The Undiscovered Country
Let’s take, for a moment, any sights or sounds that one may mentally process throughout a day—a deep sigh followed by an exasperated facial expression, sheets of rain falling in waves against windows and rooftops, a train gathering momentum, soon fading from sight within a dark tunnel— all completely unsystematic events, but virtually all interactions between the brain and our ears and eyes.
These interactions may spark something inside of a heart or mind—a memory, a dream, a particular series of thoughts…
An excellent film can spark raw emotions of several diverse degrees, as we’ve witnessed through the works of all of the Spielbergs, the Hitchcocks, the Scorseses, and the Kubricks… These sensations, in addition to musical genius of artists like Brahms, Miles Davis, Elton John, Stockhausen—all true artists of their times—leads me by the hand towards a yearning for more.
We’ve seen and heard of the media’s renegades, virtuosos, legends, failures, one-hit wonders: poignancy connoisseurs that extract and agitate the wonderful and terrible senses of people all over the globe.
But I cannot help but feel as if there’s something missing. In today’s medias, the affluence of the deep-pocketed music mogul and your everyday mega Hollywood studio is greater than ever. I believe with all of my heart that the silver screen and the digital jukeboxes of our time and age are quite capable of emitting more: sentiments that you and I have never before experienced. We have the potential to evolve tear-jerking films into genuine sob stories, songs of hope into aesthetic soundtracks of inspiration; to intensify the feeling we already receive from these mediums.
Let’s imagine again, decades ago, sitting in a shadowy, tranquil jazz club, gazing at glittering horns and an amorphous baby grand through thick clouds of sweet cigar smoke. To feel the adroitly whimsical notes, fired out sporadically into the air: all melting together as if they were created for one another. To be seated in a classic art deco theatre of the roaring ‘20’s, on the night of a colossal premier. The men are lavishly clad in tuxedos (resembling perfect gentlemen), and their wives exhibit bright evening gowns, elbow-length silk gloves, and dazzling jewelry. Finally, their faces grow fainter as the lights begin to dim…
Here germinated their undiscovered country. A musical and visual revolution— to be propelled into a world of the unknown—in a time where new concepts and sounds skyrocketed and changed the world forever. The essence and emotion embedded within this age flourished at a deeply profound level, paving the road to the present, which, if you ask me, is long overdue itself for its own undiscovered country.
As Miles Davis said: Don’t play what’s there. Play what’s not there.
If you enjoyed this essay, please consider making a tax-deductible contribution to This I Believe, Inc.