Sunday, August 10, 2008

Song of the Morning: Irreligious Ecstasy

What do you feel when you listen to music? When you experience it? When you sing along unafraid or uncaring if anyone will overhear you? When you dance alone in the dark?
What are you when you are one with it?

While what we may enjoy may be different and there's no account for taste (or is there?), the capacity to enjoy music in the deep sense seems to be a universal trait. At least, I hope it is. While some physical aspects of this feeling can be explained, you still have to get the right "connection" to it - there's a definite subjective element at work. Sometimes I'd like a certain song, other times I'd have enough of it; sometimes I'd discover (or re-discover) a song that has been playing at the background.

The special times are when I manage to let go of myself and connect directly (or as much as I can without the neighbors interfering or my co-workers throwing sharp objects at me) and feel it, flow with it, like being carried in a mighty current towards a roaring waterfall. When the song ends, I feel drained but happy (or, more usually for me, deeply saddened), and very much alive.

This post's musical jewels are affected by religion and religious experience. The first, "Baba Yetu" by Christopher Tin, is an adaptation of the Christian "The Lord's Prayer" in Swahili. The second is a segment from the Misa Criolla, a unique blending of South American Christian Mass/Gospel music by Ariel Ramírez.

Can the feelings of wonder, deep meditation and ecstasy be fully explained by science (here and here)? Even as a non-believer I have my doubts (or perhaps especially as a non-believer). I don't have to share in a belief in order to respect it and those who practice it, especially when they create beautiful music, be it as a part of their worship or not (strangely enough, Mr. Tin seems to be creating music in his sleep).

So, while I don't believe the existence of these feelings in themselves are any sort of evidence to the existence of God, I do believe it is a very strong evidence to the existence of a compassionate, creative and living Humanity, which is something we need to keep in mind just as much as the possible being of the Almighty.

Christopher Tin - "Baba Yetu" (from the PC game Civilization IV)
Ariel Ramírez - "Gloria" (from Misa Criolla)

No comments: