Thursday, December 6, 2018

The Principles of Hope

The time and freedom to write, to follow one’s thoughts where they lead and to revel in the unexpected places they lead you to—well, this is a gift not available when you’re also busy planning and teaching classes. I have three weeks left of this life and am getting a little nervous about accomplishing all that I’ve set out to do. With every gift comes obligation and I’m doing my best to seat-belt myself in without too much undue distraction. And with Facebook, e-mail, keeping up with the news and this blog a finger-tap away, it’s not only easy!

Today has been a rich day so far. I discovered a whole section in one of my chapters that is completely wrong, wrong, wrong and dove in again to re-do it. I stumbled on a nursery rhyme that sparked an idea of arranging it for my upcoming 5th grade classes in January and 30 minutes on Sibelius was enough to get it down. I remembered a marvelous book that will help bring some other voices into my own book, a collection of quotes about music gathered by Richard Lewis titled: In Praise of Music. I haven’t look at it in a while, but the first thing that strikes me is how articulate, eloquent, nuanced, intelligent human beings used to be before Fox News. Simply breathtaking the depth of thought and sensitivity and ability to express it we humans used to have before it either got reduced to market analysis, legal jargon, edu-speak, media soundbytes, tweeting and all the other non-examples of progress.

Looking through the book of quotes, I found one from Ernest Bloch that speak so eloquently to the things I care about. Thanks to human advancement in technology (Hooray us!), I could instantly look him up (didn’t recognize his name) and discovered he was a Jewish German Marxist philosopher, born in 1885 and died in 1977. He wrote a three-volume series titled “The Principle of Hope” and I’m off to the local bookstores today (always before stooping to Amazon) to see if they have a copy.

Meanwhile, I have to get back to my work. Enjoy this quote, much needed in our time.

I believe that some day we shall be weary of this daily miserable struggle ,that a little true love will be born in the withered hearts of men. Perhaps, after our hatred, kindled only by a few, there will come one of those cleansing revolutions that will shake the world on its foundations and sweep away the poisonous vapors. Perhaps, then, a new life will rise up and with something of youth and verdure and joy; while the old limping religions, the gods in whom no one believes, will be swept away with the ruins…A little fraternity, a little love, a little gladness will gleam on the face of the world, and catch up the hearts of men in one impulse, in one rhythm. And for these new hearts there will be need to be new songs.

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