Friday, August 14, 2015

Ornette: "There Is Nothing Else But Life"

At the tribute concert for Ornette Colemen held in Prospect Park, Brooklyn, in June 2014, just one year before he died, the jazz master told the assembled: "There is nothing else but life. We can't be against each other. We have to help each other. It will turn out like you will never forget it." A simple message, but the one he chose to share after more than eight decades of living, when he knew lots of people were listening. This is what humanism is. Humanism doesn't have to be for or against God or anything like that. It just puts the well-being of our fellow humans over various abstractions. Or, as peace proponents in Isreal and Palestine say: "People not places." Does this mean in my formulation that a physical place is an abstraction? Well, it is when it's viewed through the particular religious lens that says that the place, because it is sacred, is worth killing over. Ironic.

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