Without music, life would be a mistake — Friedrich Nietzsche
This past weekend, much like thousands of others, my brother, my girlfriend, and I made a trip to the nation’s capital to catch a glimpse of the customary 4th of July fireworks. As soon as the fireworks ended and the spectators celebrated freedom in one of the greatest nations on the planet, we started our drive back to Cambridge, MA. DC is about eight hours away from Cambridge, MA so my brother and I took turns driving. My girlfriend played DJ so that we wouldn’t fall asleep and end the trip on a bad note!
I don’t know if it was the unique combination of adrenaline from being alert (the weather sucked!), excessive caffeine, or the open road, but I was keenly aware (more so than usual) of the lyrics of the songs being played. Themes of the songs ranged from life, relationships, love, hate, anger, determination, patriotism, and even politics. In essence, they covered the human experience!
Since I am of Indian origin, the songs being played were in multiple languages. But what struck me as interesting was that despite being in different languages, the songs were saying similar things! The background of the artists in concern didn’t really matter. What mattered was that they were human beings and being humans, they all experienced similar emotions.
While I had heard about music being a uniting force, I really felt the power and potential of music on the drive back. Music is a means of consoling, guiding, reassuring, loving, hating, and even venting. And people see this. People know of the amazing healing and uniting power of music simply because it can be related to. And as such, people seem to exhibit an amazing understanding for new music or even foreign music. I have even known of people who will painstakingly learn a new language just so that they can understand a tune they enjoyed listening to! What is more, once people listen to new music, often times they develop a lifelong affinity to that kind of music!
If human beings have such an amazing capacity for entertaining new music, why are we unable to extend our tolerance to something very similar and that has tremendous potential to unite people—religion.
Much like music, aren’t all religions preaching the same thing? Aren’t all religions calling for people to be nice and kind and do good for the world? Don’t all religions advocate for peace at an individual and global level? Sure, these religions are presented via very diverse mediums, languages, deities, and customs, but aren’t they all highlighting the human condition and struggles? If we can tolerate music and appreciate the commonness in the millions of different kinds of music, WHY CAN’T WE DO THE SAME WITH RELIGION? Why don’t we put in the effort to understand a religion that is different from our own? Why don’t we understand the underlying emotion behind differing religions?
Religions may be singing different tunes, but I have a feeling they are all playing the melodies of life……