Music & States of Consciousness
One of the most powerful ways of altering consciousness coherence might as well be music. Like the universe, music is a pattern that recombines based on the relationship of independent signals , with each signal carrying a specific tone. Cymatics is the way most of us are familiar with this concept – frequencies and vibrations tend to conform to special geometric arrangements. This principle is at the heart of the true metaphysical universe – by understanding it, we give ourselves a new language for talking about reality and its relationship to our awareness.
The expression of nature and living organisms is mediated by electromagnetic resonance – another way of saying that frequency and form are the underpinnings of all of what is known as physical experience. When a DJ plays an electronic music set, he has a special goal: to bring the audience, indeed the whole venue, into the umbrella of his music. When he is doing his job especially well, the boundary between him and his audience and the music itself begins to blur – if he is a good DJ, he can sense the engagement of the crowd, how well he is drawing them into his musical dimension, whether they are enthralled. The signal he gets from the crowd ought to mediate his performance, elsewise he risks breaking the ‘spell’.
Music as a Meditative Facilitator
Here in the west, meditation is not typically part of our cultural heritage and thus we tend to think of it and describe it in an Eastern way – as the practice of silence, stillness, and mindfulness. Even those who have knowledge of the Western mystery tradition may not be aware of methods for altering consciousness through the vehicle of music; prior to the late twentieth century, there was no quick and accessible way for people to listen to specific songs – as a matter of fact, being able to listen to music at all prior to the age of recording arts was considered a luxury typically reserved for society’s elite, and even then it was occasional.
That is why it is worthwhile to explore music as a potential ‘evoker’ in the contemporary era. Everybody knows that listening to a song brings back memories of the times the song way enjoyed. This is true in a particularly powerful and visceral sense – it’s not just that you have intellectual recollections of the episodic content of the memory, but rather the emotional experiences that you once had are brought back to the surface of consciousness and “relived” once more. Sometimes this is true so painfully, that people often report being unable to stomach sitting through songs that may remind them of previous partners or some beloved, now deceased.
Music as Hypnotic Induction
In some sense, it is accurate to say that music ‘bewitches’ us – our brains become entrained to the melody and harmony of the song as it plays. When there is strong emotional resonance with a song, that song tends to acquire the power to produce that state of consciousness in the future. While you are listening to the song, you naturally tend to acquire the emotional state the song evokes.
That means that music can be used
1) as a useful memory aid, that is the information in a catchy tune or jingle , whether it is an advertisement or a mnemonic for biology class, tends to be easier to recall
2) as an autohypnotic, that is if you are working out at the gym, you might use a song with trance beats (a kick on every 1/4th at about 140BPM+) to get you int he mood for cardio.
3) as a ‘sigil’ for inducing states of consciousness that may be beneficial to mystical or spiritual contemplation.
4) as a ritual tool, that, when combined with dancing, can recreate certain mystical exaltations
5) as a trigger for inducing trance states in those whom are suggestible or under the influence of narcotics.
That is why pop music tends to be so overproduced – of course it is (intentionally) not popular knowledge, the wizardry of the world of music production. But let us just say there are certain tricks of digital mastery that are highly sought after – you may call them ‘hooks’, but they pertain to the hz , timing, and ‘layering’ of the track.
How Music Videos may be Rituals
There is a reason the dancer is always pictured with the brilliant composition. In the modern era, we have a new way of visualizing the natural companionship that seems to result between storytelling and musicality (hence the musical).
In the youtube era of 4minute entertainment the music video is an especially potent form of artistic expression. In some cases in can obscure the mind’s natural tendency to visualize along with the music (I, for example, have always tended to create ‘stories’ in my mind’s eye to accompany a particularly resonant or beloved song), but in other cases a well realized music video can completely entrance or entrain, even produce a full on triggered or hypnotic state. Again, this can be used for better or worse, but it is wise to be well aware of.
Some conspiracy theorists claim that modern music is often embedded with ‘archons’ in the production process. Make of this what you will, but it is my recommendation that skeptics approach the possibility metaphorically and not dismiss it at first glance as fanciful.
Unlike a (nonmusical) short video or film by itself, the music video engages the mind actively whereas the nonmusical video , ordinary film , is an entirely passive form of engagement. Music is active because it affects the electrical activation of the brain and mind, carrying them in the mood and tempo of the song. The video, or visual aspects of the scene become ‘synced’ in a powerful way with the contents of the film of a well executed music video.
This can give the song a dramatic overhaul of impact that it may lack alone. The art of making a particularly well paired music video in my eyes is a new form of composition enabled by the technological advances of the recent decade and thus present new opportunities for helpful ‘autosuggestions’ and also quite frightening potential ‘cognitive demon processes’ may be evoked by a particularly salient video with less than stellar intentions.
Some potential evidence that music affects consciousness coherence and alters raw probability of chance: