To the old philosophers, the human body itself was a musical instrument. They believed that it is the musician within the body who must control and direct the impulses which flow outward through the personality.
The universality of music and the importance in the life of man is in many ways analogous to water. Like water it adapts itself instantly to the shape of its container. In a square vessel, it is square; in a circular vessel, it is circular. It may exist in countless forms and several states. It nourishes and sustains all kinds of internal life. It nourishes religions, philosophies, and sciences without being identical with any of them. Like beauty it is forever ministering, enriching, and expanding the potentials of human consciousness.
Music and art have long been closely associated with man’s religious instinct. The influence of music is more powerful and continuous than that of any other arts because of the factor of repetition.
We may attend a play once or twice, and then have the feeling that we have exhausted its meaning for us. The same is true of a good book, unless it is one of the scriptural writings or some well-loved classic. Even then, we grow tired of it and move on to something else. Most art gallery visitors would not think to return daily to contemplate a certain painting or piece of sculpturing. Once the symbolism has been impressed upon our mind we are satisfied and seek stimulation elsewhere for further stimulation. In the case of music, however, the reaction is totally different.
The secret seems to lie in the fact that music is invisible and therefore does not immediately reveal its full significance. Although we hear the same selections on numerous occasions, there is always a difference because in the passing of time and the vicissitudes of living we become different.
The countless changes in our own psychic life cause old music to seem new, and the friendly themes seem to adjust themselves to our immediate requirements. Thus, music is friendly, lovable, and intimate; and we turn to it both in joy and sorrow and find it forever gracious.
Music is a positive expression of beauty, and beauty itself is a universal medicine. Even those who do not understand or who do not feel that they have developed appreciation respond to harmony and melody. It becomes a symbol of a harmonious kind of existence.
Health and beauty are intimately related, and to preserve the first we must cultivate the second.
We talk a lot about the science of living, but now is the time we should think more about the art of living. It is not the destiny of man that we should compete with machines in hopes of equaling them in mechanised efficiency. We are capable of a larger concept and a higher destiny and are responsible before God and Nature for the right use of these capacities and powers, particularly our own.
Live and Learn. We All Do.
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