“I was a teenage anarchist, but then the scene got too rigid.
It was a mob mentality, they set their rifle sights on me.
Narrow visions of autonomy, you want me to surrender my identity.
I was a teenage anarchist, the revolution was a lie.” – Against Me!
This may go against the current mindset of the times we live in, but I insist; don’t let music define you.
We’ve all had amazing moments with music. Whether it be that perfect song that came on for the long drive home, or those magical time warp memories that pour like a flood of nostalgia when that certain song is played; it’s safe to say that human beings have some transcendent love affair with rhythm and melody. Whether you would explain this connection with theistic tendencies or prefer to rationalize it to being just dopamine-induced pleasure, we can all agree that music is meant to be enjoyed.
But if there is anything humans are good at, it would be messing up a good thing.
When we push beyond the simple enjoyment of music, we have the tendency to turn a great thing into a quasi-religious dogma. It no longer is a release, a cathartic experience, a temporary escape. We warp it into an inflexible benchmark in which to measure all else with spite. We create this type of cancer, and like cancer it spreads into all other aspects of our lives. It turns fashion into uniforms and suppresses dissenting viewpoints in favor of the group mindset.
It seems to be a natural for us to fall into this pattern. Truth is we’re all guilty of this, our hypocrisy knows no bounds. The petty squabbling and group infighting are just par for the course. It’s expected, and can be twisted rather effectively. Ever seen people rally around a band/genre when they make scapegoats and pariahs of others?
Is this really the path we need to take? Aren’t we are so much more than the music we chose to listen to?
Choosing to keep the status quo is easy. Daring to go against the grain means getting splinters, but it’s so worth it. Freedom is only freeing when you make those hard choices against the social chains that hold you down. Quit your band if you have to ;). Sometimes the only way to win the game is to not even play.