Music is an ever constant backdrop to my life.
Not a soundtrack that plays in the background or crescendos at pivotal emotional moments, but an elemental presence to my reality.
Like that urban legend of starting Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon when the lion roars beginning Wizard of Oz, the album fits the action on the screen. Personally, never got it to work but that’s neither here nor there. The point is there are times when music just seems to fit the scene.
Sometimes I randomly burst into a song lyric, to the bemusement of those who know me and the confusion of those who don’t.
The words are almost always fitting and make sense. If you give them enough credence.
The music itself is what holds the feeling and action of the moment, but it’s the words that communicate. Thus the words are verbalized.
I once tried to see reality beyond words and language. Did you know if you repeat a word over and over it stops making sense? The word loses all significance, to anything.
I was taking a Master’s level linguistic class, an accident of a shared campus with three schools and not paying attention to the number sequence. The professor let me stay, informing me I would only get under graduate credit despite paying graduate tuition.
The class opened up a whole new world of theory and philosophy to me, and my mind was highly permeable and susceptible to influences.
I was coming off a year of Timothy Leary style experiments.
The process and my descent are not important, the result is where the point is.
Words and language make a tapestry of communal reality, based on cultural norms and shared understanding of what words represent . I tore the fabric of that tapestry. My sense of things started shredding, as if I pulled a single thread and everything started unraveling.
And beyond the tapestry?
Loss of my kindred sense of humanity.
I caught a fleeting glimpse
Out of the corner of my eye
I turned to look but it was gone
I cannot put my finger it on it now
Comfortably Numb – Pink Floyd
I sit and watch my baby girl have moments in her head, but in her head they stay until she is provided a word that links her thought to my reality. Mostly she parrots what we say, not quite understanding the meaning but getting the emotion and impact to a tee.
Also acts like a mirror showing me what I tend to say frequently and how it makes her feel.
One of the debates I was introduced to in the graduate course: words or thought, which comes first? Think chicken and egg debate about language.
Through my rabbit hole dive I’ve decided language does not come before thought, supported as I watch her twitch and struggle to communicate. Language does give a us a sense of structure; language is a way to connect, compartmentalize, and build how we want to interact with reality.
Ultimately, language allows us to share a reality outside our own minds.
Without words, each person is adrift in a sea of emotions and senses with no physical attachment.
Not that we understand each other all that well. Even the simple things get confused. I say rose, and you might see a traditional long stem rose in red.
I mean the two-tone orange rose with touches of peach sitting outside my front door greeting me and the sun every morning.
So what happens when language evolves, and some stay with the past and others move forward?
Don’t let the sounds of your own wheels
drive you crazy.
Lighten up while you still can
Don’t even try to understand.
Take it easy – Eagles