Monday, April 18, 2011

music & the soul

Jodi Picoult is probably my favorite contemporary fiction author. Her books always make me think about moral and ethical dilemmas. They are entertaining, and when I want a page-turner, she is always the author I reach for. I am currently reading her most recent book, Sing You Home. One of the characters is a music therapist. Here is a very interesting snippet from the book that as soon as I read, I wanted to share: "Some cognitive scientists believe human response to music provides evidence that we are more than just flesh and blood-that we also have souls. Their thinking is as follows: All reactions to external stimuli can be traced back to an evolutionary rationale. You pull your hand away from fire to avoid physical harm. You get butterflies before an important speech because the adrenaline running through your veins has caused a physiological fight-or-flight response. But there is no evolutionary context within which people's response to music makes sense--the tapping of a foot, the urge to sing along or get up and dance, there's just no survival benefit to these activities. For this reason, some believe that our response to music is proof that there's more to us than just biological and physiological mechanics--that the only way to be moved by the spirit, so to speak, is to have one in the first place." Peace, Love, Lipstick, & Namaste' Leslie

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