E.M. Forster Essay, Research Paper
Order, I suggest, is something evolved from within, not something imposed from without; it is an internal stability, a vital harmony, and the social and political category, it has never existed except for the convenience of historians. -E.M. Forster
This quote explains how a man can find harmony with his surroundings, even though he constantly alters them. Forster describes attaining this by finding it in what you know or enjoy. This leads me to believe that harmony is based upon a psychological perspective. A person s sense of order truly exists, only if there is order internally. Each person has a unique way of finding his or her order. For example, a person may rely on music, religion, personal beliefs, talents, hobbies, etc. to feel a sense of harmony.
This idea of order could also be easily defined as happiness. This is the happiness that one feels when life is content and forgiving. This exists when there is no turmoil and only calmness surrounds the person. Although there are several ways that a person can find this, music can be considered an open median for harmony in one s life. This is basically because music is composed of harmony. According to the American History and Encyclopedia of Music, Harmony, the backbone of music, the one quality which is expressly strengthened when great music is in question, but which is also the real inner principle of unity in the lightest possible music Music has the ability to conform to every emotion an individual feels, from a mother singing a lullaby to her child to an overly stressed student rocking out to alternative music. Music can bring some relief to any individual. However, music is an external factor. Can this really help achieve intrinsic happiness?
Society does not help individuals realize how out of rhythm we really are. Culture places great emphasis on our roles in society. These roles, whatever they may be, add to people s confusion. For example, a person may constantly ponder the questions: what religion should I be? What job should I have? How should I raise my children? These questions are an added burden to a person s life. Ronald Fernandez says, in fact, others (for example, a husband, a father, a mother, a mother-in-law) may put considerable pressure on the person to conform to societal patterns (204) . This external influence can come from anybody or anything. Society also places great emphsis on marriage. Everybody should get married, have kids, and own a house. These pressures can cause strain on ones self to be like everybody else. To conform to the rest of society, everything an artist tries not to be.
Religion can also be a stepping-stone towards harmony in a person s life. The idea of having a higher power to believe in makes some individuals feel comfortable. Forster Breaks harmony down into two separate categories, art and divine order. Forster explains, the existence of a divine order, though it cannot be tested, has never been disproved (329). I believe that Forster s higher power is art. He holds it in the highest regard, without it he would be lost. For art is always the same, never changing. A higher power, art or God, gives people hope and makes them feel as if their life has meaning. Why am I here, or what am I doing with my life? These questions are sometimes answered by that higher power. In the book Goethe and Inner Harmony, Daniel J. Farrely describes a woman s search for harmony. She is searching for God and writes, my feelings towards the Invisible One were almost totally extinguished. The hurry and the crowd I lived in distracted me and carried me along as in a rapid stream. These were the emptiest years of my life (47). After finding God, the woman describes her feelings. By such incessant agitations, I was once more led to recollect myself. The gaudy imagery of a distracted life, which used to hover day and night before my eyes, was at once blown away (49). Proving that there is order within religion.
Psychology is the study of the mind. Psychologists are always searching for answers to lifes little problems. Terms such as self-realization and self-determination define harmony one way or another in psychology. George F. McLean refers to circumstantial freedom of self-realization. He says, to be free is to be able, under favorable circumstances, to act as one wishes for one s own individual good as one sees it (Chapter 3). McLean uses freedom to define harmony. Both Forster and McLean discuss an internal drive that promotes satisfaction. Does this self-realization define art? Because McLean begins with the word circumstantial, he is saying that this freedom only happens at certain times in one s life. Forster mentions that art is the only material object in the universe which may possess internal harmony. All the others have been pressed into shape from outside, and when their mold is removed they collapse (329). For example, an artist may feel this freedom only when he or she is creating. Forster is referring to this circumstantial freedom of self-realization that McLean describes. McLean also explains the natural freedom of self-determination. He defines it in saying, to be free is to be able, by a power inherent in human nature, to change one s own character creatively by deciding for oneself what one shall do or shall become (Chapter 3). This is a satisfaction that comes from doing as one wishes whenever one wishes. Here, the artist can achieve harmony intrinsically by what he or she does externally. The artist is not inhibited by others and freely expresses his or her feelings through his or her art. Art survives its ever-changing surroundings due to the appreciation that it gets from others and/ or the artist. Art is one of the few things that remain despite change and harmony or discord.
Technology also plays a key role in our search for harmony. With the onset of cellular phones and pagers, there seems to be no escape from the real world. Forster writes, we cannot reach social and political stability for the reason that we continue to make scientific discoveries and to apply them, and thus to destroy the arrangements which were based on more elementary discoveries (328) . Forster believed in 1949 that technology was an obstacle for harmony, one could only imagine what he would think in this day and age.
In concluding, the lack of order in ones life is not always external. The majority of the time, I believe, is brought upon by one s self. People are always procrastinating work and or putting things off. Many people constantly change their environment. This is found when people move and or leave home. Living in a new place and making new friends can cause an unsettling feeling. Changing jobs frequently can also bring out this feeling. I also believe drugs and alchol can cause confusion in life. Some people may never find it within themselves; therefore, they will have little or no sense of organization on the outside