We are taught during our educations that we can only be good at one or two things at any given point in our lives, and that we must choose between what is important and what is not. Any idiot who has said these things to you lied—they were vile spinsters of bottomless deceit. They are spinsters not in the usual sense of the sexes and definition of unsanctified matrimony, but in their lack of ability to merge with the heartbeat of life living a unknowing existence driven by ignorance just as the loveless life of a spinster does not know the joy of marital bliss. By default we enter life metaphorically as a musical instrument only able to play the notes of our intellect as our development teaches us to articulate the world around us. When we are teenagers we may develop the complexity of a rock song, able to string together a few musical instruments into a catchy beat. But as we get older, our personal music should become much more complex and dynamic. And if we do things correctly, we should be conducting personal symphonies by the time we are in our middle to elderly years. The notes of our life even down to the smallest subtly should be interwoven into our existence at every level and played as one giant musical number daily. For me at this point in my life, the musical track #13 on the new Interstellar soundtrack reflects my personal level of ability to conduct a personal symphony. The music heard below starts slow but gradually increases to a pitch of very complicated musical compositions including a massive pipe organ that merges from the background music to the forefront, which is very reflective of the type of life I am living. It is a wonderful piece extremely metaphorical—personally.
Success in business should not be shackled by success at home with a family—both are important and there is no reason why you should not be able to get on the floor and play with a grandchild while juggling millions of dollars worth the assets and still articulating important philosophy to adult children. A wife needs love and cannot be neglected do to other interests, but those other interests cannot be neglected by the attention hungry spouse either—just as all music in a complex symphony wants to be heard for the grand fortissimo of their composition. The strings cannot complain that the percussion overwhelms their utterances—it is the conductor’s job to put all those notes at play. It is that step of conductor from simple musician that we must make in our lives if we are to meet the challenges before us as a waking awareness demands.
It was an especially proud moment for me when my grandson said, “OK boss,” when we were playing the other day. That is a term I use with people to let them know I see them as important and that I don’t impose my authority over them in a way that can be seen distracting. I mean it in a respectful way, and I say it to my grandson as a way to show him that his intellect is important and that I am respectful to his awaking knowledge. But as a child with limited instruments to conduct his own symphony with, he can only yet repeat what is said around him as a two-year old. But as we were playing my wife was cooking for Thanksgiving dinner, I was receiving texts from across the world needing answers, and four members of my immediate family have birthdays that desired my ordainment all within a few days of each other. There would be no way to playing all those musical instruments metaphorically speaking with a simply lyrical song such as some rap, or rock beat. Only a symphony is able to pay all those necessities the attention the simultaneously deserve. But to play them it requires a conductor to stand in front of them all and provide direction—leadership, and respect for what they all bring to the table for the composition needed.
For instance, in the Hans Zimmer piece referred, the pipe organ by itself is quite a complex instrument. It could easily be a metaphor for a needy wife or overbearing child that desires exclusive treatment. But to play just organ music when a much more complex piece of music is needed to tell the story of our lives would be to stifle our lives to that limitation, which would be destructive—and corrosive. But you cannot do as many people I know did on the night before Thanksgiving when a symphony was required in their lives to meet all their objectives—you cannot go and get into a drunken state as a declaration of indecision. All the instruments of your life need to be played and they need a conductor to make them work in unison. If things are done correctly, you will become your own personal conductor in a life of music that is enchanting and unique. But if you fail, the many instruments of your life will sit waiting for your direction and without it, they never make a sound—but just sit there rotting.
Most of the hard feelings not talked about around Thanksgiving dinner tables come from this failure to conduct the symphonies of which we all play a part. Some people just don’t feel comfortable with string instruments, or the brass. Some don’t like organ music, some prefer the piano—but the weakness is in not embracing all those elements equally and taking charge as an intellectual conductor who can hear the tiniest note mixed with the most complex fortissimo of full notes in a tight beat. Failure to embrace a full symphony in our lives and instead insist on the simple music of our youth is the source of the tragedy. There is no excuse—“but I’m only one person.” There is only the need of a conductor and the fulfillment of those terms.
I enjoyed Thanksgiving in 2014 because my personal fortissimo was much more complicated than the year before and has progressed that way for over 25 consecutive years, which is a measure I hold in relation to myself. I cannot imagine a more complex piece of personal music to conduct as the one I have performed over the last 24 hours. But I will strive next year to improve upon it as only a conductor can. It is not the job of the conductor to play every instrument in their symphony, just to have an understanding of how to play them all. To do so well takes living life and practicing with all of them—and it takes years to master. But when you do, the music that can be made as a conductor unifying all those elements together can be quite a miracle, and the benefactor of many minds who are directly, or indirectly touched by the music you make. It is possible to be good at many things and to do all those things as the same time. The difference is that we must evolve our musical tastes from the very simple—the tunes of our youth—to the tunes of an adult living a full life as masters of many complex skills played in unison to conduct music only we can for ends specific to our intentions. But we must also do so without expecting the members of our symphony to always be happy just playing instruments for us—but to encourage them to evolve into conductors of their own as their skills flourish.
It is good to encourage the members of our own personal symphonies to be their own boss in due time so that the music that enters the world can evolve into the complex utterances that existence demands without the restriction of excuses and lazy, paranoid, lackluster that would rather bask in drunkenness than to shoulder the responsibility of living life as a conductor for the next grand fortissimo. When I say to people, “OK boss,” it is to get them past the shock of authority so that they can as quickly as possible settle in to conducting their own music the way only they can. It is to step beyond that silly human need to be important by title only—and to step up to the podium and before an awaiting orchestra to begin a tune lead by a conductor who has mastered every instrument and is uniquely positioned to lead them all without pretense.
What am I most thankful to on Thanksgiving—music—the hidden beats of intellects striving to be heard against the cold repression of stoic indifference and fear of the unknown.