Part of the art of (music) conducting is anticipation paired with critical analysis of what has happened and what is happening in real-time. An artist has either learned or has the natural ability to think out of the box. A conductor hopefully has both qualities.
A conductor is constantly influencing the ensemble with his/her movements, decisions, opinions, knowledge, and is therefore highly alert as to the consequences of his/her actions, as it is directly heard in the resulting sound. A conductor simply knows that there is a consequence to every action, and knows to accept it and more importantly, learn from it.
If there is one thing that has become blatantly obvious to me, is that some of the few that are openly critical of the world situation are conductors. While many just follow the policies imposed by the government because they have full trust in the experts, therefore feeling obliged to comply, there are also those who scrutinize these rules critically and question their motive and use in combatting the situation. And these people, in my network, are all conductors. Perhaps the explanation is simple: we are leaders and don’t like to be led. Perhaps the explanation is as I stated above: we are trained to analyze.
I’ll give my abbreviated look on the situation.
We have an acceleration of crisis’s happening simultaneously: a (relatively mild*) pandemic combined with a continually worsening (Western) health crisis, species extinction due to varying factors (poaching, steadily decreasing wild areas, climate change, pesticides, disease due to global traffic), climate change causing ocean acidification, melting of the ice caps and sea-level rise, social unrest due to a dramatic decrease in resources (of course linked to climate change!) and a dramatic increase of social inequality, housing crisis due to combined factors of overpopulation and financial inequality (the last inevitably linked to the first), frighteningly uncontrollable technological expansion. And while we are frantically trying to find solutions to all of these individual problems, we are unable to accept this axiom: every action has a consequence. Or as the English have stated so elegantly: you can’t have your cake and eat it too.
What does this mean (in my opinion)?
— As an individual, you can’t disregard your personal responsibility for your health. As a nation, you can’t sacrifice the health of your citizens for economic growth (and I’m not even talking about the corona crisis).
— Infinite economic growth is not possibly on a finite planet.
— As a society, if we hold ethical (human) standards as a supreme, that will inevitably have a negative influence on our environment and eventually will be our downfall. (this last one needs explanation)
- Exponential population growth is not sustainable and will cause devastating suffering (therefore meaning that inalienable reproductive rights are impossible to sustain)
- A health system based on prolonging life at the cost of quality of life is unjust and financially not feasible.
The crisis that we are facing now is not that all of the above is happening simultaneously (which it is), but that we are unable to come to terms with the fact that we MUST accept the consequences of our actions. We are collectively unable to manage ourselves within the natural balance needed for survival on this planet. Because of our collective failure, the consequence is that de planet will do it for us. If we are to survive, we must accept several things. First, the only manner of survival is to accept mass-management on a world level and downscale to pre-industrial levels. Second, there is no way to evade the consequences of the mistakes made by the previous generations. We must face the reality of the situation.
So why are many of my colleagues critical of how the governments are handling the current crisis's?
Me personally: I see a hard-headed focus on the corona crisis to be a harmful diversion from the real work that needs to be done to combat climate change and the sadly almost inevitable human suffering that will ensue. I see a societal egotism that insists on survival at the astronomical mental and financial cost and brainwashing of our younger generations and the plundering of the planet. I see a society that insists that the present is more important than the future. In short, nobody is conducting. Nobody is anticipating. Nobody is able to steer us into balance and harmony. We're a cacophony of bickering voices plunging into chaos.
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orchestral and choral conductor, my daily conducting life described here.