26 March 2015

Giving the Self to the World Beyond

If we elect, we may become the culmination of all that has come before us. Gleaning from the examples of previous generations, we explore expression in an attempt to precisely define our thoughts and emotions in all the complexity they deserve. We struggle to see through the clouds of our consciousness, finding hints of the faraway stars of our thought in our use of techniques passed down to us.

In William Shakespeare’s sonnets; Johann Sebastian Bach’s Brandenburg Concertos; Jack Kerouac’s Book of Haikus; and Dizzy Gillespie, Charles Mingus, Thelonious Monk, and Charlie Parker’s cutting-edge exploration of the Bebop solo, each artist utilized contemporary techniques, improved by preceding generations’ lengthy experimentation, to relinquish themselves to their audience, leaving nothing behind but the space in which they used to reside. Despite the variances in each of these artists’ methods, their work allowed their souls to transcend the vessel of their lives, to become part of humanity. We, as passive onlookers in times far past their own, must only ask how they attained artistic immortality and how we may follow their lead.

Awareness and Complicity

The European colonization of Africa’s ramifications transcend far beyond that of the widespread exploitation and theft of African people, resources, and artwork. Indeed, in “annexing” nations, with a limited understanding of the tribal backgrounds of their newly occupied subjects, leaders in European governments, under a false pretense of sharing both Christianity and civilization at large, miscategorized peoples—supposedly indistinguishable to the European eye—often forming racial or socioeconomic hierarchies within numerous African societies that had never before existed. Alas, this painful imposing of unjustified and unnecessary ideologies birthed numerous harsh human rights crises, specifically genocide, amongst African peoples that had previously coexisted in relative peace. Additionally, in response to these catastrophes, many Western nations have avoided ameliorating these arduous events, evolving from denying the disaster and regretting their neglect to recognizing the predicament, yet straying from genuine attempts at reconciliation.