Tuesday, August 7, 2012

The Milwaukee Sikh shooting and art as a teacher

Mourners attend a candlelight vigil at the Sikh temple in Brookfield, Wisconsin, on August 6, 2012. REUTERS-John Gress
The Sikh shooting in Milwaukee was disgusting,  and terrifying, and  serves as yet another powerful reminder that love and acceptance are increasingly important to our human experience.  Our thoughts and prayers are with the victims and their families.

The shooter - Wade Michael Page - was the vocalist and guitarist of several white power bands.  While I will not suggest that music led Page to this hate crime, I do firmly believe and assert that some music teaches people how to hate; it helps people become better at hating and better at being angry.  Music and art can plant seeds of anger, self-pity, insecurity, revenge, and pride. Great art plants virtuous seeds that inspires us to think and feel in ways that enrich our experience and foster appreciation for others.

I think it is critical that we own our thoughts and emotions - that we recognize that anger is inherently deceitful and destructive. Art has powerful influence over our thoughts and emotions.  We should seek art and entertainment that supports our best self.


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