Why Writing is Healing
Culture is driven forward by human self-expression which is the outward manifestation of human genius, the proliferation of realized human potential.
Language in this broad sense is not only written language, however writing plays an important role in the development of culture. Language also is symbols, music, and art. We communicate verbally, non-verbally, and through other forms of vibration, while it can be said that all communication requires humans vibrating together in a certain way.
The most important element in this communication at the basis of culture is that it is intentional. Let me give an example. There was back in the 1960s and 70s a broad discussion if modern music was really music or if it was merely sound. There were performances in which a pianist would stand beside a piano and yank a hammer on the keyboard, or fire a shot in the air. In another such performance, the man would be standing beside the piano with a stopwatch, measuring the time passing by, and never touching the piano.
Many people argued that this was not art, not music, for it was just noise, or outright nonsense. They forgot about the intention of the composer of such artwork. When the intention was to create art, the result is art. This is not just my personal opinion but it was the base tenor of a well-known decision by the German Constitutional Court in a case where the freedom of art was at stake. The Court said that if everybody had the right to judge what was art and what was not, we would be back in the dark ages. Looking at constitutional rights, the Court thus decided that there is only one valid criterium for art to be art: the intention of the creator! All art, and all writing done with an artistic purpose is ultimately an expression of soul, and of the identity and uniqueness of a creative human being.
Before expression comes inspiration; both are involved in the process of creating and maintaining culture. We can be inspired by anything. Let me inquire about the word first. Inspiration is a short form for ‘spirited into’; so inspiration means to get some kind of spiritual stimulation, and here spiritual is to be understood in its widest sense, as some inflow of higher energies. For example, when you are listening to music you may feel energized and uplifted, and your being ‘in high spirits’ will certainly have a positive impact upon you when you create yourself—either during your listening to the music, or later on— be it art, be it music, be it writing.
So we could summarize so far and say that the process of culture is to inspire and to get inspired, to appreciate creation by others and the world, and by giving creative output to others and the world. This giving and taking is a form of communication that is immersed in a cultural setting. It is the language of that culture, when language is understood in its broadest sense.
Inspiration happens when something, whatever it is, touches your soul being. In the case of music, this is especially strong for music is abstract. As I said in another blog, for being inspired by music, you do not need to have musical knowledge, you don’t need to learn composition, and you do not need to play an instrument. Of course music is a language, and as any other language, it obeys to a syntax and a structure, it contains rhythm, and melody, and it uniquely manipulates time for artistic expression.
It is in my view this abstract character of music, the fact that it is not just sound, that it is non-visual, non-tactile and not a thing you can own that makes music such an ideal trigger of inspiration, and a pillar of culture. In addition, to be inspired by music, you do not need to listen with your full awareness. You may listen while driving your car, you may listen while cooking, while doing house work, while writing a book, doing art work, or while receiving friends in your home. The inspirational power of music will work for you in all those modes of perception.
Many people think they are musically illiterate, ignoring there is no such thing. We are all musical by nature. Every child proves it, and it’s only because people get brainwashed by the mass media that they lose the natural understanding of music. Happy children spontaneously dance because they have a natural ear for the magic of music, and are touched by it in their soul.
If people would get rid of the concept of musical illiteracy, they would automatically open themselves up for the real perception of music, which is completely non-intellectual and spontaneous. Perceiving music through the intellectual interface alone may actually produce misconceptions. The truth is that music is accessible to all people, young or old, stupid or intelligent, black or white, poor or rich, privileged or underprivileged. This is exactly the power of music, it’s the power to connect all people in one streak which is simply called humanity!
And again, because of the fact that music is language, people who are great musicians are typically fond of languages and may speak many of them. Arthur Rubinstein spoke and wrote eight languages perfectly, Polish, his mother tongue, then Russian and French, and after that German, English, Spanish, Italian, and Portuguese. He mastered these languages so well that he gave interviews in them.
In addition, brain research found out as early as in the 1970s that the brain learns faster with the help of music. Thus whatever you want to learn, when you listen to a string quartet while for example learning your French lesson, you will learn it faster and you will have a lesser accent in your French.
Now let us having a look at writing, another form of communication within a culture. Why is it that people write? Do we not want to share ideas, thoughts, experiences, and values? Do we not want to connect to the soul being of our readers by first connecting to our own soul, anxiously or more assuredly voicing the tremulous yearnings and tribulations of our inner life?
What happens thus when you write really from that level of your innermost being, you strengthen the contact with your soul, and you become aware of your soulpower, which you also could call your primary power. It’s not worldly power, not the power of money and fame, it’s the power of being intrinsically human, and intrinsically self. It’s a pathway for communicating your true self to the world, and receiving the feedback of the world in return.
In this sense, culture is not only language in its abstract sense, but the mutual recognition of soul values by individuals communicating within a culture; it is also the language of the culture as a whole which is expressed through that culture’s unique symbolism and its permissive attitude toward human self-expression.