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POP CULTURE: Why Music Works

One of the most calming things that societies have ever devised is the lullaby. In almost
几乎在所有曾出现的文明中 都会有母亲轻晃着孩子 哼唱着哄其入睡的场景
every culture there has ever been, mothers have rocked and sung their babies to sleep.
A humbling point that a lullaby reveals is that it’s not necessarily the words of a
小宝宝们并不理解歌词的意思 然而摇篮曲的声音却仍能产生效应
song that make us feel more tranquil. The baby doesn’t understand what’s being said
but the sound has its effect all the same. The baby is showing us that we are all tonal
我们在成为理性动物之前 都是受音调支配的动物
creatures long before we are creatures of understanding.
作为成年人 我们当然能理解字词的重要性 但是却有些东西能从情感层面进入我们的思想
As adults, we grasp the significance of words of course, but there remains a sensory level which cuts through and affects us far more
其影响比论证或者道理更甚 也就是说 音乐家的影响
than an argument or idea ever could. The musician can, at points, trump anything the
philosopher might tell us.
Ancient Greek mythology was fascinated by the story of the famous
是有关于著名的音乐家俄耳甫斯的 曾经他不得不去地狱救赎他的妻子
musician Orpheus. At one point he had to rescue his wife from the underworld. To get there
为了到达那儿 他必须经过一条有冥府看门狗的路 这只可怖的三头狗是用来守卫通往死亡之地的入口的
he needed to make his way past Cerberus the ferocious three-headed dog who guarded the
entrance to the land of the dead. Orpheus was said to have played such sweet, enchanting
使得这只凶猛的怪物平静了下来 甚至一度变得谦和温顺
music that the wild beast calmed down and became – for a while – mild and docile.
The Greeks were giving themselves a reminder of the psychological power of music. Orpheus
俄耳甫斯并没有和三头狗讲道理 他没有试着去解释他被放行有多重要
didn’t reason with Cerberus, he didn’t try to explain how important it was that he
他也没有说他有多爱自己的妻子 多想让她回来
should be allowed to pass, he didn’t speak about how much he loved his wife and how much
三头犬就和身处痛苦的我们一样 对道理完全免疫
he wanted her back. Cerberus was – as we ourselves are at times of distress – pretty
但他还是受到了音乐的影响 重点在于找到感染他的正确途径
much immune to reason. But he was still open to influence. It was just a matter of finding the
当我们感到焦虑或者沮丧的时候 好心的人有时候会试着通过摆事实讲道理来安慰我们
right channel to reach him. When we feel anxious or upset, kindly people sometimes try to comfort
他们想影响我们的思考 想通过详细的论证来减缓我们的痛苦
us by pointing to facts and ideas: they try to influence our thinking and – via careful
但是 就和对待三头犬一样
arguments – to quieten our distress. But, as with Cerberus, the most effective way to
处理问题最有效的方法 或许就是简单地来点音乐
deal with the problem may simply be to play us some music.
在我们的状态适合听从理性之前 我们需要被安静和平和
We might need to be quietened and made mild (by a lullaby, a Chopin prelude or something by Natalie Merchant), before
(通过听摇篮曲 肖邦的序曲 或者是娜塔莉·摩森特的抒情乐)
we are in any position to listen to reason.
音乐是我们所发明的最好的情绪调节器 它的益处分列如下:
Music is the greatest mood adjustor we have ever invented. Its benefits can be broken down as follows:
音乐能够把那些我们需要却已经遗失的情感重新拼合在一起 我们已经变得过于勇敢 过于克己
Music can reunite us with feelings we need but have lost touch with. It reconciles us to a sadness within, which we have had to be too
以至于已经感觉不到内心的悲伤了 而音乐能让我们与它们和解
be brave and stoic not to feel.
它是一把利斧 可以破开我们内心的坚冰
It is the axe that breaks the frozen sea within us.
音乐使我们的悲伤有尊严 框住并包容那些原本无法控制的沉痛
Music can lend dignity to our sorrows, framing and containing what might otherwise be unmanageable grief.
音乐时刻陪伴着我们 犹如在我们绝望时带来宽慰的父母
Music is there for us like a comforting parent in moments of despair. Music returns us to
音乐赋予我们新生 它轻柔地将我们推回慷慨和希望的侧畔
life, gently nudging us to return to the side of generosity and hope. We can follow in music’s
当我们意志低沉的时候 我们能在音乐之路上找到自信
grooves of confidence, when our own will is sagging.
音乐带领我们走出生活 超出平凡 站在更高的视角审视自己
Music is there to take us beyond the everyday, to transcend the ordinary and survey ourselves from a lofty height.
当理性 逻辑和自律将我们逼向崩溃的边缘时 音乐能把与生俱来的自我和我们重新联接
Music reconnects us with our instinctual, bodily selves when reason, logic and discipline are in danger
音乐打破了陌生人之间的壁垒 敦促我们发现彼此之间的相同之处 而非不同之处
of crushing us. Music breaks down the barriers between strangers – urging us to see what
当我们能承认 想要仅通过理性来改变情绪时我们是多么无力的时候
we have in common, rather than what divides us. We fully discover our debt to music when
we can acknowledge just how powerless we sometimes are to change our moods through reason alone.
A good life doesn’t only need a library of ideas: it requires a vast and ever-changing
它需要一张丰富多变的音乐列表 可以有条理地让我们重新充满希望 感情细腻 富有韧性
playlist that can systematically tug us back to our more hopeful, sensitive and resilient selves.