How Music Casts Its Spell on Us

“Music so readily transports us from the present to the past, or from what is actual to what is possible.”

“Music,” the trailblazing composer Julia Perry wrote, “has a unifying effect on the peoples of the world, because they all understand and love it… And when they find themselves enjoying and loving the same music, they find themselves loving one another.” But there is something beyond humanistic ideology in this elemental truth — something woven into the very structure and sensorium of our bodies; as the great neurologist Oliver Sacks observed, “music can pierce the heart directly; it needs no mediation.”

Psychologist Dacher Keltner examines what that unmediated something is and how it pierces us in a portion of his altogether fascinating book Awe: The New Science of Everyday Wonder and How It Can Transform Your Life — a taxonomy of wonder derived from his study of twenty-six cultures around the world, across which music, above all other forms of beauty and spirituality, emerges as the most universal of our creaturely portals into transcendence.

Read More at The Marginalian

Read the rest at The Marginalian