I often feel the need (because how-dare-I-claim-this-knowledge) to disavow any experience that in my mind feels primal. I get all the arguments about residual vestiges of connections that I can’t possibly know (as a Westerner completely divorced in many ways from any sense of dread or awe or visceral need) what those who came before me knew. I agree that these experiences are not mine, and thus I cannot possibly feel them too. I smirk knowingly at the idea that anyone’s experience is one that I can share, and I maintain my academic distance and try, as Trent Reznor sez, to be up above it.
I’m also reluctant to claim that any recorded experience can somehow be a connection to the primal (the Ancient, Gaia, whatever). By definition the translation of sound waves into an electronic format that are then placed on a technological medium cannot be primal, my rhetorician self says. My politically astute self says, holy cow, yet more Western exploitation and appropriation of someone else’s emotions (see rock kin roll, circa 1954 to now), and I find another level on which I feel vaguely embarrassed for feeling that I have some ability to tap into something deeper than my current experience.
And then I listen to something celtic, or punk rock, or honest non-mainstream hip hop, or trance, or bluegrass, or chants, Gregorian or otherwise, and I can’t help it, but something seemingly at my core shudders and moves and wants to run through the woods or climb through the deserts or float through the rapids or pound someone in a mosh pit or weep at a loss or howl at the moon, and I know that others share this, others who I will be joining in some amazing place very soon. I feel the grief buried in a text (or two), and I cannot help but believe that that grief is not a cultural construct, not something that some clever person who sees out of our false consciousness prison is able to identify and categorize and label and thus render impotent. I emphathize with someone who has experienced the same thrills that I have, or different ones that are close, and I know the joy that comes from busting the key wave at the top of Double Z or pulling hard on that sketchy hold and smelling the rock so close and understanding at a core level that the I could have, easily could have, missed that move, but that I didn’t.
Or I listen to this: