To the Next Generation of Artists,
We find ourselves in turbulent and unpredictable times.
From the horror at the Bataclan, to the upheaval in Syria and the senseless bloodshed in San Bernardino, we live in a time of great confusion and pain. As an artist, creator and dreamer of this world, we ask you not to be discouraged by what you see but to use your own lives, and by extension your art, as vehicles for the construction of peace.
While it’s true that the issues facing the world are complex, the answer to peace is simple; it begins with you. You don’t have to be living in a third world country or working for an NGO to make a difference. Each of us has a unique mission. We are all pieces in a giant, fluid puzzle, where the smallest of actions by one puzzle piece profoundly affects each of the others. You matter, your actions matter, your art matters.
We’d like to be clear that while this letter is written with an artistic audience in mind, these thoughts transcend professional boundaries and apply to all people, regardless of profession.
FIRST, AWAKEN TO YOUR HUMANITY
We are not alone. We do not exist alone and we cannot create alone. What this world needs is a humanistic awakening of the desire to raise one’s life condition to a place where our actions are rooted in altruism and compassion. You cannot hide behind a profession or instrument; you have to be human. Focus your energy on becoming the best human you can be. Focus on developing empathy and compassion. Through the process you’ll tap into a wealth of inspiration rooted in the complexity and curiosity of what it means to simply exist on this planet. Music is but a drop in the ocean of life.
EMBRACE AND CONQUER THE ROAD LESS TRAVELED
The world needs new pathways. Don’t allow yourself to be hijacked by common rhetoric, or false beliefs and illusions about how life should be lived. It’s up to you to be the pioneers. Whether through the exploration of new sounds, rhythms, and harmonies or unexpected collaborations, processes and experiences, we encourage you to dispel repetition in all of its negative forms and consequences. Strive to create new actions both musically and with the pathway of your life. Never conform.
WELCOME THE UNKNOWN
The unknown necessitates a moment-to-moment improvisation or creative process that is unparalleled in potential and fulfillment. There is no dress rehearsal for life because life, itself, is the real rehearsal. Every relationship, obstacle, interaction, etc. is a rehearsal for the next adventure in life. Everything is connected. Everything builds. Nothing is ever wasted. This type of thinking requires courage. Be courageous and do not lose your sense of exhilaration and reverence for this wonderful world around you.
UNDERSTAND THE TRUE NATURE OF OBSTACLES
We have this idea of failure, but it’s not real; it’s an illusion. There is no such thing as failure. What you perceive as failure is really a new opportunity, a new hand of cards, or a new canvas to create upon. In life there are unlimited opportunities. The words, “success” and “failure”, themselves, are nothing more than labels. Every moment is an opportunity. You, as a human being, have no limits; therefore infinite possibilities exist in any circumstance.
DON’T BE AFRAID TO INTERACT WITH THOSE WHO ARE DIFFERENT FROM YOU
The world needs more one-on-one interaction among people of diverse origins with a greater emphasis on art, culture and education. Our differences are what we have in common. We can work to create an open and continuous plane where all types of people can exchange ideas, resources, thoughtfulness and kindness. We need to be connecting with one another, learning about one another, and experiencing life with one another. We can never have peace if we cannot understand the pain in each other’s hearts. The more we interact, the more we will come to realize that our humanity transcends all differences.
STRIVE TO CREATE AGENDA-FREE DIALOGUE
Art in any form is a medium for dialogue, which is a powerful tool. It is time for the music world to produce sound stories that ignite dialogue about the mystery of us. When we say the mystery of us, we’re talking about reflecting and challenging the fears, which prevent us from discovering our unlimited access to the courage inherent in us all. Yes, you are enough. Yes, you matter. Yes, you should keep going.
BE WARY OF EGO
Arrogance can develop within artists, either from artists who believe that their status makes them more important, or those whose association with a creative field entitles them to some sort of superiority. Beware of ego; creativity cannot flow when only the ego is served.
WORK TOWARDS A BUSINESS WITHOUT BORDERS
The medical field has an organization called Doctors Without Borders. This lofty effort can serve as a model for transcending the limitations and strategies of old business formulas which are designed to perpetuate old systems in the guise of new ones. We’re speaking directly to a system that’s in place, a system that conditions consumers to purchase only the products that are dictated to be deemed marketable, a system where money is only the means to an end. The music business is a fraction of the business of life. Living with creative integrity can bring forth benefits never imagined.
APPRECIATE THE GENERATION THAT WALKED BEFORE YOU
Your elders can help you. They are a source of wealth in the form of wisdom. They have weathered storms and endured the same heartbreaks; let their struggles be the light that shines the way in the darkness. Don’t waste time repeating their mistakes. Instead, take what they’ve done and catapult you towards building a progressively better world for the progeny to come.
LASTLY, WE HOPE THAT YOU LIVE IN A STATE OF CONSTANT WONDER
As we accumulate years, parts of our imagination tend to dull. Whether from sadness, prolonged struggle, or social conditioning, somewhere along the way people forget how to tap into the inherent magic that exists within our minds. Don’t let that part of your imagination fade away. Look up at the stars and imagine what it would be like to be an astronaut or a pilot. Imagine exploring the pyramids or Machu Picchu. Imagine flying like a bird or crashing through a wall like Superman. Imagine running with dinosaurs or swimming like mer-creatures. All that exists is a product of someone’s imagination; treasure and nurture yours and you’ll always find yourself on the precipice of discovery.
How does any of this lend to the creation of a peaceful society you ask? It begins with a cause. Your causes create the effects that shape your future and the future of all those around you. Be the leaders in the movie of your life. You are the director, producer, and actor. Be bold and tirelessly compassionate as you dance through the voyage that is this lifetime.
One of if not the best political essay I read in 2018:
"The failures resulting from the neglect of democratic constituencies—and the inability to address, prioritize, or balance national interests—are now widely recognized to have fueled the rise of “populist-nationalist” movements. Less recognized, however, is that the professions of “globalism” heard during the last few decades were never really sincere, either. Both “populist-nationalists” and their critics too often take this rhetoric at face value, and believe that they are either fighting or defending “globalism.” What is at issue, however, is not a fully conscious globalism but rather a conscious refusal to distinguish between the universal and the particular. This confusion is significant because the nationalist-globalist framing often conceals the real problems.
The core problem at present is not the morality or immorality of either globalism or nationalism, universal principles or democratic sovereignty. In fact, those questions are totally irrelevant, because both sides claim to speak on behalf of national interests.
If there is a problem with today’s “globalism,” it is that it is incapable of dealing with ordinary questions of political power and conflicting interests, because both its aspirations and its legitimation presuppose their absence. In other words, the problem with today’s “globalism” is that it is not really globalism. A sincere commitment to the coercive imposition of a global state would actually be less naive and utopian than the imagined convergence of all political interests through globalization.
Likewise, the problem with today’s “nationalism” is that it is often not really nationalism. It is more interested in playacting the evil twin of an imaginary globalism than in defining national interests or organizing political power around them. Insofar as it refuses to make its ultimate goal the reinvigoration of the national state, it cannot address the problems that gave rise to it and instead frequently exacerbates them."
"Fifty years ago this month, the three-man crew of Apollo 8 swung around the moon’s far side and encountered a vision never before seen by human eyes: the sunlit Earth, juxtaposed against an ashen lunar plain, and a backdrop of infinite black space.
Frank Borman, Apollo 8’s commander, has expressed frustration that he and his fellow astronauts failed to convey, with words, the cosmic import of their experience. “I don’t think we captured, in its entirety, the grandeur of what we had seen,” he once said.
By the time Apollo 8 splashed home in the Pacific, writers had already tried to bridge the gap between the astronauts’ limited literary powers and the extraordinary sight they beheld. “To see the Earth as it truly is, small and blue and beautiful in that eternal silence,” the poet Archibald MacLeish wrote in the Christmas 1968 edition of The New York Times, “is to see ourselves as riders on the Earth together, brothers on that bright loveliness in the eternal cold, brothers who now know they are truly brothers.”
Many literary interpretations of this new motif—the astronaut gazing back at Earth—would follow. But perhaps none has surpassed a two-paragraph passage in Don DeLillo’s 1983 short story, “Human Moments in World War III,” about two men aboard an orbiting military space station, one of whom becomes entranced by his view of Earth through the station’s window. The planet “fills his consciousness,” DeLillo writes, “the answer to a lifetime of questions and vague cravings.”
With special permission from Mr. DeLillo, the passage will appear here at The Atlantic through next July’s anniversary of the first moon landing."
"Narrowcast began as a book about the New American Poetry (a catchall term for the clutch of mid-century avant-gardes represented in Donald Allen’s influential 1960 anthology of the same name) and its relation to audio technology. But “[i]n the course of gathering my materials,” writes Shaw, an English professor at New York University, “I became fascinated and disturbed by something for which I had not been looking: many of the New Left poets I was studying were themselves objects of state audio surveillance, often by the same reel-to-reel tape recorders whose liberatory potential they celebrated.” Shaw began to feel that what he really needed to describe was “a midcentury audio modernism, an ambitious culture of sonic research … pursued by the state and poets alike.” What does it mean for our understanding of literary history that what Shaw calls the “surveillance avant-garde” were spying on poets using the same technologies that poets themselves were using to renovate their poetics? And can these parallel innovations in literature and surveillance teach us anything about each other?"