Anthony Storr

Philosophy of Music and Impact on the mind

  Dr. Anthony Storr, a British practicing psychiatrist for nearly forty years and distinguished thinker about the sources of creativity was deeply concerned with the psychology of the creative process and with the healing power of the arts. He explains in his book Music & the Mind how our culture requires us in our daily working lives to separate rational thought from feelings and how music reunites the mind and body and restores our sense of personal wholeness.
He believes music can, and should be a life enhancing part of our day-to-day existence. Music plays a special role in aiding the scanning , sorting and rearrangement of mental content which take place in sleep. The pressure and overwhelming external stimulus that surrounds us and the sum of incoming auditory information not only can be overwhelming, but, without a sufficiently thick protective skin to shield us from the impact of the external world, those invasive sensory inputs can become threats of confusion and disorder.
Music provides one path of temporary withdrawal from the hurry-burly of the external world. A temporary retreat which promotes a re-ordering process within the mind, and thus aids our adaptation to the external world rather than providing an escape from it. Instead of being threatened by an overload of incoherent auditory stimulus, we learn by means of music to impose our will upon this input, to exclude the irrelevant, to pay attention to what is important, and thus to create or discover some order in the world.
Music is one of the four mathematical sciences of Antiquity, with arithmetic, astronomy, and geometry. The Pythagoreans, who Plato followed called music the harmonization of opposites, the unification of disparate things, and the reconciliation of warring elements. As a rule, music assumes harmony in the universe, lawful government in a state, and a sensible way of life in the home. Music brings together and unites.

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