Music, Other, Politics, Religion

Why We Need Art

Art humanises and grounds absolutely any political issue or conflict ever. People are moved by music, tears, poetry, photographs, paintings, novels and by sculpture.

People are not emotionally affected by spreadsheets, statistics or mathematical equations (okay except maybe this guy*). When you marry the hard facts with the stuff that effects a person’s kare-ā-roto, their emotions, their wairua, you make people start to sit up and listen to you. That is the magic formula, and that is what I have been discovering. Everything must be rooted in truth, to make an impact, one must be real and raw. We must be gentle, and we must be educated. We must be wise and we must be vulnerable (when appropriate and safe to do so). We must be kind to ourselves before we can be kind to others. We must be functional, and we must continue to learn always. We must not manipulate. We must be brave. We must recognise our differences, appreciate them for what they are, understand the underlying problems, trauma, shame and horror, before we can resolve anything. I try my best to squint into the light, to see further, but usually I come up with nothing but sore eyes.

What if the white men had listened, seen the beauty of te tangata whenua and tried to learn te reo māori instead of using force, violence and enslavement at Parihaka?

What if the US had called up Vietnam and said “Hey, let’s actually have a kind kōrero rather than dropping bombs over your precious whenua?”

What if homosexuality was no longer seen as abhorrent and damning in the Islamic faith?

What if in our classrooms we taught meditation, how to feel the music, got tamariki fingers deep in soil to plant to their petits coeurs desires, taught maths with movement, consent (at an age appropriate level), climbed trees and wrote poetry and waiata together? Never ever underestimate children. They hear and see everything: a lot of the time, it’s stuff most adults have forgotten to look at.

All my mind has is me and so I give myself to all of the world. Even when the world can’t handle it. Si vous aimez-vous, vous pouvez voler!

Art speaks when people cry, when noses bleed, when hearts hurt, when faces burn, when guns fire, and when te tangata rise.

*Come to think of it, this guy is absolutely marrying mathematics with music, an art form. Physics and mathematics are very obviously intrinsic to music theory, once one starts to uncover the patterns. I don’t know shit about physics or mathematics but I can appreciate them conceptually from afar…very, very afar.


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