Senses and Sensibilities Sans Sanity

I wrote two other posts this morning before I got to this one. And I wrote three others last night before I saved them, expecting to return to them this morning and fix them. Instead, I discarded last night’s writing. And the future of this morning’s two earlier attempts at capturing my thoughts is in question. So I’m trying again, in the hope that I will be able to record thoughts I might one day want to recall or examine or otherwise use in some way.

I wrote about seeing, hearing, smelling, tasting, and touching. I tried to express my sense of wonder at each of them. I tried to articulate in some way the profound ways in which each of them brings joy to my life. But I simply couldn’t do it. Every one of my five senses is, by itself, overwhelming in its capacity to bring me contentment, pleasure, joy. Happiness. Woven together, the senses allow me to make sense of life. They make life itself an experience of joy. Granted, they can do just the opposite. But if I train myself to focus on accentuating the pleasurable forms of sensation and to minimize their painful twins, I can train myself to experience joy. Frankly, that sounds like so much “power of positive thinking” nonsense. But in spite of its birth as a Pollyanna concept, I think it’s true. Much is said about going into my surgery with a positive attitude. That’s not just an admonition to have a “stiff upper lip,” it’s a recommendation made seriously because one’s body tends to respond favorably to positivity and unfavorably to negativity. I didn’t intend for this post to drift back into the throes of my confrontation with cancer, but it just did. Sorry. John, get over it.

I’m listening to an album on Spotify entitled, “Mozart: Eine Kleine Nachtmusik Etc.” The piece that just finished, Pachelbel: Canon and Gigue in D Major, P. 37-1. Canon, was followed by Mozart’s 3 German Dances K605 and then a Bach orchestral suite.  Even fast-paced, joyful pieces are moving. They call upon the eyes to leak in appreciation. Exquisite visual art sometimes does that, too. I can look at some spectacular artwork by famed artists and be left unmoved; but some pieces can evoke emotions that seem to come from nowhere. It’s as if certain aspects of arts (and music) trigger responses that may have nothing whatsoever to do with appearance or sound; they just provoke responses.

The mechanical aspects of writing and playing music are beyond me, as are the mechanical aspects of creating visual art that reflects what my brain wants my hands to do. But I think there’s music and art in my brain that, if I could transplant my brain into the body of a talented artist, could be extraordinary. Of course that’s madness, because it’s the combination of creativity and technical skills and talents that lead to great art and music. If you’re missing one or the other set of requisite components, you don’t have what it takes to be an artist or musician. But you can still appreciate the works of people who do. And you can wish that, suddenly in a magical moment, you’d acquire the technical skills to bring the creative ideas in your head to life. Not gonna happen, sport. Get over your fantasies.

My creativity with words escaped me last night and hasn’t returned this morning. Instead of deleting this post and starting again or saving it with an eye toward later improving how I say what I want to say, I’m just going to post this and start something different another time. I’d hate to waste all these hundreds or thousands of keystrokes. Maybe they’re wasted anyway. But they’re now memorialized on the internet.


About John Swinburn

"Love not what you are but what you may become."― Miguel de Cervantes
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