The joy of research is appreciated by very few people. And I do not mean, researching as a means to win a better job position or to climb up higher the ladder of self-importance. That is not enjoyment, that’s another duty brought by the power to appropriate for selfish benefit.
The joy I am referring to is the passionate delight of letting go of oneself as one unravels and investigates ideas. It’s like travelling to a foreign country. One is walking upon the unfamiliar terrain of unconnected concepts. Time flies and the experience takes hold of you expanding to something beyond the recognisable. It is a pure solitary delight.
Who or what accompanies me throughout this activity?
Apart a good amount of coffee and a dog which from time to time comes for affection, music is my consort. It is not simply present in the background setting the scene for focusing. It’s more. Like a conductor, music directs the flow of my mind and will power. It’s what unshackles me from the expectations of the everyday, sours my imagination, motivates my mind to seek further and intimately allows me to happily be grateful. It’s one of those strange moments when music doesn’t require a conductor to make sense; it becomes the conductor of the flow between my mind, heart and text.
Many call such scenario inspiration. It possibly might be. However, I also like to link inspiration with one’s disposition and effort. Inspiration can be breathtaking. Literally, it is and this calls for effort as it is a tiring activity. Music is also there to allow the mind and heart to calm itself and allow stillness. Researching and stillness go hand in hand. The mind requires it’s time to digest concepts, and it requires more time when such new knowledge hits home.
I listen to all sorts of music, but in this activity of inspirational struggle, instrumental music best creates the arrangements. What’s more satisfying is when I come to explore a new artist that bring into play the topics I am studying. Through their music and videography ideas aren’t just presented, they are moulded and reinterpreted through forms, metaphors and movements.
Case in point, recently I came to discover, Ólafur Arnalds. His music is not only absorbing and intense, his reinterpretation through his music videos present many existential themes. “Only The Winds” exhibits a young boy holding a silver cloth and playing with the wind. But the wind cannot be bridled. It easily threatens the child exposing him to the reality of humanity that he isn’t so much in control of his fate; fate understood as our past, present and future shaped by invisible contingent dynamics. There’s something about this music video that calls each one of us to never give up and to walk courageously in the midst of unfamiliarity. Similarly, “This Place Was A Shelter” exposes us to the psychological dynamics of loss. Full of scenes exhibiting a disrupted identity, powerlessness and confusion. One notices how the man experiencing loss (possibly his wife) deals with it, leading him to extend his hand towards the light and emerging from the womb of transformation.
Such works of art aren’t simply a flight of fancy. They present me with a glimpse of the invisible reality that is ever close to our humanity. They hammer home what I truly like about my research and lead me to love intensely life with all its flaws.
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