Despite the sunny, seventy-five degree weather in Manhattan today, I spent the majority of my day indoors. I luxuriated in a lazy Sunday filled with a run through the park, pizza making and a good book… I avoided human interaction at all cost (my week has been chock-full of it and it left my head spinning and my ears ringing).
Speaking of avoiding humans: I keep thinking about a lecture my favorite professor gave on Beethoven. He gave the usual stats and list of important works, but when he got to the part about the fact that Beethoven began losing his hearing at a relatively young age and was eventually completely deaf, he approached it from an angle I’d never considered. Rather than take the usual approach to explaining the predicament: being deaf makes it spectacularly difficult to compose music, therefore Beethoven must have been essentially super-human to be able to churn out the works he did; he spoke of it defining a deaf person as an isolated person: Beethoven as an island. Now, not only can we think of the man as insanely capable, but of his works as defined by his loneliness and forced originality. We might even pinpoint the destruction of tonality on him!
Whoa. Now I keep thinking about how easy it is to exist only in the noise of our surroundings and be deaf to the noise within ourselves. Maybe at this point it’s impossible to be original, and maybe that’s okay as long as we remember to listen to ourselves every once in a while.
Listen to some Beethoven.