Against Music

Listening to music on a music player is like taking  hits of a drug. You seek out some feeling, delivered on-demand from the little device hooked up to your ears.

How is this different from any other drug? Our music players become our pleasure-dispensers, much like sugar-water bottles are to mice.

We lose interest in the natural sounds around us — the sounds of the street, the sidewalk, the train, the shop. Our access to pleasure on-demand means that these natural, unproduced sounds can be hidden underneath a perpetual blanket of… music.

Music, then, becomes our default, our new normal. Natural sounds become unbearable, excruciating, torture.

But music is not normal. It is special — something that grips your emotions and overwhelms you with feelings. To truly appreciate music, it should be something special; rare. Perpetual access to music not only weakens us, it dilutes music itself.

So resist the urge for a cheap hit of pleasure. You don’t need it, although you may feel you do. Listen instead to the sidewalk. Let your mind settle. Learn the urban soundscape and its beauty. Restore dignity back to music.

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