Music, you and me

16th Jan 2017 11:27

"Music is a moral law. It gives a soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination..." (Plato). (Wordsworth Dictionary of Musical Quotations, 1991, p. 45).

The ancient Greek philosophers gave music the highest place among the greatest achievements of the human existence. So did the Christian theologians of the so called 'Dark Ages' and the ground breaking thinkers of the Enlightenment and beyond.

But should we? Should we consider music a sort of drug that numbs and satisfies different instincts and worthless beyond this?

To me, it seems that music is a way of talking and listening. Among animals and most particularly among us, humans, communication is perhaps the most intelligent and beautiful of all the things we can do. Think about it. Two beautiful people make a beautiful sight. Yet two beautiful people communicating with that sort of angelic union is an even more beautiful thing.

Two people communicating with such basic human instinct as well as sublime human understanding that they can express and understand each other through the colors, lines, and the poetry of pure sound without relying on words is possibly the most beautiful sight in the world. If poetry is the intense concentration of meaning through layers and sound, music is the liberation of poetry. And this is exactly why music is so important to us. Because without having to prove through hard science -- although that is always a good thing -- we can still sense and know in our hearts of common sense that communication between two souls through the subtle yet obvious poetry of pure sound is mighty beautiful. Without going into assumptions and proofs, I cannot probably say that it is the epitome of human existence, but I think it is safe to admit that the dialogue of sound between two people is something we all admire.

And for us, to train ourselves in the art of music and expose ourselves to this beautiful activity of our human existence is not only good but possibly necessary. This is because for pure survival, communication and good, effective communication is very crucial. This is true even for the most stoic realist. So to expose ourselves to such a high form of communication opens up the proper attitude of dialogue and familiarity with how to communicate with another soul.

Basically, I think that music improves our social skills, self understanding, emotional understanding, speaking and listening skills, and also provides those moments of pure pleasure, satisfaction, and holistic understanding of life which can turn the weariest of souls into intelligent romantics.

JBS 1/16/2017

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