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Humanizing Tech

The Science of Music

Explained via our Spring 2017 Think Tank Playlist

We have developed technology that allows our species to zoom into our bodies, down past the sub-atomic level, to the point that we start getting into messy quantum mechanics. Before before we go that deep, lets zoom back out a bit.

Here’s a weird, yet true, thought. You know that every piece of matter is made of atoms, no matter their state. And an atom is just a nucleus with an electrons buzzing around it.

Ignore the nucleus for now and lets stay focused on the electrons. Most science textbooks in the past showed them incorrectly. It was a couple balls on a wire going around and around, like a planet orbiting the sun. But that’s not really how it works.

It’s much more like a hazy electron cloud around that nucleus, because we don’t quite know where an electron is going to be at any point in time. There’s a certain probability it will be over here, but also another different probability that it’s actually over there, at the same point in time. The further away from the nucleus you get, the less probable it is you’ll find an electron there.

That’s a bit of a science lesson, but what does that mean.

Imagine you’re about to touch someone. Your finger touching their arm. Skin to skin. You feel it. She feels it. Maybe it’s electric. More likely she’s all, “Dude, stop being creepy”.

So here’s the question; did you two actually touch? The answer is not really. You’re not really a solid object and neither is she. If you zoomed in with a microscope at that precise moment on that precise point, what you’d see is two electron clouds coming closer together.

There might be her electron close to yours, or it might be farther away. It’s probable that two electrons could have touched if you got close enough. But an electron is just a negatively charged particle.

Did you know that electrons are both a particle and a wave, though? That means it’s a solid and a frequency. Wait, what? It gets weirder. They can also be diffracted like light. If you’re not sure what that means, consider a prism. It diffracts white light into its constituent colored parts making a rainbow. You know, because light is a wave and a particle.

So, if humans are made up of a bunch of stuff that is both a wave and a particle, what does that make us?

Confused yet? Lets let a bit of quantum mechanics help us out. At our core, we are vibrations. Frequencies, if you will. Can you name something else that’s also a frequency?

You got it. Music.

Spring 2017 by Sean Everett on Apple Music

One could argue that you are nothing more than sheet music played out over a very long time. A playlist that lasts, well, a lifetime. The song begins when you are born and ends when you die. Your entire story, just one giant wave with a start and stopping point.

All you need is a machine to be able to play that certain kind of wavelength to transform your “song” into something someone else can “hear”. Or, in humanity’s case, see, touch, and interact with.

There’s a reason music moves you, making you tap your foot, bob your head, feel emotions. It’s because it’s a simplified, shortened, and potent power that is also a living thing.

Music is a control mechanism because it’s life’s programming language.

If you’re American and I play the National Anthem, an entire stadium full of tens of thousands of people from all walks of life with simultaneously stand up, put their hands on your heart, and sing along.

Hacking humanity with a vibration, in the same tune as ourselves. We will always create in our own image.

Whether you call it spirituality, magic, or just science, they’re all words describing the same thing.


More Recommended Music Analyses

  1. 12 Tech Theses of the 2030s
  2. Valuing Music Streaming Services
  3. When Humans Touch Their Music
  4. Music as a Product
  5. Stop Splitting Your Headphones With Friends

The Science of Music was originally published in Humanizing Tech on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

from Stories by Sean Everett on Medium http://ift.tt/2kdENBQ