Did You Create Sense or Nonsense?

Trigger Question #25

With apologies to Paul Simon. (Created with Microsoft Copilot)

. . .

In the second half of the 1970s, I listened to Paul Simon’s album There Goes Rhymin’ Simon. A lot. I was an active listener.

For those of you who don’t understand active listening, let me explain. Every time I wanted to listen, I had to take the LP (long-play vinyl) out of its sleeve, put it on the turntable, and lower the needle carefully into the groove. That was Side A. To listen to Side B, I had to lift the needle off the LP, move it to its resting place, flip the LP over, and then lower the needle carefully into the groove. (What do you mean what is Side A?)

Active listening required intention and commitment. My intention is to listen to a specific album. And because of the effort involved, I am committed to listening in earnest. No easy, quick finger-skip to the next track or album, without giving them a fair shot.

But that’s not the point of me writing this Trigger Question.

One particular Paul Simon track made a groove in my memory. One Man’s Ceiling Is Another Man’s Floor. Back then, I was living apartment life for the first time. And I was experiencing big city life for the first time. Living in an apartment, One Man’s Ceiling Is Another Man’s Floor made total sense to me.

And walking the streets of a humming city, I saw how often one person’s trash is another person’s treasure.

Without ceremony, the Big City introduced me to Diversity with a Big D. (For those of you who don’t know, country life is very uniform compared to city life. You don’t believe me? Listen to some country music. That was a joke! Sorry.)

Diversity and variety are everywhere, city or country, and yet we choose to be stubborn about what makes trash and what is art. We find it comforting to believe in our sense and to frown on their nonsense.

But here’s the thing about nonsense. It is purely subjective. What you see as nonsense might make sense to someone else.

Here’s another thing about nonsense. You are more likely to see nonsense when you disapprove of it.

But guess what? Every time you encounter nonsense, you are free to decide whether you see “sense” or “non-sense.” You are, indeed, the creator of nonsense. Or of sense.

Your choice.

Welcome to my side of the nonsense divide.

. . .