The background

Sit still and be quiet.

Listen. 

What did you hear? If you are inside maybe you became aware to all the sounds of your appliances. If you didn’t, listen again. 

I was listening to an old episode of the podcast This American Life the other day. They were highlighting mapping with the five senses. A guy, Toby is his name, realized one day how much noise was in the background of his daily routines. Toby was also musically inclined so he investigated to see what type of notes each one of these background sounds gave off.  

He found that when he put together a series of notes being let off in his home by varying appliances, the notes created sounds that could impact his mood.

His refrigerator was in b flat and his microwave in f sharp. Which, according to a guy by the name of Deryck Cook who wrote a book on musical classifications, is a sound which he describes as, 

“Active anguish in a context of flux.”

Not a very fun background to start your day.

How much does the background sound in our day to day lives impact our mood? Because if we are truly hearing sad “music”  from each of the tones our appliances give off constantly - it has to unconsciously shape our mood some way. Sounds naturally do that. That’s why we say music is either sad or happy.

What else is in the background of our lives? The things unconscious but always there? What are we being impacted by even if we don’t confront the thing consciously? 

You didn’t hear the sounds in the background before instructed to. And that’s becasue with the business of life, we get distracted. What would it look like to attempt to stop distracting yourself from the backgrounds? The day to day unconsciousness? And what might you find there? Active anguish in a context of flux? Happiness in a context of abundance?

We don’t know until we seek it out. 

https://m.thisamericanlife.org/radio-archives/episode/110/mapping