There is music to our being, some orchestral swell that sounds like the people we are, a song that is sung with lyrics written only of us, probably penned millennia before we were even a whisper of a thought. Yours is yours and mine is mine and my goodness, what an album that makes, what a beautiful collaboration.
Noise comes, the cacophony and resulting misophonia, when we’re surrounded by those, or we ourselves are those, that compare the music our hearts make and try to change them to match the rhythms or melodies of those around us. Those who change their song because they think someone else’s just might be better, prettier, or that it fits more snugly into the album of the world. The trouble is, and it’s gotten worse since about 2012 (wow, I wonder what could have possibly assisted that shift?), we’re so often surrounded now by a million people publicly trying to make sure the song their personality is singing is popular, is precisely what those that follow them want to hear, and in this, they are lost, and we’re all listening to the exact same song over, and over again. It all sounds the same, and it all sounds auto-tuned, and it all fails to bring much joy, much mystery, or passion, at all.
Spending half my time with two teenagers, Sarah’s wonderful kids, illuminates this fact in a much more prescient way of what’s to come, and honestly, it is worrisome. Lady G and I would probably agree, if asked separately, that one of our biggest concerns is the sacrifice of originality at the hands of some acquiescent sameness that seems to be rolling across the landscape and climate of this place. As they wander and navigate all things high school, social media, Snapchat Streaks, and hormonal shifts, it’s hard not to notice how they all aim for the middle, they all tweak their own instinctual urges, tame them, and end up meeting in the center. There’s a chameleonic trend that I’m sure has always existed, but the fact of its omnipresence I don’t believe should excuse or justify it, that seems to sneak in sometime after childhood and at the start of adolescence, that just strips off the decorative detailings of personality and replaces them with some functionality that borders on camouflage.
Be this and you’ll be ok, it says, you’ll fit right in, not enough to ruffle feathers, not too little you’re pitied.
What’s strangest to me, is that there seems to be a hands-thrown-up-shoulders-shrugged-resolving at this, that this is what it is and this is what it shall be and we should probably not rock that boat, we should probably just let it happen. My stance, my response to this, should come as no surprise. Nonsense, I say, bullshit.
For 8 billion reasons, we’re all born different. We are notes, aren’t we, single notes in that symphony that is the human condition. The combination of us is a single song sent out into the deep and enduring dark, we are the sound that sings into space on that solid gold record, the first that will be heard when some intelligence more advanced than us decides to show itself one day.
We are all strange, we are all broken, we are all different tones from different instruments, and what’s more, we’re all vital to the way this earth hums.
What then when we’re all auto-tuned to sound the same, when our pitches are corrected, or rhythms matched? What happens to music when its passed through the perfecting filters we’re creating every single day and downloading with feverish intensity, that we’re creating screen-time restrictions for on the computers that are glued to our palms? What happens to our music? Will be we music, at all?
I probably preach a lot on this Signal Fire, of not settling, of taking the chances that your life may be presenting, of making chances when it doesn’t, and I suppose I’m probably preaching again today, but it comes from a desperate place and it comes for desperate reasons. I cannot imagine a future where we’re all the exact same, where we aim for the same goals, wear the same clothes, and spend our precious energy more than we already are comparing our hearts to those of others. Humanity has never been about how we’re all the same, never been about the need for us all to be, and all attempts and beliefs about that have been catastrophically proven wrong, but about how we’re different. We are MORE because we are a single species with so many variations, a single entry on the classification list with 8 billion quirks.
We are one song with billions of notes, all beautiful in their own way, all wildly different from those right beside us. This melody is our melody, and the end of things will be when it goes away and it just sounds like one boring note, screeching out into the heavens.
This meandering essay is just to say, You, as You are, is a beautiful thing, and we are lucky for the song you’re singing. Please stop comparing your hearts, please stop trying to sound like anyone else, please celebrate the noise you make. Your heart knows its own melody, and I beg you to understand it does not, nor should ever, sound like anyone else’s.
Stand near me, and let us see what music comes.
Compare not your heart,
for it sings a melody
that only it knows.