In this article I’m looking at another quote image, and this one is debatable on at least a couple of fronts…
I took that picture on lovely sunny morning on the West coast of Scotland. I can tell you exactly which morning too as it happens, as it was my birthday, July 3rd in 2015.
I had gone up on a photo trip to take pictures of Ailsa Craig, a rock just off the coast where all the curling stones in the world come from.
I had a lovely day snapping away from sunrise to sunset, and at about 9am I was looking across the beach and saw this older lady walking along. She was flicking her feet as she paddled along, still wearing her coat with a carrier bag slung over her shoulder.
I liked the way the image looked, making her look small against the wider perspective of the sand and the sea, imagining her alone in her own world.
That’s why I thought the words worked well over the top, from German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche (1844-1900)…
“And those who were seen dancing were thought insane by those who could not hear the music.”
I did say the quote could be debated, so let’s get to the first question – did he actually say it?
Probably not as it happens.
Philosophers are know for their work, predominantly in the form of writing, so it shouldn’t be hard to find it written down in one of his works, right? Well, if it is there, no-one’s found it yet!
Yes, he wrote about dancing, and music, and he suffered mental issues, and in his philosophies he covered ideas which could be tied to the quote, but as for it being attributed to him as is? No.
So, on to the next debate around the quote, who’s wrong and who’s right?
Is the person dancing right, because they are in touch with a certain mindset, which in the setting of this quote would have to be seen as one of being themselves, acting with freedom and expression. Does that make the person who views them as insane to be wrong, because they don’t have the ability to tune into that mindset. Are they wrong because they are too boring, constricted by society’s rules?
Or, is the person dancing in the wrong, because there is in fact no music, that there is a right time and place to express yourself, but society needs rules and practices to function properly? Is the person who can’t hear the music in fact right, because if we all just did our own thing regardless of anyone else, we’d end up with anarchy instead of society?
Of course, the philosopher in *me* says neither! Both are right, both are wrong, because there is no ‘right’ or ‘wrong’!
If someone wants to dance in a certain way to the music, then so be it.
If someone wants to dance without music at all, then so be it.
If someone thinks that dancing looks silly, or insane, then so be it.
If someone likes a different type of music altogether and wouldn’t dream of dancing to other types of music, then so be it.
That’s what I *do* like about this quote! I like the poetic flow and feel to it, because it carries expression with it, and I’m a full on believer in people expressing themselves.
Be that in career, lifestyle, relationship, health, the idea that people should be themselves seem clearly desirable to me, and why not?
I also firmly believe that we need to do so with consideration for our surroundings, and this is a key point…
We need to act with respect and integrity towards others, because that’s part of integrity towards ‘ourselves’, so yes, it’s important to be aware of how our actions affect those around us.
However, there are limits to this. It’s vital that we do not let the ‘wishes’ of others dominate us. That’s totally different to having awareness of others.
Too many people live a life of ‘not enough’ expression, because they are bowing too much to the wishes of others. They are viewing the wishes of others, therefore the expressions of others, as more important than expressing themselves.
In time, this allowing of others to grant us permission or not to be ourselves, leads us to stop giving ‘ourselves’ permission and that’s when it becomes a real problem.
We have to have self expression. The world needs rules, as I mentioned before, but it also needs people to express themselves. That’s where the wonder comes from, the learning, the communication, and the joy of life for all of us.
So, look to your own circumstances. Are you dancing enough? Are you driving hundreds of miles to go and take photos of a big rock, just because you want to? Are you going for a morning paddle in the sea with your coat and carrier bag? Are you dancing?
Whatever that means to you, are you doing enough of it, or are you letting other people make you think yourself out of it?
When it comes to other people, are you viewing them as insane, because they express themselves in a way that’s different to you? Could it be that you could listen to the music in their head, or maybe *ask* them what makes them tick inside?
I can’t see any downside to this – if more people began more of their own life dancing, and asked a little more about other people’s life music, that’s a good thing, right?
Try it, it can change your life. It can *transform* it.
Ok, do let me know what you think – I love the feedback!
‘Til Next Time,
Health & Happiness,
P.S. If you’d like to get more life dancing underway, do watch my free video series covering my 8 step goal achievement formula – it works!