To be understood…to be appreciated…to be indispensable.
Are those too much to want? Well, they probably are; but it’s probably what each of us most secretly wants. But here’s the puzzle. All too often we fail miserably with the people closest to us [in the same family, at the same job, at the same party]; and yet, we just as often feel we succeed with people we’ve never met.
Take my children or my boss. So very close and yet often so very far. Like you, I’m never quite sure they understood what I just told them, grasped the full breadth and depth of the feelings behind the words.
And yet how often I listen to a Mozart Symphony or a Gershwin ballad whose melody lines have somehow traveled from the dead composer’s brain, across the years and miles, to wedge themselves so stunningly inside my lonely self this lonely night.
Yes, yes, I am told those melody lines were essentially electric circuitry at work within their brains in ways that are reproducible by the instruments of a studio orchestra; and yet how can I seriously say “that explains the magic of this century-old musical rapture.” Frankly I can’t. Just as frankly neither can I say the sound engineers can explain it. Instead, I choose — I cannot help but choose! — to embrace all this as a spiritual rather than a sound experience. Somehow, some way, Mozart and Gershwin continue to reach out beyond the limits of the physical to someone they never met and who never met them.
Proving at least to me that what matters in human existence is much more than mere matter.
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