24 February 2005
My limited edition copy of Tori Amos' new album, The Beekeeper, arrived last Friday. The music saturates my walls on a daily basis, the floors soaking in sound. As ever, the songs construct a rich, dense tapestry of themes and images that relate to one another in sophisticated ways. Her revamped website elaborates on many of the thoughts behind the album:
For Amos, the problems facing America have less to do with the simplistic duality of "red" and "blue" states than with the ways in which power, faith and relationships have been misunderstood and abused. [...]
No surprise, then, that the story within The Beekeeper has to do with bringing together disparate pieces and attaining wholeness without deferring to hierarchies or power structures.
Of the six gardens, I find myself visiting the greenhouse the most. In the interview portion of the DVD, she discusses the writing of "The Power of Orange Knickers" and all but quotes Alexander Solzhenitsyn. The obliteration of ideas takes less effort than achieving their negotiation. It is much easier to locate evil in other systems or cultures than to recognize our own propensities:
It was granted to me to carry away from my prison years on my bent back, which nearly broke beneath its load, this essential experience: how a human being becomes evil and how good. In the intoxication of youthful successes I had felt myself to be infallible, and I was therefore cruel. In the surfeit of power I was a murderer and an oppressor. In my most evil moments I was convinced that I was doing good, and I was well supplied with systematic arguments. It was only when I lay there on rotting prison straw that I sensed within myself the first stirrings of good. Gradually it was disclosed to me that the line separating good and evil passes not through states, nor between classes, nor between political parties either, but right through every human heart, and through all human hearts. This line shifts. Inside us, it oscillates with the years. Even within hearts overwhlemed by evil, one small bridgehead of good is retained; and even in the best of all hearts, there remains a small corner of evil.
~ The Gulag Archipelago