* This song is so pretty, I almost can’t handle it. It reminds me of this philosopher I read once named Jerrold Levinson who wrote on the aesthetics of music. He posited that music is not created. His arguments were based on symphonies not on contemporary pop music but whatevs. I bet one can extend his assertions to this context. The paper I read used Beethoven’s Ninth symphony as the example. He said the set of sounds in the Ninth Symphony have always existed (“if space exists then all the possible configurations in space exist necessarily”). In other words he is Plantonist about sound structures. He sees them as universals. I don’t know how convincing his argument is on paper… he tries to maintain that the composer does something (bc saying they didnt create anything would be ummm problematic) by separating the sound structure from the actual symphony (as in, Beethoven was responsible for ‘indicating’ or creating or perhaps DISCOVERING the symphony but the actual notes in that order and arrangement have always existed). That sounds menacing to me BUT the point is that it also makes sense to me on some innate level, the idea that beautiful melodies have always been ‘around’, you just have to stumble upon them, and your soul already knows them in some deep and meaningful way.
I remember the first time I used drugs. Maybe not the first time, but the first major experience, the first time I felt my conscious altered in any real way. I remember sitting there, staring at a painting on a wall, thinking that it was odd that this whole alternate world I was existing in was neatly described by the word “drug”. It was a word just like any other word, just like “chair” or “Italian” or “love”. And yet there was something so different about this word. It was a trap door, a word that appeared to be ordinary until you got close enough to it to touch it; then, with even the slightest pressure it would spin around, and all of a sudden you were on the other side. Very Alice Through the Looking Glass, very Lion Witch and the Wardrobe, very confusing.
I began wondering if there were more words like this. More secret doors, more hidden worlds, masquerading as merely vowels and consonants, as average everyday nouns. Words that held more than sounds and meanings, but altered states of consciousness. Now sure, I understand that words are endowed with meaning by a number of factors. I get that one word, say “sailboat”, may be rife with energy and experience for one person and be inert for another. Those who have never partaken in drugs may have no trap door feelings about this word. But still I wonder if some words, regardless of what experience the word-user brings to the table, have this potential while others do not.
Interestingly the only other time that I have had this trap door feeling towards a word is when I became a mother. Almost immediately after my son arrived on planet earth I fell into a deep depression. I felt I had been lied to, that no one told me that being a mother was more than being a “mother”. Again I was faced with another realm of consciousness, a word that couldn’t be described adequately by its definition. The word “mother” failed to convey what I needed it to, the ramifications of its realness were beyond the word itself, the whole was greater than its parts.
Maybe figuring this all out could be a thing, right? Discovering if you have such trap door words, and if so what your trap door words are… which nouns (verbs? adjectives?) transport you and which remain in the land of the living, humbly doing their job, not asking for more than a passing nod. Maybe it could be like astrology, or numerology, or which ever other faddish thing tells you more about your thinly-veiled psychology than you probably ever wanted to know.