A few weeks ago, I had a delightful time reconnecting with my friend Anna. We went to school together, and she has since gone on to have a successful music career as a songwriter, performer, and teacher (among other things). She was down for the weekend for a show, and we had ample opportunity to catch up on each others’ projects, as well as trade stories of success and disappointment in the music industry. She has been writing and performing her material for about eleven years, and it was great to get her perspective on what has worked and what has not.
While here, she helped me out with a podcast project I’m working on. It’s an intensive analysis of a single song by an artist, in which we dissect the lyrical and musical composition. Anna has recently released a disc titled Satellite, and we examined her title track, “Satellite” for the podcast. Without getting too much into detail, her song is an exploration of the influence of the sacred and secular sides of her family and how they shaped her own perspective towards religion. I might add that it’s quite worth listening to. While recording the podcast, I kept finding a repeating pattern in the things we were discussing. We were discussing the theme of the song, tempering the mysterious with reason, during a podcast about breaking down and analyzing a piece of art in order to get greater enjoyment out of it. We even discussed some of the music theory behind her harmonic and melodic choices. All these things embody a common concept: as we increase our knowledge, it can only serve to enhance our experience.
Every time someone tells me they don’t want to know how something is created because it might ruin the magic of it, I die a little inside. Increasing my understanding of how a system works tends to allow me to enjoy it that much more.
I find this is a point I return to when I discuss why I am an atheist. I love the way science continues to elucidate new facts about the world we live in. At no point does the mystery of life seem spoiled as we dissect it further. In fact, as we understand our world, our bodies, and our societies in ever greater detail, the more delightful and rapturous they become. Even as we find new paths to explore and ruminate upon, the knowledge of how our world works remains thrilling and awe-inspiring. No higher power necessary (though to be fair, I think there are only a small subset of religious people whose faith is inspired by the mysteries inherent in a lack of science/knowledge).
In the course of relationships, as we learn more about our partner and how we relate to them, we grow to appreciate ourselves and the person that he or she is more. Learning the intricate nuances of communication gives us great insight into our own potential and the potential of everyone in our lives.
The next time you’re discussing a subject and you’re given the hand and asked to stop out of fear of knowing too much, take a moment to shift the discussion to all the wonderful things we get from analysis. Innovative approaches, eye-opening experiences, and the joy of chasing a fantasy down the rabbit-hole all get their starts by pushing past the mundane knowledge into uncharted territories. As the saying goes, knowing is half the battle, but it’s the part makes everything else worthwhile.