Culture Makers and Cultural Unifyers: Food and Music

Photo credit to iStock

The most effective, and perhaps least recognized, peacemakers in our world, are food and music.

If you like it even a little bit, music and food will connect you in a way that all debates will not. Food or music are the mark of a culture. Food and music keep people in a space long enough to allow for mutual tolerance and then for agreement too. Food and music provide warm experiences with people you have little in common with, have little to say to, or may not be able to understand, just in the same way as food and music do it for those you love socializing with.

Sharing food and sharing music have the power to end prejudice, and they do end prejudice. When you get judgemental of a group of people, go eat their food, go listen to their music.

A German motto suggests: “Evil people have no songs”. 

Dig into it, and you could discover that it is quite accurate. 

All cultures that kept going throughout time have some music of at least a few genres. While people who do not produce tunes tend to put their energies to wars and hate and manipulation and oppression. It starts with the oppression of creativity and all impulses that express joy, and it ends with the oppression of thought and dissent. 

When pleasure is taken away, and when there is no music to listen to, people can be made to believe any lie. That is why all dictators reduce music first, then depress the population with a mix of negative news and urge the masses to overcome the flesh. Without music, life is somber, without dreams, not exactly soothing, and the mind becomes susceptible to a much grimmer outlook.

(Note that dictators are not a matter of the past. We have many on the rise right now — dictators, fundamentalists, new forms of tyrannies. That is why I am using the present tense to describe the pattern of what they do. They did it in the past. They are doing it now.)

Food does not feature in that motto, but you can add it too. “Evil people have no food.” 

It is a new trend in history that made food a lonely ritual. 40 years old at best. Food is unimportant only to those who feel that their bodies are the enemy and that there is no value in coming together to eat. 

What does that attitude promote? Guess. 

It is the same attitude that finds it okay that food is being treated by chemicals, that food is losing its aesthetic, community-building and rich cultural and land-connected appeal. Would you eat from such people? Do they strike you as trustworthy? Do they strike you as benign? The link between what you eat and your health is empiric and commonsensical. How could anyone would buy into the denial of this link? Only by the massive and extreme loss of trust in their own perceptions.

Here is another thought, another twist in the story. The Roman emperor called for “bread and games” — “panem et circences” — in order to keep the masses occupied and pacified, too pacified to question the motives of the authorities. Building a peaceful culture was not on his mind at all. 

But food is more than its utilitarian aspect. Food is more than something to get over with quickly. Music redirects people from of competing with each other all the time and contributes to joy, shared experiences, identity, and ultimately, to social cohesion. 

At least the ancient Romans had organic bread, organic food; that is more than we have today in North America.

Both music and food connect people in ways that we experience as friendly, satisfying and positive. And, good feelings are the foundation from which we make good choices. In fact, we can not be misled as easily when we participate in pleasant or blissful gatherings and events that have little potential for resentment or trauma. 

Think back to your favourite memories. You might find out that music and food played a role in nearly all of them. Music engaged your feelings, and the fragrance and the flavour of good food improved even otherwise quite ordinary moments.

Learning how to prepare food is a skill that will benefit you for a lifetime. Adding good music to your routine raises your mood and happiness. 

What can we learn from that?  

Chefs and musicians unify the world in delicious ways.

That was their historic role too. People gathered to share recipes and teach each other how to make meals from whatever ingredients were available. It was about cooperation. Musicians and singers looked for companions too, so that their songs and their drumming would sound more interesting. 

So these two groups, the makers of food and of music, were the most influential creators of culture and of cultures. They left a fascinating legacy of peacemaking that should inspire the future — should we have one.

17 October 2016

Photo credit to iStock

#culturalcreatives #unifiers #inspiration

#peace #coexistence #Gaia

#taste #sound





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