When I remember certain periods of my life, it’s really like I’m remembering different people. I know I’ve touched on this before but the feeling struck me full on today while reminiscing with a friend about college years. We both went to the same college quite a few years apart. As I was listening to his stories and telling some of my own it’s like we were describing two people that we knew. I am not who I was then. In fact, I don’t really like who I was then, and that furthers this sense of detachment that I have. I don’t want to be associated with that person. He was immature, blindly angry, and pissed away a million opportunities that presented themselves. Now the obvious response to that is that if things hadn’t happened that way, then I wouldn’t be the person I am today. That’s an easy out, and possibly true. But who is to say how I would have turned out, had I actually put some effort into anything that I did back then? Maybe I would have turned out with the same personality and values that I have now, but with a better career, and more developed skills. No way to know so I just move on.
This is mildly related to another discussion that a coworker and I were having about history and my apparent lack of appreciation for it. I frequently get criticized by fellow musicians because of the fact that I’m not that familiar with “classic” music from previous eras. Also certain “classic” bands that I am familiar but don’t really care for tend to set the critical fires ablaze in others. It’s not that I don’t appreciate these things necessarily it’s that I don’t consider them “validated” just because they may have been the basis for a current band that I listen to. An argument I always hear is “You know ‘band x’ wouldn’t even exist if it wasn’t for ‘band a’ paving the way.” Yes I am aware of this and it is the stupidest argument I’ve ever heard. Did you know that no music would exist at all if it wasn’t for cavemen banging animal bones on rocks and grunting to the rhythm? Want to go buy an album of that? Do you think that sounds good? Follow my logic? Just because something set the stage, doesn’t mean that it is the stage. Most modern rock has been influenced by the beatles, Bob Dylan, Elvis, Jimi Hendrix, etc, etc. Does that mean I have to like all of that music? Nope. Does it mean that I have to regard as something special? Nope. It is what it is. Music from a time that’s passed that I may or may not like at this given moment.
I am of the belief that everything should be taken at face value. This relates to all things, not just entertainment (although that’s an easy example). So if a movie, or album, or book was considered great at the time of its creation, does that mean that it’s forever great? No! Classics will stand the test of time, but that doesn’t mean that everyone has to like them. You can appreciate the fact that they’ve managed to appeal to so many different cultures and time periods but they don’t HAVE to appeal to you. The Bible is a prime example of that. Shakespeare is another. Wizard of Oz is a great one. Pink Floyd The Wall is not! It’s barely been around for 30 years. Let’s give it another few decades and see where it lands.
This also relates to people, and relationships. Everything should be taken at face value. If your mother gave birth to you but then proceeded to treat you terribly for the rest of your life why would you keep in contact with her? The argument “She’s your mother” doesn’t hold up. That’s just a title. What if you found out you were adopted at birth and she really isn’t your mother. Then she’s just some bitch who treated you like shit for 20 years, right? A word is just a word. A similar situation applies to friends. If you’re friends with someone for many years but then that relationship starts to dwindle, would you continue being friends with them? Some people do on the basis that they’ve “always been friends.” That is the stupidest thing I’ve ever heard. Everything, every relationship, every situation, every product, every life must be taken at face value. It doesn’t matter where it comes from, what it’s done, what’s been accomplished because of it, or what your history with it is. All that matters is what the current connection and significance is. That’s my ranting for today.