Gratitude Phenomenology

Never Just…

I have been listening to a few songs from K Republic’s 2010 album, All Those Things I Left Behind, and I have been really enjoying them, especially the first song in the album (“Speed”). What is significance to me, at this moment, about the experience of listening and loving music is that such an experience is never just about listening to one particular song, it is never just about enjoying this song, or loving just this song. Appreciating something (or someone) is never confined to appreciating only that thing (or person). The appreciation, the enjoyment, spills over to other moments. When you dance to one song, you are not just dancing to that particular song–you are dancing with the world. The song is, of course, important and essential. The song gives you the key, the insight, the angle, the way into seeing how dancing with the world is possible. And, it isn’t just the world. It is you who is dancing and loving.

When you need music and listen to a song, when you feel thirsty and get a drink, when you are lonely and find a friend, etc. the discovery, the satisfaction, the fulfillment is more than that particular fulfillment. If someone learns to trust another person, some–particular–one, they are at the same time learning to Trust. When someone enjoys some–particular–song, they are at the same time enjoying Music. They are also enjoying their own capacity to enjoy music.

Friendship is never about one friend (and isn’t that a great quality? Isn’t it great for the joy of a particular experience never to be confined within that experience?), it is about the world within which friendship is possible. It is about learning–or remembering–that trust is possible. It is, at the same time, the joy of learning–or remembering–that one has the capacity to be a friend to others.

A particular friend, assuming that it is a true and real friend, is a bridge to the rest of humanity, an ambassador, a peace-maker or a peace-keeper. The friend becomes the insight that enables loving humanity (since loving humanity isn’t possible without the mediation of particular human persons). A song, likewise, is a bridge to the world music. I don’t need many songs to maintain that connection, I don’t need many friends, I don’t need many books, because having a few (songs, books, friends) already enables the access to something greater, because I am connecting to something greater through these particular experience. That is why these particular (finite) experiences, and these particular (finite) friends, songs, books, moments, are enough–truly enough. Because these particular experiences are never just about these particular experiences.

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