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Thread: How it is possible to enjoy music knowing how much there are suffering people?

  1. #76
    Senior Member Fritz Kobus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Enthusiast View Post
    When I was young (in the 1980s) I worked in famine relief and we always knew that the poorest and most vulnerable people would not be found in the poorest and most deprived areas. They could be found in or near the cities or the areas that were still thriving. That is where they could get work. Of course, they were not paid enough to build a life or pay for health care or education for their kids (who were working, too).

    An example from extreme times, I guess, but trickle-down theories of wealth creation have long been shown to be fallacious justifications for an obscene wealth gap.
    I wasn't talking about trickle down, but there are real jobs that pay well being provided by owners of large businesses. But perhaps some of the workers are offended because that precludes their collecting a welfare check and sitting home?
    "All of Italian opera can be heard in [Bellini's] "Ah! non creda [mirarti]."
    --Renata Scotto in "Scotto, More Than a DIva."

  2. #77
    Senior Member Fritz Kobus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by millionrainbows View Post
    How it is possible to enjoy music knowing how much there are suffering people?

    It'd be ironic if you asked a blues musician that question...
    Song: World of Contradictions

    I make my living feeling rotten, but I feel good when I play blues
    I make my living feeling rotten, but I feel good when I play blues
    In this world of contradictions, man what can a poor boy do?

    Some folks say you can't sing blues, when you're feeling good
    I'm just feeling lousy, I knock on wood
    I make my living feeling rotten, but I feel good when I play blues

    In this world of contradictions, man what can a poor boy do?
    I guess the worst things get, the better they must be


    this mixed up way of thinking man, is killing me
    I make my living feeling rotten but I feel good when I play blues yes I do
    In this world of contradictions what can a poor boy do
    Yeah, what can I do, oh
    "All of Italian opera can be heard in [Bellini's] "Ah! non creda [mirarti]."
    --Renata Scotto in "Scotto, More Than a DIva."

  3. #78
    Senior Member KenOC's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Enthusiast View Post
    When I was young (in the 1980s) I worked in famine relief and we always knew that the poorest and most vulnerable people would not be found in the poorest and most deprived areas. They could be found in or near the cities or the areas that were still thriving. That is where they could get work. Of course, they were not paid enough to build a life or pay for health care or education for their kids (who were working, too).

    An example from extreme times, I guess, but trickle-down theories of wealth creation have long been shown to be fallacious justifications for an obscene wealth gap.
    The fact that there are “cities or the areas that were still thriving” proves that trickle-down wealth does work, just not for all. The poor have flocked (and still flock) to these prosperous cities in hope that they, too, can better their lives. And maybe they will.

    Without the capitalists that built these cities, none of the people in or around the cities, with good jobs or bad jobs, would have any jobs at all. They’d still be steering ploughs through the rice paddies all day, spending their short and miserable lives staring at the wrong end of water buffalos.

    I sometimes think there are people who would prefer that everybody live like dirt, so long as they’re equal in their misery. That, to them, is preferable to some managing to improve their lives more than others.
    Last edited by KenOC; Nov-14-2018 at 00:28.


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    Senior Member JeffD's Avatar
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    Seems to me the thread has veered (no surprise) into a discussion of the reasons and cures of suffering. Likely the oldest topic in the world.

    The original question is much more interesting to me. We all agree there is suffering. We might disagree on the details but there is no argument as to the existence of suffering.

    What is in question is how can one be comfortable enjoying classical music knowing there is suffering, horrible suffering, in the world.

    None of us (OK very few of us) will ever be in the position to solve world hunger or poverty or political strife, and we all know that nobody is listening or cares about our amazing ideas how to solve these problems.

    But we each have to wrestle with the apparent problem, how can we enjoy classical music given the suffering in the world. How do each of us respond and how do each of us feel about how we respond. This is something each of us, almost guaranteed, have to deal with, or ignore, every time we do listen.

    Y'all know my thoughts, posted back way back.
    How did I become a senior member? I only recently figured out where the restrooms are.

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    Fhdhhdhdhddhdhdh
    Last edited by Mandryka; Nov-15-2018 at 07:19.

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    Sorry to jump in but I’m new here and feel the same way as your good chum KenOC - what if it’s currently impossible for everyone to be better off? The path to a utopian society in which everyone is doing great equally might start with one with a lot of inequality. The successes of those who strive to better themselves and further humanity in the latter may someday reach the greater masses.

  8. #82
    Senior Member Enthusiast's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by KenOC View Post
    The fact that there are “cities or the areas that were still thriving” proves that trickle-down wealth does work, just not for all. The poor have flocked (and still flock) to these prosperous cities in hope that they, too, can better their lives. And maybe they will.

    Without the capitalists that built these cities, none of the people in or around the cities, with good jobs or bad jobs, would have any jobs at all. They’d still be steering ploughs through the rice paddies all day, spending their short and miserable lives staring at the wrong end of water buffalos.

    I sometimes think there are people who would prefer that everybody live like dirt, so long as they’re equal in their misery. That, to them, is preferable to some managing to improve their lives more than others.
    In the case of famines caused by drought (which was what my post was about) you often get feasting in cities as farmers sell off their dying livestock to buy the grain that has jumped in price ten or twenty times. It's not a good thing! Furthermore, the gathering of distressed people in slums and camps in the hope of finding work or relief is very far from being a good thing. Much more mortality in drought famines is caused by epidemics (the result of people being displaced and squeezed together in makeshift camps and slums - measles is a big killer, for example) than is actually a result of people starving to death. Meanwhile, if they can't gain sufficient resilience to return and farm for the next season then their niche in the economy is forever lost.

    But in the normal times that you are talking of, how does the fact that relatively rich people live in cities prove that trickle down works? Cities don't develop as a benefit to mankind from "capitalism". Your sketch of how cities develop through history is far too simplistic. And don't forget that cities also die. When the industries that led to their growth become obsolete millions of people can be left without hope of a future or much of a life now.

    Nor have I criticised capitalism itself: my point is that the state has a big role to play to protect citizens. Trickle down does not do that. It just about keeps them alive. A society in which everyone feels they have a stake is going to be a happier and more productive one.

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  10. #83
    Senior Member Enthusiast's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fritz Kobus View Post
    I wasn't talking about trickle down, but there are real jobs that pay well being provided by owners of large businesses. But perhaps some of the workers are offended because that precludes their collecting a welfare check and sitting home?
    Of course there are and that's a great thing. Capitalism can work really well. But taxes are needed to pay for essential services. I would argue that the common good is served by considering transport, police, utilities, health care and education as essential government responsibilities. All these things are needed to help ensure that all can have the essentials of life and the state is more able to run them efficiently. I would also argue that the state should subsidise them if this is needed to make them affordable. It makes sense that the rich in society pay more towards this than the poor.

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  12. #84
    Senior Member Enthusiast's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Freshair View Post
    Sorry to jump in but I’m new here and feel the same way as your good chum KenOC - what if it’s currently impossible for everyone to be better off? The path to a utopian society in which everyone is doing great equally might start with one with a lot of inequality. The successes of those who strive to better themselves and further humanity in the latter may someday reach the greater masses.
    You are welcome to jump in - that's what these threads are for (well, really, it is music and this thread is moving beyond that) - but I'm not sure your are right! There are societies that are much better at equality and social protection than others. They may not be the richest - although they are not poor - but they tend to be the happiest and the societies with the least internal conflict. But if it is not obscene to you that, globally, 1% of the population have more than the remaining 99% I guess you will not be convinced that the happiness and inclusiveness of such states is as worthwhile as the chance to climb higher than your neighbours?
    Last edited by Enthusiast; Nov-15-2018 at 11:55.

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  14. #85
    Senior Member Strange Magic's Avatar
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    In my post #66, I urged that one might well become a warrior for rationality in the struggle against human suffering, and fighting for women's equality would be a good place to start. It's also clear, as Enthusiast's posts illustrate, that the social democracies are furthest along the road toward the goals of a healthy, educated, relatively happy population; reduced income and wealth inequality; sustainable population size; and actual hope for a viable future. The USA tags along toward the rear of the pack in most measures of "western" progress, and much may be undone as waves of desparate migrants move out of areas where rationality has little place in governance or cultural norms. A drive toward greater rationality is not a repudiation of capitalism; it is likely capitalism's salvation, as a robust partnership between enlightened government and enlightened capitalism may keep an unfettered capitalism from destroying itself.

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