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  JV's Personal Message to Musicians

This article is a little different than the others on this site. It may be too outrageous for you. It may offend you. Well, heck, you may like it! Either way, I hope you check it out and think about it and decide for yourself. This isn't about recording or mixing or 24 bits - it's a subject from my heart - so if you have an open mind, read on...

Often times my clients inquire via email about mastering their projects. One such potential client asked if I master rap albums, to which I answered, "I've recorded, mixed and mastered many rap albums. I am happy to work on your project so long as it doesn't have lyrics that promote killing people or using hard drugs."

His reply was, "The lyrics about killing people are only toward those who deserve it." Personally, I don't think anyone deserves to be killed regardless of what they've done. Killing people for any reason (other than euthanasia)
is using abuse to solve abuse. This is going to push a button for the people who believe "an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth." All that "eye for an eye" stuff is old technology and it doesn't work. People have been using death as revenge for centuries and it hasn't brought lasting peace to our planet. I'm not saying just let anyone go crazy.... if ya gotta lock someone up forever to protect others, so be it.

Back to the rap guy - I told him that I preferred projects with a different message and I wished him well. So why the heck should the lyrics matter to me? I mean I'm a mastering engineer, not the FCC!
The answer is simple: I believe that musicians have a great influence over a lot of people, and when a song promotes anything destructive, that's what we get more of in our lives.

C'mon man, be realistic! It's just expression, it's free speech, it's just reporting the story!

Yes, it may simply tell the story, but every time we hear that story, we make an unconscious link with it. We engage with part of it. Explore this for a minute.... Maybe we don't go out and buy a gun the next day, but mentally our thoughts line-up with the words of the song. You don't think about kissing your girlfriend when you're listening to "...kill all the haters on the East side..." It's been said that there is much power in words, and I agree.

Every artist's music becomes a part of the lives of those who listen to it. Musicians in the 60's and 70's changed millions when they declared "Make Love, Not War." Look throughout history and you'll see that
you attract what you make music about. I think musicians have a responsibility to decide how they want their music to effect people's lives. Don't you think people like John Lennon, Sting, U2, Shania Twain, Paul McCartney, Elton John, Vanessa Williams and Stevie Wonder think about the influence they have on people?

So what's the point, John?

We have a serious problem these days and it partially stems from two things:
1. We don't understand how powerful the collective consciousness is
2. We're addicted to being right

1. Some say maybe sorta there could be a collective consciousness out there... maybe on Star Trek... but in real life... give me a break.... right? The truth is Quantum Physicists have absolutely proven that collective consciousness exists all around us and we're all connected to it. Many of us just don't know about these scientific findings yet because they haven't made front page headlines.

These scientific findings show that every thought adds to the the direction of the collective consciousness, and that the direction of the collective has enormous creative power in the physical world. It's a form of influence and mental momentum. So the more people who connect to thoughts about killing people creates more people getting killed.

The good news is that it works the same way for peace. The more people who think peacefully create more peace via the collective consciousness. That's why countries and states who don't use the death penalty have fewer murders.

The TV and movie industry has a huge amount of influence on people too. Every time another person watches a show, the collective thought gets added into by the thoughts we experience during the show. When millions of minds are watching American cities getting blown up in such movies as "Independence Day" and "Core", we all join into that collective picture - and the connection happens automatically - we have no choice in the matter.

These scientific findings could offend some because that would mean that we are less separate from each other than we thought before... ...and it's easier to kill someone or hate someone if we believe that we are separate from them.

We are connected with each other in a bigger way than we've known before. It's time that people with influence (like you) get this across to the general public. One person can make a difference in the collective consciousness, particularly if that person is a musician and their music is heard by increasing numbers of people.

2. As far as being right - many people love it. It's noble, after all, when you are right. When someone else is wrong, you get the prize! Look more and you'll see that when we're right, we're really associating it with being kind, or being moral, or being superior in some way. We're taught that our "right" is better - our needs are more right - our beliefs are more right... and if we think someone else's way, needs or beliefs are wrong, we can justify our actions against them because we are more "right."

Ya know, like we're justified "borrowing" an extra towel from a hotel because the hotel's price was too high. Or walking out of a store with an item that wasn't paid-for because "that store makes too much profit anyway". Or "that dude deserves a smack in the face because he looked at me wrong." All of these statements are supported by the concept that we are all separate from each other.

The truth is we are all connected at a much much bigger level that we've imagined before, and here's my message to us all:


Someone has to be willing to take the risk of thinking in different ways - ways that are not about separation, but are about connection. We have to start realising what each of us is doing matters.

It certainly shifted our thinking when we were attacked on 9-11-01. I am not saying that we can just sit back and be all lovey-dovey when there are people out there who are out of control. We have to take steps to protect every living thing on this planet. But selling CDs that say killing is a groovy way to get back at the gang next door is really a waste of time and energy.

We need to aim in a direction that says "We can understand our differences and get along." We can stop being addicted to "our way is a better way" and start thinking "our way is
another way." Example: When I talk about the work of other mastering engineers, I do my best to acknowledge that they've done great work - I try not to put anyone down. That's because I think everyone has greatness in them. My mastering and their mastering isn't a better way, it's just another way.

Key: We can let go of our strong right-wrong polarities in favor of honoring co-operative differences. This doesn't mean that it's free-for-all time and that anyone should be able to go wacky if they want to. That wouldn't work! But noticing what DOESN'T WORK and what DOES WORK is a great way to gauge our results. Try the concept of what works and what doesn't work in your home, your business, your love life - don't just take my word for it!

Everything we think, everything we say, everything we do effects everyone else on this planet. Don't get me wrong, I don't think that I can sit here and meditate and cause world peace overnight. But I think that the "tell a friend" principle works.

I think it would be hot if musicians would be more active in starting a new trend - a trend of co-operation - a trend of kindness and love - a trend of loving allowance and connection. A trend where we all take responsibility, even in a small way every day, to make a positive difference. We stop settling for hate, and start being committed to peace.

So now I'm going to take a risk here that may challenge some typical ideas. I'm going to risk by quoting my favorite author, Neale Donald Walsh. It's a risk because some of you may be offended because you may feel his books go against some of the thinking we have come to accept. On the other hand, some of you may be inspired precisely because his books offer non-conforming concepts that invite us to evolve our ways of thinking - and even our ways of being.

This isn't a contest of right and wrong or Neale vs. some XYZ cultural standard.
This is about taking a stand, and putting something out there vs. being silent. So check out this quote... and then you decide what works best for you.

Excerpts quoted from CwG Weekly Bulletin #23:Tue, 10 Dec 2002:

"What happens on this planet occurs out of the will of the Collective Consciousness."

"It is the product of the Combined Reality shared by all. That combined reality is shaped, formed, and created in part by you, every hour, every day. Thoughts are things, and can be used by you to change the things that have been created by other thoughts which have preceded you.

YOU ARE CREATING YOUR OWN REALITY. So few really get that. [Otherwise some people] wouldn't ask questions such as "Are the end-times predictions true?" They would ask "What do I choose now to do in the face of all the world's thoughts about this?"

Do loving, kind, gentle, peaceful, honorable, healing things. Every day. Everywhere you go. With every person whose life you touch. Then, seek to touch even more lives. And then, even more after that.
Reach out and touch the world with your magnificence, and the magnificence of the Truth of Who You Are.

In every moment we have the choice to live in Love or in Fear. Choose Love now, and in every moment. [Live] in Faith. Faith that whatever the future holds, it is perfect. God is a loving God. Nothing is created - nothing - which does not proceed to your Highest Good.

I say this to you, my friend. You have been sent to the world at precisely this time in order to be one of those who heals the world, not sends it further into fear. Do that. It is not difficult. Anyone who has ever received even so much as a smile from you would tell you how easy it is for you to do that.

Go, therefore, and be a gift unto the world. And smile a lot. For a smile is love announced. Love of whatever and whoever it is you are smiling at."

Thank you for taking the time to read and consider these thoughts... and.... tell a friend.

Words are powerful
They even change the
crystal structure of water.

Created 12/28/02 Modified 12/06/04
Thank you to Neale Donald Walsh

Eden - Intentcity Records