You know that feeling you get when you’re traveling? Where every landscape, monument and even coffee shop is open to freely press itself into your memory, becoming more than just an experience but one that may have a vividly everlasting presence, regardless of how much time passes from when you were there to when you recall it.
Fatigue and boredom arise from traveling the same path routinely, the mind filters out much of the information that is experiencing, because there is nothing of interest, it is akin to being on autopilot. You are almost certainly unable to remember what you ate for lunch a couple of days ago if it was not out of the ordinary, just as you’re unlikely to remember a specific detail of something you’ve walked by plenty of times on the way to work. Typically the older we get the faster we feel that time is passing by, this is from the familiarity of our lives. The self is a collection of experiences that we have deemed important enough to remember.
Music possesses the same attributes to affect our lives that traveling offers, it just takes a little more effort. Physically being in a new environment engages all of your senses and feels more stimulating because it is more immersive. If you can divert attention from the the other senses to the sound, to listening and opening up to the information that is encoded in the music, then it can be as transformative as watching the sun set on a foreign horizon or as awe inspiring as the ancient construction methods of a monolithic site such as the pyramids of Egypt or the Acropolis in Athens.
Music is powerful it is used in many ways across many cultures, it is used to create amongst the guerrilla fighters of Ecuador who accredited Don Noberto’s folk songs with providing them resilience in the face of a goverment genocide and it provided a tool to reconcile the emotional aftermath by allowing the Ecaudorian people to collectively process trama through singing along to never forget and morn the attrocisites committed to them. It was used in the United states to protest and unveil the false pretenses of the vietnam war by Woody Guthrough and Bob Dylan. And it is used in every culture throughout time to celebrate ways of life and its rich tapestry of ancestry and history.
New experiences whether it is traveling to places you’ve never been or listening to music you have never heard promotes neurogenesis, the creation of new pathways between neurons, this alternates the way we think and perceive the world.
Martin Luther King said that racism can not survive contact, listening to music from global cultures can be that contact, physically creating grey matter in the brain which houses empathy, understanding and happiness, music is powerful and its capabilities are overlooked, music matters.
You can’t hop on a plane any time you want but you can choose to listen to new music every