A Pre-Lecture Invitation / Freshman Music Class UGS 302
The University of Texas at Austin
by Gary Powell
Before we go forth into the world wielding our grand visions, there is some personal housekeeping to be done. Otherwise, our grandest vision will drip onto the world as tepid back-flow from someone else’s previously held ideas. But, you say “I know what I want and how I want to change the world.” Well, for a moment let’s look at you and try to understand how many institutions you have been associated and with some living below your awareness. Answer the questions below, then add up how many “yes” answers you accumulate. Read below to assess your score.
1. Were you born a human? (if so add ten yes marks)
2. Were you born a boy?
3. Were you born a girl?
4. Were you raised by both parents?
5. Were you raised by your father only? (if so add two yes marks)
6. Were you raised by your mother only? (if so add two yes marks)
7. Were you raised by your grandparents?
7. Were you raised by a grandfather? (if so add two yes marks)
8. Were you raised by a grandmother? (if so add two yes marks)
9. Were you raised within a state or any other system for child services? (if so add four yes marks)
10. Were you raised by wolves?
11. Did you go to kindergarten?
12. Did you go to pre-school?
13. Did you go to elementary school?
14. Did you go to middle school?
15. Did you go to high school?
16. Did you date in high school?
17. Did you not date in high school?
18. Are you in college? (Add one yes mark for every year spent in undergraduate college)
(Add two yes marks for every year spent in graduate school)
19. Have you ever suffered unfair consequences for your behavior?
20. Have you ever felt betrayed?
21. Have you even betrayed a friend or family member?
22. Have you ever joined a civic, scholastic, religious or professional organization? (Add three yes marks for each one per year)
23. Did you ever believe in Santa Claus? (Add 10 yes marks if true.)
24. Can you name members of any current or past rock and roll bands? (Add one yes mark per name.)
25. Can you explain your wardrobe or “look” using reason?
26. Are you wearing fall or winter boots when it’s still 87 degrees outside? (Add 5 yes marks if true.)
27. Have you ever used an excuse to avoid a party or commitment you didn’t want to attend?
If you have more than 50 points, then you are nearly unconscious with no self-awareness. If you have 12 points or fewer then you were probably raised by wolves and will soon either be in prison or running for congress. Is this a stupid list of questions posing as a sociological study? Of course it is. Did you get the point? If not, the point is this; as individuals we must unveil the hidden agenda of others living within our proximity, circumstance and psychology. We have to become free.
In a discussion of people’s goals, Rae Moses, composer and Head of Choral Music for Carl Fischer Music writes, “Obscurity and poverty never seem to make the list of desired outcomes.” Right, they don’t. So, it’s clear that no one desires to be broke and “just a nobody.” And so two more questions; why do so few achieve the opposite and second, why is obscurity and poverty a rare outcome for most educated people? The answer; most of us are willing to live with obscurity, much more than poverty, so we simply redirect our energies to producing income rather than reaching for our aspirations, however exalted. Second, achieving both fame and riches first requires the ambitious to trespass into someone’s territory, without getting kicked out, to eventually gain invitation for entering a curriculum which has never been taught in school. There is no known path to this new school or we would all be doing it.
Assuming you have broken through the massive life-compressing limitations of how you have been personally compromised and then achieved some manner of self-awareness; here is the question. Given enough time and money and with no worries of supporting oneself, what would you do with your life? And, what would your world look like to others and how would they recognize it? Further, how would others prosper within it?
For further reading: Erikson’s Stages of Psychosocial Development
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