I learned this summer that I am inextricably linked and forever entwined with music, like a double helix rope stretching up to the sky. I sang songs loudly on trails, paddling down a massive river and on waves in the ocean. I used them as forms of communication, and as demonstrations of emotional expression.

It amazes me to think about what a human creation music is – our need for food and for shelter is really understandable, but in music lies something special. Like art, it exists purely for sensory benefit – but it also uses language, like the written word. A song is poetry put to rhythm, and it uses metaphor more richly than a chef with butter. Music seems very underused in the world – it is everywhere, and the folks in advertising certainly know how to reap a benefit from a properly placed song.

What about the way that we use music, for ourselves, personally? Who among us has lain back in our bed and cried to the emotion that a song evokes, and conjured up images, scents, and words from the past to match it? Did you ever make a mix tape because nothing you could say could come close to explaining exactly how you felt more than the way these songs did, man?

It’s all in the music – there are a whole lot of musical artists out there who understand exactly what they’re talking about. If you assemble the collective message that is assembled within our songs, you will understand our time. You will know our most essential truths, our greatest areas of learning, and more deeply who we are as a people. You will know who we are. You will know what we stood for, and how we fell.

Not all music is comfortable. A lot of it is crap, but that’s true of society as well. There’s a lot of crap lying around, and a lot of messes to clean up. I’m thinking of the climate crisis, our prison systems, and our social woes. Forgive me for paraphrasing you, Alice Walker, but one of the most beautiful things about being alive right now is the fact that there is so much work to do.

Music makes the world go round, baby – we go around with our iPods glued to our heads, playing games loaded with tunes, posting songs on our Facebook pages, blissful in our bubbles. We have such a luxury right now in our ability to share our vehicles to express ourselves artistically, and music is a phenomenal form of self-expression. We’re learning from each other very quickly, and I believe that some good will come of this.