Friday, March 10, 2017

Collect like an Egyptian!

The way I live, which gets reflected in many of the posts here--like even this one--my life is about experiences and memories.  I live my own life, on my own terms--even if it means pissing quite a few people off and living a lonely life.  (which is why only this guy now remains as the commenter at this blog!)

The friend comments that I set the bar too high for people.  I tell her that I cherish my existence,  I understand that I have only one chance at this.  When it is all over, it is all over.  Do I really want to then let the precious moments slip by?

There are all kinds of memories that we create and experiences that we have.  Take, for instance, music.  Even this past December, when I met with a few old classmates from the growing up days in the old country, I talked to a few there about how it was in Chadru's home that I heard for the first time ever music by a group called Abba.  Chandru's parents owned a record-player. I remember that LP experience so well.

Or the mixtapes in my possession that I still play every once in a while.  The tapes of opera and polka music that David made for me.  David who is only a couple of years younger than my father perhaps found in me a kindred spirit who was interested in that kind of music and, therefore, spent time making those tapes for this much younger friend of his.  Or the mixtapes from the graduate school friend, Praveen.

Music--especially the ownership of music--has created so many memories for me.  But, life has been changing fast.  Young and old these days do not own music, but merely rent it.  Well, that is if they even bother listening to music given the time they spend on Facebook and Instagram and on all kinds of fake news.  (BTW, in contrast to Barack Obama who is a music aficionado, do you think this current uncultured asshole of a president even listens to music?  If not music, what does soothe the breast of this savage president?)

This new relationship to music is more than merely about music itself.  It says a lot about how we define life:
What we take for granted today will disappear tomorrow. And the internet brings with it the potential for cultural destruction on a scale previously unfathomable. Do you want to trust the preservation of music to Apple and Google? Do you think they value it the same way you do?
Whether it is music or friends, we do not ask ourselves what we really value.
People do not create their identity out of what they borrow. They view themselves in terms of what they possess. That’s why Egyptian pharaohs and other prominent ancients got buried with all their stuff. And if they wanted music in the next life, they sometimes had the musical instrument buried with them — and perhaps even a dead musician who got a fast-track ticket to the great beyond.
It is one crazy world in which we live.  It is not really about the mere act of possession either.  If only people will understand that ultimately it is merely memories that we can take with us.


Ramesh said...

Music is safe my friend. "The day that music died" will thankfully only be in Don McLean's lyrics, never real. Its one of the fundamental tastes of man. And it will remain so, even if the nature of it changes. And the form in which it is appreciated.

I am not sure ownership of music is a critical factor. Whether it is rented or owned is simply the commercial form of its acquiring. Am I going to appreciate or value a symphony or MS or Rafi any differently ? No way ! And now way will its value be diminished.

But your deeper point that we will appreciate anything less if our relationship is merely transitory certainly resonates.

Sriram Khé said...

While music will be with us, the relationship has already been transformed beyond recognition ... as much as our relationship to food has been transformed into something bizarre. Yet another dimension in which we have quickly changed for the worse what it means to be human :(

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