In Praise of Nick Cave
We've been told to never judge a book by its cover. Learning that lesson once again has opened up some wonderful insights.
A friend recently referred me to a blog site written by Australian Songwriter Nick Cave. He is perhaps best known for his band Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds rather than as a blogger.
That band never really appealed to me and in hindsight it was possible a classic case of judging a book by its cover (I didn't like the name!)
However, reading his blog I have a more informed view of this man and his thoughts.
In one of his recent posts he addressed the concept mercy and also the implications of cancel culture. His words really struck a chord with me.
On mercy he writes:
Mercy is a value that should be at the heart of any functioning and tolerant society. Mercy ultimately acknowledges that we are all imperfect and in doing so allows us the oxygen to breathe — to feel protected within a society, through our mutual fallibility. Without mercy a society loses its soul, and devours itself.
Mercy allows us the ability to engage openly in free-ranging conversation — an expansion of collective discovery toward a common good. If mercy is our guide we have a safety net of mutual consideration, and we can, to quote Oscar Wilde, “play gracefully with ideas.”
Yet mercy is not a given. It is a value we must nurture and aspire to. Tolerance allows the spirit of enquiry the confidence to roam freely, to make mistakes, to self-correct, to be bold, to dare to doubt and in the process to chance upon new and more advanced ideas. Without mercy society grows inflexible, fearful, vindictive and humourless.
The reason I have quoted him verbatim is because I don't think I could express the concept any better.
But Cave doesn't finish there. He doubles down on common sense and beautiful prose when he tackles Cancel Culture.
Cancel culture is mercy’s antithesis. Political correctness has grown to become the unhappiest religion in the world. Its once honourable attempt to reimagine our society in a more equitable way now embodies all the worst aspects that religion has to offer (and none of the beauty) — moral certainty and self-righteousness shorn even of the capacity for redemption. It has become quite literally, bad religion run amuck.
Cancel culture’s refusal to engage with uncomfortable ideas has an asphyxiating effect on the creative soul of a society.
But this is where we are. We are a culture in transition, and it may be that we are heading toward a more equal society — I don’t know — but what essential values will we forfeit in the process?
There is more on his website but what a wonderful closing question by Cave.
What essential values will we forfeit in the quest some have us on for a more 'equal' society?
We see the answer in all the radical movements - Rainbows and Unicorns, BLM, Safe Schools, Environmentalism just to name a few.
In their pursuit of remaking a world in their own fringe image, there is no liberty, no essential value they will not trample upon to achieve their goal.
Disappointingly so many are willing to give up their liberty without even the semblance of a fight. Apathy has too many of us surrendering to the new masters of thought, speech and action.
I am just starting to explore the Nick Cave blog and I suggest you do the same. It's called The Red Hand Files