Who chooses

(Versión en castellano)

Days ago I found a video, a fragment of a documentary film about the life of Gregor Piatigorsky, a Russian (American naturalized) famous cellist.  In that film he explains in his own words:

“Nobody can really choose music as a profession, like you can choose to become a dentist or whatever, it chooses you.”

Now, does this happen only in the case of music, as Piatigorsky says?

When I was a teenager I had a revealing dream, it was vivid, kind of nightmare.  In it a classmate from high school appears in front of me.  As has happened to me on many occasions, I was aware that I was dreaming, which led me to speculate that being the situation the fruit of my mind, I should be able to control it.  Then, in the middle of “my” dream, I looked into my friend's eyes and tried to make him say what I wanted.  His expression changed like that of an actor suddenly leaving the script, he returned a mocking smile, as if to imply that he knew my intention and that it was a naive attempt on my part.

I suppose those authors of conspiracy theories both in the context of real life and in works of fiction (why not the concept “god” itself) had experiences similar to the one I just related.  The only thing that can be said for sure is that we have no control over what is not conscious thought, therefore, obviously, we do not choose our deep desires and drives.  Undoubtedly, the most mundane example, suitable for all audiences, is that we do not choose who we fall in love with.  What we can choose is to what extent we pay attention to and follow those deep motivations and desires (for example, the role vocation plays in our choice of profession) and the way in which we try to put them into practice, to translate them into the real world.  To achieve this, we must learn to live with them, to negotiate a balance.  Given the risk, the sacrifice, the work, and in some cases the austerity that this entire process entails, it is understandable that there are very few people who actually commit to that task.  Artists, especially musicians (let alone professionals) are no exception, even when it may not seem so from the outside.

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©2020 - Walter Alejandro Iglesias


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