Sometimes in life, you run into some extraordinarily meaningful gems. Tidbits of information, knowledge that transforms our way of thinking or it encourages us, because it affirms that which we are doing, is important. In other words, it brings value to our lives. If we are fortunate and keep our eyes open, we can catch these voices and apply them to our personal repository of important information, to be used when the time is right.
We rely on certain voices to help us transition from one place to another. In the most simplistic form, when we are children, the voices of our parents guide our path. These are loving voices expressed in the familial narrative. They are the voices that shape our future, more or less.
Orally transmitted and written words, which I refer to voices, come in many forms; Parents, literature, conversations, poems, religious dogma, all these bundled up into a practical package help define who we are. That is-it helps to define what we believe to be true, is in fact true or not, even if that “truth” is temporary.
The sublime beauty in what I am describing is that simple conversations, quips, the interaction between two friends, two lovers, or the conversation between teacher and student, can bring about remarkable insights which we can apply to our lives. They are the voices that we allow to influence our thoughts and perhaps our future.
How many times have we’ve been touched by a sentence in a book? Certain words arranged in such a way that when put together, speaks volumes to our soul? Like a symphony whose composition correctly orchestrated, brings audible pleasure, mere notes arranged in creative and inspired ways, that magically touch our hearts. These are the voices, the laughter, tears, drama of humanity. Neatly arranged for our pleasure, our fulfillment, our knowledge. Perhaps these prearranged sentences, paintings, songs, i.e., these voices, will help define our future or strengthen our resolve.
The voices which we allow to shape our lives are manifold. They come in many forms which we sift through mentally, which we judge and accept into our mental vault, if its worthy enough.
History records these voices, the voice of humanity. In essence, the historian becomes that epochs voice, disingenuously. I say that with all due respect to the learned. However, how can one mere person become the voice of a generation? So many voices speaking, living, singing, and crying? How can one poet define our humanity and our lives-the multitude of voices, conversations and thoughts?
We’ve been conditioned to think that way. That Herodotus speaks for that distant Greek generation. Or that, Plutarch is the harbinger of our Western grand narrative. The narrative that codifies the many voices into one. The narrative that overlooks the many “other” voices, selecting whose voice will be heard. The other contributing voices so nonchalantly unaccounted for, its as if they didn’t exist.
Yet we, the many, the individual, now inescapably understanding that others have a voice, made painfully noticeable because of our modern technology. Unfettered and undeterred, how can we exclude those other voices? The ones which have been purposely left out by the historian, by the poet, by modern progress?
History is selfish, it distorts the voices and it clamors for singularity in a sea of many. History is ugly, it champions the voice of the strong. Strength measured by that cultures idiosyncrasies while trying to mold it, like a renaissance sculptor does with the marble of Europe, and calling it universal beauty? How egotistical and self-serving, the historian, the chronicler of humanity truly is.
Not even the revelation at Sinai, that powerful and mighty voice that gave autonomy to the children of Israel, is universal.
It’s a voice, a voice in the sea of voices that we must filter through. Every voice is necessary. Every voice has a purpose to fulfill. Every voice needs to be acknowledged as the voice of humanity.