Monday, January 24, 2011

Somewhere Out There

I promised I would discover this year.

I'm well on my way, kicking off the year with my trip to Berlin, where I've discovered that I make single-serving friends easily, that I am fully independent and capable, and that the human capacity for evil is horrifying.



I'm also discovering the difference between liking something, and loving something.

The difference is in value.

Our generation likes music.  We lust after it's possession, talking about how big our 'library' is, or how many bands we've seen live.  Our generation likes travel.  We like to talk about how many cities we've been to, and we like to advertise that as much as we can.  Our generation also likes popularity.  If our world used to be about 'knowing thyself', it has now become about 'showing thyself' in the best-laid-out-and-most-unique-and-interesting-Facebook-account-possible.

But what does our generation value?  Value is intrinsic to the claim of love, because you had to part with the potential of something else in order to access this thing you love. 

I heard someone say this week "I love music too much to pay for it".  Sounds right at first, right?  It did... but then I thought about it.  That's not love.  That's like.  Or maybe even lust.  If you love music, you value it.  It's no longer about having as much music as you can on you iPod, but about valuing the music that you actually have.  When was the last time you sat down and listened to an album.  Like actually listened to it. Question part two: did you even pay the artist and record label for that album?  I have a suggestion.  If you love music, I want you to delete uTorrent, pick up an album that you actually have to pay for, sit down with a glass of wine and no distractions and listen to it from start to finish.  That, my friends, would be valuing and ergo loving music.

How about travel?  It's a little different of an approach, but it hurts me to hear people say "I've been to Brussels" when they really just passed through the train station.  Now I know that time is a precious commodity in our world.  And in order to see the most of the world, you'd only be able to pass through a lot of places.  But maybe valuing travel intrinsically carries with it a humility in knowing that you will never "see the world".  And maybe valuing travel means taking a month out of your life to spend in only one country.  Perhaps time, like money in the music example, needs to be sacrificed in order for your love of travel to truly exist.

As for popularity, it's a mix of money, time and emotion -- what I would submit is the third "most valuable commodity" in our world.  When I say popularity here, I don't mean getting a high count of friends on your Facebook.  I mean genuinely investing yourself in your relationships.  Valuing your friends by putting them above other aspects of your life.

I know that our world is flawed, and that it's hard to truly love things.  But in my journey of discovering, the one lesson I've come across time and time again is that love is, and always has been the only solution to any problem.

So next time you say you love something, make sure you hold true to that commitment.

1 comment:

Abby said...

Erica,
I liked this. A lot. I dislike it when I buy an album (as you know, I don't believe in itunes) it frustrates me to not listen to it all at once, in little snapshots walking to and from class. I like it when no one's home and I turn off the lights and put my head between my speakers and just listen. Sometimes, I have to listen to a song more than once - to listen to the lyrics and then again to listen to the sound of the song.

And, what you said about travel. It made me happy. When I think about what I want from travel, I think of getting to know the culture, and learning from them, and to do that you'd have to spend at least a month there, talking to the people.

Abby