Music Reveals: Atavistic Social Hierarchy of Animal Power
We're just animals. As much as we may like to believe otherwise we are still bound by the order of nature. It's just that society and technology have abstracted the terms of our animalism, and the system of nature we exist in. It's easy to see how a bear in the woods is a creature bound by the natural world it exists in. A bear has to eat what can be found and obtained around it using its paws and snout. We get to eat what can be found and obtained around us using a mouth and hands, and a grocery store, and a farm, and trucks to ship the food from the farm. And while all that stuff is very different from trees and dirt, and whatever is running around in the woods it's also the same. It's not more complicated, it's just more complex. And the same can be said for everything else that makes up a human life in this day and age.
In every experience there is some element of the natural order to be revealed. Even the most seemingly banal and pointless events that feel as if they bare no significance upon your existence fit somewhere into the matrix of Earth's natural design. The more robust the experience, the more it is capable of varying in intensity and scope, the easier it becomes to find some "primitive" source for the contemporary distillation. This morning I was reading a book about a band that often faced adversity at their shows. At one show during a performance the singer was struck in the nose by an ashtray leaving an open bleeding gash. And I was thinking, "Why is it that when musicians get on stage sometimes people become angry and challenge the musicians on stage with violence or some sort of physical imposition?" What is going on in that moment?
Now, a question like this can't be answered with any kind of certainty. But with a little abstract thinking it's not tough to see a possible explanation: the stage is a form of dominance, and some animals don't respond well to expressions of dominance. Even though that musician on stage is not posing any kind of a threat to anyone, nor is the musician likely in a proximity that would impede on anyone's personal space. However, at an abstracted level, in the world of technology and social order that we live in there is most certainly a perceived threat, and there is most certainly an imposition upon the audience member's personal space. The threat is one of social dominance, the artist on stage is "more important" than the person in the audience as the show is taking place. The imposition of space comes in the form of the music itself which, though ephemeral in nature, consists of vibrations in space that envelope the audience's bodies completely--the musician's flesh isn't touching the audience but the vibrations that the musician creates are washing over every inch and crevice of everyone's body, and within the space of the venue it is inescapable. The result is just like two big horn sheep dueling over territory: two beasts fighting to determine who has control of a space.
If you try to control a territory, and I want to be in that territory, then we have a dispute. In order to resolve the dispute I have to prove that you are not in control of me. The territory here is the venue. The way that people usually do this at shows is to throw something at the person on stage, or try to get on stage themselves. I'm not saying we're animals for engaging in this behavior. I'm saying we're animals, and this is one of the ways that we behave, and even though we have technology and society as buffers between us and Nature, we're still controlled by the natural order of Earth. The best we can do is acknowledge our animalistic behavior, and do our best to mediate it in a fashion that is fitting for beings so buffered by technology and society.