Today is Dakota’s 16th birthday. That’s why I’m writing this article.
Two centuries ago in England the Industrial Revolution was in full swing, and the working classes were drawn into the cities where they lived and worked under miserable conditions. The media propagated factory work as rewarding and noble; and leaving their countryside hometowns behind, the work classes came bearing the greatest of hope.
Now industries and the upper classes thrived, but among the workers tension grew and grew. They worked under stress, and a revolution was at hand… “There are mighty energies slumbering in these masses…”
The upper class saw this as a threat to national security. The workers were invaluable as they were the very foundations upon which the nation thrived. Enter the philosophy of betterment. They make an effort to relieve the working class, and some of the means they found most effective were music and alcohol. The goal was simple. To keep the workers busy and to get them through the night without ever harbouring the thought of their own well-being.
Enter music. But they knew that musical instruments were expensive. So instead they propagated communal singing instructions. They distributed songs both joyous and religious. Yes, they saw that specific types of music held the key to moral improvement among the workers. And they were against orchestral music, against the Romantic spirit of freedom and individualism which was, at that very moment, diffusing across mainland Europe… No, the workers shall have none of that. Orchestral music is too thought-provoking. A flute or a cello melody leaves the mind unguided. It brings people to undisciplined emotions, to ponder life and all other things. The workers shall have none of that. They shall sing. They shall sing words that are specific and can direct their thoughts. They shall sing happy songs. They shall sing moral songs. They shall sing religious songs. Above all, they shall be enforced to believe that there is a reward, the harder they worked, if not claimed in this life, then certainly to be claimed in the afterlife.
The philosophy of betterment proved itself highly successful in fulfilling its one goal — to control the masses. At the same time, it stopped people from thinking for themselves, and from being enticed away from their duties. And as far as music itself was concerned, the philosophy of betterment did nothing more but to idolise the craftsman, instead of the visionary artist who looked beyond what he was meant to see.
To promote ignorance is to deprive citizens of their right to know, and consequently, of their right to be free.