Reviews

There’s a lock on this door: Music and understanding Mandela Effect

There’s a lock on this door; feeding the enemy, sinking my ships at sea and mocking my core.” – Manuel Gagneux

Interpretation of music is often like a question that can have ten different answers but all are correct. Each individual experience is different, and the way in which art mirrors that experience personally are reflections from collective memories. However, what happens to the individual who’s experiences and cumulative knowledge are questioned in such a way that the perception of reality is skewed?
A few days ago I was listening to Zeal & Ardor on Youtube when I was suggested to listen to to a song by the band’s mastermind Manuel G titled “Doubt“, who previously went by the moniker Birdmask.

The message I interpreted through this track is undoubtedly not conventional, as currently I have a strong interest in the Mandela Effect phenomenon and found my personal journey with the unexplained force majeure within it’s lyrics. Manuel’s effectual vocals mixed with a steadily marching beat and high chord loops reminiscent of a dial up modem furthered the song’s atmosphere, educing ideas of melancholy proceeding mixed with the sharing of information from a past existence. I have personally considered many abstract theories in relation to Mandela Effect in an attempt to understand it, everything from the neurological concept apophenia (our brain’s programming to find patterns, often regarded as the theory behind coincidence), psychological memory decay and altered memories, and even paranormal synchronicity (though can also be relative to physics, as we are all made of energy though do not currently have the technology to measure the energy output of a thought). As much as I could apply elements from all of these theories and more to attempt to understand Mandela Effect, “Doubt” is the first song that has expressed how I feel about the disputable phenomenon.

Without going too far in depth of my personal life, I have essentially felt “stuck” for many years; career-wise, academically, socially, and essentially every other category of a 30-somethings life. So when I came across a Youtube channel that discusses the association between 2012 and the possibility that we died and ended up in some other dimension, reality, or a purgatory, I was profoundly intrigued as 2012 is when I went through a somewhat life-altering and traumatic experience that influenced a dramatic overhaul in who I am. If such a catastrophic event actually occurred and has shifted society’s conscious (and according to who you speak with, continues to shift sporadically), we possibly wouldn’t know as the conscious is the here and now while all we have to rely upon is our faulty unconscious/subconscious “storage”. However, the most reliable way to recall a memory is through emotion, as facts or knowledge stores hold little meaning to us and can easily be plasticized. So there are things we “know” (1+2=3), and things we KNOW because the experience and emotion felt is still imprinted to memory (the birth of a child). There’s also the brain’s ability to disassociate, but that’s a pretty rare occurrence and probably not profoundly applicable in relation to the Mandela Effect.

I have considered that this “stuck” feeling could be relative to depression; many of the Mandela Effects I experience would lead any practitioner to refer to it directly without even reaching for the DSM. Yet these past few years in particular (years past the progress and completion of CBT/DBT/general psychoanalysis that I continue to maintain) goes beyond memory loss, mental fatigue, and loss of interest. An antidepressant and an anti-anxiety medication help to give breathing room, as I exude the physical manifestations of hair loss, stomach pains, and an eye twitch. However, the world in general holds a flat effect (not as in flat earth, but as in “bland” or “boring”). The sun isn’t as bright, people in general are borderline awful and impossible, and no matter how loud I shout or how hard I push I can not get through these invisible walls that prevent me from progressing in life. I’m used to difficult and embrace challenges, but this is seemingly beyond my control no matter which angle I come from in an attempt to break through.

Much of life’s experience has lost it’s romance, it’s intrigue, and despite my efforts to remain humorous and optimistic, the world has lost much of my attention as I don’t find it enjoyable. The Mandela Effect phenomenon that many people like myself are experiencing goes beyond small changes in the titles of books or the content of other popular culture (lyrics to songs changing, film quotes, ect.), and I innately feel that these changes are not the result of the imperfections in human memory recall; it’s something bigger than that and it’s bigger than us. Whatever is causing this holds more control than it should. The good Dr. Viktor Frankl, a holocaust survivor who wrote the book “Man’s Search for Meaning” is the cornerstone of understanding that we have control over nothing in life but our minds; but what if something bigger has found a way for us to distrust our own thinking and therefore, inevitably, destroy us? If so, how can we save ourselves? Art, such as music, is part of the process of awareness of this experience, but can it also influence change?

 

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