Updated: Feb 25, 2022
When I play music with people, we are conveying ideas and expressions that go where words can’t possibly go. I believe that this kind of communication is a necessary part of the human design.
Our brains are amazing. They are able to imagine futures that have never before been imagined. And we can communicate these imaginings to other humans so that we can co-create together. Our pattern recognition skills are on par with other animals but where we excel is in forming unions based on these patterns. I wonder if this is how we were able to take down the wooly mammoth where other animals could not.
We created language so that we could zoom in on the minutia of patterns within patterns and communicate this to our group. As I type this, I’m thinking how awesome it is that as I think about what you the reader might be getting from this, I am also receiving feedback from who I’m imagining you to be. This is taking me to a deeper understanding of what I’m trying to convey.
And now I think I know what I’m trying to convey. It’s that this woolly mammoth that we’ve been chasing for who knows how long is charging us and we need to strategize together on how best to protect our children who are right in its path.
Words are falling short all around us. I feel an urgency around music that I have never felt before. I am literally singing these words right now: Music come back! We love you! We need you!
I believe that when we created language, poetry and music were intrinsically woven through it. Whatever genius gave us language, it’s as if they said, “I gave you these symbols to represent the realities you want to share. Just to make sure you don’t confuse the symbols with reality, I’m also going to give you melody and rhythm to use with the symbols. This music will bring the words into your heart where their true meaning will be revealed.”
I’ve discovered that if two or more people sing these words together, new meanings will begin to cascade from them.
This pattern recognition thing can get troublesome when the words used to describe difference lack poetry, melody, and rhythm. This often comes about when systems of power use this miracle in our brains to manipulate us. The words get separated from our hearts and we think that statements on facebook carry meaning when what they really carry is just meanness.
This wooly mammoth is approaching and I am singing because I want us to see the challenge together and work together and breathe together. I want our spiritual chops to catch up to our technological chops. When I play music with people I don’t just witness our connection, I experience it. Thích Nhất Hạnh called this Interbeing. From that interbeing springs forth trust from which nuance is allowed to flourish. Free from the binary cage, genius takes root. It grows many branches and we are able to solve unsolvable problems. Disagreements just like dissonance in a musical piece get resolved.
Playing music is like a playground for practicing conflict resolution. I think of music as a yin yang dance. Dissonance, like conflict, like yang, propels forward and gets resolved to yin (consonance) through intention. It requires deep listening and compassion for “wrong notes.” It also asks that we not fear dissonance, and that we trust that we can dance into and out of it. Just like my favorite music.
So do you want to join me in song? Maybe the woolly mammoth will be hypnotized by our music. I’m not counting on that though. What I’m counting on is that our collective genius will think of something revolutionary. Ready? One, two, three…