Thursday, 9 September 2010

Immersion in Ether

Some times in one's life are, when recollected, saturated with intensity and emotion, possibly added nostalgically after the fact. Nevertheless, recalling a time of exquisite feeling and atmosphere can bring you sweetly back to the feelings of that time with a poignancy that sometimes almost hurts.
There have been such times in the last decade, times of exhilarating self-discovery, of breathtaking exploration and intimacy that the memories become treasured, only to be recollected occasionally lest the potency be degraded, like a photo left exposed to the light over years, fading and losing the vividness that was so precious.

Certain music has the power to aid or trigger such nostalgic retrospection. Currently, and the reason for my musing on this particular idea, i am listening to Turin Brakes "ether Song", which brings to mind the most profound, beautiful and exciting period of my life. It was a time when my perceptions of myself as a creature of drab ordinariness and pitiful flaws was being challenged, both by myself and by some people who came into my life suddenly at that point.
A crack in my self-image was being prized open by quietly spoken but convincing arguments from people I respected and a new me was emerging, painfully and cataclismically but with such a sense of wonder and excitement that I was left reeling and disoriented with the headiness of my discoveries. It was, as I realise now, a profound metamorphosis that I benefit from every day of my life now.

Well, that is another story. There have been other times of similar significance for which other musical triggers exist. the above is just the one which comes to mind from the listening of these current tracks. That they can conjure all the feelings of the time accurately and clearly as if I was once again in that place is a wonderful benefit of the power of music.
But a self-indulgent documentary of the sweeter and more personal chapters of my own particular life is not at all my point here, except to illustrate a principle that occurs from regard of the topic: Does remembrance of a time of significance, with all its attendant emotional piquancy, cause degradation of the memories?

Does listening to the songs that take you back there cause them over time to lose that ability to relocate you in time and place and emotion?

I fear it may. Hence I limit myself to only infrequent listenings of these songs and immersion in their reminiscence. I would hate to become inured to their effect and to lose the feelings and hence the enlightenments that they engender.

Ok, I concede it is dangerous and foolish to dwell in the past anyway. But our growing and learning as people is a strange process whereby a new talent, understanding or capability is initially a novel new toy that we learn to play with and develop into something that assists us in our dealings with the world and its inhabitants. Initially the shiny new component of ourselves rests obtrusively upon our psyches, inviting use and feeling distinctly conspicuous. But over time, it becomes assimilated into who we are and a part of our usual functionality, to the extent we may forget that we have it. Consequentially, if it is something we were delighted to find, as I was, we may lament that we have misplaced it somehow and reverted to our former way of being.

So, listening to these songs and sending myself back to a time when every day brought a new and wonderful realisation, causes me to revisit the features and characteristics, previously unacknowledged and hence unused, that were brought startlingly to my attention.

I suppose the fear is that, ultimately, i may, "lose the feeling" and I do so enjoy being the person I am now, even if it does sometimes upset or annoy people.

So, with my 5000 or so mp3s here, when shall go to now?

1 comment:

Librarian said...

You wrote: "Does listening to the songs that take you back there cause them over time to lose that ability to relocate you in time and place and emotion?"
I don't think so. That personal time machine works very well, at least it does for me, and does not diminuish in any way by use. Sometimes it works only too well, and therefore I avoid listening to certain songs if I can help it.