Some do and some are done to

by ennejoy

Yesterday’s “aha! experience”:

A band is playing on a stage. The musicians are technically brilliant, the music is deep and thoughtful – and still, I’m not touched by the performance at all. I even feel that I’d rather be elsewhere.

Half an hour before:

A different band is playing on the stage. The musicians play with a fierce joy visible on their faces. The tune is a little naive, it’s easy to learn by ear, and before long, everybody’s singing with the people on the stage. I feel safe and comfortable with myself and my voice, I feel deeply privileged to be here, to be invited by the musicians’ smiles to share the moment. One of the people on the stage makes “a mistake”, plays a discordant  note, looks at us, and smiles even more deeply – taking pride in what they do.

I hadn’t realized how the power relations of subjects and objects are at work even in the world of performing arts. In the first example, the performer is the subject of the concert, an active shaper of the moment, while the audience is passive, acted upon, an object of the performer’s art. But in the second example, the power of subjectivity is shared by everybody. It’s not Me anymore, doing something to Them, but Me meeting You to become Us. In the act of opening ourselves, We become the subject and Reality the object, that we can shape with the power of sharing, the power of Love.