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"Perspective" from Those With Lucifer Zen Zen Zo Physical Theatre © Morgan Roberts 2008

"Perspective" from Those With Lucifer Zen Zen Zo Physical Theatre © Morgan Roberts 2008

Dear Reader

When I told my wife that I did not feel music, she suggested that this was a reason that our music collection is “interesting” rather than “enjoyable”, and perhaps explains why I don’t play my music to the family. Is this was why I do not make music with the children?  Maybe their standard of musicianship is not high enough to fascinate me.

This has troubled me for some time. Am I really so selfish that I don’t want to share? Is it a Joint Attention issue?

To put it in an example, I may listen to a piece of music and become fascinated by it. This may be an intellectual interest or a product of affect, I don’t know, but the point is, I’m enjoying myself. This is an alexithymia issue.

But I may not recognise that this fascination is generating a pleasure response – that it is making me happy – or I may not be able to articulate it cognitively.  This is the difference between an arousal state (enjoyment) and an emotion (happy) that Allen et al (2009) describe, and its an empathyissue.

In addition, because I do not spontaneously adopt the point of view of others in the room, I have no reason to suspect that their experience is different to mine, or to tell them of my own. This is a Theory of Mind problem. Indeed I may simply assume that they have had the same experience as I have, and therefore don’t need to be told. Certainly I know that if I imagine telling something (a phone message, an appointment time, an expression of annoyance or love), I often believe that I have actually done so and the desire to speak disappears.

Can I change this? Is it too late to make the conscious effort to express my experience of music with my children? I hope not. I know I can do it because my students tell me they get a lot out of my “passion for the sounds” and my “belief in the beautiful”, that I “turned them on to the insides of the music” “taught them to enjoy music that they don’t like”. Of course they tend to tell me these things when they’re drunk, so no chance of a quote under informed consent here …

As I approach the end of this dissertation, as I sort the things I have learned into some semblance of order and begin to internalise them, the drive to tell you about it has also diminished.  Please tell me if this is unusual. I think it must surely be a common experience, but given all the other strange things I’ve discovered, I’ll just put it out there.  Taking an objective position on this, I have used you for my own purposes. I have given you a little and hoped that you will tell me the answers – in many cases you have – discussions, emails, comments etc. have set me on the appropriate paths. In one very real way I have got what I wanted and I’m done now. Why go through all this re-writing and spell checking?

Selfish or what?

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