Here’s a quote for you:
“Those who were seen dancing were thought to be insane by those who could not hear the music.” – Friedrich Nietzsche
I’ve read this many times over the years and have had all kinds of ideas about it, some of which in my formative years were quite pretentious. However, wisdom comes with growing older (they say…and I certainly hope so). So I thought I’d have a little ponder on what these words mean for me today. Now, I have absolutely no idea about what Nietzsche meant for them to mean. I think he’s one of those philosophers who is a bit misunderstood actually but I won’t get into that here.
I think these words are allegorical – the music and the dancing are something to do with our inner selves and how we look upon life. We all have our own inner music but not all of us can, or choose, to hear it. Sometimes, like me, it takes a long time to attune to our inner music. Although, having said that I was always a bit ‘different’ and this either got me into trouble, or shunned and made fun of. At the time this really hurt and only made me more rebellious and different, which lead to more shunning and bullying. It’s only been in later years, and through a long time of therapy and my spiritual path, that I’ve learned to really listen to my own inner music and dance to it. However, to some I seem strange and probably a bit ‘kooky’; and I have been described as having a schizoid personality before. This makes me laugh – because it no longer matters to me what the world thinks.
Society, especially Western society, likes people to fit in. At least it is beginning to embrace those who dance to a different drum beat but for the most part I think we still live in a society that fears difference. This may seem odd given the amount of individualism we seem to espouse or believe we have. but we only have to look at the hate crimes that still go on – the prejudice that still exists over spirituality, colour, race, religion etc. Look at all the fuss that was made about people wearing jewellery that portrayed their religious beliefs at work for example. That’s just a mild one – in many countries people are actually murdered because of their religious and spiritual beliefs. We as human beings still don’t like the status quo rocked.
Learning to dance to ones own inner music, whatever that may be, takes a good deal of awareness about oneself and a great deal of courage. It means making a choice too – do you take a risk on having a more fulfilling life, or stick to the safe path that possibly brings with it blandness at best or resentment at worst (or maybe even worse!). The truth is though that even by choosing to dance to the beat of your own music you are never alone because there are many more who are doing the same thing – and in choosing to do so we bring about a community of souls who are enspirited.
In response to a writing prompt on Nostrovia