On Hope

It was in early 1841 that the 31 year old Robert Schumann composed his first symphony. He had, the previous year, married 21 year old Clara Wieck, the young woman he ardently loved and whose father had created almost insurmountable opposition to the union. Clara attributed the work's title, Spring Symphony, to the last line of 'Spring Poem' by Adolf Böttger: You spirit of the cloud, dreary and grave, You fly threateningly over land and sea. In no time at all your grey veil covers The clear gaze of the heavens, Your fog rolls in from afar And night shrouds the star of love: You spirit of the cloud, dreary and damp, Why have you driven away all my happiness, Why do you call tears to my face, A

Othering

We are strange creatures, we humans. On the one hand we do not do so well on our own. We are bees in a beehive, each of us contributing our skills to the general cause. We want to belong... to another, to a family, society, or nation. And we conform to the zeitgeist, mysteriously finding our aesthetic mutating to coincide with the trend, whether it be a verbal tic or the current length of skirts. Yet at the very same time we want to stand out. We do not want anyone to challenge our right to choose. We want to distinguish ourselves. This cult of individualism presupposes a comparative affluence and is associated with industrialisation and urban populations. When survival is threatened and the

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