Members of the jury, let me conclude my summing up.
In this most interesting of cases, we have been considering the question first raised by that eminent biologist and neuroscientist, Professor Robert Sapolsky: Does Age Quash Our Spirit Of Adventure?
You will have a chance, when you commence your deliberations, to review Exhibit A – the fascinating 12 minute summary of the interview with Professor Sapolsky about his research on how the ageing process impacts our tendency to embrace the new. But let me highlight for you his key findings:
- there is a clear link between youth and novelty and it is between the ages of 14-21 when young adults form their attachments to ‘the music of their life’ – during this period, they are ‘wide open to new music’
- by age 35, the door to new adventures, and therefore, the likelihood of someone this age engaging with new experiences such as new music and new food, is pretty much closed
- those of us who are older may tell ourselves that continuity and sticking with the same things in a world of change is comfortable, but it is when you dare to do something different that you can grow
- ‘an open mind is a prerequisite to an open heart’
Now, we have also heard from the defence – the delightful Mrs L Tracks – who has put forward most eloquently a different point of view, using Exhibit B – the album The Fame (2009) and the EP The Fame Monster (2009) by Lady Gaga. Mrs Tracks has helped those of us not already familiar with the work of Ms Gaga by explaining that these releases were the first recordings of this now notorious and highly successful popular music artist. They were apparently commercially well received in general.
Mrs Tracks’ submission is that she was well past the age of 35 before she started to listen to and enjoy Ms Gaga’s music. Members of the jury, you must put aside your disbelief in Mrs Tracks age – I can scarcely credit it myself – but this is merely a distraction. Your role here is to focus on the principle under discussion here. Mrs Tracks has put forward the view that the music of Ms Gaga is good quality, ahem, ‘pop’. It is clearly, she says, influenced by such artists as Kylie Minogue, Madonna, Elton John and many others. Mrs Tracks is a fan of those artists, and approves of anyone taking their work as a starting point. And as Voltaire said, ‘originality is nothing but judicious imitation’.
None of us doubts the reliability of Professor Sapolsky’s research. All of us can see that one person cannot undermine a whole set of findings. But Mrs Tracks goes further than that, does she not? It is her argument that there is evidence in the comments on her, er, ‘blog’, that many commentators have found themselves discovering new music as a result of her, shall we say, contributions. Furthermore, it is her contention that, even if ‘sticking with what is comfortable’ is the norm, there are plenty of people capable of and willing to buck the trend.
So, members of the jury, the final decision rests with you. Are you open to new adventures or not?