If I’m having trouble writing, or feeling pissy at any given moment, music is usually the best immediate cure. Music has a way of concentrating the vividness of life so that if you’re focused on it your feet feel as if they’re hardly touching the ground. It sweeps you away. Somewhere, I don’t know exactly where, but if it’s really good music it has this effect.

What’s good music is up for interpretation which is part of the fun. As with all art, music would probably not be such a powerful experience if it wasn’t subjective. Think of all the objective things in your life. 6.67408 × 10-11 m3 kg-1 s-2 is the gravitational constant acting on your body right now, you live in Milwaukee, etc. These may be true or false but they don’t really matter in a conscious sense. The way your daily experience unfolds probably has little to do with the bedrock of objectivity – which doesn’t mean what’s objective isn’t important, only that it seems to be the foreground for the subjectivity of life to take place. Maybe the gravitational constant exists so that we can enjoy music, otherwise our bodies would fly off into the vacuum of space where there is no music.

I think of it this way. Subjectivity is like the icing on the cake of reality. Bruce Springsteen sweetens existence but couldn’t have existed without the rotation of the earth just as it is, or without oxygen to breathe, without conditions for life, etc. i.e. objectivity.

Last night I sat at my desk listening to Rachmaninoff’s Concerto No.2 Op.18, and at 11 minutes, 40 seconds my sense of time slowed down, my chest expanded, I forgot everything and remembered everything, I was bound by gravity but I wasn’t, and I furiously began to write. The music put me there and it took me away.

I put my foot on my dog’s back and got to work.


© Daniel Douglas


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