One of the critical elements of the… church… thingie… I’m starting is singing. The reason I say it’s important is because the cultural implications of a group of people singing together are enormous. In fact, I believe they are totally underestimated by our society.
I also posit that the critical element of a group of people singing well, contrary to what our society tells us, is not the ability to sing well: it is, actually, the ability and practice of listening well.
As humans, and as Americans especially, we are trained from a very early point in our lives to ignore the noises around us. Traffic. Passing trains and airplanes. The air conditioner. The refrigerator. The squeaky floors. The birds who have built a nest in the attic. The neighbors. We tune them all out. We speak louder in order to hear ourselves over them.
(One of my good friends spent 3 years in Hawaii in one of the smaller towns, and when she came back, her voice was a lot quieter, and as we started speaking, she asked me to stop shouting. I didn’t realize I was shouting until she said it; I was talking “normally” for someone living in Salt Lake City.)
The reason I’m posting this is because this morning I found out something about myself that I didn’t know, and I didn’t know that I didn’t know it. There is a great deal of noise in my own head–more of it than I thought there was.
Everyone has the voice in their head–the one that asks, “what voice?”–the one that, instead of listening to what someone is saying, is waiting for them to stop speaking and figuring out what you’re going to say in response–the one that dwells, nay, wallows, in situations from the day that “should’ve” gone differently while you’re trying to fall asleep–everyone has that voice.
Some people have music in their head pretty much all of the time. I’m one of these. For the last 14 hours or so, it’s been a track by Bobby Prince called Cccool3. Don’t worry that you’ve never heard of it, and don’t try to find it. It’s not out there and the only way it’s going to get out there is when I post it, and since the original is a MIDI file subject to musical interpretation, that’s going to take a while.
This morning I was awake in bed, the cat lying next to me, and I started scratching her behind the ears, and I had the distinct impression that I could feel where she was itching more, and I could scratch there. So I did for a few minutes. I probably couldn’t really tell, but she enjoyed the attention anyway. And I listened to myself and heard something I’d never noticed before. Underneath the noise of language, and underneath the music, there’s a sound I’ve been ignoring for I don’t know how long. It sounded like popcorn, but each pop was a very short clip–maybe ten milliseconds–of a scream.
The closest approximation I can find is here, and before you click, turn your volume control ALL THE WAY DOWN and then slowly turn it up once the noise starts. It is curiously loud noise, the way Altoids are curiously strong mints.
I’ve said for a long time that I think the world would transform instantly if everyone could just hear the music in my head. I think if everyone could hear the noise in my head, the world would fall apart instantly.
Saving the world is going to be harder than I thought.