Music and my eulogy – what music tells of me and my thinking.
The me that i am
I’m laying here, late at night, and all is dark and quiet.
Or is it? The sound of an aircraft in the distance suggests otherwise. And lights play at the edge of my vision. The pure white of the modem with its myriad connection and signal indicators, the deep red of the amplifier sleep light, the vibrant blue of the subwoofer. All small but distinct, and in this not-so-dark darkness, significant. The light of my tablet reflecting off the puckered leather indents of the couch I am reclining on ever so slothfully, and comfortably. My left arm is bent back with my balled fist making some form of pillow under the nape of my neck.
I tilt my head for no discernible reason other than perhaps to alleviate some of the discomfort from the headset of my Marley on-ear headphones, which have always been too tight but provide such an immersive and compelling musical experience that I simply cannot give them up or consider exchanging them. To do so would be a form of buyer’s remorse, and that’s just not me.
I’ve never really suffered from the gnawing doubts so readily recognisable to those who are wont to suffer buyer’s remorse. If I like what I have then some part of me is satisfied that such liking is a sufficiency. Even with a faulted liking. The grass may be greener over some real or fanciful fence construct somewhere but there is no clarion call inside of me singing that beguiling siren song with the lure of more or better. Perhaps that is why I find buyer’s remorse of any kind so bewildering and frustrating when I observe it in others? What drives a person to make a decision if they have not already considered the alternatives? Sometimes, it occurs to me that a lack of buyer’s remorse may indicate a failure to aim high enough or lead to missing out on opportunities or experiences. That I’m selling myself short or gaining less for me and mine than could otherwise be the case.
I considered using “than is available” in that statement but discounted it – and I don’t know why. Some part of me was clearly assessing the balances of value and applicability between the two phrases but the me that is connected to the part of me driving the thoughts that drive this pencil stylus isn’t aware of the minutiae of the scales used and isn’t overly interested in directing sufficient thought to address the problem.
Did i aim to be the best that i could be?
Maybe the same thought limiting condition or reflex that keeps this me from investigating that internally prepackaged decision on choice of phraseology is also responsible for keeping buyer’s remorse at bay? This me that is I doesn’t know. And/or isn’t interested. Perhaps because I’m trying to get to the story? Is that all my lack of buyer’s remorse is suggesting? That I’ve moved on to a new story or imperative, and going back over past decisions is of little use in the next unfolding of life’s story?
And there is always the nagging of Voltaire’s Panglossian concept that I’ve perhaps taken too much of the world as being acceptable or OK, simply because I’ve failed to see the world as it truly is or because I’ve accepted the world as it is as representing the best that things can be? A part of me is chilled at the merest hint of my sharing old Pangloss’ outlook on life.
I’ve adjusted my head and hand position twice now, and my left hand is a little numb. Possibly because my raised and bent arm is reducing flow of blood? A quick adjust of the headphone pads reminds me just how tight these headphones are. And how humidity must be a touch high, as I felt a rush of cool on my ears as what I am assuming was a little sweat evaporated away as soon as the leather earpads were lifted. Still no urge to replace or “fix” that excessive tightness.
Music and me
I’m just going to put music on and soak in that float tank of sensuality that music can be for me.
“Tell me something good” – Pink. Not exactly a float tank but those beats, and rhythms, and voices and drums and clapping hands and some sort of electronic distortion… They combine to wake my mind and stimulate thoughts and thinking.
“Can somebody find me someone to love” is lifting the hairs on my inside thigh – a tingling that won’t go away but crawls through my mind as much as my skin. A good feeling. Not sensual as such but immensely satisfying and wantable. A mood swing that doesn’t arc but instead lifts and moves in a roofless, open-walled elevator of emotions and feelings. And such is the mystery that compels me to ignore sleep, and instead commit this swag of concepts to word, even if not to paper.
And the eulogy?
For want of a directly observable or internally ponderable link, I’ll ask you to settle on a simple statement of fact, as opposed to causality or an accumulated stream of conscious thought. Listening to – experiencing? – a mind full of music presented a vision of my eulogy being delivered by a faceless person in indistinguishable but clearly funerary surrounds. What music would I want to be playing in that scene? And what would the choice of music say about the me that I am? And would anyone care? And even if they did – or did not – would that music and its interpretation truly express the float-tank of comfort and immersive experiential feelings and emotion and emotive actions that so compels the me that is passing on to you this dissertation?
Do I need for anyone else to gain a sense of this me that is so truly me – that is never or can never be shared in the sense of a simultaneous elevation of thought and presence but only discussed and expressed and hopefully at some level, understood? Another human being listening to the same music at the same time and even with similar “liking” of that music is still not experiencing the same ‘thing’ that music is to me.
You and I and that other will each interpret our experience of that music through the prism of individually nuanced knowledge, understanding, experiential and genetically determined filters and co-existing environmental factors. All of which make up such a hugely diverse set of inputs that we cannot truly “share” the moment. Not in a full sense of what “share” could mean. At least, not in the way I am thinking of it right now.
Is there anything else that an eulogy should convey? Isn’t all else really just shadows and dust? Shadows and dust and illusion? A transient statement of impact, the permanence of which is determined by the sense of time and space capable of being generated by and in the people who are present? Is that a true or suitable or satisfying concept of the point of my existence and sufficient to justify the point of a having any eulogy at all?
Does it matter to me who is present for the delivery of my eulogy? Would it alter my sense of self worth now if I were to know if my eulogy was witnessed by few or many? What if there is to be no eulogy but a hurried semi-acknowledgement of my passing? I’ve never really taken the time to think of scenarios, which suggests I am as human as you dear friend and witness to, my internal musing on music in the context of mortality.
What seems readily apparent is that I grimace at the idea of my eulogy being delivered by a person unaware of or dismissive or disinterested in something as essential as music is to me. I’d rather not be remembered.
Which is both strange and startling to me – to see this me put forward such an unthought thought so surely. As a blunt statement of fact, where until now i have never thought on it in this sense at all.
Music and my eulogy
Nothing in my visible life lived conveys the relationship music and I share. I cannot sing to a note. I have difficulty separating and identifying a ‘g’ note from an ‘a’ note. Music scaling up or down in a sequence of notes is a movement I can only relay after considerable thought and effort. I have bought many musical instruments and read basic music sheets without too much effort, yet would struggle to play a single song or musical piece in its entirety. Not just struggle to do so but am singularly disinterested in doing so.
There’s nothing to say about music and I, as we are estranged on any given day. Yet there is an experience in music that holds together strands of my atheist soul. And I am not alone. Why is it that music so quickly grabs the attentions of children? Why do millions gather to share music that can be readily enjoyed alone?
Does music in some way call to our basest of instincts? Not the immediately determined base instincts of food or sex or love or hate or want or self preservation or selfishness but a base instinct as a sense of resonance. An alignment of resonance with the energy that pulses and rhythms through each of our physical and mental being – an energy born not in conception but in the original pulse of life from times eons past and simply promulgated through conception? Is there a link between that primordial starting pulse or spark of energy, and the energy or pulse of music? Can a shared musical experience bring us all ever-so-briefly closer to the sense of what ‘life’ is?
So I close my eyes as music pushes experiences through my inner being, even as my mind dismisses the passing of night to morning, and tomorrow’s anticipations become today’s inevitabilities.
Music? I don’t know music but it does know me.
And I’d like for it to be present for my eulogy. To pass out of memory without music would seem to me the meanest of deaths.