As Nick Cave continues to address the big topics through his Red Hand Files, the Aussie singer has shared his thoughts on mercy and cancel culture.
The Red Hand Files have been a source of joy and understanding during the lockdown as Cave continues to answer the questions put to him by his fans. But this subject matter has a habit of blowing up in people’s faces.
Not so much for Cave though who tackles the subject with a heavy dose of humility and a side order of understanding. On the subject of mercy, Cave writes that it: “Allows us the ability to engage openly in free-ranging conversation — an expansion of collective discovery toward a common good. If mercy is our guide we have a safety net of mutual consideration, and we can, to quote Oscar Wilde, ‘play gracefully with ideas.’”
He goes on to refer to mercy as a human trait that should be matured and nurtured while suggesting cancer culture is its “antithesis” and then called it “the unhappiest religion in the world.”
“Cancel culture’s refusal to engage with uncomfortable ideas has an asphyxiating effect on the creative soul of a society,” writes Cave. “Compassion is the primary experience — the heart event — out of which emerges the genius and generosity of the imagination. Creativity is an act of love that can knock up against our most foundational beliefs, and in doing so brings forth fresh ways of seeing the world. This is both the function and glory of art and ideas.
“A force that finds its meaning in the cancellation of these difficult ideas hampers the creative spirit of a society and strikes at the complex and diverse nature of its culture.”
While Cave did acknowledge the pressures of lockdown and referred to society as being “in transition” he also questioned what the necessary steps were to create a more equal society. It’s not a question many of us have the answer to.
Read the full Red Hand Files here.