One of the secrets to living a richer life comes in learning to evaluate experiences beyond a simple like or dislike – especially on first encounter. So many of the delights of living are found in acquired tastes. Returning to a challenge for new insights. The critical examination and perspective.
So it’s been with the opera, so much classical music, visual art, beer and wine, even literature I’ve come to love. To say nothing of Holy Scripture. Or the places I’ve lived. To be honest, there are often stretches in a long hike I might admit I don’t like, especially if the insects are biting and the incline’s steep, no matter how much I’m enlivened by the entire outing.
Somewhere along the line, I’ve learned to distrust what comes easily. In living with a piece of art, you may realize fatal flaws behind the initial flash, or to your continuing delight you may find the revelations expanding.
Part of the transition comes in learning to see value in ambiguity and paradox, or to find riches in the shadings of gray beyond simple black and white. It’s not an argument for self-torture or meaninglessness, but rather a willingness to suspend disbelief long enough to consider many other dimensions.
Yes, I like pizza. But, as an illustration, I never would have discovered the joys of manicotti if I’d insisted on the familiar pie that one night.
At the moment, I’m cracking open the Bartok string quartets by means of repeated listening and finding such beauty beneath their outward gruffness. Any examples you care to add the list?