Shards of Consciousness

Words and Music

The past week has been interesting. The bug bit me to begin programming again, this time with C#, one of Microsoft's languages that replaced Visual Basic.

As is so often the case when I begin something new, I've devoted more than enough hours each day to my quest. It's not that the language is difficult. I do have things to learn, but I already know C and have more than a nodding acquaintance with C++, my preferred language, so the concepts will just take some time.

The libraries are huge, though, and when I start something I like to see some type of result right now. So I spend more time than I think I should to get up to speed so I can accomplish something I see as useful. When you're starting from scratch to learn a new set of libraries, getting results right now doesn't happen. It takes time to learn the new ways of accomplishing tasks and achieving desired effects.

But then, nothing happens right now. A moment of passion, and the conception of a baby takes a few minutes. The working out of the results of that conception takes decades. A moment of distraction, and an accident occurs in a few seconds. The unfolding of the effects can take years. A word spoken in anger slips out without conscious thought. The reverberations of that word can affect your life for weeks.

The advice is old fashioned, and expressed in many ways. Think before you speak. Measure twice, cut once. Look before you leap. Old fashioned or not, the advice is relevant. Our actions, our words, set up circumstances and events that play out over years, touching many lives besides our own.

This isn't to say don't listen to your heart. Your heart, along with your mind and body, is an important member of the committee that is your personality. If emotions weren't important to guiding our lives, we wouldn't have them. Nothing exists for no reason.

This is to say don't let your heart run rampant over your mind. As surely as emotion is important, so is reasoned thought.

Do you remember playing on the teeter-totter when you were a kid. You felt exhilarated as you went up and down, you and your partner alternately pushing off the ground with your feet. As the teeter-totter swung from one pole to the other you felt as if you were flying.

Then, your partner got off. Wham! You were left sitting on the ground wondering what happened. If you thought for a minute, though, you remembered that fulcrum point in the middle, the place where the teeter totter sat on the bar. You
could climb onto that point, and raise and lower the teeter-totter as you pleased, in control and not subject to extremes. If your balance was good, you could stand on it like a surfboard and balance the teeter-totter in mid-air.

The same thing could happen if your partner weighed exactly as much as you. With a little effort, you could balance the board. Neither of you would be up or down, just hanging, poised to go in any direction. One motion would send you up,
another down.

In the movie Eddie and the Cruisers, at one point Eddie, the band's guitar player and vocalist, is talking to Frank, the band's lyricist, about what makes them good. Eddie turns to Frank and says “Words and music, man. Words and music.”

We need them both.

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  • [...] few weeks ago I talked about words and music. Words are the head. Music is the heart. Too often we listen only with our heads, ignoring the [...]

4 Responses to Words and Music

  • Wow. A great post. I love the analogies.
    Your point is well put that both the heart and reasoned thought are needed. If you do it right, they will support one another so you don't feel torn in two. Perhaps that's the balancing act you described :-)

  • Thank you, John. I think analogies are cool, too. A lot of my thinking is guided by them. They don't prove anything, but they're great for illustrating points.

    Learning to let the head and heart support each other is indeed the balancing act. Of course, it's more of a three way act, with the body's drives being the third point.

  • Well put my brother...

  • Thank you, Michael.

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