I love music and the more I engage with it, the more certain I am of truths I have known since my childhood. The first song I ever wrote is called “Friends Forever,” and is on my CD, “Too Close On Purpose.” It begins with the words, “We used to be so close before you started using makeup/And sometimes I wish again for all the times we used to take up/With nothing more than just ourselves/You and me together, forever to be/Never, never lonely.” From my life experiences, working in divorce law for the past twenty years, and research I’ve done, I have learned that what we have been told about life and love is what has caused the thousands of years of human violence we have thought to be just a normal part of our existence. And I know that we can stop this tragedy!
Imagine a society with no war, no murder, no rape, where all children are loved and wanted, where resources are abundant and everyone has what they need. This describes bonobo society, and is why I have modified the age-old question, and now ask, “What would the bonobos do?”
The book Bonobo Handshake taught me that bonobos, a primate with whom we share 98% of our DNA, are living proof that sex serves purposes beyond procreation which science is now beginning to recognize. Our shared DNA and the example of the bonobos’ successful social organization provide what I call the “bonobo blueprint,” something we can connect with in ourselves and from which we can begin to create a more loving and peaceful world.
In Developing Your Artistry, a class at Berklee College of Music online, we learned to identify art by first looking to Aristotle and Plato’s definitions, then moving forward through other times, artists and arts until we were able to articulate for ourselves what art means to us. The Developing Your Artistry class is open to anyone and everyone, whether you are interested in a degree or just in learning more about art, culture, and yourself.
I want to share a paper I wrote for that class here. It’s difficult to sort out all of the many things I hope to do in my life while I’m here on the planet, and this one doesn’t fit neatly into promoting a career in music. It’s just that learning repertory to perform in senior centers is making me think about our social organization, and I know that “all the lonely people” such as those featured in The Beatles’ “Eleanor Rigby” would not be lonely if we built our world according to the bonobo blueprint instead of Plato’s – that’s right, Plato. It seems the ancient philosopher’s ideals have shaped our world in the ways we have attributed to religion! Here is my paper, entitled: Art Is My Answer-Mary Ann
In the spring of 2016, I will perform with “Home Free,” a group of women and men who are receiving services through OPCC (formerly Ocean Park Community Center) at the Cloverfield location in Santa Monica. We will sing favorite songs, play drums, kazoos and other fun musical instruments to celebrate the completion of “Sing it Out Loud!” a 12-week program designed to increase well-being through creating and performing music.
There is already a percussion group at OPCC, and I’m very much looking forward to working with them and beginning this class in January! I have been wanting to develop this program since January 2014 and now OPCC has invited me to do it!
OPCC is an independent, community-supported organization formed to address the effects of poverty, abuse, neglect and discrimination to help people regain their independence and improve their quality of life. Check them out at their website and on Facebook.