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Jackie Marano's picture

Piano Keys are Key

    As someone who has played the piano for a very long time and who has a profound respect for the beauty, complexity, and magnificence of the instrument, I would say that being a piano key, in the figurative sense, is not that great of an insult. I think that this is a really interesting way to look at the meaning of life and free will through this analogy.

      There are 88 keys on the piano, each of them, when played, will generate its own note at a given frequency. He/She who plays a song on the piano recognizes that the sound and the pitch of each note is critical to each chord (combined sound), and to getting through the whole song. Some notes need to be played multiple times, some notes are played alone, some notes must be played with other notes to generate the desired chord.

So if we were to think of ourselves as piano keys, we would each have a role in participating with other keys on the piano and for representing that one note that is supposed to sound when we are played. And now we have a sense of meaning and responsibility, to ourselves, to the other piano keys, and to whoever is playing us (Natural selection? Some higher 'minded' power?).

     And what about free will? I think we can choose which key we wanted to be, and that we can become another key when we feel like it. The entity that plays us will play us when the song says so, and certain notes will be played loudly or softly, short or long, often or rarely, alone or together...and where we fit in and how we are 'played' depends totally on which key we choose to represent at any given point in the song.

    The way that we are played may not be as passive or negative as we think. No matter what key we choose to be, or how loud/soft, short/long, or often we are played, we all have a purpose and a responsibility in life. And some keys need to be played twice in a song...perhaps our parents or grandparents have been this 'key,' maybe our children will become this 'key' for a while, maybe we will ourselves re-become this key. We will inevitably be played as the song calls for the given note, but our free will lets us change which note we want to be whenever we want, so we do have some control over how we are played. This makes life exciting and unpredictable from the persepective of us, the keys. And perhaps some of us have no problem being a piano key because representing a note, being part of an unpredictable process, and having some responsibility to ourselves and to others keeps us motivated to produce that note when we are needed.

      Perhaps getting to know the 'song' we all play is impossible, and maybe it isn't important to us keys. Maybe only He/She/It who plays the song needs to know, but that doesn't make each of us keys unimportant.   

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