A guitar player I know just posted a summary of his life, on social media.
Guitar players being legion on this planet, many of us tend to pigeonhole these ubiquitous musicians. We not so subconsciously sort them into: 1.) Great! 2.) Solid. 3.) …not so hot. And, then we go about our lives.
This man, however, was a breed apart. He’d done what our generation would have called “everything”. His fingers traveling so far beyond the frets had been in so many pies, professions, callings. And, because we all KNEW him, we also accepted his life accomplishments as valid. True. No question. They all really happened.
Now, why would we not challenge his veracity?
“We” are the generation that birthed the music of the ’70’s. The last intimate ballad. The recording that just was – no gimmicks; no video enhancements; no synthetic percussion; no studio production. And, we couldn’t have known how important this would become, to that fading value: history.
Oprah Winfrey recently spoke, at a Tennessee commencement*. Her topic? The Impostor Syndrome. By now, we all know its definition: “Fake it ’til you make it.”
And, what has this errant directive birthed?
Liar, extraordinaire. Now, facing the music of his masquerade.
Time was, if you did it, you could prove it; if you didn’t, no way could you find acceptance among the self respecting.
“We” aren’t sure who came up with the outlandish idea that faking anything in order to reach status of any worth was the way to go. One thing is certain: the service industry, just to name one, is rife with its following; how many phone calls to customer support yield “I’m sorry for the inconvenience” and “let me put you on hold”? Too many.
Entire enterprises are populated by the oblivious, whose only observable skills include Googling Wikipedia, submitting a screen grabbed report, taking a long lunch, and leaving early. Gone is what used to be called “toil.” Sweat, and blood. Feeling that good kind of tired, at the end of a highly productive day.
On the other hand, jumping on the treadmill of the masses, striving to achieve, hoping somebody notices – that led our generation to the Land of Diminishing Returns. A life really well lived used to be its own reward; now, we lean back in our proverbial rockers and watch the vastly under-experienced sail past us, some of them actually flying, never breaking basal body temp, and swinging from one brass ring to the next like a cage full of monkeys.
Enter the devices of man, as catalyst. Robotics; artificial intelligence; pre-programmed machines, replacing live workers. Perhaps the current generation in charge feels obliteration nipping at its heels; maybe the going motivation is just getting through the day without losing grip on the ledge.
Yet, the glimmer of hope pulsates. Vinyl records are back. Being able to touch something made by another human, without threat of its virtual presence vaporizing in the next second….
In our collective gut, we sense that returning to authenticity is our only survival. Living the true story – the only path which will lead us away from extinction.
*I didn’t listen to the entire speech; any thoughts verbalized in this piece which resemble statements she made therein are entirely coincidental (or, channeled?).
Copyright 5/12/2023 Ruth Ann Scanzillo. All rights those of the author, whose story it is(inspired by guitarist et al, Joseph Popp) and whose name really does appear above this line. No copying – in part; whole; or, by translation – permitted; sharing by blog link, exclusively. Thank you for being real.