|Saturday night as I was driving home from our daughter’s house (about the only useful thing I’ve accomplished in the last week, thanks to the ulcerative colitis and the @&%^ drug that’s supposed to alleviate its symptoms) I was listening to a CBC summer radio program called Sample This. At the end of the show they said next week’s program would be about comfort music, and invited listeners to write in with their recommendations in that genre.
Naturally, this hit home with me. I’ve been trying to listen to music as one therapy to deal with the relentless cramping and insomnia that, together, are making the drug I’m taking to try to mitigate this disease worse than the disease itself. I now appreciate how sleep deprivation and sustained pain are the torture techniques of choice in Gitmo and the world’s other info extraction centres.
I went through my iTunes list and concluded that everything in my 800-song collection is comfort music, of one of four kinds:
It occurred to me that music has always been my stress therapy of choice. Alas, despite focusing on the latter two types and listening in the dark for nearly six hours, the cramps would not abate and sleep would not come.
But I did come up with a ‘top 12’ list of comfort songs. I also concluded that music of the first two types is too subjective to be of use to anyone else (I happen to find I’m Going to Go Back There Someday comforting, but my wife classifies it as ‘put him out of his misery quick’ music).
Even though I would guess these songs would be uncontroversial choices, it’s interesting how much our past experiences and emotions play into how we perceive music. I find most music, including a lot of classical and new age music, boring, and just want to hit the ‘forward to next’ button (not comforting). I’ve also recently come to appreciate the phenomenon (among us old fogies) of so-called ‘smooth jazz’, by which they mean generally jazz that’s not too ambitious, inaccessible or loud, and which doesn’t require careful listening or a study of the genre’s history to appreciate.
I prefer to have to work a little bit when I listen to music — what comforts me is needing to pay attention to the music, which distracts me from less pleasant current realities.
Anyway, here is the list. I’m not especially looking for additional suggestions, though if you have a favourite of the third or fourth type I may give it a listen (and other readers may be less picky than I am and appreciate your suggestions). We could all do with less stress, especially the pointless stress that doesn’t help us cope or accomplish anything better anyway.
Type 3 Calming Music (with calming melody and comforting lyrics):
Type 4 Transporting Music (instrumental):
I think it says a lot that most of the composers of these songs have struggled with more than their share of demons in their lives. Comfort, the kind that really matters, perhaps doesn’t come easy.
Pass it on.
PS: Lots of notes scattered everywhere for blog posts, but right now I don’t have my head together enough to compose anything coherent and useful, so you’ll have to content yourself with these silly littleposts. Hope to be back to more substantial posting soon.
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My Bio, Contact Info, Signature PostsAbout the Author (2016)
--- My Best 100 Posts --
Preparing for Civilization's End:
What Would Net-Zero Emissions Look Like?
Why Economic Collapse Will Precede Climate Collapse
Being Adaptable: A Reminder List
A Culture of Fear
What Will It Take?
A Future Without Us
Dean Walker Interview (video)
The Mushroom at the End of the World
What Would It Take To Live Sustainably?
The New Political Map (Poster)
Complexity and Collapse
Save the World Reading List
What a Desolated Earth Looks Like
Giving Up on Environmentalism
The Dark & Gathering Sameness of the World
The End of Philosophy
The Boiling Frog
What to Believe Now?
Conversation & Silence
The Language of Our Eyes
Cultural Acedia: When We Can No Longer Care
Several Short Sentences About Learning
Why I Don't Want to Hear Your Story
A Harvest of Myths
The Qualities of a Great Story
The Trouble With Stories
A Model of Identity & Community
Not Ready to Do What's Needed
A Culture of Dependence
So What's Next
Ten Things to Do When You're Feeling Hopeless
No Use to the World Broken
Living in Another World
Does Language Restrict What We Can Think?
The Value of Conversation Manifesto Nobody Knows Anything
If I Only Had 37 Days
The Only Life We Know
A Long Way Down
No Noble Savages
Figments of Reality
Too Far Ahead
The Rogue Animal
How the World Really Works:
If You Wanted to Sabotage the Elections
Collective Intelligence & Complexity
Ten Things I Wish I'd Learned Earlier
The Problem With Systems
Against Hope (Video)
The Admission of Necessary Ignorance
Several Short Sentences About Jellyfish
A Synopsis of 'Finding the Sweet Spot'
Learning from Indigenous Cultures
The Gift Economy
The Job of the Media
The Wal-Mart Dilemma
The Illusion of the Separate Self:
Did Early Humans Have Selves?
Nothing On Offer Here
Even Simpler and More Hopeless Than That
What Happens in Vagus
We Have No Choice
Never Comfortable in the Skin of Self
Letting Go of the Story of Me
All There Is, Is This
A Theory of No Mind
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The Fortune Teller (Short Story)
Non-Duality Dude (Play)
Your Self: An Owner's Manual (Satire)
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The Opposite of Presence (Satire)
How to Make Love Last (Poem)
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