Nick Cave shares his New Year’s Resolution: “More open-mindedness”

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Like the rest of us, Nick Cave is setting his intentions and resolutions for the new year. As 2024 gets underway, the musician shared his goals on his Red Hand Files mailing list.

Sharing weekly answers to his fan’s burning questions, Cave has been writing directly to his followers in this newsletter since 2018. It ranges from deeply moving conversations on grief, love and religion to more lighthearted topics of music, AI and his daily life.

This week, Cave was asked two questions, “Could you point out three single words that you like the most and explain why?” and “A New Year’s resolution?”

“Three of my favourite words, and ones I find myself using more and more these days, are ‘Having said that’,” Cave began. “I am also fond of saying ‘On the other hand’, and Seán O’Hagan tells me that the word I use most in our book, Faith, Hope and Carnage, is ‘However.’”

How those two topics converge is revealed through a winding discussion on open-mindedness. Cave continues, “I like all of these phrases because they acknowledge one point of view but also tender another, they preface the presentation of a stabilising counterargument.”

To Cave, these favoured phrases represent exactly what is missing from the world. He adds, “This is something not much liked in our contemporary culture, it is unpopular on social media that trades primarily in a currency of performative moral outrage. ‘Having said that’ is the bothersome and deflating enemy of polarisation, self-righteousness, intolerance and hubris.”

Opening himself up to multiple viewpoints and schools of thought has been a years-long mission for the musician. He says, “Difficult as it can be, I try my best to apply them by questioning my own thoughts – what actually is the argument from the other side? In doing so, I have found that there are very few disputes, conflicts, disagreements and ideas that these three unassuming words can’t help to mediate by broadening and strengthening the conversation.”

That thought leads us to Nick Cave’s own New Year’s resolution; “my resolution for the coming year is to practice, as best as I can, more open-mindedness and understanding of other viewpoints.”

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