One of the many things that separates humankind from any other animal species is the ability to communicate complex ideas and concepts using spoken and written language. Many species communicate using varied sounds and facial expressions, but humans have taken that communication to an entirely different level. Our tendency to document our daily lives and history and even our everyday experiences in the forms of art and writing and music gives us the ability to communicate and share not only our intentions, but our unique experiences, emotions, dreams, and fantasies with others. Of course, there is intrinsic value to this, but I think the long term effect of writing and advanced language is the true phenomenon.
Language of any kind has the obvious potential to connect minds and bring groups of people together in ways that stimulate advanced communities and group activity. Beyond that, language and writing can be used for things that I would consider to be classified as magic. Magic, however, is only a term to describe what can’t otherwise be defined. 1000 years ago, much of science was considered magic. If someone 3000 years ago saw a cell phone, they’d likely fall to their knees in wonder. And this is why I call language magic. Those things that used to be considered ineffable, given labels such as divine, magic, godly, or supernatural can eventually be wrapped in words and given definition and understanding, grounding the subject. In this way, language and writing can be used as a tool to manifest dreams and ideas that would seem unattainable. The first step in realizing a dream is to communicate it. Leonardo Da Vinci was known for his art, but was also a visionary inventor. His drawings and writings were the starting point in turning his enigmatic musings into real technological marvels. This should be intuitive and obvious. The more skilled an individual is at wrapping language around a difficult topic, the more that can be communicated, and the more real the idea becomes. Science follows this logic. Where most of our biological processes used to be completely mysterious, we can now easily control, manipulate and aid our bodies with chemicals and therapeutics, natural and synthetic. This used to be considered witchcraft or shamanistic. Today these things are just another part of everyday life. Consider the things you would label magic today, and then envision a future where those magics would be embraced by science and controlled. Even spirituality becomes a physical phenomenon that can be described.
More important is communicating an overall experience. The importance may not be obvious at first, but the downstream impact is huge. Anyone can say, “I feel bad today.” What does that mean? What is bad? Poetry is used by creating metaphors surrounding mundane and simple aspects of human life that are strung together to create and contain complex emotion. Words describe objects, sentences describe events, paragraphs describe experiences, and poems or stories capture unique sensations — heartbreak, euphoria, maudlin, ennui, melancholy, love, obsession, romance… It’s all on the table. When coupled with music, you can create states of mind and soul that surpass the inspiration. This effect is not well documented or highly discussed, but most of us can say we’ve heard a song that reminds of us a specific memory that we associate it with. The emotional experience communicated in the music, coupled with our individual real world experience creates an emotional state that surpasses the mundane and gives the sense of higher power, purpose, or importance. Of course you could call this coincidence, and maybe it is. Maybe it isn’t. Those experiences that give the immediate sense that they are necessary and bigger than the mundane are real. Many musicians will tell you that they feel compelled or inspired to write what they write.
Whether you believe in magic or no, wrapping words around phenomena like this will not fail to make the understanding thereof more complete. Talk on!