Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Is Music a Drug?

I wish it was safe to assume music was real. Not real in the sense of actually existing or happening, but real in the sense that it connects you to something real. If you're like me, there is a huge difference between the way you feel in a quiet room, and in one where music is playing, even if everything else about the setting is the same. Some music makes me feel hopeful, or energetic, or like i can feel God's presence, or like the world really is beautiful. And although music isn't the only thing that makes me feel those things, it is perhaps the most effective method.

Which leads me to a troubling thought: music might be a drug. Drugs make you feel or see things that are not grounded in reality - it's just a chemical reaction. Is music nothing more than something that causes us to hallucinate feelings? Are the things we feel when the music is playing, that go away when the music stops, fake?

It seems the only other option is that music is a portal to something real. That the singers and the musicians are participating in a metaphysical act that helps us to "see" something that was always there but we couldn't feel it. Perhaps they are giving voice to a spiritual energy that is all around us but we didn't notice. Anger, fear, hope, joy - what if these are not suggested by music but actually given voice through music? What if it's more than just the physics of vibrating air, but actually something - real?

But, of course, don't Christians believe that the world itself is not just physical matter and electrical energy, but powered by spiritual forces as well?

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