The psychological origins of waiting (… and waiting, and waiting) to work
He grew up on Led Zeppelin and David Bowie, and for three decades rock and pop music played a crucial role in the life and career of Observer writer Sean O’Hagan. But, as the years and personal events took their toll, his passion for the soundtrack of his youth faded. Thus began a journey to discover whether classical music could fill the void. Last week that search brought him to the Albert Hall.
For years, rock critic Paul Morley viewed classical music as a pompous art form of the past. So why does the former NME writer now believe it is so revolutionary?
“Be patient toward all that is unsolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves, like locked rooms and like books that are now written in a very foreign tongue. Do not now seek the answers, which cannot be given you because you would not be able to live them. And the point is, to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps you will then gradually, without noticing it, live along some distant day into the answer.”
“Formerly (it had begun almost from childhood and kept growing till full maturity) whenever he had tried to do something that would be good for everyone, for mankind, for Russia, for the district, for the whole village, he had noticed that thinking about it was pleasant, but the doing itself was always awkward, there was no full assurance that the thing was absolutely necessary, and the doing itself, which at the start had seemed so big, had kept diminishing and diminishing, dwindling to nothing; while now, after his marriage, when he began to limit himself more and more to living for himself, though he no longer experienced any joy at the thought of what he was doing, he felt certain that his work was necessary, saw that it turned out much better than before and that it was expanding more and more.”
Lev Tolstoy, Anna Karenina
“When Levin thought about what he was and what he lived for, he found no answer and fell into despair; but when he stopped asking himself about it, he seemed to know what he was and what he lived for, because he acted and lived firmly and definitely…”
Lev Tolstoy, Anna Karenina
Liv & Ingmar (2012): “Both you and I have a lot of intensive presence. And an enormous ability to put ourselves in other people’s emotions. And especially each other’s. We also have an intensive ability to affect other people and make them experience what we experience. And we have an ability to affect each other. We make each other alive. It doesn’t make a difference if it hurts.” — Ingmar Bergman
“Some people make us feel more human and some people make us feel less human and this is a fact as much as gravity is a fact and maybe there are ways to prove it, but the proof of it matters less than the existence of it—how a stranger can show up and look at you and make you make more sense to yourself and the world, even if that sense is extremely fragile and only comes around occasionally and is prone to wander or fade—what matters is that sometimes sense is made between two people and I don’t know if it’s random or there is any kind of order to it, what combinations of people work the best and why and how do we find these people and how do we keep these people around, and I don’t know if it’s chaos or not chaos but it feels like chaos to me so I suppose it is.”
“Sometimes it’s a sort of indulgence to think the worst of ourselves. We say, Now I have reached the bottom of the pit, now I can fall no further, and it is almost a pleasure to wallow in the darkness. The trouble is, it’s not true. There is no end to the evil in ourselves, just as there is no end to the good. It’s a matter of choice. We struggle to climb, or we struggle to fall. The thing is to discover which way we’re going.”
“If I can stop one heart from breaking, I shall not live in vain.”