The activities that engage me deepest are music, invention development, patent application drafting, programming, circuit design, mechanical design, and music. Music first and last and underneath all. Silence, grandmother of music, works too.
It’s because of the flow.
Music underlies it all. When I’m engaged intensely, music can further the flow. Some music, not all. For me there’s “flow” music (Bach, mainly – both J.S. and C.P.E.; live folk jam; modern jazz; some Scott Joplin, …), there’s “cute” attention-craving music, and there’s annoying “drivel” music.
Most of the music of my vocal and instrumental upbringing — romantic and later — is depressing to hear. Two reasons are clear to me. Partly it’s because I prefer making music to hearing it, and partly because I feel the decadence of the culture it enshrines.
Professor Heinz Politzer said in his World Literature class at Oberlin College: “The essence of the Romantic is despair.” He demonstrated from literature. I feel it in the music.
The just-preceding period, the Baroque, faces death with a clear eye, as continuous with life. The Romantic allows death only as frenzied escape from thwarted desire, because the romantic soul cannot compromise, postpone, do without.
The dread of unconstrained music notoriously evident in radical fundamentalist sects of Islam and Christianity is romantic.
A sociologist, former Mennonite, writes of an attitude among them of judging of a local congregation’s piety by the slowness of their singing. We can note that slow music discourages all but a small minority of dance forms. U.S. Baptists used to divide between the dance-tolerant and dance-abjuring.
Consumerist culture today is romantic. A few of us are looking for saner ways.