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Consciousness: James Taylor

"I think that human beings are an experiment in consciousness, and we are individuated and ego-based. We recreate the words with these conscious minds we have, and that allows us to be isolated. We live in conscious recreations of the world.  Consciousness is an illusion. It’s hopelessly subjective, and it is not the truth…because it is tainted by individual and human priorities. So you’re constantly trying to give that individuated consciousness the slip, and trust falling back into the context out of which we emerged. It’s basically agnostic spiritualism that I engage in repeatedly. That’s one of the kinds of songs I write. “Gaia”* is that…and “Country Road.” The last verse of “Sweet Baby James” …”There’ s a song that they sing when they take to the highway/A song that they sing when they take to the sea…” That’s about surrendering control and human consciousness-to go back to the well. It’s just a long, hard lonely slog being constantly human and having the responsibility of having to reinvent the world every second. So that’s a type of song I write too....

The most compelling thing about music is that we manipulate it and arrange it, but it obeys laws and represents laws about the physical universe; an octave is an octave because it’s twice as fast as the octave below it. A 5th is a mathematical reality-not just something we decided on. If you play an E augmented 5th and then go to an A, no matter who hears that, they will feel tension and resolution. So I feel that music exists outside of human consciousness. To practice music at all is to give human consciousness the slip. That’s why it’s so associated with spirituality. To listen to it is to experience another type of reality, and one that must be true…because it’s mathematically true. Music is physics."

- James Taylor**

*James Taylor - Gaia - YouTube

**As quoted in American Songwriter, "James Taylor: Artist in Residence," Paul Zollo, October 21, 2019

May 26, 2020

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