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Harmony Without Monoculture

Updated: Jun 16, 2019

Wa, the Kanji Character for Harmony

This was in the days in the days of my legendary Inner-Sydney shared house. I had a clever, beautiful guest from France for six weeks, but soon realised I had a major harmony challenge on my hands. We were a carefully chosen household of sociable introverts, with specific topics and times we loved to converse. She was an extrovert, who revelled in free-for-all talking on any topic, any time. She'd enter the living room, see us working away quietly, and like a grafitti artist with a nice white wall, in she would launch to a torrent of words. 'Sorry darl, I can't talk now, I've got to get this work done' I'd bravely say. But she needed to talk like some people need to breathe. She'd then turn her attention to my assistants, who were younger and not as good at defending themselves, and the pillaging of our peace would re-commence.

Looking back, the solution we found is stranger than fiction. I must have had a conversation explaining my need for silence, and acknowleging her need to connect. I proposed that she and we sing a song together each night before bed, and we did.

She would teach me lovely French and Latin chants. I'd have to look into her eyes, pay close attention to follow. For a few minutes we would be carried away with a melody, connected, relaxed and happy.

It wasn't talking she wanted, is was just connection.

When we find the need beneath the need, and just fill that, so much pain can dissapear from life.


Today is Harmony day in Australia, and internationally.

Its easy to have harmony with people who are like us. Thats why we like them. But that creates monoculture, and life won't evolve, true creativity won't happen.

It takes detective work to find the actual problem, and design work to come up with a solution.

The Japanese word for Harmony is Wa. Its a composite character, made 'ina' 禾, a bushel of rice, and 'kuchi' 口, mouth. I don't know why. It might be because if you don't have rice to eat, representing having basic needs met, there will be no harmony. Or maybe its about having the important things: sustenance for the body, and for our soul, a little song to sing with friends.

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