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Fate and Music

Life can be tough and unfair. The world is not perfect. Some things seem perfect but we don't know everything about them.

Let me share the story about the giant of music Ludwig van Beethoven. He was 15 years younger than another genius musician and composer Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart who was the famous child star. Beethoven's first music teacher was his father. He was envious of Mozart's fame and pushed Ludwig to study music. Beethoven's father dreamed of the fame for young Ludwig also. But young Beethoven was not a prodigy. He was talented child but not a genius.

Beethoven's first success came at over twenty. But then he was 26 his life was troubled by the loss of hearing. It seemed impossible! It could hardly be imagined a deaf composer and pianist.

On the advice of his doctor, Beethoven left Vienna and lived a few months in the small village in an attempt to recover his condition. But there was no positive result. Beethoven started to realize inevitable loss of hearing. He even thought about suicide. In one letter to his friend he wrote: "If I could be cured I would kiss the world. I can hardly bear it. I will take fate by the throat; it shall never drag me down! Life is so beautiful, thousands of times beautiful." These words are about despair, fate and hope.

I play no musical instrument whatever. I never had interest in studying music. I remember I visited the school choir lessons. I did it just because the most beautiful and smart girls visited the school choir. But the teacher who leaded these lessons understood the level of my talents and put me in the back row. So, I had no chance to impress any girl by my singing.

Last year I attended a party event. There was a group of about 10 people in the room. We had some simple musical instruments like triangle, rattles, bells, drums, whistles. There was a bowl also. When you hit it with the stick and draw over the edge of the bowl it makes the sound. There were other primitive musical instruments also. The number of instruments was more than the number of participants.

We all started to play together on different instruments. There was no musician among us. During a few minutes it all sounded like loud noise. We changed the instruments without interruption. Bit by bit we started to listen to each other. We started to vary the volume of sound and tempo. Some melody was created in the room like magic. We were sitting at the beginning of our playing. Then we stood up with all instruments and moved around. Everyone was part of a team effort.  We enjoyed playing and moving. We were like a new music band.

The idea came to me then we finished. The life is like the set of the musical instruments. You don't know how to use any of them at the start. You try something and this instrument sounds bad. Other people do the same. You and your neighbor start to play. As a trumpet player you sound horrible. You are upset and take guitar. Even worse. You look at your neighbor. He tortures a violin. You think it would be better to ask him stop this. But he doesn't agree, of course. Other people are not skilled also. They distract you. Sheet music? No one knows them! All this looks and sounds chaotic. And you are desperate not to be able to play music in right way.

I am a lawyer and I'm used to thinking in terms of rules and laws. In playing music with other participants I saw the rule in action. It is about bringing chaos to order. You can call it the rule of the universe or God or nature or something else. If you continue to play, little by little you do it better and better. Other people do the same. You start to listen to them and tune, they listen to you and tune. You play together.

Marcus Aurelius once said, "Accept the things to which fate binds you, and love the people with whom fate brings you together, but do so with all your heart."

Let's play in the orchestra called Life and enjoy the music.