Wednesday, January 07, 2015

Recovering from Moldau

This piece by Smetana had some particularly happy associations from me. Recovery from loss of meaning sometimes happens in phases. From where the music could tear me up, with memories so vivid like they were yesterday, to where I can listen and the mind goes completely blank. Once cleansed of memories and associations, it is just music I liked before and still do. The feeling is a lot like taking a shower after a long hike in summer.

Lately for my job, I am having to read quite a bit about data privacy laws and the philosophy of privacy by design. The concept of pseudo-anonymization comes up often. Moldau is pseudo-anonymized music for me now. Despite the pain triggers associated with it, I would still hate for it to turn anonymized making it too disembodied to care about anymore; strip it of memories going further back even before it became rather special. 


Listening to it yesterday made me think about choices we make to allow pain to permeate us so the natural beauty of things can be preserved. 


Interestingly enough, Laura Branigan's Gloria was the perfect antidote to what lay waste in the wake of the dissociated Moldau. In a few seconds I was completely transported to the uncomplicated times of a far away,long ago childhood when I first heard this song. Its been many years since I last did. There is apparently scientific basis for the strong time transportation effect of a song not heard for a long time.

Interestingly, it appears that if you haven't heard a song in years, the neural tapestry representing that song stays purer and the song will evoke stronger specific memories of a time and place from your past. The memories linked to overplayed songs can become diluted because the neural network is constantly being updated.

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