I have had several attempts already to write a blog, or at least a substantial post for one, so hopefully this is the beginning of it actually working.
‘Religion is the opium of the people’
This sociological comparison by Karl Marx, where religion is seen as a drug that is pushed upon people to soothe their worries and calm their panics, is a fascinating theory, and not just because I think it’s a poetic sentence. It does ring true – religion is a comfort, and almost something to lose yourself in when things are hard: no matter how hard life is and how fearful you are, you are constantly comforted by the blanket of your religion.
I sat in my sociology classroom, thinking to myself about what this theory meant to me. What was my opiate? What did I surround myself in when I needed ‘protection’ (which was often, since anxiety seems to like following me around)?
It wasn’t religion – I’m not a particularly religious person, despite frequent praying in times of desperation and need. When I am in fear or worry, I don’t search for a hug from God. I turn to music. Music is my opiate.
It’s an easy comparison to make, music and drugs, at least in my case: they can be used for recreational purposes, they can cause a range of emotions (joy, sadness, fury, wariness) and- especially from my stance – can cause a dependency. The similarity between the two can be the how individuals connect socially: junkies may come together to do their drugs, whilst fandoms are created to comment on YouTube with a mix of upper- and lower-case letters when their favourite musician releases new music.
Back to me and my opinions though (rude, but this is my blog): music to me is pretty much everything. To a heroin addict, their world may mainly revolve around getting that next hit. I, on the other hand, have been in a relationship with cheeky tunes for the majority of my life. It’s easy for me to gush about music, as it’s such a support. No matter what happens in my life – a panic attack, a bad day, an argument – I can go back to songs on my mp3 player (I am retro) and they’re still the same. They don’t change when you switch off the device; you return to music and the drums beat in the same pattern, the voices remain just as beautiful or gravelled or impossible to imitate (how does Mariah Carey do it?).
It’s not just the familiarity of music that draws me in so much and keeps a hold on my heart – it’s the lyrics. In this world, there are thousands and thousands of songs, with countless themes and tales woven into the lyrics. If I have a bad day and feel myself tearing up, I automatically connect to the sad, despairing songs of woe, and can allow myself to cry with someone who understands – that artist who sings my feelings. If I am having a surprisingly good day, I express it with dramatic lip-synching to a cheesy party tune, or perhaps giggle it out to ridiculous songs that make me laugh despite the clear intentions to be a serious song.
A personal favourite reason why I love music so much is the creativity it brings out of me – I adore writing fiction, and the imagery or stories within certain songs help to inspire me or shape a particular piece I’m writing. It’s a dream of mine to write an actual novel, or even work on screen-writing for plays, so the assistance of music to my creative mind is much needed to help shape the new worlds and people who come to mind.
I appreciate where Marx was coming from – particularly as the topic he was theorising on was religion, of course – but I can’t help but to disagree when it comes to my personal world. In my eyes, music is the opium of the people: it’s what brings us together, what is there for us when no one else is and, sometimes, can inspire us and give us guidance when times get rough or puzzling.
Then again, that’s just me.