by Karlton E. Hester, Ph.D.
There is a strong relationship between Musicism and mysticism because both require that one uses no mortal as model. Many years of thorough, patient, and focused meditation and concentration allow the student on the path of either of these disciplines to benefit from the intuitive messages that enter into the subconscious mind as spiritual, emotional and theoretical impetus for the process of creativity.
In America, artistic spontaneity is usually highly revered in conformist-oriented environments where agglutination and control are maintained over sometimes obsequious followers often through antiquated systems of ostentatious arrogance. Such pseudo-intellectual domains presume preeminence over others purely on the bases of exclusive canons that represent only a minimized set of aesthetic values. The artistic content can be reduced to static packages of information that can be digested as formulaic codes that, once memorized, can grant one membership into conservative circles of this nature.
It is insecurity that is involved when an individual or an institution formulates its perspective solely upon factors it feels it has gained control over. In the arts, new vistas inspire the creative mind while those who have limited their arena to only those concepts sanctioned by Western academy must avoid the unknown. Dwelling within the domain of blind insolence indefinitely can result in gross insecurities that manifest as irrational notions, the principal of which can never be clearly defined in terms of objective empiricism. In music, for instance, it is not possible to elevate Western music of any type over any other world music of we look at all observable musical elements involved (rhythm, melody, texture, harmony, form, levels of improvisation, emotional or spiritual involvement, form, timbre, impact on audience, etc.). In any evolved musical style, certain musical elements might be quite pronounced while others might be severely lacking.
Artistic expression is a powerful
force capable of strongly affecting human thought and behavior. In the past,
societies have frequently been driven by negative motives and powers of destruction
to cause pain and suffering. Perhaps it will provide a creative form of leadership
in world culture of the future.
(c) Karlton E. Hester, 1992
of Global African Music
Received Fall 2001