Matters of Perspective
For some today brings feelings of elation. For many, the day brings feelings of almost total devastation. Individual matters of perspective are at work. For me, on this exquisite autumn morning, walking in a neighborhood I love, in a city I love, things were just somehow less beautiful – and for the time being, loveliness is diminished.
But perspective is hard at work. I thought of President Obama on my walk, and of how differently people have viewed him. How beloved he has been by many – a distinguished, dignified, intelligent, and reasoned man. Others have despised and vilified him. Baffling.
And today on my neighborhood walk, I thought of the puzzling modernist story In A Grove, by Ryūnosuke Akutagawa. (Akira Kurosawa adapted In A Grove into the landmark 1950 film Rashōmon.)
The story is very short and filled with violence. There are three characters – a young man and young woman are traveling through a wood where they meet another man who abducts them. The young woman is raped, and the young man dies. There is a trial, and each of the three characters retells the story from their own perspective, none of which agree.
Again, objectively, there occur abduction, multiple assaults, theft, and the story in the wood ends with a death. But what is the truth about how the events played out? Each story is different. For instance, the death is retold variously as a brutal murder, a matter of honor, and a suicide. Matters of perspective are at work, but there is objective truth.
Right? Isn’t there objective truth?
Here is a good lesson on perspective from Peanuts.
It’s nice to have songs to help us experience things – to celebrate or to heal. Fall is great for finding new songs.
This is new and I just love the vibe, the young woman’s voice, and the simplicity of the song.
Song 36 by Alexia Avina (2016).
And for perspective, she reminds me of this artist who was an enormous favorite from over thirty years ago.
Some Journey by Suzanne Vega from Suzanne Vega (1985 A&M Records).
Here is another pair of similar songs I love that are thirty years apart.
To Know You by Wild Nothing from Life of Pause (2016 Captured Tracks).
It’s My Life by Talk Talk from the album It’s My Life (1984 Manhattan Records).
How much has changed! How much has remained the same…
What a Diff’rence a Day Makes by Dinah Washington from What a Diff’rence a Day Makes. (1959 Mercury).
Drinking Again by Dinah Washington from Drinking Again (1962 Roullette).
Bottoms up. Be good to one another. Take deep breaths. Increase loveliness.
9 November 2016