"Music is the one incorporeal entrance into the higher world of knowledge which comprehends mankind but which mankind cannot comprehend." -- Beethoven, 1810
I find myself spending a lot of time these days preaching about the intrinsic power of music. While many people still write music off as a soft subject -- an extracurricular or non-essential part of our human experience -- I strongly disagree. I believe music is an essential ingredient for the cultivation of a more evolved global community and for the development of more intelligent, adaptable, creative and compassionate generations to come.
But why it that necessary? Well, there are several strong indicators that the world as we know it is going to go through some pretty major changes. The rate of change also seems to be accelerating, creating a great deal of flux and disruption in the systems and institutions that we have come to depend on. With the fall of the industrial era in America, we are experiencing exponential change and sometimes near-collapse of long-established paradigms in education, employment, finance, communication and health care, not to mention our relationship with our own planet, Mother Earth.
While I am actually an optimist and believe that mankind will ultimately evolve, I am pretty convinced that it won't be without passing through more turbulent waters. To make it through rough times, we need better tools to bring us back into, and help us maintain, our sense of balance.
As I contemplate ways to help create a better future, I consider the next generation: the children. So all around the world I inquire, from politicians, to teachers, to spiritual leaders to parents: "If we could give one thing to the next generation to help them survive and hopefully flourish in a world of increasing flux, uncertainty and disruptive stress, what would that be?" I get a variety of very interesting answers: education, hope, courage, skills for conflict resolution, strong sense of values, self-confidence...
When I look at what has helped me survive and bring me into balance through the most challenging times of my life, music has often been at the heart of it -- both as a place to turn to and as a creative source that has been cultivated inside me, helping me to express myself as well as re-imagine and re-invent my world, inside and out.
So what is at the core of music that makes music so essential to our being? Let's start at the most fundamental level, with vibration.
Everything is vibration. Our entire system is vibrating at a cellular level. The quality of those vibrations and the highly-complex systems they control -- our emotions, our thoughts and moods, our perceptions, and even our physical well-being -- can be significantly affected and shaped by music.
Whether it be the quiet hum that we hear when systems are vibrating at a consonant frequency and in harmony with one another, or the celebratory roar of a Beethoven symphony, music resonates at our core and draws directly from the source of our creation. The right music can help organize our thought waves, stimulate our bodies and reset our emotional state to help us pass through the stresses of our day in a more relaxed, productive and inspired way.
Beyond its affect on us as individuals, music can impact whole communities and help shape the perceptions of entire cultures. Now, I'm not trying to claim that music is the answer in and of itself for solving the many grand challenges we face today but, when it comes to reshaping the future of humanity, music is an essential ingredient to help us live our most fulfilling lives and to achieve holistic and sustainable solutions to the challenges of humanity.
Over the next several weeks, through a series of blogs, I will share my insights into why and how music can help transform our relationship with the world into more deeply resonating human experiences and, ultimately, help humanity become more intelligent, adaptable and compassionate.
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