John Wayne as a cowboy

Connoisseur vs. Amateur

I do not claim to be a Connoisseur in any area of my life, but there are some areas where I am becoming more and more discriminating. Because of this, I have been thinking about the differences between these two states recently.

Sophomores at St. John’s college all take a music tutorial. In that class I learned much more about music, and I am able to appreciate good music all the more. But at what cost. Music I previously enjoyed is annoying either because of simple chord progressions, or inferior performance. In popular music, I can guess what chord is coming up many times, and many songs sound more and more alike as I concentrate on this aspect of the song. Also I have found that cheeper recordings of great music, like Beethoven’s Symphonies by the Bohemian National Orchestra (for example) which I previously enjoyed just don’t sound as good as ones by more skilled orchestras.

One thing I find peculiar is that, while we in America tend to lionize rugged individuals, as we increase in affluence, we tend to pride ourselves in our disdain of smelly or dirty objects. We laugh at the character in a movie who is too good to get their hands dirty and then act the same way ourselves.

This isn’t to say that I’m a big proponent of individualism. Personally I think it is a very dangerous ideal to work towards. Partially because we are incapable of being completely self-reliant, but mostly because it is a sinful ideal. Look at the sons of Cain in Genesis. They were very inventive, and did many things to ease God’s curse, but they never called on the name of God and one of their descendants bragged that he killed someone for striking him.

So I want to somehow find a balance between Self-reliance and extreme discrimination.

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