Grace under pressure – Ariana Grande redefines positive energy
This is a surely a strange topic for an energy related website, but in some respects not at all. A post from several months ago was dedicated to the very real but intangible effects of positive energy . It’s not an untapped resource but definitely under utilized. So it was a pleasant surprise beyond belief to see a young artist display a profound maturity and courage, battling her obvious fear by standing tall and sending an important message to the world. The concert, in my opinion, will be as iconic as the legendary footage of a solitary protestor standing in front of a tank in Tiananmen Square a few decades ago.
Terrorist attacks of recent years have no redeeming value whatsoever, but have shown us the depths of how low humans can go. In energy terms, the attacks are paragons of negative energy – a bomb on a plane can turn the stomach of every air traveller around the world for months; a bomb at a pop music event can instill fear, anger, and sorrow into millions of people around the world. Terrorists truly are the worst that humanity has to offer; it is not a human (or even an animal) trait to purposely cause pain and suffering to unrelated parties as an aftereffect.
On the flip side, the Ariana Grande concert was like a nuclear bomb of positive energy, a testament and display of much of what’s good in the world. That might sound like a review written by a 13 year old fan club member, but it’s not, and her posters will never adorn my walls. It is more of a review from one who sadly now lives by the old maxim from an old Rush song: Rational responses force a change of plans.
Ms. Grande is a very young woman at the top of her game, who was thrown into a hurricane for no reason other than that the terrorists knew they could inflict the most damage through her. Ms. Grande seems a pleasant enough young person, particularly so for a young star, many of which never rise above the shallowness of their public image. She seems genuinely appreciative of her fans and her lot in life.
The attack on her concert goers was of course devastating for the direct victims, but also particularly cruel for a young artist. A feeling of responsibility would be to some extent inevitable, as was evidenced by Ms. Grande’s tweets in the days after. It is hard to imagine her ever climbing onto a stage in the future without some fear of it happening again. That knock on effect in turn would make it even more difficult to deliver an evening of upbeat pop music. In the fragile world of young superstars, we might have expected this one to shield herself, go back into the comfortable world of riches and recording studios and therapists, dealing with the event on the circuit of celebrity talk couches.
To the delight of much of the world, we saw none of that. We saw a remarkably talented young woman grow up before our eyes. She took to the stage in the hardest of circumstances, her fear and discomfort palpable. For one whose normal habitat is a life of glamour and attractiveness and the endless comforts of extreme wealth, she stood and faced the ugliest segment the human race has ever encountered.
She could have ran and hid and simply issued a statement. She could have pop-ified the performance with bravado and false enthusiasm, but chose to stand front and center and vulnerable. She consciously abandoned her well-crafted visual image in favour of shapeless clothes. She stood at times all alone, a bravery that was made notable by the obvious comfort she derived from the presence of the other performers.
The one sickening feeling that accompanied the event was that, despite the heavy police presence, Ms. Grande and the audience remained sitting ducks. For the sub-humans that blew up children at her previous concert, there would have been no greater feat than replicating the mayhem in front of a global audience.
So it was an incredible act of courage to stand and perform as she did, and convey the message she did. There were no unfortunate statements of revenge or defiance, as understandable as they would have been. In fact, to rise above that level (which the US president cannot even do) and stay true to a message of positive energy was an unsually remarkable thing to see.
It is easy also to think that those who willingly blow up children are a subspecies of human that is unreachable and needs to be wiped out (the Trump vision). That may be true, but it is also true that youth can be swayed by ideology, and convinced to do bizarre things if presented with the wrong role models. What made Ms. Grande’s performance remarkable is that she knows this, and chose to present a different role model to the world. Maybe we can’t stop insane imams from preaching hate, but maybe we can show their pupils that their way is not the way of humanity.
That is what we saw. Grande’s performance was one for the ages, as much as any single human can do in the fight against extremism.
She did everything right.