finished piece, is expression. Even if the repression in the piece is a consequence of unconscious psychological processes, the notes on the page are an expression of repression (as opposed to a repression of expression—ha ha.). The player, therefore, must always be expressing (out + pressing) repression, not feeling repressed; at least not feeling personally repressed. He may create the feeling of repression in himself as he acts out the drama of the piece, but to feel repressed by forces external to the forces of the music can only result in distraction, lack of focus, and frustration.
Frustration is a natural consequence of repression, because to be made to be less than you are is the most unpleasant, insulting violation of basic human freedom a person can experience; to be less than you truly are makes you feel like nobody. Indeed, the frustrations of anonymity are the single most published complaint of orchestral players in the world; whenever professional musicians are interviewed, they bitch and moan that they don't feel that it matters whether they play well or not, as they are part of a huge depersonalized machine. It is true that the fight for identity is fierce and large social organizations, but so many people attempt to deal with the problem by giving in to the situation-by giving up their personal identity before all the votes are in. By admitting at the outset that you will make no difference, you ensure the fact that you will make no difference, and obliterate the possibility of your ever making a difference. Consequently, in a system where conformity is a conscious goal, the strong players become weak, and the weak players, without the inspiration and example of their betters, become weaker. No one takes any responsibility for the music except to make sure that no one else takes responsibility for the music.
Another argument against the enforcement of average-seeking is the fact that some players are just plain better than other players and naturally play with more personality because they have more personality. In a situation like this, there is a tendency for the better player to "stick out", but this is not necessarily a bad thing. First, a soloistic sound, singing above a more bland section sound, can give a clarity and punch to the sound, an added harmonic that is very pleasing. This is a common trait of the great concertmasters of the world, and “sticking out " is precisely how they lead their sections. If more players in the section "stuck out" the sound would be even more brilliant. Secondly, the better players, if accepted by their peers, can have an inspirational effect on the weaker players to raise the energy the section. I've seen this happen again and again, especially among younger, more innocent professionals who are more willing to be influenced by positive energy around them, and anxious to imitate that which their hearts identify as "good". It is usually the older pros, set in their ways, who resist the influence of the new, and who actually resent soloistic playing. Is the old pros who band together during the intermission to collectively repress energies of the offender. I think they may be thinking that they are "keeping the niggers down", but they are really committing a crime against heaven, the orchestra, and themselves.
I've heard vocal ensembles (where the term “blend” is most often used, and where there is a greater variety of sound qualities than any other musical context) consisting of singers whose voices sounded very different from each other, but whose “blend” was a truly glorious milkshake of sounds. These person’s best self harmonized with the others to create a synergistic whole that was unexpected, and unconventional, but truly beautiful and exciting, precisely because of the richness of the sound palette. If the sounds agree with each other in terms of objective criteria, like intonation, rhythm, dynamics, etc., the more subjective quality of sound can only be enriched and energized by individualistic contributions. Every rose does not have to be red to make a garden. To play with your heart and to give to the orchestra your best self is a most beautiful and courageous humanitarian act. It is such a shame that musicians insist on undercutting each other's individuality and constricting their musical reality. Then they complain about anonymity. Dumb.
An even more serious consequence of musical conformity is a habit I've encountered very often orchestras who suffer from a lack of confidence; the problem is that of playing behind the beat. In groups where people are afraid to take a chance, there's always the question of “Who is going to play first?” To my mind, when you're supposed to play has always been a fairly uncomplicated matter-you play when the conductor's baton hits the bottom of this trajectory; the rhythm in the conductor's body becomes the rhythm of the group. However, I have played in so many orchestras where all the players are so afraid of making a mistake, of sticking out, that they have developed a style of waiting for the baton to all and bounced back before they play, so that the visual effect is what you get when you listen to music outside, from several thousand feet away-you see the baton go down a second or two before you hear the sound. Orchestras play this way because they wait for each other to play rather than trusting their own ability to play with the conductor. As a conductor, I'm always searching orchestra for uplifted eyes to make contact with; for this reason, I've always been appreciated by other conductors when I'm playing in the section, because they can always rely on my eye when they search the orchestra for contact.
It is my understanding that the role of orchestral conductor was invented when ensembles got too large for chamber music ensemble playing (hearing) to keep people together; rather than listening to things happening (sometimes over an area of 100 feet and more), the visual impulse of the conductor was used to keep people together. No doubt, it is more difficult to play music from a visual cue rather than an aural cute, because rather than the immediate feedback of the physical sounds the plane takes on an inner quality, as the individual player is a sound into a kind of silent void; granted this is difficult, but it is the price we pay for the creation of large ensembles, and anyway, it develops faith and character. The system of visual cueing really does work if the conductor is clear and strong ending at the people to follow him and not each other.
The unfortunate fact is that everybody doesn't follow, especially in the back of the orchestra. Time after time I've heard rhythms radiate outwards from the podium like a row of falling dominoes, such that by the time the guy in the back figures it is safe to play, the guy in the front is already playing the next note. The conductor complains “It's late! It's sounding late!" to which the back bench player pathetically replies, “But we can't hear! We can hear a commission point " I say, in all humility, ha ha, “You're not supposed to hear! It is assumed you can’t hear, that's why where paying this conductor so much money, so you don't have to here! If you would only have the courage to play with what you see, you would all play together!! !”
In this kind of group, a strong player in the back and make a section sound very off-the-beat because he will be playing ahead of the people in front of him, and sometimes even ahead of the section leader, if the section leader subscribes to the "behind the beat" philosophy. Such a player, playing with the conductor and not waiting his turn in the line of dominoes, will sound like he is making a mistake, and everybody will jump on him for "rushing", etc.; only he and the conductor will know his secret virtue, and even the conductor will have to say, “Folks, it's not together."
As a further complication concerning section leading that deserves mention. I have sometimes been accused of playing ahead of the section leader. This is always a shock, because I felt certain that I was playing with conductor, and assumed the section leader was to. I hang back and check out the situation, I usually find that, yes, the section
leader is playing behind the beat. What a dilemma-to play with the conductor or play with the section, every one of whom follows the late section leader with sheeplike devotion? This really should not be a problem, since it is understood by all that, in the orchestral hierarchy, the conductor is the final word; yet, it is a problem because people have such an underdeveloped sense of their own ability to do their job that they are always, at every turn, looking to someone else for guidance. Consequently, there is often a situation where the various sections of an orchestra are perfectly together as sections, but are not playing anywhere near together as an orchestra. There would be no argument from the players that this is the wrong situation, but in actual practice, it is clear that they would rather be one of the 6 to 10 wrong people than the one right person. Dumb.
The problems of playing behind the beat are most acutely felt in situations where the Temple is changing. More rehearsal time is lost rehearsing ritards (slowing down) and accelerations than any other single musical effect, because the players will simply not trust themselves to respond instantly to the conductor signal; because they must hear the effect first, then repeat it by rote, tempo changes must be rehearsed twice every time they occur, whether they are surprise changes or extremely conventional things like ritarding the end of a piece. The operatic literature tends to be very easy music, technically, but because of the rhythmically erratic nature of dramatic music, or, indeed, any music where there is a rhetorical emphasis, an orchestra can spend hours getting it together by rote, and then if the singer feels it differently in the performance, runs out of breath, etc., it still won't be together. often, in such rehearsals I lament the Toscanini “A curse on Guido d’Arezzo for inventing music notation!"
I find it interesting, as I consider what I've just written, that the two main areas of orchestral individuality-repression that I have described, i.e., sound quality and rhythmic strength, are opposite each other on the right/left brain model of mental functioning that has come to be generally accepted over the past 10 or 15 years. Specifically, sound quality is the creation of the right brain, subjective sensitivity to space and emotion, while rhythm is clearly a left brain, objective, small- information-byte-processing function. It was seen then, it what I have said is true, that the better players play both with a better sound and better rhythm that they are simply more conscious-that both halves of their brains are more active when they play music. I will not go so far as to say these people are more awake mentally in all areas of life; we can readily cite examples of very mentally awake people, like Einstein, for instance, who were mediocre musicians, and we can also see excellent musicians who get overwhelmed by the idea of balancing a checkbook, or taking a simple telephone message for their wives. Neither can we categorically ascribe superior playing to superior training, because I've seen many superb musicians succumb to the herd propensity toward average-seeking tone quality and falling-domino rhythm.
At the level of consciousness of which I am speaking, the problem is not one of intelligence, or training, but is more disease of the will. There develops, in any group, a consensus, it's a mind-set that comes to be accepted by all unless it is stubbornly resisted by those who refuse to let their personal energy level be dictated by an impersonal democratic process. I speak of a disease of the will because the mind-set is not a function of talent, is a learned thing, and can be changed by an act of will. A person can achieve on a level several quantum leaps higher than the average, merely by wanting to. The wanting is critical. From wanting all else will follow.
In order to refute the idea that the water of man's collective consciousness necessarily seeks its own level, I must make some strong statements about the relationship of man's mind to his will. The mind as a physical machine that is prone to habitual repetition of similar functions. Yet, because the mind is also a vessel for the translation of spiritual realities into physical manifestation, the mind can be taught to respond, with superhuman energy, to suggestions of the will. There is so much about music that is not of this world anyway, that even the slightest suggestion can trigger thought processes and physical acts that are unearthly-impossible, according to the materialistic expectations of science and common sense. Wanting something is an act of will. Imagining something is an act of will. If there is faith in the will, there can nearly always be a material manifestation of a consciously expressed desire. Hence, by wanting to achieve an artistic effect, a person who believes in the power of the spirit to change the physical world, can change not only his own energy level, but the energy levels of those around him. Mind is dumb, and slow, but is also obedient to the will, so by merely ordering the mind to reach up, the will can cause the mind to be filled with light from heavenly sources.
If other minds are reaching up for the same divine truth that will be, not an addition of their power to each other, but a geometric (or hyper mathematical) multiplication of their energies by each other. This is the truth. This is what can be.
This, patient reader, is why consciousness does not have to seek its own level— because consciousness is infinite, incalculable, and ultimately singular in its identity. The minds of a group of orchestral players can become one in a singular act of will. When this happens, there is no question of leading, following, sticking out, blending, or any such physical considerations. When people become of one mind, that divine mind equalizes everything-all individuals are perfectly harmonized in a divine symphony of joy and power.
At the beginning of this article, I referred to "pride" as a serious stumbling block for myself. I consider pride to be a very serious problem for most people, professional musicians possibly more than others. Performers must develop their ego-consciousness more than most people, because performers routinely put their best selves on public display. The ego, thus constantly exposed to the critical eye of society must be tough and solid, or it will buckle under the pressure. However, this toughening all-too-often results in a hardening of the arteries of the heart, and emotional responses which once were spontaneous and authentic begin to become automatic, calculated, and false. Pride becomes merely a self-limiting concept, a false self image. This is an on-going process that can continue to take place over many years; it is the main reason young players are so much more flexible and enthusiastic than "seasoned" professionals. This is my prayer: “Oh God, please never let me become a "seasoned” professional! Let me always find the new and fresh in music! Let me give life-support to an endless stream of newborn feelings and ideas, let me animate the paper notes with my single, unique, best self. Let me bury my pride and with my single, unique, best selves. Let me bury the pride and search the depths of my soul for that divine source from which all power and through individuality spring!”
It is my conviction that man is a spiritual being, and that making music is a process of manifesting spiritual realities in forms that can be appreciated by man in the physical dimension. Music, being a kind of message-in-a-bottle from a divine source, draws on human powers and understanding several levels deeper than normal day-to-day living consciousness. Unfortunately, the attitude of devotion necessary to achieve this level of understanding is sadly lacking in the practice of music-making in the professional world. For the "seasoned” professional, music-making becomes a "normal” activity, like grocery shopping, and the magic wears off and is not renewed. Thus, as I have complained about all through this article, when someone comes along whose heart is still full of youthful enthusiasm and derring-do, his antic attitude is looked on with suspicion and fear, and his "inappropriate energy" is squashed by those practicers of the blasé who have forgotten, or never knew, how to be young.
Verily, verily I say unto you, it is possible to stay young. At a meta-level of self-programming, an individual can learn to,
1. prevent the critical left brain from automatically responding to every new or unusual energy with negativity, and,
2. to allow spontaneous self-created energies to overflow to overthrow the tyrannies of the petty ego, and fill the individual’s being with the light from a higher-than-normal level of consciousness.
At this point in my article, I wish I could follow through with the lengthy, detailed, rational description of the method of consciousness raising that would make better musicians out of everybody who tried it. I confess I cannot, not because there is no such method, but because for every musician, every person, the method is different. Learning to exercise the will in consciousness-raising is both the simplest and yet most impossibly complex thing that can be done. The power to make music live is found among the is found along the pathway to the heart, and every pathway to every human heart is different. This is the dilemma and this is the joy, that every human heart is and must be different. This is not a cop-out, because every heart shares, at its source, the same divine identity, so that the general description, or, you might say, roadmap to the heart is the same; but only the wildest fit of arrogance could persuade me to prescribe for others the techniques for awakening their spirit consciousness that I have used. Nevertheless, I will say that the first step along the path is to want to take a step. I cannot point the way any further than wanting to take the first step inward. From there on, "where your treasure is, there is your heart also."
Every musical performance should begin with an invocation of divine power, a turning of the consciousness inward, toward the heart. When this happens, many unusual and sometimes terrifying things can happen, because the supernatural worlds express themselves in our world in many unusual and terrifying ways. The reason for the terror is that they are never the same—the flow of time down the cosmic river provides endless variety of manifestation, and because we evolve and change with every second, we never get a chance to familiarize ourselves with the experience—everything is new every time. Because of this we must have completely anomalous aesthetic responses to same piece every time.
The key concept, for me, is acceptance; to accept who I am, to accept the rich and strange aspects of myself that come out when I dig deep, and to accept those around me, who, on a fundamental level, are a part of me. It is my hope that more people will learn to identify with the common thread that joins them to other people, and to stop being so quick to deny the humanity of, and to repress the energies of, those who are different from themselves. If you are a victim of repression, it is my hope that you will find the courage to continue to fight the good fight, and never stop believing in yourself and the power from God that is your simply by wanting it.