The lightness of music

Nothing represents the lightness of being as well as music. If you focus on ‘now’ while listening to music, you only hear one or a few notes, disconnected from the rest. Disconnected from everything else, except for the other sensations experienced during that very second. Music comes and goes, it cannot stop. It only makes sense connected to the previous note and preceding the following note, as a stream of connected sounds. It is a flow, as ephemeral as anything can be.

A note is born as a fruit of the previous note, connected to it, and it dies to give rise to the following note. A cycle of life and death in which every note plays its part. The chain, the stream as a whole is what we call a melody.

This pure inbetweenness represents better than anything else, in my opinion, the key role that each individual plays in this life. We are born as the fruit of previous human beings, both biologically and intellectually, and we are necessary to give rise to those human beings that will come after us. We are the necessary step in between, just like the humans before us were the necessary step for us to appear here. We are necessary. Without us the wheel will stop. There will be no more music. Only silence.

Even if it is just to repeat what others said before, even if we are just their clones, our existence is necessary to keep those ideas, those memories alive. They are alive in us because we are alive, and they will be alive in the generations to come. We are just a link in the human chain, but a necessary one. In the end, we serve our species. Like every other form of life. We are a small part of Life itself. Small and essential.

You live inasmuch as these Mendelian units are living. They have souls, are endowed with psychic life, the psychic life of that ancestor; or you can call it part of an ancestral soul.

Carl G. Jung, Seminar on Nietzsche’s Zarathustra

We make such an effort to differentiate ourselves from our neighbours, from our predecessors. To find that particular trait that defines us as individuals. We believe it makes us unique. But if we could distance ourselves, we would see that we are just a little branch in the tree, so close to other little branches with the same leaves. And if looked long enough, we would see that all branches actually follow the same pattern to serve a common purpose: the growth of the tree and the perpetuation of the species.

The individual ego consciousness can distract us, entertain some feelings of grandeur, but it is just an illusion. Our individuality is an illusion. We are the necessary connection between those who preceded us and those who will follow. Maybe our contribution is a child, a book, a sentence, a bridge or a mere glance. However small it might seem to us, it is necessary. We are the necessary step in between. We are the music to our species.

[…] For most of us, there is only the unattended
Moment, the moment in and out of time,
The distraction fit, lost in a shaft of sunlight,
The wild thyme unseen, or the winter lightning
Or the waterfall, or music heard so deeply
That it is not heard at all, but you are the music
While the music lasts. […]

T. S. Eliot, 4 Quartets, III