I remember my first classical music concert, my mother had made a point of taking me. A beautiful theater in Anchorage, not too big, but with upholstered velvet seats that had musicians and a conductor.
I wanted to swallow it.
One of the things about classical music concerts is the motion. The stringed instruments bob, and the bows have their own synchronized dance. They are all together, but each expressing the passion of the player. The player sits with rapt-voluntary regimentation- focus on the center.
The Conductor, the leader of the dance. And old man in this case–in most cases–elegantly suited and waving his arms and hand. He leans, bending forward and swaying back.
I haven’t even talked about the music yet.
The music. That was why we’d come. The program, which I’d read intently, talked about the different pieces they’d be playing, and how some of them were named–pastoral–and was meant to invoke a specific scene. Some were abstractly named a number, and were not meant to direct the audience’s interpretation but to be left to our own response.
I had a responsibility, as an audience, to have these described reaction. I was supposed to have certain kinds of imaginations and interpretations.
I listened, and then I looked at the faces of the musicians. And I listened again. Then I felt the seat beneath me, the velvet slick and rough depending on how I stroked it.
The music filled the world, and yet there was still room for more. I felt my mind wandering to different thoughts, sensory experiences in the room, and ideas.
I tried to shake them off and pay strict attention to the music. THAT was supposed to be the important thing.
It was years later that I remembered that struggle. Because it happened again, like a particular flavor experience of the mind. I was listening to a lecture, a wonderful thought-provoking lecture, and my mind kept flying off to the different ideas that the lecturer presented.
Oh wait, no. No.
This is the point. This is what thought provoking means.
Experience gives us thoughts, and thoughts become action, which make art and changes to the world.