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Humanist Principles, Musical Production, and Life Orientation

  • Anthony B. Pinn
Chapter
Part of the Black Religion/Womanist Thought/Social Justice book series (BRWT)

Abstract

Most, whether articulated in this way or not, are troubled by a general disregard for life. Many will note this with respect to the numerous individuals hurt if not killed during the process of car jacking, for example. This “jacking” is far from a simple desire for material acquisition without delay; it involves an epistemological decay, a devaluation of life and a general sense of hopelessness and meaninglessness. Human life and the products humans create have equal value for “small-time criminals” and white-collar criminals who hide behind large desks in corporate offices. Unfortunately, we have had to become somewhat numb to this reality— attempting to recognize it and act accordingly without being consumed by it. The need to make sense of the world and not be overwhelmed by absurdity has required this. But we have not considered this ideal and we assumed that effort and commitment could result in a better way— movement away from the absurdity and madness of contemporary life. Many have looked to religious organizations and institutions for this. The phenomenon of the “mega-churches” speaks to the appeal of religious answers to pressing problems. And why shouldn’ t this be the case? Religious answers and spiritually inspired action have often worked in the past: Keep in mind the Civil Rights Movement. Yet, this movement toward the churches and other religious organizations seems somewhat matched by a disregard for the sanctum of houses of religion. That is to say, unspeakable acts— racism, sexism, homophobia, greed, and so forth— within the religious sphere have gained attention; and for many, have reduced religious organizations’ ability to claim exemption from the fallout resulting from social conditions.

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Notes

  1. 2.
    Gerald H. Hinkle, Art as Event: An Aesthetic for the Performing Arts (Washington, DC: University Press of America, Inc., 1979), 6.Google Scholar
  2. 20.
    Alice Walker, In Search of Our Mothers’ Gardens: Womanist Prose (New York: Harvest/Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, Publishers, 1983), 37.Google Scholar
  3. 24.
    From The Color Purple. Cited in Alice Walker, “The Only Reason You Want To Go To Heaven Is That You Have Been Driven Out Of Your Mind,” reprinted in Anthony B. Pinn, ed., By These Hands: A Documentary History of African American Humanism (New York: New York University Press, 2001), 289.Google Scholar
  4. 37.
    Malcolm Venable, “Missing You,” Vibe Magazine (March 2000), 99.Google Scholar
  5. 41.
    Albert Camus, The Rebel: An Essay on Man in Revolt (New York: Vintage International, 1991), 20.Google Scholar
  6. 42.
    Herbert Read, “Foreword,” in Albert Camus, The Rebel: An Essay on Man in Revolt (New York: Vintage International, 1991), vii.Google Scholar
  7. 45.
    Rob Marriott, interview with Tupac Shakur, “Last Testament,” in Vibe Magazine (November 1996), T7.Google Scholar
  8. 47.
    Michael Eric Dyson, Holler If You Hear Me: Searching for Tupac Shakur (New York: Basic Civitas Books, 2001), 230.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Anthony B. Pinn 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  • Anthony B. Pinn

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