Friday, November 04, 2005

The Power of Music

Music. Sometimes I can’t believe its power. There are songs that I find so beautiful, or they state so eloquently a state of being that I can be moved to tears. There are songs that almost without fail make me feel better. There are songs that can make me feel powerful. Of course, half of a song’s power is what I bring to it.

Music is more accessible than poetry. It is more immediate and involves a physical response. It is analogous to standing before a painting and looking at it versus reading a critic’s appreciation of the painting. You can get something out of looking at painting even if you don’t intellectually understand it. With music you can hear the music and words (if any) and get something out of it even if you don’t understand it intellectually. In both cases you can simply feel the painting or piece of music. At the very least you can respond that you like the painting or piece of music or not. Arthur Schopenhauer believed that music should be ranked first among the arts.

Some songs that are powerful to me:

“Desert Rose” and “Send Your Love” – Sting
“King of Pain” – The Police
“The Night before Larry Was Stretched” – Elvis Costello
“Zombie” and “Ode to My Family” – The Cranberries
“Until It Sleeps” and “Nothing Else Matters” – Metallica
“Angel” and “You’ve Got Another Thing Comin’” – Judas Priest
“Waiting for Darkness” - Ozzy Osborne

From a psychology professor (J. M. Mahoney) I took a class from years ago:

“I hate to break it to you, but all knowledge is just someone’s opinion.”

I agree with Dr. Mahoney. I would add that not all opinions are equal. Superior opinions can be tested against the physical world for validity (e.g., the empirical results of a scientific experiment to test/confirm a law or theory) or have reason, logic, justice, or ethics on their side to support the opinion in a persuasive manner.


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