I have felt for much of my life, that my purpose (like God's purpose for me, but without the God part) is:
- To knit people together into communities.
- To shine a light on people's strengths, and in so doing, to help those strengths to grow.
- To sow positive feelings in a way that will have a ripple effect -- like my being kind to others will inspire them to be kind to everyone they encounter.
And music and dance have the power to do that stuff. They are magic.
Bruce Jackson did a good job of describing Pete Seeger's magic. You can read the longer version at The Great Conspirator Turns 85, or the shorter version at Bruce Jackson on Pete Seeger. I recommend the shorter version. Or just read my quote from it, which is:
Maybe that’s Pete’s great gift to us: his ability to join a group of people who might not only be strangers to him but to one another as well and to leave them, however many hours later, with some feeling, some knowledge, that transcends the moment entirely, a feeling and knowledge about the things that bond rather than the things that rend, about what it means to be human rather than what it means to be brutal, about how we must and can get on together by conspiring in the best and most basic sense of that word: breathing together.
It's true. I have experienced it. I have seen Pete Seeger live quite a few times, and each time, it gives me the feeling that I love everyone present, and that I want to go out and make the world a better place. That's the power of music and dance. They may seem like frivolous, unnecessary activities, but humans living harmoniously together is a pretty big deal, and not easily achieved.