Saturday, March 24, 2012

Countering the charm of tyranny

This notion, that one's 'got it', often stunts any possibility of growth or originality. It's easy to slide from being sure of yourself to being sure that others are wrong (both feed off one another); it's easy to accept that the answer has already been worked out for you well in advance and all you have to do is nod your head, repeat the words, and step into your pre-assigned role.

It could be argued that the various forms of fundamentalism we witness are modern-day reactions to the preponderance of doubt and uncertainty, to the fragmentation of narratives and our inability to turn to Nature, Reason, or God for some coherent picture and our place in it. What is historical here, and what deep, psychological impulse? Conformity, order, the end of the story, there in the beginning all along; the allure of belonging, the 'charm of tyranny' (Buruma).

To talk of individualism today is, the detractors would say, to align oneself with the forces of capitalism. There's a lot of truth to that. But the alternative is surely not to go back to the hierarchies and distinctions of tribe, religion, 'community', the closed, certain world of blood and soil.

The most difficult thing to conceive of: I-We.
That thoughtful response to yesterday's post comes from Billoo writing on his blog Black Sun. Soundtrack is the recently re-issued and quite unmissable Indian Ragas & Medieval Song: Modal Melodies from East to West performed by Dominique Vellard (tenor) and Ken Zuckerman (sarod), seen above, with Anindo Chatterjee (tabla) and Keyvan Chemirani (zarb). And talking of orginality, do check out Ken Zuckerman's automatic tanpura player here; while there is more on rearranging the geometry of heaven here.

Also on Facebook and Twitter. Indian Ragas & Medieval Song was bought in Prelude Records. Any copyrighted material on these pages is included as "fair use", for the purpose of study, review or critical analysis only, and will be removed at the request of copyright owner(s). Report broken links, missing images and errors to - overgrownpath at hotmail dot co dot uk

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