An Argument For Going Public

Image source: Clairediazortiz.com

 

There are lots of reasons to disagree these days, and lots of things to disagree about.  The common wisdom going around nowadays is that it’s pointless to argue with someone on Facebook.  Apparently neither person will change their minds as a result of any conversation, so it’s a complete waste of time.

 

I disagree, and so I engage people on Facebook for three reasons:  1) I understand my own point of view better if I can argue it.  2) My point of view may be flawed.  By arguing it, I’ll discover the flaws.  MOST IMPORTANT, 3) Other people are listening. 

 

There are a lot of other people reading, and most of them aren’t going to speak up.  Some agree, and some disagree.  They’re either afraid, cynical, or curious, and they’ll be arguing in their heads right along with me.

 

Because they’re not going to lose face by reading silently, they’re more likely to engage with my argument internally.  They might change their mind based on what I say, even though I’ll never know they were even reading.  I may fail to convince my actual opponent and yet go on to convince or reassure twenty other people.

 

I don’t have an interest in your arguing on Facebook.  I do, however, want you to get out of your basement to perform publicly.  You may wonder, why should you do that if you’re not going to be a famous performer, or even a good one.

 

I would encourage you to perform, no matter your skill level, for three reasons:  1) You understand art better when you perform.  2) Your abilities as a performer may be flawed.  By doing performing in public, you’ll discover the flaws and will grow.  MOST IMPORTANT, 3) Other people are listening!

 

There are a lot of people out there who want to perform.  They won’t.  They’re afraid.

 

Watching professional performers strut their fame will not necessarily help them.  Watching you, on the other hand, might be more encouraging than you think.  If you do your homework, make honest mistakes, keep your ego in check, your best efforts might mean more to them than some concert at the Coliseum.

 

Most performance art in the world is not the finely glossed product of a few pros backing up a well-groomed hero.  Most performances are just people playing with one another.  The more people that are making cooperative art in a spirit of self-improvement, the better more the benefits of such cooperation spread throughout the world.

 

It starts with me.  So I went ahead and did it.  Now I’m saying it continues with you.

 

Feel free to disagree with me on this one.

 

1 comment

  • Jason

    Jason

    Very rarely are pros and well-groomed heroes actually all as pro and well-groomed as you might think. It's just that they have a higher "base level of competence" - which they've acquired from years of performing under all kinds of circs. There's also the notion of audience expectations - if it's someone famous at a big venue every minute must be dripping inspiration, right? Not actually true - and the big boys know that. I've played with absolute fire-breathers who've subsequently confided that they didn't feel quite "on it". They're not beating themselves up or making excuses - they're just acknowledging a fact of life. You get better at being "on it" more regularly as you go, but you'll always have nights when you don't live up to your own expectations. I had a class of students (not mine) come to a gig once. They were very keen to join the band during the break and they eagerly picked our brains about all sorts of things. Then they got into a discussion of how many gigs they'd each done and where the "tipping point" is. My bassist kindly observed that if you can remember how many gigs you've done, you haven't done enough... I added that it's a bit like driving - Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button didn't pass their test and immediately jump into McLarens and start winning Grands Prix...

    Very rarely are pros and well-groomed heroes actually all as pro and well-groomed as you might think. It's just that they have a higher "base level of competence" - which they've acquired from years of performing under all kinds of circs.
    There's also the notion of audience expectations - if it's someone famous at a big venue every minute must be dripping inspiration, right? Not actually true - and the big boys know that. I've played with absolute fire-breathers who've subsequently confided that they didn't feel quite "on it". They're not beating themselves up or making excuses - they're just acknowledging a fact of life. You get better at being "on it" more regularly as you go, but you'll always have nights when you don't live up to your own expectations.
    I had a class of students (not mine) come to a gig once. They were very keen to join the band during the break and they eagerly picked our brains about all sorts of things. Then they got into a discussion of how many gigs they'd each done and where the "tipping point" is.
    My bassist kindly observed that if you can remember how many gigs you've done, you haven't done enough... I added that it's a bit like driving - Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button didn't pass their test and immediately jump into McLarens and start winning Grands Prix...

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