The Other I

February 5, 2009

Finding my bliss

Filed under: Just Stuff,Survival Strategies — theotheri @ 9:15 pm

Marshall McLuhan several decades ago had an insight that he encapsulated in the phrase “the medium is the message.”  He was saying is that communicating in painting cannot be translated word for word into a poem or a piece of music.  Or a novel can’t be translated into a film without making changes that often subtly change the meaning.

I think there is a corollary to McLuhan’s insight.  That is that each of us has a different medium to which we respond most profoundly.  For some people music can transport them to new worlds, while for others poetry or sculpture or novels are the most moving mediums.

A friend told me the story of a young man who grew up a farming community.  At the age of 35, he was invited to stay with some friends in New York City, and they visited the Metropolitan Museum of Art.  He was transfixed, and for three hours walked around the museum overcome with what he was seeing.  He’d never had an art course in his life. 

The educational system rarely takes these individual differences into account, rarely encourages students to explore which mediums are best for them.  Instead, we are given the impression that if we are properly “educated” we will appreciate Beethoven and Shakespeare and Picasso equally, and will be able to discuss their “meaning” intelligently and analyze them coherently.

I like art, but the medium that is transformational for me is music.  It takes me places no other experience I have ever had has come near.

When I die, I hope those who love me will not weep.  I hope they will sing, because the song is where I hope to be.

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