Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Feeling and Thinking

“ Mozart fulfills me. But I cannot think about his music; I have to listen to it.” ~Pope Francis
Not long ago, I came across this beautiful quote from Pope Francis. I so resonated with it, and it keeps coming back to me as I contemplate my experience of both music and stories.
It seems to me that our deepest experience of either music or story comes when we fall headfirst, or perhaps heartfirst, inside the world that's been created. We find ourselves in the world of sound and harmony or the world of narrative and poetry, and while there, all we can do is listen, not think outside of the experience. 
When we're inside that subcreated world, listening is what matters. I think many of us have had the literal sense of being so lost (and paradoxically so found) inside a created song or story that it feels like a "coming back" to the outside world when the last note sounds or the final word is read and we close the book. 
Many of the best things we read or listen to do indeed cause us to think, but the thinking comes later, and that kind of more analytical thinking is a distinctly different kind of pleasure than what we experienced in our initial encounter with the work. We might think about the creation of the work itself: how did the composer, the writer, do what he did, and why? What thoughts or experiences inspired a certain bend or turn in the work that we didn't expect?  Frankly, I love doing that kind of thinking, but not everyone does, and I don't think we need to assume that a person who doesn't love it has had any less of a deep experience, though they may respond in a completely different way.
Just a few rambling thoughts this afternoon...more to come another day. 

1 comment:

Erin said...

Yes, falling into a story or song is a wondrous experience! And analyzing things can be fun, but it's also possible to over-think stuff. A college poetry class can make your head spin, and you walk out feeling like a total doofus because everybody saw something there that you didn't... But I think great stories and songs can also be like Inkblot Tests, and what a person sees reveals more about them than the artists. There are so many different ways of reading and interpreting... But simply immersing and not trying to decode anything is a really nice, visceral experience.