Do you see yourself as broken or just needing tuning? I think how we see ourselves is often how we see others. If we see ourselves as broken then we begin to seek fixes. If we believe we have found a superior “fix” then it’s only natural to strongly encourage others to subscribe to that solution. Unfortunately this often manifests in unhealthy ways. Personal conviction transformed into imposition on others. What we have come to call “religious extremism”.
I was raised in a belief system that looked at humanity as fallen. A broken vessel that could only be restored with external help. Seeing yourself as broken has lots of ramifications. It pits you against happiness and against yourself. After all, Humpty Dumpty wasn’t a happy guy post fall.
But to see ourselves not as broken but simply out of tune is a very different thing. We then see the potential in each other and ourselves. We can then enter a rhythm of daily tuning. We don’t need saving, we need tuning. We no longer see our selves as the enemy, something to work around. We are part of the solution.
In coming to see myself as an instrument that needs tuning I have started shedding the “broken” mindset. Where I once saw “sin” I now see dissonance. When I am being selfish I now perceive it as soloing when it isn’t my turn. When it doesn’t serve the “song”. In general, I am increasingly looking at life, work and love through the lens of music. Specifically, the experience of creating music.
Consider an orchestra, or a rock band. To make beautiful music together they must first all be in tune. Then they must play together as one. If one person is out of tune or puts themselves in front of the song then everything falls apart. Of course, there are times that the song is served by a solo, by individual performances. But that individual performance should always be to serve the song not the performer’s ego.
This is very similar to what must happen in a marriage, a family, a community or a workplace. The individual must subjugate their wants and needs to achieve the communal good. To do this we must first be in tune.