I have been thinking about this for a while. What makes a human pursue “meaning” in life? What is it that brings a sense of purpose to one’s existence? It sounds like fancy philosophical anecdotal small talk. But truly, this is at the very core of whatever we do in life. In every single decision we make, tiny or large. That’s when I realised that it’s not the “quarter life crisis” talking but that it’s an absolutely essential conversation I needed to have with myself.
Being a musician is subjective. Anybody can call themselves a musician today as I do so myself. But judgments and opinions aside, what truly makes you a call yourself one? Is it the set of skills and techniques you’ve earned to show off? Or the music you claim to understand? Or a religion you think you embrace? My pursuit with “meaning” in life has been tied to this idea of musicianship for a while. So it was only natural that this thought came up. And off late, I realised that the feeling of worthlessness has got me closer to the answer I was looking for.
Worthlessness, not in a way as to put yourself down or to demotivate yourself. But the worthlessness that I talk about is the sheer acceptance that you truly are a speck of dust in the universe. That makes the world infinitely bigger, limitlessly mysterious and equally exciting.
In the universe of music too, I feel the same way about it. In the past few months I’ve been around with incredible musicians like Leslie Charles and Ramanan Chandramouli, I’ve been exposed to so much music. Different kinds of music, different philosophies as to what music means to somebody (take the Blushing Satellite album “The Union” for example) and different ways of approaching how to create music. And I realised the truth as to how less I know about music and how less I chose to know about it (less being an understatement).
Given that I identify my existence by using the word “music”, it was ironic that this realisation was an absolutely wonderful feeling. Because my world of music just got bigger!
Worthlessness means to have no real value. What freedom of burden to prove anything to anyone, especially your ego! What a sense of humility worthlessness brings. To remove the filters of your own need for meaning and truly appreciate a piece of music (Mama’s Gun by Erykah Badu that’s been going on loop for 2 weeks comes to mind as I write this). The feeling brings a fire in me that craves for more.
Feeling worthless, I was left with just the music.
No control, no opinions, no me. Just.. Music. How ironic that this feeling of worthlessness made my existence feel like it’s worth! Gave me reason to pursue and explore, not to prove something but to do it for the love of it. Now I dunno about you, but that’s true love!
It made my world of music infinitely bigger and infinitely more adventurous! And exploring this world regardless of your musical ability, your musical vocabulary, your claim for the term “musician” makes it all worth it; in other words, exploring music “worthlessly”, makes it all worth it!
That’s what people like Leslie taught me, they know this. After all that’s where I discovered it.
I know probably to many, most of this either sounds paradoxical or maybe just some mumbo jumbo. It doesn’t matter anyways. lol
Here’s to more music, more love and more worthlessness!