Plato and Aristotle believed in a concept called the “affections”, or the idea that outside forces (most specifically music) can affect people internally. Although this concept is centuries old, it still holds true today. An excellent example of this is movie soundtrack music. Why is there music alongside a film? To improve the experience. For example, watching someone fall to his or her death in silence, is sad and scary. On the contrary, add some brass blaring, passionate strings, helicopter blades, and a blood curdling scream, and the scene becomes heart wrenching and haunting. On a lighter note, take the “Muppitt Movie.” Without the the joyful jingles in the background, the foreground scene would not be that enjoyable. it would simply be a couple of people skipping down a street, big deal. Have you ever thought about why that is; how you are affected by this music and these scenes? I thought about this just a mere week ago when I attended a showing of the new release “The Hunger Games.” On the way to the theater, I sang and danced in a car with friends; we laughed our way through the front doors. However, once the movie began, I became fearful, then heartbroken, then angry, momentarily happy, and at the end I was left with a feeling of longing and desire for closure. Following the movie, I was quiet and pensive, attempting to process and deal with the scenes I had just “witnessed.” How often do you find yourself in that very same place I was? We are so quickly drawn in to the emotion of the movies exactly the way producers, actors, videographers, directors, composers and actors want us to be; and a big part of that is the music. Even 1:30sec trailers have the ability to take us from anger to laughter, from boredom to intrigue. We allow ourselves to internally experience emotions and even beliefs in unhealthy extremes-all for the sake of entertainment. I must step into the shoes of Plato and Aristotle for a moment, and caution you to count the cost. Music can be a blessing, but it can also be a curse. Start asking yourself how it is affecting you, and why you feel the way you feel? It is a dangerous road we walk on by choosing to allow exterior conditions to decide our internal processes.
The Post Modern Affections