Edited By Wojciech Klimczyk and Agata Świerzowska
Henri Bergson, a philosopher and – like Schopenhauer or Nietzsche – very sensitive to music, wrote in his last book:
We feel, while we listen, as though we could not desire anything else but what the music suggests to us, and that that is just as we should naturally and necessarily act did we not refrain from action to listen. Let the music express joy or grief, pity or love, every moment we are what it expresses. Not only ourselves, but many others, nay, all the others, too. When music weeps, all humanity, all nature, weeps with it. In point of fact it does not introduce these feelings into us; it introduces us into them, as passers-by are forced into a street dance.1
Bergson believed in the power of music. He believed that music could enchant the listener to the degree that he is changed: more susceptible to emotions which, in turn, can transform him into a better person. One can see his perspective as idealistic and biased. After all, Bergson grew up in a musical home so he was from the very beginning of his life conditioned to such beliefs. Yet, the same has been experienced by countless people before and after him, not necessarily brought up to love music the way he was.
It is hard to argue that the belief in the special powers of music is one of the most widespread among people, especially in Western cultures. There is neither...
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