A musical map of peace, part 1

We live in map-crazy times.

Our cars communicate with satellites (GPS), as do our mobile phones. The Google Crusade is on, even into our private backyard, in the holy name of the Map. It has become very easy (for us and those who want to keep track of us) to tell the coordinates of our whereabouts.

This geographical mapping is one side of the coin. The other, non-geographical side is crazy in another way. In an empty way.

There is a lack of “maps” in many important areas. By map I mean a way to understand connections, relations, gradations, differences and similarities.

This seems to be the case with peace. I am sure that there has been brilliant books written about peace, but book brilliance is not enough. I am now concerned with more general understanding by the man and women in the street. They nowadays know exactly how to find and reach that hip bar on the other side of town, but their picture of peace and how to get there is extremely vague, if not non-existent.

So our physical orientation is matched in a weird way by our mental and philosophical non-orientation. Wouldn’t it be much better and more sound the other way around…?

Like this: Hardly anybody finds the hip bar, but everybody has a good orientation about the prerequisites of peace. And, when we finally find the bar, it will be so much more fun since we have searched for it a REALLY LONG TIME.

But if a bomb kills us meanwhile… nada, neither bar nor peace.

My own map or model of peace is a work in progress. Of course with such maps there is no standard as there is with physical maps. My map will not be the map of another peacenik or researcher.

An important point for me is that the map should be practical, not just describe peace but also create it. And since we ourselves create peace and war this is a map of ourselves, with our harmonious and disharmonious tendencies.

I will take this in small pieces, one step at a time. Let’s start with putting peace in one corner and war in the other.

WAR —————————————- PEACE

There is a large space between war and peace. Obviously peace doesn’t just suddenly erupt into war, and war doesn’t just erupt into peace (even though one could wish it would). There are intermediate stages

So what is in the middle, between the extremes? Let’s think in colors and imagine war as black and peace as white (the white dove).


We could bring in the whole rainbow here, but for now let’s think in black and white.

What we see then is that the middle region needs to be grey, neither black nor white. A grey zone, meaning both a color and also an area of uncertain legitimacy, maybe good, maybe bad, probably a bit suspect.

WAR——————grey zone——————- PEACE

This map can be thought of as a garden. Think botany, flowers and seeds. In the outskirts of the garden we have flowers, things in bloom, while in the middle we have seeds, not yet flowers but flower embryos.

So, what we usually call war I call war in bloom. Manifest, physical, realized and not just potential war,  or  just”tensions”. (Tensions I see as grey and put in the middle zone.)

This can be the first part of the mapping process. To be continued. (As to the “musical map”, we will come to that.)

Part 2

MUSIC: The joy of voices

When contemplating peace, inner peace must be in the picture as well. Enjoyment of beauty is an important source of peace.

Beauty can be found in many places but we often miss it when in haste.

Human voices is one source, but sometimes we need to close our eyes to realize this. The voice of a loved one, a child, a singer, a funny stranger…

Personally I feel like a voice fetishist at times. Here is a great ballad with Donna Summer but it is her partner, Matthew Ward, that really thrills me. A partner who sings like a panther, that’s the picture I get in my head and heart.

The mind of love must be a cousin to the mind of peace.

MUSIC: What are we fighting for?

Music plays an important role, if not the central role for peace. It is obviously not always “peaceful”, can be the very opposite. Just witness what has happened in modern 20th century music (Rite of Spring, Allegro Barbaro and so on), and also what goes on today in diverse popular genres like death metal or techno.

But music making (and this is an important insight) is practically always peaceful.

Even the most violent band or orchestra plays together. They might dislike each other intensely, arrive in separate taxis to the concert, but take note that when they go onstage they play the SAME piece, in the SAME  key, in the SAME tempo, together.

In music making harmony reigns. That is why it is such a great model for positive peace.

Of course music can be used as a tool of dissent, protesting war and violence. Protest is of many kinds; it can be (and make others) angry, indignant, or just make you laugh. Anger I see as protowar, so I lean towards laughter, towards that which inspires, that which indicates where to go instead of where not to go.

Here is a satirical viewpoint — warpointsoundpoint — from Country Joe and the Fish.

Lyrics below. Sing along!

Give me an F.  Give me an I.  Give me an S.  Give me an H.

What’s that spell?

F I S H !!!
——————————
Well, come on all of you, big strong men,
Uncle Sam needs your help again.
He’s got himself in a terrible jam
Way down yonder in Vietnam
So put down your books and pick up a gun,
We’re gonna have a whole lotta fun.

REFRAIN: And it’s one, two, three,
What are we fighting for?
Don’t ask me, I don’t give a damn,
Next stop is Vietnam;
And it’s five, six, seven,
Open up the pearly gates,
Well there ain’t no time to wonder why,
Whoopee! we’re all gonna die.

Well, come on generals, let’s move fast,
Your big chance has come at last.
Gotta go out and get those reds
The only good commie is the one that’s dead
And you know that peace can only be won
When we’ve blown ’em all to kingdom come.

REFRAIN

Come on Wall Street, don’t be slow,
Why man, this is war a go-go
There’s plenty good money to be made
By supplying the Army with the tools of the trade,
But just hope and pray that if they drop the bomb,
They drop it on the Viet Cong.

REFRAIN

Come on mothers throughout the land,
Pack your boys off to Vietnam.
Come on fathers, don’t hesitate
Send them off before it’s too late.
Be the first one on the block
To have your boy come home in a box.

REFRAIN

Merry preppers, unite!

I just learned a for me new word: prepper. And it reminds me of, of all non-people, Gladstone Gander  (Alexander Lukas).

Let’s hear what Wikimama has to say about preppers. Note my underlining.

“Survivalism is a movement of individuals or groups (called survivalists or preppers) who are actively preparing for emergencies, including possible disruptions in social or political order, on scales from local to international. The words prepper and prep are derived from the word prepare.”

But why Gladstone, this lazy and infuriatingly lucky goose? Because when he finds money on the street, typically a big note (a hundred dollar note or so) he says “Typical!”.  He is a lucky guy.

We less lucky folks say “typical” when we LOSE money. One could say we are less optimistic than Gladstone, but the situation is much more interesting than so: — If “prepper” comes from prepare, what do preppers prepare for? Well, disaster, of course. Emergencies, disruptions, the bad, the worst.

That can be a wise thing — sometimes.

But there’s another thing to consider. What said the epitaph on the grave of the hypochondriac?

“I told you I was sick!”

Funny and revealing. It shows how we humans love to be right. It matters not so much what we are right about, only THAT we are.

I suspect some members of sects and religions that predicted the end of the world would have personally detonated the Big Final Bomb themselves if they could — when their prediction didn’t come true. Rather kill all, than live with the shame of BEING WRONG!!!

I wonder how much these preppers court disaster themselves, imagining it, dreaming about it, almost longing for it…. I mean, if it doesn’t come, and come soon, all their prep was in vain, for naught.

We could introduce a term here: self-prepared disaster. A variant of self-fulfilling prophecy.

The attitude of The Venusian Peace project is of course the the opposite.

You eat what you prepare!

We say: Prepare for what you want not what you don’t want. If you prepare meat-balls, don’t expect strawberry pie for dinner. Meat-balls it will be.

Where are the instruments of peace?

A friend says, apropos the difficulties peace has with the competition (war).

“It’s all about instruments.

You see, everything becomes easier when there are instruments for the job, when things are easy to visualize.

With war all this is taken care of, but not with peace. You hear the word, you see the picture in your mind. That helps.

The instruments of war are well known, often visually attractive, crafted to please even the aesthetic among us.”

“And admit it — even if you are a peacenik there is a certain magic in holding a beautiful knife or revolver in your hand.

You can sense that it speaks to your centripetal instincts.  It focuses power. The tip of the knife, the muzzle of the gun stands for focus,  aim. Those things are philosophically important as well.

So you see that what you call the “competition” has the instruments. Peace hasn’t.”

Oh yeah? I reply. Watch this.



These instruments of peace are not shooting anything or anyone. They are diffusing, sharing, filling the atmosphere with vibrations.

Or look at this angelic “army” of Ondes Martenot players. They sure have instruments.

And let’s not forget the most basic instrument of all. Again, easy to visualize.

Some instruments of war, like shotguns and cluster bombs,  also do not focus. Instead they diffuse and spread their deadly content over large areas.

Musical instruments spread life-giving matter over large areas.

So next time you think of “peace”, think this:

Or this:

The instruments of peace are all around us. We just have to look in the right direction.

Enemies of peace: FRUSTRATION

Enemy is a war-word, but I wanted to make the statement strong. We can say “obstacle” but I believe it’s more than that.

The frustration I am thinking of is aligned with fatalism. (Frustration is more active while fatalism moves towards coma.)

“The world is in a mess, people are disagreeing, quarreling, shouting, shooting and killing each other. Everything if going down the drain… and… there’s just nothing I can do about it… How frustrating it all is!”

If it really were so — that you could do nothing — it would be bad indeed. But there are things we can do. The situation can be changed.

-How? And whence your optimism?

I am optimistic because we are the situation. We are inside of it, not outside.  That’s reason for hope.

I am not only a cat, I am also part of the house and the household.

So there is reason for hope. Very importantly, we don’t really KNOW what is possible until we have tried. Surmising will not do.

The danger of frustration/fatalism is that it makes us resign and give up at the very first step.  We lose before even entering the contest. The best, certainly the cheapest, way to win a war is making your opponent think he has no chance of winning.

He will surrender without even having collected himself and his forces. Just listen to Mr Fatalist.

FIND failure REPLACE success

Since frustration and fatalism are so strong it is VERY IMPORTANT to get them out of the way and regain hope, restore  faith in our ability to change things.

I mean, look at me. Who am I? A musician, a pianist who got into his head that he could perhaps make a BIG difference with these thoughts about peace and Venus.

A cardinal aspect of the question is  doing. Action is needed. But not just muscular effort fueled by strong emotions, not just shouting slogans in a protest march. That is not enough.

Thinking is needed, but that also is not enough. Intelligent thinking needs be aligned with action.

When we actually DO something we immediately feel less frustrated. That also goes for shouting in a protest march, but I personally distrust slogans and emotion-based shouting. Yes, it is good to shout away, as Sally Bowles did in Cabaret under a railway bridge. But shouting and marching will just get rid of surplus energy; it will not create harmony.

You can hear the paradox and dissonance of that. Harmony is not born from disharmony.

Fighting fire with fire.

So we need to act but also think carefully about WHAT to do. Sometimes  this is not hard at all. A very simple, but still often not performed action  is SHARING.

Instead of sharing fun videos and pictures of cute animals we can share important thoughts with our friends and acquaintances. If they also realize the “Power of Now Share” the rings on the water can grow into substantial proportions. What was mere marginal intellectual effort can turn into intelligent heat wave, which in turn waters the soil for a harmonious future.

There are other things one can do, like meeting with friends and arrange occasions for discussing peace and unite in activities such as music making, philosophical/paxological cafes, etc.

If possible, try to meet in the real broadband of the IRL world (= all the senses are online, as opposed to the ridiculously low (but admittedly fast) bandwidth of the digital world). In the digital domain it is soo easy to just sit and sit, click here and there, but not do much more.

And more is needed for peace.

So give Venusian peace a chance and watch out for the frustration virus. You could start by sharing this article.

Welcome

Welcome to Prepare for Peace, one third of the Venusian Peace Project.

The subject here is obviously peace, but not in an obvious way. When we say the word “peace” certain associations pop up, but they are not very relevant here.

Venusian peace is a different animal. Fortunately. Because the usual kind of peace is neither very interesting, enjoyable, or even peaceful. Some think of balance of power as peace, while weapon-based peace does not strike us as being peaceful.

Venus does.

That’s why this is called the Venusian Peace Project.

If the word “peace” is a container, we suggest that the content be harmony, art, music, balance, beauty and love.

Those Venusian qualities makes peace capable of withstanding and balancing the competition, which is war and foremost crypto-war (= milder forms of war-related activities like debates, tournaments, contests, action movies, computer games, and generally most things built on the win-lose model. As in the motto for the movie The Highlander: THERE CAN BE ONLY ONE.)

What is today called peace we call proto-peace — not yet real peace.

Venusian peace is peace in bloom.

Alfred Stevens Portrait d'une jeune femme

Here is a video presentation:

Ladislaus Horatius

[The painting: Portrait d’une jeune femme by Alfred Stevens]