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    Everybody Wants To Rule The World

           As my college days were winding down, I experienced a peculiar sadness that grew in direct proportion to how much fun I was having. Which is to say that I was simultaneously feeling deep sorrow and great joy. I was whooping it up at party after party. And soon, I would be leaving a group of people I had come to love dearly. People who I had shared the last four years of my life with. There was a palpable pain in that.
           Some say that you can only experience one emotion at a time. Bullshit. If life were that simple.......
           The tune “Everybody Wants To Rule The World” was very popular in the spring of 1985, the period of my undergraduate swan song. Like my overall life experience, that music evoked both boundless joy and deep grief. Maybe that’s why I connected to it so strongly. That connection remains. Whenever I hear the song today, I am compelled to crank it up, sing to it, and feel. Driven by some mystical force that only music wields, whenever I hear “Everybody Wants To Rule The World”, I want to laugh and cry at the same time.
           But I don’t feel like crying out of sadness anymore. The sense of loss of my college days has long passed. Today, the complex overall experience is different.
           Have you ever seen something so beautiful you wanted to cry? A baby perhaps, or a wondrous spectacle of nature. Music is often that spectacle for me. I find many songs so beautiful that I want to cry. They touch me so deeply, move me so profoundly, that tears are the only form of expression that makes any sense. In fact, it’s happening to me right now. “April Come She Will”. Simon an Garfunkel.
           It’s a good thing. No. Actually, It’s a great thing.
           The other night, my nephew’s band ended the night with “Everybody Wants To Rule The World”. As soon as I heard the dissonant opening notes, I felt a wellspring of emotion bubbling up inside of me. Now, picture the environment. I’m dancing in a very crowded club, with a few hundred people, all of us having fun. And at the same time, I feel like balling because the song is so sonically rapturous.
           But instead of crying, I channel that energy into physicality. I sing louder. I dance more energetically. And I feel more deeply. The tears of joy and beauty are there, right below the surface. Nobody can see them. But I feel them. And I use the power of that feeling to propel my experience and transcend the moment. I’m engaged in a very deep, very intense experience at the same time I’m just listening to music and dancing in a club. Total Zen. Music is therefore transcendental, for it creates a sense of being that is beyond ordinary or common experience. And music does that to me all the time.
           While this is happening, I’m wondering if anybody else in the club feels like this. Or am I so far out in the stratosphere that I am completely alone up here? It doesn’t really matter I suppose. It reminds me of that line in Full Metal Jacket, when the soldiers are talking about their rifles: “This is my experience. There are many like it. But this one is mine.”
           The beauty of music is akin to the beauty of the woman I’m with. All I have to do is hear that song, or look at her, and I’m at once someplace else and completely present. Lost in the moment while at the same time being absolutely enveloped by it. Great art does that for me. And a favorite piece of music, or the woman I’m in love with, are nothing less than magnificent works of art.
           This rapture comes from deep inside the heart. From the center of my being, near the middle of my chest, where my heart is physically located. No coincidence. The other night, as I was dancing to “Everybody Wants To Rule The World”, my chest felt full, like it was going to explode. Rather than weighing me down, however, I felt like I was floating. This fullness of chest acted like a balloon, bringing me levity of being.
           The intensity of the experience may have been heavy, but the experience of the intensity was lighter than air.

    ©2012 Clint Piatelli. All Rights Reserved.

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