10 Things Music Teaches Us About Ourselves

1. There is a place for you, no matter your quirks, preferences, habits, or circumstances. The world is a diverse place, filled with an absolutely enormous variety of human beings, and by sheer probability there is a group of them—perhaps small, perhaps larger than you think—who fear, enjoy, loathe and want the same things you do. Not only that, but they are actively and constantly producing media suited to you and people like you. Somewhere out there, someone is screaming the words you don’t even know you want to say.

2. There are always going to be people who don’t understand or approve of your tastes. Sometimes, these people are very vocal, even violent—and sometimes they appear inside your own social sphere, where you’ve already assumed a level of trust exists. It’s a wonderful thing to think that human society has developed to the point that we can place such a vast weight of importance on relatively minor differences in preference, but that doesn’t make it any easier when someone you wanted to trust equates your enjoyment of something ‘bad’ with YOU being bad. The upside: you learn how to ignore the differences that are too insignificant to bother with, how to confront those which are actually disruptive, and most importantly, how to tell the difference between the two.

3. Ideation of extremes does not equal perpetration of extremes. For every unbalanced person who uses musical and lyrical harshness to excuse their own destructive behavior, there are tens of thousands of people in ‘respectable’ careers who find that imagining themselves as an emotionless, iron-skinned screaming murder-god is just the thing to get them through the day.

4. There are whole layers of complexity hidden in things which, to most people, seem simplistic and stupid. Not everyone is going to find it, but that just makes this discovered depth all the more secret and precious. It’s almost enough to a person think about all the things that they themselves dismissed, and what motes of brilliance were concealed there.

5. There are people all over the world making music, in every language that currently exists, and limiting yourself to one continent or one tongue is unfairly amputating an untold world of potential experience. Art is a universal language, and everyone is fluent from birth.

6. There is a very real, very Western tendency to limit the expression of negativity, as if somehow pretending you’re not angry, or afraid, or depressed is going to somehow invalidate the emotion. Screw that. You cannot be, nor can you be expected to be chipper all the bloody time. Release the hate, and in so doing, comprehend it.

7. Sometimes you’re going to love something that seems, well, kind of silly. It could be based on a silly concept, or cross the border from extremely serious to kind of ridiculous. If it still resonates with you, if it sounds good and makes you feel good, then it doesn’t particularly matter in the end. You should never feel ashamed of what you love; if you love it, then it is obviously worthy.

8. Sometimes the best way to get through something tedious, boring, necessary, or distasteful is to phrase it in the most extreme way you can imagine. Or, to reconsider: In the Grey Times when the mournful wind deigns not to rattle the moaning stones of your ruinous life, remember always the Titans and Monsters, the Beasts and the Gods, the Warriors who came before you and whose shouts yet echo in your ears. March through this wasteland wearing their armor in spirit, crying with their many mouths, and allowing their sharp blades and astral dragonfire to shield the meat of your heart. Forsooth. Verily.

9. There is room, everywhere, for the fantastic and imaginative. Every story you hear, real or not, is interesting because it’s unusual. We never really stop playing make-believe, and that’s something wonderful.

10. Never, ever go into the pit with your glasses on. Thought Catalog Logo Mark

image – Amy Clarke

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