Sunday, July 08, 2012

Natural vs. Civilized


The past few months have been a roller-coaster of unexpected events and revelations about people in our lives. A concert tour that was supposed to last ten days in August has been extended to a whole month. We reinforced existing friendships and reconsidered new collaborations. By not making profit our ultimate goal, only a desirable collateral perk and a means to a higher purpose, we have attracted not only highly auspicious friends, but also our share of people of a questionable integrity, or simple collaborators who, maybe unwillingly, mistook our not-necessarily-going-for-profit with affording-to-lose. In our constant effort of keeping our connection to persons whom we considered loyal friends and collaborators on the old continent, we were stunned at the extent some people whom we considered above any doubt can change when fleeting fame or power is bestowed upon them. Which made me think about what is considered natural in human behavior. In view of my sustainability studies.
It is only natural for a student to challenge their master. Natural, but not necessarily civilized. And by challenge I mean also shunning, ignoring, brushing off, being rude, double-crossing, abusing trust - the whole shebang that a lack of gratitude can bring. There's no master ego threatening progress here. There is no need for such an obtuse attitude and behavior. Dear former and eternal student, you will find out that gratitude is not natural. Gratitude is not even mere common sense. Gratitude is a higher level of conscience, of which your archaic brain that is pushing you to challenge your good old master is not capable. And the sad thing is that your archaic brain, fed and dazed by your current success and inflated ego, is tricking you to think that your good old master didn't teach you anything you couldn't learn on your own or from other sources. It makes you foolish enough not to see that your master is forever part of who you are as an artist. We wish you good luck and everything you need in your life and career.
It is only natural for a (formerly?) bohemian writer to want to collaborate only with people that hold higher values than money as their goals, to expect the trust of everyone around them, to want them acting on a mere handshake, to cut off everyone they consider too petty or greedy, to give in to rage fits or act on mood swings. All that is natural, but not necessarily civilized. Not by rashly gauging everybody through the same reductionist set of criteria. Dear former friend and eternal boho, you will find out that acting professionally does not come naturally. Expecting their not-for-profit collaborators to stoop below dignity, refusing to apologize when in error, threatening, taking back their own word after claiming that a handshake is enough, is not only uncivilized, but also insulting. We wish you wisdom and best of luck in your future cultural endeavors.

In the meantime, as far as sustainability is concerned - now THAT IS BOTH natural and civilized. Related post to follow.
Here's to nature, gratitude, civilization, professionalism and sustainable friendships!

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