April 13, 2013

This Is Your Mood on Music

Painted by Michael Workman
For the past few weeks my mood swung towards the melancholy. Perhaps it is the change of seasons. Perhaps it is the grey skies and rain that mark the coming of summer. Perhaps it is just the natural swing of my moods.


 I've noticed that a number of more atmospheric songs have infiltrated their way into my current, constant play list. Kafabindunya has beautiful, ethereal sounds - I recommend that you listen to them at least once- but they are long and melancholy. Listening to them I can transport myself to the lost wastelands of a post-apocalyptic world where the skies are every grey and the light is ever muted and the only living thing for miles is me. Reading, writing, accomplishing meaningful tasks seems beyond the scope of my energy.

As finals loom on the horizon, I have begun to play more classical music from a long instilled belief that the mathematical precision of bach can help me master all of physics. (It can't.) But in the past few days, my attention span has improved, I've crossed off several tasks on my to do list, and have been feeling more energetic and stable. Melancholia is relegated to those brief moments of contemplating the grey sky.

 In short, music not only effects my mood but my ability to function in the world. 

Now, I realize I am a highly sensitive introvert. Music, art, movies, really all media, affect me on a deeper level than they do for friends and family. It is only natural that my mood would be very affected by my sound track. Combined with  the seasonal changes and the weather, I became a perfect tuning fork for melancholia.

Melancholia is not a wrong or sinful state to be in. On the contrary  our obsession with remaining happy and stable is detrimental to our well being. Sadness, like pain, allows us to realize that there is something that makes us unhappy and needs to be fixed. It allows for greater introspection and empathy- two other characteristics sorely lacking from modern society. 

But melancholia without reason is harmful. Melancholia which lasts for too long is unhealthy. There are also times which are not conductive to being mournful and thoughtful- such as finals and tax season. Attempting to live forever in the state of feeling the worlds or your own anguish- much less basing your identity around such feelings- is frankly, counterproductive and idiotic. This is another problem I have with the Goth subculture as I understand it (please correct me if I'm wrong). "Memento Mori" (1) is vital but, as La Rouchfoucauld stated with his usual brevity "Le soleil ni la mort ne se peuvent regarder fixement." (2)

First, a Neo-Aristocrat knows his or herself. 

Second, a Neo-Aristocrat knows how to manipulate his or her moods to best fit the situation.

Faking or repressing emotions fails, but if you know yourself well enough to know what affects your moods, why listen to music which will make you less capable or functional? Better to wait until you have the space (and you should make the space) to be melancholy and then use the music to further your mood.

1. Remember that you will die
2. Neither the sun nor death can be looked upon fixedly. 

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