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Italian Opera, Toilet Rolls, and Choices

While Italians sing on the balconies, World leaders reassure the masses, and shoppers-of-stuff have found a new thing to obsess about — toilet rolls, writers keep on writing, and creators keep on creating.

The thing about the human race is that it loves a big challenge to bring the best out in itself.

I’m always amazed and inspired when I read about people who endured the World Wars. While soldiers at the front were fighting tyrants, they didn’t forget who they themselves really were. Musicians who practiced their scales either mentally and with self discipline, or guitar players who carved a four inch fretboard to practice on and keep their fingers in shape while in the trenches.

Writers who knew that whatever they experienced, however horrific, had to be recorded in detail. Even by creating a memory system that would help them to remember the traumas, or finding scraps of paper to scribble notes on. They remembered, and tried their best to make sense of what they had seen.

Painters, normally used to working in a comfortable studio in London, scratched their sketches onto materials, mess tins, and coats.

Their humanity, the very thing that raises each individual above the baseness of selfish thinking, caused them to believe that one day things would be back to normal and their insights would be needed.

People would need to be soothed by the musicians´ gentle strains, and the writers needed to record narratives and fictional accounts of things that people later would need to make sense of in their individual lives.

There are many ways a musician can use instruments of voice, lute, or keyboard, to express feelings that everybody can understand.

Italians love to sing. The Welsh love to sing too, yet they express different sentiments of the soul. Somehow, an Italian can sing a song and make you smile, or laugh with joy, while a Welsh tenor can bring tears to your eyes without you knowing why — the melancholy of their voices makes your heart stir, really, with the depths of the valley, and then the voice of Italian joy that bounces against the whitewashed walls of the town Stradas to create a dance.

Artists from all walks of life have a job to do — it’s always unpaid, no contract to hand, and never a promise of anything but illusionary “fame and glory”.

Each nation has its art. The Americans, and I agree with Clint Eastwood here, have Jazz as their true classical music — a beautiful music that comes in many forms. The flexibility of how jazz can be played is as broad as the fields. It’s roots narrow and loose as twelve bar blues. Both cause us to dance, think, and to feel the range of emotions that, normally, are hidden from the workaday lifestyle.

Great writers of every nation have contributed, and still contribute, to the ongoing saga of human beingness. We are experiencing the turmoil of what it means to live on a small planet populated by big egos who expect to be serenaded by the artists and writers, the poets and musicians.

Sometimes, I love the little thought of how the world would be if all artists went on strike. Every single creator refusing to entertain, inform, or be creative in any way.

It would certainly be entertaining to finally see the dawning realizations of the elite, as they sit in their smouldering spite, and the artists refuse to perform when a penny is dropped into their hat.

Crisis hits and the artists come out to work. They toil at their desks, sit alone and practice, and some who have passionately trained and trained for many years, finally have their day. People need to be uplifted, to be carried away from fear and reminded that we live above the mud-piles of the marshes. We have spirit.

Art raises the spirit. It reminds us to look deeper, because when we do, we will find more value within ourselves, than in the next fleeting thing to buy.

The complexity of the mind is hard to fathom, to live fully and wholly through the spectrum of emotions isn’t possible, so we make choices about what’s important.

When an opera singer stands on an Italian balcony and sings, it is a beautiful thing. It is fleeting, but it will resonate in everybody’s soul, long after. Not to be forgotten. It will be written about, talked about and warmly smiled about much later. We immediately recognise that it has true value.

Humanity is going through the changes these days, we see the damage that we have all been causing as a result of focusing on just one thing — make more money, sell lots of stuff.

Fear drives sales, because humans are a fearful lot. Easily manipulated into believing terrible things about everything they don’t understand. We put trust in our leaders, and they spin a narrative for us to chew on. They don’t want us to think about it, just react. We buy toilet rolls to save ourselves.

Our leaders, all over the democratic world, have been feeding us fear-filled narratives for years now. They love it, it works. There are no more freedom fighters left in the world, only terrorists. Every citizen must be watched, controlled and checked electronically, otherwise they will probably steal something. That’s the action behind the narrative we are being told to follow.

We are being taught to respond to everything in daily life, with a click. The news pops up, we must click and read the latest speculations on how terrible everything is becoming.

They give us no choice, so we must remember to exercise choice.

Art gives us a choice. We can follow the fearful narratives that drive clicks and reads on the internet, that will eventually lead to being served up adverts for solutions, or we can choose to retain our dignity by doing what humans do in times of trouble, follow the spirit of humanity.

There are many people who are worried that the Coronavirus will not be stopped, or that it will infect them, and that they will succumb to its effects.

Fear causes us to forget to live. It petrifies the soul and turns it to stone. That can be worse than a physical sickness, in many ways. Hospitals are full of people who have succumbed to the sickness of fear. Their souls are done.

Each day we wake, we check the latest news on the Coronavirus, to see what has happened. Each time we read about it, we are hoping that something positive has happened, but it hasn’t. It probably won’t change for a while, it’ll peak after more stringent controls have been put into effect and contact between humans is minimized. That’s the news.

For now, we can observe humanity’s response and learn about about human beingness.

The choice to buy as much toilet roll as possible, just in case something terrible happens.

Or to retain our dignity and remember to live fully, to engage in life without fear.

To stand on a balcony and smile, to sing, and not forget that humans need each other for support, we don’t want to be fed fearful scenarios of death and destruction.

The Italians have always contributed great art to the World. It’s hardly surprising that they lead the way in showing us how to stay in touch and continue to communicate.

Families gathering on balconies, speaking with neighbors. Maurizio Marchini singing an aria “Nessun Dorma” — None Shall Sleep.

We always have a choice of how we feel; fearful, happy, humorous, melancholic, brave, dignified and courageous. It’s a choice.

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