Accord (September 19)


“‘Ac-cord’ (Latin, ad corda) means heart to heart. If two persons like and dislike the same things, they are heart to heart with each other. Similarly, ‘con-cord’ means heart with heart, and ‘dis-cord,’ means heart divided from heart” (E. Cobham Brewer).

ACCORD IS NOT ALWAYS POSSIBLE, AND, IN FACT, IT IS NOT ALWAYS NECESSARY. A world where everybody had the same tastes and talents would be pretty boring, not to mention unproductive. Even deep differences of principle and value can be good if they provoke us to grow. Nevertheless, accord is one of life’s sweet joys.

The words “accord” and “chord” are obviously related. “Accord” means agreement, and in music, a “chord” consists of three or more notes which agree or harmonize when sounded simultaneously. Thus, accord is a kind of harmony, not of music but of mind. To be in accord, two minds don’t have to think the same thing (that would be unison, not harmony), but what they think has to be concordant rather than discordant. People in accord are able to strike a chord!

It’s possible, of course, to be in accord with things other than people. One of the most desirable kinds of accord is consistency between our actions and our principles, and perhaps even more important, between our principles and those that govern the universe. All of us are interested in happiness, and Aristotle went so far as to say, “Happiness is activity in accordance with excellence.” Discord, in any form, tends to detract from the joy of life, and there is no unhappier kind of discord than when our lives are out of sync with our principles — or worse, our principles are out of sync with truth and justice.

It’s not often in life that we find individuals who are “heart to heart” with us at a deep level. Yes, we may meet many whose convictions and interests overlap ours at some points, but we are fortunate if we find even one or two people in a lifetime who are in accord with us on most, or even many, points. What a joy, then, when we find those few special people with whom we may truly harmonize. Have you found them? I hope you have. Do you frequently let them know how happy they make you and how grateful you are? You surely should.

“To know of someone here and there whom we accord with, who is living on with us, even in silence — this makes our earthly ball a peopled garden” (Johann Wolfgang von Goethe).

Gary Henry –