Modern Stoic and Music
Music has a rational structure and that its effect on the soul is rational - The Sage
Can you remind yourself what it means to be stoic? It's a wise person who has control of one's rational emotions and respective actions. Stoics are not devoid of feeling, we just sit back and take the time to understand and control our emotions before we let them control us. Living a life that reflects our 4 most important virtues. Wisdom, Temperance, Courage, and Justice. When I started my journey into Stoicism, at one point I thought to myself, ‘what music does a stoic listen to’? The music of today is widely different anyway, should we even listen to music? Well of course, in fact psychology today says music is so important to understanding your own emotions and coming to terms with moments in your life. It's another avenue that touches your soul when pure thought cannot. It also is purely preference, as we are all individuals.
What I’ve come to learn is that it's important to know why you listen to certain music. Utilizing temperance for example in understanding the why in your musical tastes. I used to listen to heavy metal and scream-o style of music when I was in middle school, thinking back on it I thought, why? Well, I was sad to be honest. My parents were going through a heavy divorce and heavy metal did help me get through it. However, I distinctly remember one day playing OneRepublic and the melodies and verses were incredibly different in what they were singing compared to heavy metal. I made the change at that time because OneRepublic spoke to my past issues better than getting angry at them the way heavy metal did.
This example plays into understanding your emotions, I was sad at the time and music was my vice, however to what extent did that particular music help me understand and go through and past that emotional state? Well, this is where I feel from my experience how music should play a role in our lives. This is what we ought to be questioning. Does this music serve me in getting through what I’m feeling?
Today my music tastes are incredibly different, for me, I love hearing passion in natural instruments mixed with electronic beats. To be honest, I personally don’t relate to mainstream music as a regular form of music, for me it speaks to the heavy doses of excess. As a stoic we avoid that, don’t get me wrong, if I go out to a bar or hangout with friends and that music plays in the background I still have a great time, everything in moderation, but it's not a regular form of music I consume day to day. On Spotify, listen to the Organica playlist to get an idea of what I listen to on a daily basis. This music grounds me personally.
Music should speak to your soul, whether it be happy or sad. However, if you find yourself in a sad point of life, remember that music should help you go through it, not pull you deeper into a void of self destruction.
I have curated a playlist for the modern stoic. Check it out here.