Sunday, June 7, 2009

This post deserves a title comparable to "Trout Fishing in America." That title, belonging to one of my favorite books, by Richard Brautigam, is already taken, alas, but the scope of what I am thinking about matches it.

The subject is the connection between discipline and going fishing. I just heard a concert by a pipa player, classically trained in China, severely dressed in black head to toe, playing trios together with a Seattle-born bassist and a terrific guitarist, both in sport shirts and soft shoes. Quite a contrast in sight and in style, but an interesting meeting of minds via sensitive listening. The concert followed a chat on the inevitable dilemma awaiting an American adolescent raised in a super-strict musical discipline.

Judging from my own experience I would put money on the notion - in fact, I have staked my livelihood on it - that one's standards for oneself are and have to be the highest standards that exist. Sometimes super-strict discipline imposed from the outside actually undermines the individual's respect for her own standards, ultimately undermining self-esteem.