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The Intersection of Science, Art, Music & Humanities

Moral Ambiguity?

Sunday, June 17, 2018


Moral ambiguity: a lack of certainty about whether something is right or wrong.


Music matters, particularly when it addresses moral ambiguity and stimulates resistance and political activation necessary to protect human rights and the basic principles of democracy.


John Williams's beautiful theme above from Schindler's List does just that and it seems appropriate for today's Sunday Morning Stop at the Intersection of Science, Art, Music and Humanities. 


Its theme has the ability to make the strongest among us sob—particularly when conducted by my super-talented Los Angeles Philharmonic hero, Gustavo Dudamel, and featuring Itzhak Perlman on his brilliant 1714 Stradivarius violin.    


For those of you who might have missed reading Thomas Keneally's 1982 Booker Prize-winning book titled, Schindler's Ark, on which Steven Spielberg's 1993 black and white film Schindler's List was based, it proved to be one of the greatest humanitarian stories ever told. 


The film won seven Oscars, including one for John Williams's best original film score.


The book and film addressed the tragic events of the Holocaust and those who looked the other way for far too long, and the heroic role one Nazi Party member named Oskar Schindler played after addressing his moral ambiguity. His brave resistance actions saved the lives of 1200 Jews by recruiting them to work in his Polish factory. 


The powerful idea that each person can save the life of another underlies the book and film. Again, Schindler's famous closing line in the film, "Whoever saves one life saves the world entire—I could have done more."


Spielberg relinquished his salary for the movie and any proceeds he would stand to make in perpetuity, calling any such personal gains "blood money." The film's profits were used to found the Shoah Foundation, established to honor and remember the survivors of the Holocaust by collecting personal recollections and audio visual interviews. 


Other amazing and award-winning John Williams original film scores include: Star WarsSaving Private Ryan, Harry Potter, Superman, ET, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, Indiana Jones, Jaws, and Jurassic Park. We recommend listening to all of them. 


Have a thoughtful Sunday.


Ellen Troyer, with Spencer Thornton, MD, David Amess and the Biosyntrx staff


For those of you who may be interested in this history, my precious, deceased dear friend Leonard Gross's last best-selling book was titled The Last Jews in Berlin. It addressed other brave conscience-stricken German gentiles who also elected to risk their own lives by hiding and protecting jews in Berlin between 1943 and the end of WWII.