with Keiran & Eraina Mckenzie
This article is taken from Creeping Compromise- present truth by Joe Crews
Subtle psycho-logical effect of music on the brain and the body
No study of Christian standards would be complete without considering the influ- ence of music. Multiplied millions of young people all over the world have been brought under the hypnotising spell of rock-and-roll. Like a common denominator, it has crossed the boundaries of language, culture, and religion to affect more lives than almost any other social force. Even the Christian church has been invaded by so-called “gospel rock” which has become the evangelistic vehicle of church young people in communicating with other youth. But what message is being communicated by the tempo and rhythm of this “now” music? How can we explain the obsessive devotion of so many millions to the same kinds of sounds?
Very few people understand the tremen- dous power that music exercises over the conscious and the subconscious nature of those who listen to it. It has long been known that martial music, band music, and religious music could produce predictable emotional responses. Moods of listeners have been programmed by certain kinds of music. Vast segments of people have reacted in almost uniform togetherness to the same controlled music. They have been tranquillised into nostalgia or lethargy by soothing melodies, or they have been agitated to actual violence by appropriate “wild” syncopated rhythms.
How does music produce moods? It has now been established scientifically that moods have a biological basis. They are produced by a combination of brain activity, blood circula- tion, and body chemistry. All these functions are affected in an extraordinary degree by music. Medical research has revealed that nerves of the ear have more extensive con- nections than any other nerves of the body. In fact, there is hardly a function of the human system which cannot be affected by musical tones. Actual tests have proved that music has a direct influence on pulse rate, blood pres- sure, the nervous system, digestion, muscles, and glands of the body.
Dr. Schoen makes this remarkable state- ment in his book, The Psychology of Music: “Music is made of the stuff which is in and of itself the most powerful stimulant known among the perceptual processes …. Music operates on our emotional faculty with greater intensiveness and rapidity than the product of any other act.” Page 39.
The most amazing fact of all is how the physical organs react to music. Since the body only functions when the brain commands it to, we know that music, in some way, has to reach the brain first of all. But what part of the brain perceives the music? One of the most important discoveries ever made in this area has established that music is “heard” in that portion of the brain which receives the stimuli of emotions, sensations, and feelings. In fact, music completely bypasses the brain centres involving reason and intelligence. It does not depend upon the master brain to gain entrance into the body. It enters by way of the thalamus, which is a relay station of all emotions, sensations, and feelings. Schullian and Schoen describe it thus: “Once a stimu- lus has been able to reach the thalamus, the master brain is automatically invaded, and if the stimulus is continued for some time, a closer contact between the master brain and the world of reality can be thus established.” Music and Medicine, pp. 270, 271. (Emphasis supplied.)
Notice that the music has to be “continued for some time” to produce physical reactions through the conscious, master brain. The repetitive, percussive amplification of sound through the electric instruments of rock-and- roll produces a phenomenon which is better described than understood. Time magazine describes it in these words: “The hypnotic beat works a strange kind of magic. Many dancers become oblivious to those around them. They drift away from their partners. Inhibitions flake away, eyes glaze over, until suddenly they are seemingly swimming along in a sea of sound.”
The most frightening thing about this whole subject is the irresistible assault of the music upon the emotions and then upon the actions. Since the attack is made through the thalamus, the individual who listens will be affected by the music without even making any conscious decision in the matter. This is why doctors have grasped music as a new way to reach the minds of the retarded and the mentally ill. It has opened the door for music to be used therapeutically to communicate with emotionally disturbed patients. Even autistic children are being remarkably stimu- lated to respond because they do not have to make any kind of voluntary decision-the music reaches the brain centre just by being perceived as sound, through the thalamus. Words may mean nothing to the children, but the sensory level is pried open by the music, providing access to the conscious brain.
Now this fascinating fact about music, though beneficial in reaching the mentally disturbed, has also provided a way for Satan to make a sneak attack upon almost anyone who will listen to the wrong kind of music. Without his even realising it, the listener’s mind will be bent to whatever emotional attitude the devil wants to incorporate into the musical beat. Van deWall sums it up in this manner, “Much of what we call irresist- ible in music is so because we react on this sensory-motor level of functioning.” Music in Hospitals, p. 15.
Later in his book Van deWall describes how the nerves transmit the music message to the various parts of the body: “Sound vi- brations acting upon and through the nervous system give shocks in rhythmical sequence to the muscles, which cause them to contract and set our arms and hands, legs and feet in motion. On account of their automatic muscular reaction, many people make some movement when hearing music; for them to remain motionless would require conscious muscular restraint.” Page 106.