Friday, December 2, 2011

Creating Dissonance

     Living together in harmony is a beautiful idea.  I'd like to teach the world to sing and buy it a Coke, right?  All the wonderful people should dance in meadows filled with butterflies while children laugh around a fountain of endless chocolate pouring forth from a mountain made of fulfilled dreams.  What a wondrous harmony that would bring.  Unfortunately, that tune only exists in fantasy.
     In order to show the pain that they and others feel, some create dissonance.  They sing a very different tune in the midst of those trying desperately to find harmony.  When the diminished fifth clashes with the propagated chorus, people look to find the source of the disharmony and, hopefully, change occurs.  Often, the dissonance does not address the pain, however.  "Life is Meaningless" is not the antidote for "Life with Blinders."  "I Hate My Life" does not mitigate "Everything's Coming Up Roses."  Instead, the dissonance is seen as a ridiculous attempt to grab attention and distract from the harmony for neurotic narcissism.
      I love dissonance.  From prophets to poets, philosophers to philanthropists, those who step outside the harmony to call us to higher plains are my heroes.  Without genuine purpose, however, dissonance is only an ugly noise that will be drowned out by a louder chorus.  Rage against the machine, but understand its mechanisms.  Fight the power, but know our hoped end.  Rail against injustice, but first ascertain a viable ethic.

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