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some thoughts on Ted's queeries about art and self esteem and, oh yeah, looping

Hey Ted,

You wrote:
"Mr. Self-Esteem Problem here. Heheh. Actually I got into looping
(way back when, 30 years ago, with tape delays) BECAUSE of low

That is a very common story I hear from many loopers.

"In other words, I was a misfit. I have often wondered over the years
just how much creative/industrious activity in the West was often
just the result of certain individuals drive/hunger to "compensate" for
a perceived personal "lack" in some other area -- misfits desperately
trying to "fit in" and find/found/forge a place for themselves in a
cruelly mocking and ever-threatening world.. "

I think a tremendous amount of innovation has come from this.  I also 
that  tremendous amount of
lack of innovation stems from the same roots, however and, in my 
it's about a 100 to 1 ratio
of latter to the former

"1. Does being a "misfit" generate low self-esteem or vice versa."

I'd say it's the vice versa but not 100% of the time

"2. Does low self-esteem come from internal sources or external?"

I believe that low self esteem results from poor or neglectful parenting 
even abuse (and I consider abandoment
or the teaching of young children not to have extreme emotions an abuse) 
during childhood, personally, coupled with
a pervasive cultural perspective.

I've known so many incredibly talented young (and older) women who are 
paralyzed by the current cultural paradigm.
Hell, I have to work and work to get my young woman drumming students to 
play loudly.  It is so culturally engrained that
women aren't supposed to be loud or boisterous.   It's amazing how 
this can be emotionally (and for some men as well).    In this case I 
that acculteration comes both from the family of origin and then is 
reinforced by society at large.

"3. Can it be "fixed" by merely changing ones perspective/world view?"
"5. How much has (or can) human nature be changed?"

I think this is extremely difficult to answer but my suspicion is that we 
can certainly mitigate feelings of low self esteem
with action.   Someone once said that human beings are incredibly adaptive 
to change UNTIL abuse occurs, at which point, we become incredibly 
unflexible and resistant to personal change.    This author cited the fact 
that the Jews who were
put into the concentration camps, thus ending their lives as they had 
it,  refused to come out of the camps when the Allies liberated them and 
to be carried, literally, kicking and screaming, back to the relative 
of the world outside the camps.   He reasoned that this behavior stemmed 
from the fact that they had been so thoroughly tramautized when the Nazis 
threw them into the camps that in their minds,  any change was a sign of 
future abuse.

I have certainly found this in my own life.    I really want to maintain 
control emotionally and have a tendency towards rigidity when new things 

I also, last summer, got it into my head that I should do the scariest 
I could possibly think of as my next artistic venture.  This led me to 
6 months of solo shows with only a microphone and my looping gear and no 
instruments and releasing an entirely vocal CD.   I have experienced that 
I push through my fear to do things like this that I really grow as a 
being and I also really improve my artistry.    I'm not about to say that 
created a masterpiece because of it, but it gave me hope that I can chip 
away at the bedrock of my own low self esteem and fears about living.

I once had a therapist tell me that it is exceedingly difficult for human 
beings to change but that if they are really
interested in it and willing to commit to very hard work that it can be 
accomplished.  I guess I hold that notion.
This is also mitigated by how deep abuse has been and how fearful a place 
one finds oneself.

With my students I assume that it is possible and I have seen some of them 
make huge breakthroughs in their lives.
For one thing,  I'm finding that it is exceedingly rare for a lot of kids 
(and even adults) to have a person in a position of authority (teacher, 
parent, spiritual leader, et. al.) tell them that they have the potential 
do anything.   People seem to
blossom under these circumstance and it is a beautiful thing to behold.

I once asked a very wise elder woman I know why our culture didn't respect 
its elders.
She said "You cannot respect someone who does not respect you".   She said 
that because our cultural is so dysfunctional
that a whole generation of young people have grown up (and continue to 
up) without any sense of what maturity is.
She also said, though, that she had great hopes for our culture because 
since we don't have very many good role models
to copy that we have looked all over the world to find other paradigms 
are healthier than our own.
She said that this is unprecedented in the history of all humankind:  that 
we can cherry pick from the best of the best models outside our own 
She said that this allows us to be able to mold ourselved into the elders 
parents that we wish we had been raised by.    This single sentiment has 
given me great hope for the future, despite all that is obviously wrong 
the world.    Whatever happens,  change will be very , very rapid in the 
next 30-50 years on earth.  I say we should take the bull by the horns and 
start to parent and lead by example for the younger generations.

Wow,  I just reread that and I'd say that is quite more than enough 
pontificating for one writing session...............lol.
I feel really strongly about all of this.  It's realy okay if anyone feels 
like it's hogwash, though.