Saturday morning quotes 3.30: Support our tropes
“…Secure at least $50,000 per annum. Beyond this never earn—make no effort to increase fortune, but spend the surplus each year for benevolent purposes. Cast aside business forever, except for others.”
– Andrew Carnegie, note to self (1868)
As we launch a new effort to fund our next three recordings, we hope our readers will visit our Support Our Tropes campaign—if for no other reason than to view the spiffy new video Donna has created. We take note here of historical motivations for philanthropy, and the lasting benefits we have seen from the likes of Andrew Carnegie. Carnegie was certainly a focused individual, and built his industrial empire at great cost to his workers and the environment. But he was just as focused in his dedication to paying our society back in terms of cultural dividends.
For those of us who have been paying attention, world events have taken a very strange turn since the dawn of the new millennium. Everyone has been affected by the squeezing of funds and the reduction of disposable income as the cost of living normal life has far outpaced our power to earn. Except for those dwelling in the top income bracket, we have all had to tighten our belts and adjust our expectations of what is necessary and what is less important.
Market forces have always had an overriding influence on the general tone, portals of access and overall availability of the arts to the public. Market forces today have seriously undermined the value of aesthetic pursuits, favoring public indulgence in more tangible trappings and tasteless trinkets that are outmoded and obsolete as soon as they are plucked from the shelves of the real or virtual gadget shops – particularly in the US. In yet another blow against real and personal interaction, we read this week that Amazon will soon be delivering gadgets from their oxymoronically-named “fulfillment centers” via unmanned drones, striking yet another blow against human involvement in routine commerce.
In our gadget-centered lives, can we even identify the important shreds and shards of our cultural past that we should hold onto to recall and reinforce our humanity? What can we indulge in and cling to that will preserve a long history of artistic achievement and cultural identity? What sort of legacy can we leave to future generations of open and inquiring minds; young people who are jaded by a surfeit of technological toys and bereft of cultural heritage?
We’re here to tell you that knowledge of historical music is essential to retaining our humanity. Stories are told in song. Polyphonic music fosters non-verbal communication and interdependent creativity. Musical-mathematical understanding lends a framework of logic and an interpretive cultural guide to an otherwise chaotic world. If we lose these things, we don’t merely step over outmoded styles and unfashionable associations: We lose skill-based emblems of cultural achievements that are forsaken for insubstantial jingles, drum machines, faked images and electronic noises.
Our lives are dedicated to putting real people in touch with real music in ways that we hope help us all remember our humanity in these times when authentic human contact is a vanishing element. This blog, faithfully maintained for the past three years, and for which we receive no revenue from adverts that may appear, is just one example of our commitment to preserving the things that define us as kind and cultured human beings.
We hope our readers will support our campaign to fund our next three recordings, and pass the word of our work to family and friends. Support our tropes.