The Path of Music #3 – The Attraction of Opposites is about rhythm


“Where do judgment and thoughts come from? Why do they exist? Can we live without them?”

The last time we left with this questions and, in order to find some answers, I began to observe the way that judgment works: I obviously started from the judgments in the music world. Usually a musician judges its colleagues because, in its opinion, they play badly, they move badly (or they don’t move at all) on the stage, they are too cold, they are too virtuoso, they play too loud or too soft, or because they recorded a badly produced albums, because they do a badly promotion on social networks etc.… But if they find someone who is just perfect all the way through the musician just finds another way to talk badly about it: “Yes, he is very good, but he is arrogant…”, or “…but he is an asshole”, “…he’s ugly”, “…he is bold” (do you have something against the bolds?)… etc.

Why do we act this way? Based on what do we judge the others?

Often the possibility of another colleague better than us is giving us the sensation that our career is in danger: it’s almost like the other could “take our job” or “steal the scene”. Or if we meet a colleague which is playing with different techniques or different styles compared to ours, we feel sort of bothered: in fact, if, based on our experience, we saw that playing with a certain technique is leading us to play in a positive way, seeing someone doing something different, will put in doubts our methods. This leads us to defend our talented musician figure and to attack everyone who is a danger for it. Our ego is challenging the colleagues’ one, which become our enemies, judgment becomes then the main defense and attack weapon.

Analyzing deeply all these ways of acting it seems like a sort of “animal” fight for the territory and the survival. The strongest, so the best one, won’t give space and “food” to the others, or it leaves less of. In other words, the more you are a good musician, the more you can play shows and the more you can create occasions of transforming your abilities and your passions and make them a profession which can give you some money and give yourself the chance to “live” in the music world. With this spirit everyone tries to be the best with his own instrument and he builds all his knowledge in order to express, establish, attack and defend himself.

I f we apply these dynamics in all the aspects of life we can realize that this works even out of the musical field, where everyone is searching for its knowledge, techniques, abilities, to go through life. When we find situations or people who can put in danger our “surviving tools”, we feel the urge to defend ourselves by judging them. Judgment shows up then basically by dividing the experiences in what is good and what is bad for our survival. In the same way our thoughts transform these experiences in opinions on what is right and what is wrong. All these things together give shape to our famous “ego” (here it is again!!!).

But there are a lot of different musicians which can go on with their career using a lot of different ways to play if not even opposites. At the same way there exists a bunch of people which survives without any problem even if they have different opinions, beliefs, ideas and different ways to live their lives if not opposites each other.

Can we then say that there is a concept of good-bad through which judge the world?

Searching, as usual, some cues in material coming from spirituality, I realized that almost all the traditions, even in different forms, transcend the good-bad concept by talking about “opposites equilibrium”:

  • in Taoism there is the integration between “the Yin and the Yang”;
  • in Alchemy there is the “Coniunctio Oppositorum” (the union of the opposites);
  • in Buddhism there is the “Middle Way”;
  • at the same way the great Latin poet Horatio talked about “Aurea Mediocritas”;
  • in the Jewish and Christian tradition the world devil, which indicates the enemy in reaching “God”, comes from the ancient Greek “dià – bolòs” which means the one who divides (what is opposite);

The basic idea of these concepts was that all the world was formed by dual shapes and elements which could be taken in couples: day – night, inspiration – expiration, light – darkness, male – female, sky – earth, fire – water, positive – negative, white – black, high – low…

It could seem that these elements are “opposites” to each other, but the truth is that they only exist in relation with the other, it’s better to say then that they exist because they are “complementary”. By observing these principles, the human being should stop to live in extremisms and in judgment and it should start to realize the importance of what is “different”.

But while I was looking for these information I realized that, without going back to spirituality, I could learn all these things from the music itself: in fact, this is a concept that you can find easily in rhythm. Downbeat and Upbeat: one could not exist without the other and it’s thanks to the collaboration and alternation between the two that the music can go on. Who better than musicians could realize that “everything is rhythm”?

Thanks to collaboration and alternation of opposites/complementary elements nature makes life going on: in front of this dynamic there is no need to have the concept of right and wrong.

The problem is that, instead of adopting a real prospective based on the observation of the world’s rhythm and the comprehension of this harmony, we think that “The Attraction of Opposites” is right and the separation of the opposites is wrong. So, instead of stop judging, which is the only thing to really to do in order to apply these concepts, we are going around like idiots stressing everyone with this thing about equilibrium and harmony between opposites… judging all those who doesn’t agree with us.

Why does this happen?

Because judgment is tied up to a need of survival which is so ingrained into our psyche that we can’t avoid continuing to divide the world between right and wrong to go on! In a few words judgment has become instinct! At this point, my dear friends, the only thing to do is leaving with some other questions “What’s survival? How does it work?” …well, if you “survived” to this post maybe you already know what we are talking about, otherwise see you at my next post.

…to be continued.

Leave a Reply