Jan. 27, 2018

Music & Culture Term II Blog The Journey …Continued. Our Global Village & Cultural Appropriation

Music & Culture Term II Blog

In Term I, I wrote a journal outlining my thoughts on our course material to obtain a mark for our class.
I enjoyed it very much, and was able to absorb the material more easily because I took the time to write about it, and it was challenging to do further research on some of the concepts or building blocks that were presented to us. I’m three weeks behind in getting started as I initially thought I’d have an easier term this time around, having completed the year’s assignments in one semester and not being required to do this again, however, I realize now that this method of retaining information will still work for me this term. Here we go!

What’s a Global Village? The saying, “It takes a village…” rings true in so many ways. Banding together always seems more effective than isolation. However, the concept of a Global Village seems more abstract than that. Our Globe is divided, and seems more so every day. Yet we can find commonalities from which to draw, at almost any given turn. The development of culture from the dawn of civilization is so similar, even across different regions of the world. We are the same inside. We crave love, we need food, we bleed red, our hearts can feel the same things, we love to hear beautiful sounds. Yet we fight ~ for power, over borders, over religion, over natural resources. We even fight over the appropriate use of ideas or themes from cultures other than our own.

The more we seek to isolate ourselves, the more it seems apparent that we are all connected. DNA research has allowed us to understand more greatly, where we have evolved from. A White Anglo Saxon Protestant can be surprised to learn that their DNA contains evidence of strains from Africa, India, or the Mediterranean or the Middle East. Some find this incredibly difficult to understand or to swallow, because of their ingrained belief that they are superior in some way to these foreign cultures and places. Take for instance, a Greek person who may discover Turkish blood in their family tree. This cannot be! The age-old hatred between these two countries and their people must live on! It is still preached in their churches! They couldn’t be more sadly mistaken.

The world’s beginnings are unclear and there is much controversy over its start. Did God make it happen over a week’s worth of planning and creation? Or was it a cosmic explosion starting with the division or collision of two cells, which divided and multiplied and mutated? We can believe what we want in this area, but once we began to uncover and study the dawn of man and our history as upright beings on the planet, it is irrefutable that we have sought to survive, and improve ourselves, since time immemorial. The Hunter/Gatherers moved around to seek sustenance. In their quest for survival, and their inherent curiosity, they encountered other Hunter/Gatherers that had different foods, different resources, and different customs. They fought, they assimilated, they made love with each other… and mankind expanded itself. In this Neolithic Revolution, culture was shared, culture was learned, culture was assimilated. Cultivation began, stakes were planted, and opposition between city dwellers and farmers was clear ~ the ‘haves and the have-nots’…yet each depended on the other to flourish; Farmers needed city folk to purchase their wares, city folk needed farmers to feed them. Counter to this need for each other, the city dwellers viewed the nomadic outsiders as heathens, and the nomadic free-spirited ones viewed the city slickers as ‘slaves’ ~ slaves to wealth and greed. The dependency was real, and so was the animosity.

The assimilation came from appreciation. This was a spontaneous event, in learning that we appreciated, even became excited by, another culture’s music, art, structures, food, customs, rituals, skin colour; our ‘human software’. The next iteration became a hybrid of the first two, and so it continued. Now, we live in a complicated, technically rich and powerful world, and our human instinct is still that of exploring in wonder and taking in new things.

Our world is torn apart now, by war and greed, destruction of humanity and its history. The warmongers care not about the richness of our history as a Global Village. Even today, some of the oldest known evidence of human civilization is in an area under siege, and our precious history is being destroyed, not by accident, but on purpose. Consider the timeline of Ancient Civilization as you know it to be ~ some of the earliest known settlements and remnants of cultures date back to 3000 years Before Christ. The Bronze Age, the early Egyptian Hieroglyphs, Pyramids, Stonehenge. They all fascinate us, and we consider these milestones and their cultures to be the ones that we sprang from.

Science has since enabled us to advance in our carbon-dating technology, and we now know that there were other, even earlier cultures, which have been found right in the middle of Southern Turkey. They lie now in an area that is being ravaged by missiles, and its heritage and designation as a UNESCO site is being disrespected. I had never even heard of Gobekli Tepe prior to this lecture, and while I knew a bit about the ancient civilizations of the Levantine people, I did not know these interesting ruins existed. The Levant is the area of the Central Mediterranean, which we now call the Middle East, and it is made up of Israel, Palestine, Iraq, Iran, Syria, Jordan, and Lebanon, bordering Turkey and Saudi Arabia. Imagine how closely all of these people are truly related, and imagine further, how long conflicts between them have raged. I don’t believe that the rest of the world has a right to step in and try to mediate in this area, especially without understanding the rich history and culture that came almost 10,000 years Before Christ. When we stop to consider the reasons why America and the rest of Europe are involved and seem to have taken sides, it is because of natural resources, and the greed that goes with ownership of these resources. When we stop to consider why there is terrorism, it is because of religious differences. What compounds it now, is that the religious differences have become tied to wealth and to superiority, and millennia later, innocent people are still being slaughtered, and civilization’s beginnings are being wiped off the face of the earth without a trace. It does not paint a pretty picture of what humankind has become.

For some inspired reading, we were encouraged to look at Ernest Becker’s Escape from Evil, a book which ”examines men's efforts to escape from the fear of death by performing acts of human wickedness through socially-sanctioned institutions”.

Is fear then, the cause of all of our distress? What could possibly be the one thing that could eliminate this fear, if used to its advantage, to find commonality between peoples of different cultures and religions? Music could be the answer.

Take in this video about Gobekli Tepe to learn more! https://youtu.be/vcR8iYyYEJs