Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Resolving Dissonance

“We were communicating emotions and ideas with grunts, groans, chants, and hums well before we were enunciating complex ideas like the ones we're sharing right now.”

-- Mark Jude TramoNeuroscientist/Neurologist
Harvard Medical School, Mass. General Hospital

When I heard the news of the death of Captain Beefheart on December 17, 2010, another bit of the past rose to consciousness, and also came to a resolution.


No, not Beefheart's passing, I meant that I am thankful to put certain memories to rest.

Some memories of interpersonal discordance remain troubling to this day, but the least of these pertain to differences over Beefheart.

Perhaps he was too avant garde, or maybe I was too conditioned to the melodies and harmonies of the 1940 Hymnal, but I never did "get it."

Perhaps a taste of his work might help you to understand:

I am sorry for all negative things I said about his albums, but the sound still goes against my grain.

I can only presume that other minds appreciate these sounds in ways unimaginable by primitives such as myself.

This is not unlike the problem of resolving conflicts between the reasonable, structured, and understandable musings of a conservative mind and the bizzare twists and convoluted effluent of a liberal one.

I wanted to watch William F. Buckley Jr. and "Firing Line," while my friend wanted to watch Jimmy Carter's State of the Union Address.

My mind still can't get around that State of the Union Address.

Similarly, theological differences are hard to harmonize. The Church has never fully come to grips with how to hold these dissonances together and sing the Lord's praises as one voice.
Resolving such dissonances is usually too difficult for the Church, and it is nearly impossible for the average human relationship.

"Relationship," that buzzword of the decade, fails.

Sadly, my late friend marched to the beat of a different drummer than I, so we went our separate ways.

Some differences are insurmountable. The earthly resolution seems to come through the distance of separation.

I pray the Lord both their souls to keep. May light perpetual shine upon them.
"He shall not judge by what his eyes see,
or decide by what his ears hear" - Isaiah 11:3
Maybe someday, after this body dies, they will explain it all to me, and maybe then I will understand what I thought to be so dissonant, and finally, at long last, it will resonate within me and I will "get it."

Until then, my opinion of his music remains unchanged.

1 comment:

  1. Such dissonances exist in all relationships to a certain extent. The question is whether the "harmonies" drown them out. Stated differently, if the relationship is valued, the parties avoid those things which cause discord.

    Theological differences are more troublesome, however. Some can be ignored, because the fundamental, core values are the same. Most of the big-ticket items cannot be ignored, because there comes a point where compromise and "harmony" change truth to falsehood. Better to stay on the side of Truth, even if the relationship ends.