Music, Memory and Emotion

When I was younger I never actually listened to the radio; it seemed like a childish thing to do. I always liked the silence of the car and that for once everything could be quiet. I also didn’t have cable until I moved into middle school and so television experiences were limited to VHS and DVDs. As a result, my earlier years were comparatively minimally musical. It’s strange to think it, but despite my constant domestic days filled with singing (mostly Disney songs) and aimlessly humming some unrecognizable tune, music did not play a huge role in my life. I’m pretty sure this changed with the addition of cable TV to my life as well as my very first iPod. I went from having nothing to an explosion of so many things all at once that it was overwhelming, so much so that I think it developed in me a certain unwariness, even resentment towards all forms of technology, something I carry with myself even to this day. Regardless, music was born into my life and instantly I realized its power, its insanely influential effect it had me and anybody else. How could a mezcla of sounds like this have such an empowering effect as to instill emotion, memory and frisson within the human body? With our resent viewing of some short clips from the movie Equilibrium, I began thinking of a world without this melodious miracle and I found it really quiet difficult to imagine. I then began to realize how integrated music really is into every part of our life. When was the last time you went into a store and there wasn’t music playing? It is everywhere and even though scientists can begin to explain its everlasting effect that music has on us, I think in some way its power will always and forever be a mystery.

The earliest memory I have of my life is probably the time almost died when I was about the age of two. My mother left me in the car to run in the house and get something. It was on and being such a curious little chillen, I decided to play with the emergency brake, accidentally releasing it. Being a standard, the car then rolled backwards down our drive, turned itself and proceeded to roll down the street. I didn’t get very far as the car soon drifted to hit a policeman’s personal parked car he had just gotten back from the body shop earlier that day. Even though I was only two years old, I remember every detail as if it happened yesterday. I remember feeling my face hit the dashboard and sitting in the car, slightly stunned waiting for someone to come and get me. It’s weird because despite that day, I don’t really have any specific memory of my childhood until I was about three. It’s a strange thing, memory. Due to the name, it seems as though we should be able to remember anything we really wanted to, that’s why its called a memory. Yet our brain is so complex, taking into account our emotions, that it chooses which details to forget and which ones to remember. Kind of smart that way right? I think the greatest thing for me that I can appreciation about memory is the connections that it makes, how it can be so tightly associated with something else. A memory easily connects us with an emotion which connects us with an object, person or place which can lead us to yet another memory and so on. It’s all a system of webs and lines that cross, dip, curve and connect, bringing us closer to and sometimes farther from the only thing we really have, our past.

I find it really easy for me to list out the six most common emotions: happiness, fear, confusion, love, sadness, and anger. There are thousands of others out there, some even that are not associated with any word found in the English language, but rather have to be described using other emotions. Regardless, without a doubt I can tell you what I think are the six most common general emotions are, yet I find it nearly impossible for me to tell you what each of them feels like. How can this be? If emotion is so easily identifiable, how is so difficult to describe? For me personally, I blame experience as the main factor. I can relay to you what happiness is because I have felt undoubted happiness before. Now there may be sometime in the future that I may feel even more happy than I had at this moment of undoubted happiness, but for now I have felt happiness and know what it was I was feeling was indeed happiness. However, I can’t discuss with you what fear feels like. In all of my attainable memory, I cannot find a time when I had felt undeniably fearful. It sounds horrible and I’m sure that I would know when I had felt undeniable fear, yet experience has not granted me this “pleasure”. In a more general sense, we are presented with the explanatory gap when it comes to emotions because in general, emotion varies for each one of us. It is even ridiculous to provide a definition for such an emotion because there is no one meaning, each one of us experience it so differently it’s amazing we can even associate a definite word with a particular feeling. Emotion is so very complicated that even in the movie Equilibrium, the want to eradicate it from the human world is justifiable. Emotion is undefinable, uncontrollable, that its no wonder it can lead to carnage just as much as it can lead to beauty. However, emotion is honestly what makes us variable, differing humans that have collaborated and clashed to create a world that is nothing more than what we have made it to be.

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