By Dave Collins - Occasionally I find comments from deep thinkers, perhaps written years ago, that fit our time, or at least help explain what our culture is going through today. It is almost like a premonition or a template that we are following without even realizing it. I decided to share this to help put our present day in context.
James Baldwin was an essayist, playwright and novelist regarded as a highly insightful (born 1924, died 1987). He wrote in part, “We forget that our particular moment, with all its tribulation and triumphs, is not neatly islanded in the river of time but swept afloat by massive cultural currents that have raged long before it and will rage long after.
“People who believe in fundamental and irreversible changes in human nature are themselves ahistorical and naive. If novelist know anything it’s that individual citizens are internally plural: they have within them the full range of behavioral possibilities. The are like complex musical scores from which certain melodies can be teased out and others ignored or suppressed, depending, at least in part, on who is doing the conducting
At this moment, all over the world, and most recently in America, the conductors standing in front of this human orchestra have only the meanest and most banal melodies in mind.
Here in Germany you will remember these martial songs; they are not a very distant memory. But there is no place on earth where they have not been played at one time or another. Those of us who remember, too, a finer music must try now to play it, and encourage others, if we can, to sing along.”