Wednesday, June 30, 2010

George Winston's "Forest"

I've had the CD of George Winston's "Forest" for a long time and listen to it quite often. There aren't many CDs that I've had for as long and still listen to regularly.

It is a mixture of original and borrowed solo piano pieces that, to me, perfectly capture the solitude of the forest. This is not another simplistic new-agey album where you wonder if it was put together in a weekend of scattered sit-downs at the piano to see what comes out.

George Winston is one of those solo piano players who is grouped into the "new age" category but also has some serious piano skill. He doesn't even fit into the category -- I think of him simply as a pianist.

Here are some pieces from the album:

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

You're not that special -- just ask the Internet

One of the things currently going on in Western society that I struggle to get my head around is the whole self-esteem movement.

Our exposure to the Internet shows us that, whatever skills or qualities we may have, we are not that special -- there are thousands if not millions of people out there who can do just as well if not better.

But, around the same time that the Internet came along, a parallel movement started telling us that we are unique, special, and asks us to feel proud of the smallest accomplishment. Our smallest struggles are meant to be crosses we bear, and recognition is expected for having personalized your phone with a mass-produced colour or ringtone.

I am OK with contradictions and some level of hypocrisy but would rather not be asked to enthusiastically embrace either one.

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

Hypocrisy is preferable to decadence

Saying this kind of thing makes some people shake with anger. You look at their lives and you see why.
The failure of human beings to meet their own ideals does not disprove or discredit those ideals. The fact that some are cowards does not make courage a myth. The fact that some are faithless does not make fidelity a joke. All moral standards create the possibility of hypocrisy. But I would rather live among those who recognize standards and fail to meet them than among those who mock all standards as lies. In the end, hypocrisy is preferable to decadence.
-- Michael Gerson in "Sex and Grace"