The Different Drummer – the Rhythm Child of Sid Vicious and Bob Marley

2 12 2016

Community is the subject of M. Scott Peck’s book, The Different Drum. I had the fortune of hearing him speak once, and I recommend listening to his talks, or reading his books. The introduction to The Different Drum contains a story which is called ‘The Rabbi’s Gift.’ The story was about the rejuvenation of a monastery. A visiting rabbi had noticed the town built around the monastery had dwindled in size, and entered a state of disrepair. Upon approaching the monk’s habitat, he noticed similar features there, and in the personalities of the monks themselves. One of the monks asked the visiting rabbi what they could do to rebuild their monastery. The rabbi’s response developed a new attitude in the monks, causing them to listen to each other, and begin to treat each other with dignity. As a result, the monastery experienced a renewal, as the energy and respect was felt by visitors, who eventually asked to join them. The monastery, of course, is a community with a singular purpose. What the Rabbi witnessed was the loss of the spirit of the community. There are many ways of obtaining an objective. From the perspective of someone who has lived, played and worked in many environments, the vitality involved in community based methods towards achieving a goal is noticeably different than in only being allowed a singular mode of production.

Lately, there have been a number of people in my life who have spoken of ‘the singularity.’ This state is not conducive to diversity, and therefore not conducive to music. From a Millennium Blues perspective, the prefix ‘com,’ meaning ‘with,’ contrasted to the prefix ‘sin,’ meaning ‘without,’ provides a strong hint of why community based music rings true to the soul of a music lover. A stronger example of this is Funkadelic’s ‘One Nation Under a Groove’  compared to Justin Bieber’s ‘Runaway Love’.  I always feel good when there is a strong correlation between the meaning of a word in ‘The Handbook of Poetic Phonetics’ and the word’s etymology. The next thoughts may be a bit down the rabbit hole, yet would be fun to see which feathers are ruffled as I use musical references to distinguish between community and singularity.  Anarchy in the U.K., a vital punk album and a milestone in The Sex Pistols’ career allows them to take their place amongst poets. ‘I am an anti-Christ,
I am an anarchist.’ Now, calm down, calm down. Picture some of the mansions you have seen owned by ministers and preachers. Do those dwellings represent the spirit of someone who purportedly threw the money changers out of the temple? Wouldn’t many of us be against that spirit, or anti the anointing of the hypocrites? While the origins of anarchy means without a chief, breaking the word down through its’ poetic meaning allows for a stronger correlation to Psalm 118:22.

Poetically, anarchy is: an – without, arch – arch, and chy – keystone to an arch. This makes sense as the keystone is the most obvious stone in an arch, and therefore selected for its’ beauty. This selection for beauty stands in contrast to Bob Marley and Bradley Nowell singing ‘The stone that the builder refused shall always be the head corner stone.’ ‘Spirit, sensing sublime emanation, realizes ego is all that death’s scythe can harvest.’ The head corner stone has no need to be in a place of honor, doing what it was created to do is its’ own reward. The image here, perhaps, best represents the difference between a ‘keystone’ and a ‘head corner stone.’



Unfortunately, today’s society places value on the keystone, interestingly, there is a quite accurate description of how political ‘keystones’ are selected, from an English author, Douglas Adams: “The President is very much a figurehead – he wields no real power whatsoever. He is apparently chosen by the government, but the qualities he is required to display are not those of leadership but those of finely judged outrage. For this reason the President is always a controversial choice, always an infuriating but fascinating character. His job is not to wield power but to draw attention away from it. An orange sash is what the President of the Galaxy traditionally wears. On those criteria…”  Especially, with the inclusion of the orange sash, a striking similarity to today’s political climate exists. The focus of media towards the ‘keystone’ leads most people away from comprehension of the true problems, and as any builder could guess, that leads to an unstable foundation. What is the secret? How shall we place our goals towards maintaining and building stronger foundations? How would our society be best served by recognizing the head corner stone where they exist, and how they work within our communities.  These questions may be answered in what the visiting rabbi told the monks: “One of you is the Messiah.”