03 Jul 2020

Common Man…Not so Common

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I was listening to an old tape(?!) of a composition by Aaron Copeland, Fanfare For The Common Man. It is a wonderful, heart-felt, orchestral piece that is at once compelling, gravitational and inspiring. You can find it. Have a listen. What is more important to me is that it brought forward some feeling about our world and the people. First off, Copeland originally wrote a lot of music celebrating the contributions of the populace of this country. He had, in the 1930’s, seen the poverty and the indomitable spirit of our people struggle to keep mind and body in one piece. Then there was the incredible sacrifice of our people in WWII. His music strikes a chord about that time and our spirit. But what struck me is the comprehensive nature of ‘Common”.

Common, as a descriptive word, suggests usual, standard, no particular exemplar merit, and extant everywhere. This is not the case with the human species. In fact, all species. This entire creation hold consciousness. The farmer or the fisherman, who directly relate to the environment, may be considered common. Tradesmen, clerks, wait people, on and on, may be considered common, for their contribution seems trivial. But the contribution is the service to the whole that is important. It may be a humble offering, but all of it comes from the primal source, with earnestness and humility, at the core. We are in this reality, on the flat, in the round of a gigantic circle with no lapses. We are all common.

When we speak of the Common Man, we are no longer defining common as American. We are speaking of the contribution of all mankind. We are also not speaking of ‘man’ as the genetic half of our biped species. It is a generic term of all genetic material, x and y. We are talking about the nobility of the family of man. We possess many differences, shapes, colors, appetites, aspirations and behavior, including spiritual proclivities… But to the core, we are all descending or ascending in a unitary oneness, each in his own way.

We are not defined by our physiology, nor our beliefs. We are brought to this furor to define and refine our spirits. It is not a thinking conundrum, not even behavioral. It is something that is resident in each of us, no matter our social background or hereditary roots. It is what we brought in with us as our measure, our path and our destination. Many cultures would call it the ‘ineffable’. But on a quiet moment we all feel it. Just as the composition moves us to find our common-ness, it slows our processes down to examine our internal quiet dominion. And it this moment that provides the opening of the ‘epiphany’.


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