Yo. I wanted to share this video because of the strangely profound effect it has on me. For me, this video represents some kind of eerie depth of reality that inspires in me a weird combination of feelings. There is a feeling of strangeness – I feel slightly uncomfortable, but in a good way – mixed with some sort of simmering excitement and and at the same time, peaceful warmth – like I feel whole and complete.
I think this response has something to do with the series of spiritual experiences I had about ten years ago. I also did a lot of reading back then. One of my favorite authors at the time was Lewis Thomas, a guy who wrote a whole bunch of essays in the seventies on the topic of biology. He wrote one essay entitled “The Music of This Sphere,” in which he celebrates the sounds life on Earth makes, observing that more than anything else, creatures love to make noise. From here, he draws an analogy to music, suggesting that if we could hear all the sounds life’s creatures make all at once, it would sound like the most incredible musical composition we’ve ever heard. After first reading this a decade ago, I was standing outside the woods one summer midnight while hanging out with some friends, and I was just listening to the noise of the insects emanating from the mysterious blackness of the forest, imagining a great symphony, with each species as a different instrumental section. The experience was really something.
I was high at the time, of course.
You see, music is really magical for me. I’ve thought about this a number of times. There’s something really unique about music. I mean, there’s more to it than just “really cool sounds.” The experience of listening to the sound effects in Star Wars is very different from the experience of listening to a really good piece of music, even if there are no lyrics. We feel “moved” by music. What the hell is that? I mean, neuroscientists tell us that our brains are wired from birth to appreciate music, and even more fascinating is the fact that the most ear-pleasing pairs of frequencies happen to be perfect mathematical fractions of one another. Music is it’s own animal in the human experience. There’s nothing else like it. Because of this, music is a surefire way for me to tap into spiritual feelings.
Now, I know that most bird formations will probably not sound pretty when translated into musical notation, and I know that if we actually heard the biosphere’s collective noise, it would probably just sound like static, and I know experiences influenced by The Sweet Leaf should probably be taken with a grain of salt. Scientific skeptics will surely explain away all of my feelings whilst rolling their eyes, but I’m not so naive that I haven’t already considered such explanations, and quite frankly, as atheistic as some of my song lyrics may seem, scientific skepticism is one of my great pet peeves. I don’t see any value in what seems to me to be a dogged effort to strip magic from a reality which is full of magical things, magical things which we’ve renamed with “proper” words, like “electromagnetic energy” and “sinusoidal plane wave frequencies.”
I don’t know about anyone else, but when I see music, math, and nature line up like they do in this video, I get the staggering feeling that I’m witnessing a glimpse of reality in its totality, rather than in little bits and fragments like we usually experience. And that centralized, holistic, and fundamental truth of all reality is how I personally define God, in contrast with the bearded old man in the clouds.
So, yeah, it’s God on YouTube, I guess.
Also, there’s this:
Try to imagine a wedding that this band wouldn’t ruin. If you can, you have a better imagination than I. 2:07 to 2:24 is my favorite.