thoughts on music

"Music is the one incorporeal entrance into the higher world of knowledge which comprehends mankind but which mankind cannot comprehend." - Ludwig Van Beethoven

What is music? How do we communicate through music? What do we exchange when we communicate with each other in this way? Through communication a person extends his thoughts to another person. This is done through a variety of methods but in its most basic form, the thoughts of the first are extended to the second through a medium of some kind.

The receiving party then interprets this medium, which is usually symbolic in nature. Though commonly accepted, this explanation can only explain the exchange of formulated thought that is represented and organized in a symbolic method (through the use of language).

Mankind also possesses the ability to communicate at a deeper level. At this level communication is more than the exchange of thought. Take love as an example. Something is exchanged when two people are in love. They posses the ability to speak without words and their souls are touched by each other in a way that cannot be expressed by normal means. Another example would be the communication that occurs between a mother and an infant child. No words are need be spoken and yet something is exchanged between the two.

Is it a thought that is exchanged? When one 'thinks' he does so in symbolic form - through the use of internal dialogue. In the above examples there is no thought to exchange in symbolic form nor is there a common medium with which to exchange it. It is something more than thought that is exchanged on this deeper unspoken level. This level reaches beyond the consciousness of man into the seat of the human heart. It is here that we are in essence human and it is here that the exchange occurs, from individual to individual.

Music is another powerful example of this type of communication. A difference, however, lies in the direction of the exchange. Music possesses the unique ability to communicate its message from the collective soul of humanity to the individual. When you listen to music, the musician is rarely directing the music to you specifically and as a member of an audience you are not communicating with the musician. You are rather participating in the music, using your innate ability as a human being to comprehend the communication at this level and appreciate the message.

What is it that we are missing when we dismiss this method of communication? What happens to an individual when he does not participate in the collective soul of humanity through music? Is it even possible to remain human without music?