Part 2

How Come We Can Do This?
(click on the image)

Pianist Lang Lang plays an encore, the Chopin Polonaise in A-flat, Op. 53

In all my years of reading about the cosmos, the Standard Model, hadrons, electrons, evolution, hand skills, hunting and gathering I have never read anyone questioning how we could do something as spectacular and useless as playing the piano, fingers flying, melodies soaring, and sometimes tears flowing. All for no reason having to do with survival in the savannah in a hunter-gatherer tribe. It makes no sense whatsoever, whichever way you look at it unless you are searching for the truth of the universe.

Whether you like classical music or not, click on the image and listen all the way through. It is short, and was an encore to a concert conducted by Zubin Mehta.

I also am a pianist, although of a limited ability. However, I played this piece for my formal recital in my junior year in high school. I still play it almost every day, over 60 years later. I am sure I have played it more than 10,000 times. Why can we do this and why doesn't anyone discuss it in the same breath as evolution. My hands don't fly as fast as Lang Lang's but whenever I am feeling out of sorts, I sit down at my wonderful Mason & Hamlin grand piano and I play this or another favorite. Before the first note I have a sense of being in touch with Chopin. I don't believe in any strange form of communication but the music is a link, and not by any means a simple link.

Chopin composed all his life and is unquestionbly the greatest composer for the piano. I took lessons for many years. I am not dedicated, there are too many other things to do, but I would not give up my piano for anything. It really spans time and distance. Why?

My contention is that our concept of life is very lagging and lacking. As in scientific truth we do not stop and do hard things. Your brain changes if you are a musician and so at some point you get to use a larger part of it. That is, in fact, a secret only people who put all they have into something good appreciate. It is joy for them, but as important it is joy for others. The existence of the universe would be meaningless if you were the only person alive. Sharing is necessary.

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