Wednesday, May 03, 2006

"Music, A Savior of Modern Civilisation," September 1930 Etude Magazine

"Out of the storm and welter of modern civilization, music arises in this hour as one of the greatest boons of mankind. This enormous strain of present-day life makes the need for this priceless human safety-valve greater than ever before.

Should Jules Verne wake up to-day in any large city, he would likely suffer delirium tremens - so far ahead of his wildest imaginings has Progress delivered civilization. The man to-day is a man of the skies. He already belongs to an era
which only yesterday was the wild fancy of "crazy" poets and romancers.

We are all rushing ahead at a speed ten times that of our grandfathers. Our urban traffic alone makes every one of us a
projectile shot over and over again each day, horizontally and perpendicularly, through the steel and concrete mazes of city life, shot from one intensive job to the next, so that we have barely time to think. Look to the towering spires of our great cities. In another generation they may be twice as high. They are the signs of to-morrow.

Grind! Grind! Grind! Grind! the wheels of modern life thunder ahead. Only a human colossus can hope to rise to a commanding position. But the burden will be distributed among thousands of co-workers who must
look forward to standing a strain greater than that known in any other period in history. Even the human microbes on the lower level will find it impossible to escape. Grind! Grind! Grind!

What will be the output of this Cyclopean Mill? Will man be able to stand such a gigantic strain upon the human brain and nervous system, or will he resort to the madness that makes more and more wars and daily expands our insane asylums? Whether he can meet this Problem of Problems depends on what normal and helpful means he may employ for relief.


Music, we are confident, will prove a divine manna in the life of tomorrow. The sociological importance of music becomes greater every day. Unless human beings take the time for the spiritual regeneration and recuperation such as that which comes from the playing of music, the race is in danger. Music calms the soul and rests the mind - which more than any occupation or any sport, snatches one away from beneath the wheels of the Juggernaut of human life.
Civilization to-day needs music as it needs bread. Musicians, together with clergymen,physicians and philosophers, rank with the saviours of men from certain annihilation. It is inconceivable that the men and women of to-morrow could exist in the emotional whirlpool of modern life, without the rest that comes through self-expression - particularly through music."

2 comments:

turnip said...
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turnip said...

Alas for those that never sing,
But die with all their music in them!
~Oliver Wendell Holmes