All or Nothing

Concert heads

I ALWAYS eat this and I NEVER eat that. I ALWAYS listen to artist A and I NEVER listen to artist B. I ALWAYS (fill in the blank) and I NEVER (fill in the blank). We divide into camps over seemingly unimportant things daily. I’m wondering if perhaps we’ve gone too far?

Being sold out to a cause is admirable (as long as the cause is admirable). It is important to know what we believe, where we stand and not to be easily persuaded by the mob. Do we need to be completely committed to everything in life? Do we have to belong to a camp about every mundane detail in life?

Last night I had a conversation with my husband about this very thing regarding music. Our daughter really, really likes a particular song by a certain artist. She heard it in a movie and she really likes the beat, the melody and the arrangement. She loves the way it makes her feel and the way she wants to dance when she hears it. After listening carefully to the lyrics (yes, I’m that mom), I downloaded the song for her to keep enjoying.

My husband, in his wonderful protective daddy role (something I adore about him), worried that our daughter would go from enjoying a song to idolizing the artist. I assured him no such thing was happening and as a matter of fact, other than knowing the artist’s name, she knew nothing about this artist nor was she researching them and idolizing them. She simply liked the song.

This conversation got me to thinking about why we seem to gravitate towards extremes.  If one song is good and enjoyable then the artists must be all good and we must collect all of their work. If the movie was good than the lead actor must be worthy of adoration and we must see all of the films they act in, regardless of the quality.  If we enjoyed one album of a particular style of music then we must only listen to that style. The reverse being true, if we didn’t like one song then we don’t like the artist. Must we be cornered? Can’t we be more eclectic?

Do we have to line up with a particular camp on everything in life? Can there be some areas where we can enjoy things on their own merits and not because they are a certain style or created by a certain artist? I like Monet’s paintings. I really like impressionist art as a whole, but I can appreciate and enjoy pieces in various styles. Musically I don’t think you can tie me down. I have classical, 80’s, country, gospel, pop and rock in my playlists. The pieces I listen to are ones I enjoy. I can’t say that I’ve enjoyed every single piece produced by the artists I have in my collection.

There are certainly things that should divide us into camps: values, beliefs and morals. These are non-negotiables for most people. When it comes to everything else maybe we can be a little less divided? Maybe we can try some variety? Except when it comes to ice-cream: it’s ALWAYS pistachio, and if that is not available then it must be vanilla, NEVER chocolate!

Photo by: Jakub Hlavaty, Creative Commons, http://www.flickr.com/photos/jakub_hlavaty/
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