Sunday, November 27, 2022

"Is it possible - and I know this mad hypothesis is asking for ridicule - that we are poisoning ourselves with music? Our lot, my contemporaries, from our adolescence on, we listened to dance music, day and night, and it was all of it romantic or sentimental. It yearned, it wanted, it longed, it needed - and expected, too, for somewhere, some time, a promise had been made. Some day I'll find you... We were immersed in dreams. But since then music has changed. Its rhythms no longer swoon or sway or linger, they beat and pound and drive and the sound is so loud you have to hear it with your nerves....  So my question is, when some person goes out to kill or torture or maim, can one reason be that he or she has been set for the crime by music that has driven them mad? Shamans have used music for thousands of years to create special moods, young men are prepared for killing by stirring marches, churches use inspirational music to hold their flocks together, and it is known that real spiritual teachers use music, but this is so delicate a thing that it is used carefully, by specialists, in special circumstances. But we deluge ourselves with music, of every kind, soak ourselves in it, often feed it direct into the brain with machines designed for this purpose - and we never even ask what effect it may be having. Well, I, for one - and I know there are others think it is time we do ask."

- Doris Lessing, 1994

(from Under My Skin: Volume I of my Autobiography, to 1949)

1 comment:

  1. It is worth noting that the music of Lessing's adolescence soundtracked the greatest mass murder that the world has ever seen. And that crime in Western societies has largely been in decline since the 70s (as music has arguably got more beating, pounding and driving).

    It did however prompt me to Google this: - meh


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