This Week's Questions
[posed by Gary S. and Colleen A.]
Do you know?
[Question 1] Can using Feng Shui on your studio enhance, or inhibit, your desire to be creative? How does the lighting in your room affect your ability to stay conscious while recording? How does watching a computer monitor affect the way you hear music? Is it even possible to be musically creative while tending to the mundane and technical details of operating a computer?
Can using Feng Shui on your studio positively affect your creativity? The answer. Does a bear do his business in the woods! Absolutely. The question, of course, becomes, how would you best do this. My thoughts. Research the different schools to see which appeals to you more. The two main schools are the Compass School (Li Fa) and the Form School (Hsing Fa). Then hire a qualified professional from that school to whom you can personally connect.
To answer this question more personally though, and for those unfamiliar with the principles of Feng Shui, essentially Feng Shui is a practice in which a pragmatically spiritual, space "architect" uses the principles of the I Ching and Taoism to balance your living spaces. Why? Because those who believe in Feng Shui say this can influence, and even optimize, your luck. Or your opportunities, if this word bodes better for you.
How do they say it works? The best clues lie in translating the original name for this practice; Kan Yu. Kan Yu translates roughly to connecting Heaven's Way (Kan) to Earth's Way (Lu). No surprise, creating, and balancing, these kinds of connections, especially between heaven and earth, is the essence of all shamanic practices, Eastern and Western alike.
What is actually happening here? Many practitioners would tell you, they are simply balancing the flow of energy in and around a person's living spaces. How? In the older school, Hsing Fa, the living spaces are artfully integrated into the surrounding geographic features. And in the younger school, Li Fa, the living spaces are optimally harmonized to the owner's birth year.
Of course, the question for many is, does Chi (energy) really even exist? Here, my answer may surprise you. I don't really care. Why not? Because if you can be open to Emergence Personality Theory's way of defining "consciousness"; as "the skill of picturing movement," then both schools will significantly improve your sense of well being. And your potential for creativity. How? By improving the aesthetics of what you see. Which is to say, "that it works" and not "how it works" is all that matters.
Next Question. How does the lighting in your room affect your ability to stay conscious while recording? To know, start with this. If "consciousness" is "the skill of picturing movement," then the amount and clarity of colors you see affects your ability to remain conscious.
Said very simply, see more colors, feel more conscious. Assuming, of course, you can consciously witness what is all around you.
What all this means is, because seeing more colors means we see more period, using full spectrum lighting can enhance your ability to picture movement. Translation. It can enhance your ability to remain conscious.
Conversely, using limited spectrum lighting can accent, or even distort, what we are conscious of. To experience this, simply go into a bar at night and then revisit this same bar the following day. Most bars, at night, use colored light to accent their patron's life styles; red for exciting; blue for calm; dim for relaxed, and so on. Seeing most bars in daylight, however, is usually enough to gag a maggot. Why? Because limited spectrum lighting usually hides more than it shows. Which, in turn, makes people less conscious. Thus, while bars aren't usually the most spiritual of places, the people in them may feel very spirited. In a distorted kind of way.
As for the third question; How does watching a computer monitor affect the way you hear music? Again, come back to the idea that consciousness is "the skill of picturing movement." And that our ability to be conscious depends largely on our ability to see what is moving around us.
Thus, if watching what is moving on a computer monitor helps you to connect to what you are hearing, then your conscious awareness of the sounds being recorded, or edited and mixed, is increased. Conversely, if the technical details of what is happening on the screen impair your ability to hear the music, then you will be less conscious.
Finally, the last question; Is it even possible to be musically creative while tending to the mundane and technical details of operating a computer? Even based only on my previous answer, I would say, yes. But only if the recording engineer can consciously bridge the movements she or he sees on the computer screen to the real life movements of the musicians themselves.
[Question 2] Does the absence of hardware (tape recorders, mixing boards, audio processors, etc.) make it difficult to picture the recording process? Can you stay connected to musicians and technicians while immersed in a highly technical, often high-pressured process? Can a conscious connection to your body, e.g. through yoga or exercise, enhance your creativity and concentration?
Does the absence of hardware (tape recorders, mixing boards, audio processors, etc.) make it difficult to picture the recording process? I'd say no and in fact, for some folks, this might even makes things go better. Why? Because many people go into shock simply from looking at how many lights and knobs are visible. Can all this eye candy be exciting, at times? Yes. But it can also be overwhelming at times, to be sure.
Can you stay connected to musicians and technicians while immersed in a highly technical, often high-pressured process? No doubt about. Yes, you can. However, I, myself, have always felt more connected to music while in less technically complex situations, such as when I've made two-mike, live recordings. Perhaps this is part of why many older recordings sound so good. Less technology in between the musicians and the engineer.
Can a conscious connection to your body, e.g. through yoga or exercise, enhance your creativity and concentration? Here the answer would depend on the person. And on whether the person engaging in these practices is currently more focused on them than on the recording process. Certainly, Yoga and exercise can raise one's general levels of consciousness. However, done unconsciously, or done in the midst of other activities, and it is just as likely to impair a person's consciousness.
Oddly, most people do not even consider this when they choose activities to raise their consciousness. Done consciously, yes, they do work. Done unconsciously, they actually lower your consciousness.
[Question 3] Does eating while working aid or distract you from focusing on your work? Do computers put you into shock? Do microphones put you into shock? Do headphones put you into shock?
Either way, the essence of being in shock is that you experience an impaired ability to picture movement.
Now add to this that we humans can picture, and simultaneously understand, only one movement at a time. Thus, if you eat while you record, then you will either be less conscious of the recording session or less conscious of the food you are eating. Either way, this is not good. Unless, of course, you intend to be less conscious. In which cases, by all means, then rock on. I, myself, would prefer to be a conscious engineer though.
As for whether using computers puts you into shock, I answered this in the first set of questions. To recant though, basically, it can go either way, depending on whether what is going on with the computer connects or disconnects you from what is going on in the real world.
Headphones? Absolutely. Absolutely what? Same answer. It can go either way. For most folks, though, headphones do impair one's ability to stay conscious, in that they aurally disconnect one from one's immediate surroundings.
Lastly, do microphones put you into shock? Here, I know of a real case wherein an exceptionally well known classical musician would go into shock every time she saw a mike. I have also witnessed many singers who chock in front on a mike.
On the other hand, I've also seen many performers who love mikes so much, they willingly entwine themselves in them. And treat them better than their spouses. Which would lead me to guess, these folks become more conscious in and around mikes.
Here again, though, it can go either way.
[Question 4] I've never been able to appreciate instrumental jazz, the symphony, or music without words. I wonder if the lack of words prevents me from imagining a picture or a story, and therefore, prevents me from seeing the music. I've been told that others "see" the music, but I don’t know what doing that is like. Can I be taught to "see" the music? Do I have a BLock?
Ironically, sound is one of our earliest senses. Certainly it comes before normal sight. Moreover, when unborn babies hear sound, they obviously have never seen the outside world. Thus, they must experience sound, in a way, somewhat opposite to the way you do; by being more focused on the sound itself than on connecting this sound to the objects in their world.
What would be important to know here though is that this not having normal sight does not mean they do not picture movement. I, myself, would assume they do. Here, then, is where I would start looking for your BLock. Start by putting yourself in controlled situations wherein you can listen to instrumental music while watching for those times wherein you go blank. After which, you can have someone guide you through reclaiming your ability to picture while hearing music.
At what point would you be normal then? I'm not sure you are not normal. Some BLocks, like the fear of falling, are simply the norm for human beings. This said, I'd think you'd feel a wonderful sense of accomplishment even reclaiming some part of your ability to remain visually conscious of movement while at the same time, hearing music. Even if this was simply hearing music while consciously vacuuming.
[Question 5] I love your question, Gary, about Feng Shui of your studio, but how is this question grounded in Emergence Theory? (I found myself wanting to write questions that I thought I could teach, but not in relation to Emergence. Or maybe I just couldn't see the relationship.)
Taking this a step further, Feng Shui is indelibly connected to the Tao Te Ching. Which, in effect, aspires to describe the nature of all things. Emergence Personality Theory aspires to the same thing, only through the eyes of an advocate of people rather than through the eyes of an advocate of nature.
In the end, they are the same thing, only expressed in different words. Moreover, neither can express the whole truth anyway. Why not? Because as the Tao states, "The Tao that can be told is not the eternal Tao." And as Emergence states, because "consciousness is the skill of picturing movement," what you can picture, you can know.
Well written words then, whether from the Tao or from modern times, simply help you to know where to look. In other words, if a picture is worth a thousand words, then a moving picture is worth a thousand pictures. Including any music which provokes this experience in us.
This, after all, is why we say, some music "moves" us.