Monday, May 18, 2015

Thoughts on Music and Peace


Can a concert bring World Peace?




We believe the answer is, "Yes, as a part of many efforts."  Ravi Shankar, the late master of classical Indian music, discusses the power of music to transmit thoughts and ideas in the mini documentary, 'The Soul of Tradition,'  included as a bonus with the CD, The Concert for World Peace.  We also know, speaking from experience, that it is hard to imagine—here in the US—that a concert can undo all that has been done to hinder World Peace.  Our official narratives are so narrow and our mainstream media strives so unrelentingly to maintain a very minimal and controlled view of the world.

The minds of the masses are often turned away from concepts that could build World Peace.  This begins from the moment they are first compelled to stand, facing the national flag, hands over heart, reciting the Pledge of Allegiance.  This Pledge is part of an on-going propaganda program that turns  people away from world unity and towards a national sectarian vision, where, essentially, it is us, the U.S., against them; namely, everyone else.

This Pledge ends with a promise.  A promise that has never been delivered: “With liberty and justice for all.”  Not only has this promise not been delivered to the American people, it is strategically denied to the people of the world, through our actions and attitudes, which are rooted in our personal and national narratives.  And thus, in this Pledge, in this oft repeated broken promise we learn to lie, to accept lies, and to believe lies against all evidence, from a very early age.

We have been brainwashed and propagandized.  However, fortunately, some of us resisted.  Some of us resisted from an early age.  Some of us waited until we entered adolescences or young adulthood, and then we began to question.  Some of us, later in life, turned our minds away from this disparity of values and began to look at the world with a curious intellect, a yearning spirit, an openness in the heart.  These are some of the  finer human qualities, found blooming or dormant in all of us, that we can draw on as we begin to imagine World Peace.

Media and technology have been double-edged swords.  Pursuit of the materials of technology has led (and continues to lead) to the rape of our ecosystems and the exile and exploitation of Indigenous people.  Pursuit of technology has led to ever-more-automated systems of oppression and war, as well as the increasing levels of sophistication in the propaganda we are surrounded by.  The haves are increasingly insulated from the devastation they bring upon other human beings and on the planet as well, through technology.

On the other hand, technology can bring the world closer together and teach us to heal.  Through the sharing of arts, of stories and music, and through citizen journalism we begin, by our own efforts, to democratize the world; to build bridges of solidarity and human feeling across those walls of ideological and national separation.  Technology can become the tool of World Peace.

We can bring World Peace into our homes, into our hearts, into our imagination; and let it flourish and grow.  To embrace World Peace, we must embrace the world.  Music, world music in all of its wonderful culturally diverse expressions, is one very powerful way we can bring the world, and the idea of World Peace into our homes.  The music of the world is increasingly available to us through technology, and through the democratization of technology, it is increasingly available to nearly every sector of our society.

School and public libraries broaden access to media of all kinds in many communities around the world.  Libraries are often interconnected, with systems of sharing books and other media over broad areas of their regions; and they can provide ways for people to access media and information who don't have access in their homes.  Computers are often available as well as tutors to help people learn how to use them.  Internet access is common, both for use on the library’s equipment, and increasingly, for use by patrons on their own devices.  Headphones generally are also available, for listening to music, watching videos, and for playing games.  Libraries bring the broad world of media to the public they serve.

Ravi Shankar’s Concert for World Peace, came up on a search of  our regional library system’s on-line catalog.  Two clicks was all it took to  request that the DVD be delivered to our local branch and held for checkout.  Through library systems, a whole world of music is available.  Through the  interlibrary loan program, music can be requested from distant places for a limited amount of time.

Whether your a fan of Ravi Shankar’s music or are exploring his legacy for the first time, The Concert for World Peace DVD is a treat.  The late Shankar had a gentle sense of humor as well as a gentle affection for his fellow musicians that shines brilliantly throughout the performance.  He was as passionate about his music and his instrument, the sitar, as any rock star or symphony member ever was, maybe even more so.  His sense of the sacredness of the music, of our human connection to the sacred through music, and his ability to express this in a way that can be tangibly felt was his special gift.  A gift we can still connect with through his CD’s and DVDs.

Music can expand our narratives.  Listening to and appreciating world music, can help us expand our narratives to the whole world.  The Concert for World Peace, may not be all the change we need to see; but it is a seed.  A seed that we hope you will plant in your heart and your home.  A seed waiting for you, among many, many others, at your local library.


Explore more world music at your local library and on-line:

Rough Guides has published many world music CDs. Your library system probably has titles or can order them for you through interlibrary loan:

Smithsonian Folkways also offers a large collection of world music, many of which are likely available through your library system:


Check out our other DVD recommendations at the link below.  And don’t forget, they are all most likely available from your local library:


Participate!  If you have watched a movie recently that has inspired you to think about World Peace, please share your inspiration in the comments section.  Links to more information about the movie would be awesome.  We may even feature your recommendation in an up-coming blog post.


Boycott for Peace!


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