For Wednesday, December 2, 2015:
“The best way to predict the future is to create it.”
My mother was a professional musician. She was an opera singer, a concert pianist, and, in later years, a composer. After she left the stage, she taught singing and piano. Mother trained from the time she was five years old, attending Julliard and the School of Music in Chicago before she was 20.
She knew music. Me, not so much. I loved music, and still do, but I didn’t have the discipline or the drive to pursue it. When I was young, Mother taught me the mechanics of the piano, and some theory – and I was halfway decent – so I have some instinct and a lot of appreciation, but all I can do now is play the melody of the treble clef on the piano.
One thing she said, though, has stuck with me. Mother explained, when I complained about a symphony composition I thought was terrible, that – and I have to paraphrase the gist of her words here – accomplished composers were able to predict the future of the world about 25 years ahead of time. In other words, the state of the music reflected what the world would be like a generation ahead of itself. If the music was loud, frantic, atonal, society/societies would face conflict, hardship, or war. If the music was quiet, peaceful, and melodic, then times would be more peaceful.
I have no idea if this theory pans out now, but it certainly did with the examples she showed me (none of which I can remember specifically after all these years). The musicologists among you can check it out better than I can. It makes me wonder, though, if writers can or do the same thing.
I wonder if we can create the future intentionally through our writing. When I first saw the quote above in a meme on Facebook, I didn’t see the final word because of the graphics and thought it said ‘The best way to predict the future is to create.’ Period.
Perhaps the future depends on us to create something, anything. Write, paint, sing, play an instrument, compose a song, build homes and new wetlands. If we compose new creative works with the intention of benefiting humankind and our world, then maybe we can be ahead of our times, too. And maybe when the next generation looks back at our work they will see, hear, and live in peace and prosperity, a healthier environment, healthier peoples.
My soul longs for that, and I pray it may be so.