Weekends, Weddings, and Wondering pt 2

August 1, 2013 at 8:46 am (Uncategorized)

I ran out of steam last night, but I’m ready for another crack at writing this morning. We’ll see how it goes as I have to head to work in about 45 minutes.


4. Levels of Music

I used to be pretty rigid in my musical tastes, at least outwardly. I didn’t like rap or country, and I was certain that I knew best. Getting to college shattered a lot of those beliefs simply because I came to realize that a) I had hardly been exposed to any music growing up outside a narrow band of what my parents listened to and what was popular and b) I started to realize that my preconceived notions of what I liked were just like that kid who says he doesn’t like vegetables but hasn’t tried them.

Sure, I have certain musical tastes that predispose me to like a given song, but I have come to find that I can see the merit in most things (which we’ll get to in a moment). I also have a pretty eclectic tastes, and it is hard to tell which piece of that feeds into the other. I think it’s a chicken-or-the-egg argument.

In any case, my musical hierarchy goes something like this: 

Tier 1: Music I absolutely love, that never fails to inspire me, lift me up, toss me down, or think about life in another way.

Tier 2: Music that’s fun, that has emotional resonance for X reason, music that I overplay when I first get the album and then leave it alone for the most part but every once and a while it comes back on and I’m like “Oh yeah I love this.”

It’s also a weakness of mine, but there are a lot of tier 2 songs for me that are pretty meh but they have one hook or sick harmony or bridge I will listen over and over just to hear.

Tier 3: Music that I have no strong feelings about one way or another. It can be enjoyable based on mood, but it’s not a priority. I often feel like these songs are great to mash up or change because then you can make them your own a little and fall in love with them that way.

Tier 4: Music I dislike somewhat, or music that is relevant very briefly (I’m looking at you, Oklahoma!) but that I can’t come back to. I have no problem listening to Tier 4 songs, but generally speaking I don’t want to listen to a bunch of them in a row.

Tier 5: Noise. I just don’t see how people like it. I do my best to understand what propels people to listen to screaming and banging, and I am willing to believe that maybe there is merit that I don’t understand here, but for me it doesn’t do it.


On the whole, though, my tastes are fairly egalitarian. I think it stems from my inherent love of music (ALL music) and from a worldview that is our next section.

5. Our Place in the World

Something I notice from friends of mine at times is this notion that they are better than the world (I am not immune to this), and it spills into ideas that they have. I see it often from my liberal friends especially, which is somewhat ironic because I think philosophically they tend to believe more in the equality of humanity in THEORY versus my conservative friends. We all want to believe that we are special, and we are. What we aren’t, though, is above the world. We are, to quote Emerson, “part and parcel,” and it’s inescapable. That has at times bothered me–I mean, who doesn’t want to be a little different–but the more I reflect on it all, the more it brings me a sense of peace. 

We’re all just people, trying to make the best of our lives and selves. Sure, there are a LOT of stupid people out there. Maybe you or I are not the most troubled ones out there. Once you see how little difference there is between you and them, though, you begin to see what I and others consider to be a fundamental truth: there is no difference between them and you. 

If you consider humanity and the universe to be an ocean, with you as one drop, you are both the entire ocean and nothing at all. It’s vast and scary and beautiful and allows us to open up our hearts to our shared humanity. It’s not the only way to do so, but I find the mental exercise helpful. 

I have a kind of beat up sticky note on my computer near the touch pad on which I have written one of my favorite quotes, by Karen Armstrong: “Look into your own heart, discover what it is that gives you pain and then refuse, under any circumstances whatsoever, to inflict that pain on anyone else.”

I can only speak for myself, but I know that I am in pain when I feel a lack of love, acceptance, or social interaction. So I try not to do that to anyone else. I’m not perfect, but it’s a journey that I consider worth the taking. 

The past (holy cow it’s been a WEEK?) has been great for thinking and loving and remembering how blessed I really am. There will be ups and downs to come, but moments that put it all in perspective are healthy. I am hopeful there are more to come, and I know that adventure is around the corner for all of us.


“Life is short and we have never too much time for gladdening the hearts of those who are travelling the dark journey with us. Oh be swift to love, make haste to be kind.” -Henri Frederic Amiel 


  1. Lisa said,

    LOVE the Karen Armstrong quote.

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