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— updated 2012-03-09


Herbalist Review, Issue 2012-#4:
Unplugging from the Matrix — music, sound, pulse, and the rise and fall of civilizations

by Roger W. Wicke, Ph.D.

The effects of music and sound on human consciousness are examined from a traditional Chinese health perspective and their effects on the pulse. Several modules within the HerbalThink-TCM software systematically reveal how TCM assessment methods (patterns of disharmony, clinical syndromes) may be used as a practical tool for exploring the relationships between unique individual responses to music and sound, the reactions manifesting in the pulse, and potential application in exploring what philosophers and psychologists have called the "dark night of the soul".

Subtopics on this page…

Copyright ©2012 by RMH-Publications Trust; all rights reserved.


Music, health, and the rise and decline of civilizations

The links between music, sound, and health have been recognized for several decades both by scientists and by the corporate world. One can now choose from hundreds of commercial recordings of music specially designed or selected to improve sleep, enhance mental concentration, and relieve stress. Philosophers of ancient Greece, Rome, and the Middle East (Pythagoras, Democritus, Aristotle, Galen, Celsus, Plato, Cicero, Seneca, al-Ghazzali) recognized the importance of music on human health and consciousness. Plato even insisted that the potentially negative effects of certain types of music were so dangerous to society that music should be regulated by the state and certain types of music banned. While many may consider this view extreme, Plato's warnings provide a counterbalance to the modern tendency to dismiss music as harmless background noise, "auditory cheesecake", or a mere accident of evolution, as neurophysiologist Steven Pinker once quipped. The potentially beneficial and harmful effects of sound and music on human health continue to generate controversy. Ever since it was published in 2002, the following article has been one of the most viewed pages on our website; it explores the scientific evidence for the physiological effects of listening to music:

Classical music has been a passion of mine since childhood. When I studied Chinese herbology in the early 1980's and learned traditional pulse techniques, curiosity led me to use this method to observe changes in people while they listened to various types of music. Palpating radial pulse qualities like rate, strength, rhythm irregularities, tension, pulse time profile, and elasticity all provide useful clues to a person's physiological and mental state, which is why taking the pulse has been an important diagnostic tool used by physicians and other health care practitioners for thousands of years. Acupuncturists are often trained to palpate a client's pulse before and after needling to determine if the desired effect has been achieved. What initially surprised me was the magnitude of effects I observed in the pulse on hearing certain types of music — often, these effects were immediate and significantly greater than those from acupuncture.

It is not difficult to find numerous clinical studies of music therapy, with properly constructed control and experimental groups, that document quite large effects of music on a range of physiological, psychological, and cognitive parameters: heart rate, hormone levels, brain waves (EEG), seizure activity in epileptics, muscle tension, perceived pain levels, motor coordination, cognitive ability, memory, and emotional state. I have not found a serious scientific study or review paper that disputed the reality of such effects; most researchers have moved on to the more interesting problem of discovering underlying physiological mechanisms. Moreover, many of the rules of musical composition and sound construction that lead to specific effects are largely predictable and repeatable, although individual differences provide for intriguing anomalies. For example, a piece of music that induces profound insight in one person might give another person a headache, based on musical preferences and aversions that correlate well with differences in their respective TCM constitutional types and syndrome manifestations. Within the past several decades, modern brain imaging techniques have been applied to documenting the effects of specific types of sound sequences, melodies, harmonic patterns, and rhythms on various brain structures.

The vast majority of such scientific studies, however, do not investigate individual differences, but assume that human responses to music can be modeled by Gaussian statistical distributions clustered about some hypothetical mean. Such reported results are ideally tailored for use by the corporate music world in determining optimal sound tracks for putting people to sleep or reducing their stress levels, much as pharmaceutical companies tweak the chemistry of their drugs to optimize narcotic properties for the mass market and to maximize sales.

Many of my classical musician friends cringe when the phrase "music therapy" is mentioned. Some of them argue that the commercial packaging of music to be consumed like Valium and Prozac, in contrast to J.S. Bach's conception of music as communication with God and Beethoven's musical "sacred fire", is a trend that has led to vulgar mediocrity. During the 1950's, media corporations created a genre popularly called Muzak that was calculated to induce a mental state of bland, inoffensive cheer among office workers and denizens of shopping malls. During the late 1990's and early 21st century, coincident with the post-industrial decline of the West, media corporations have packaged and sold death metal, techno, grunge, punk rock, and other dystopian genres whose intended effects seem calculated to induce numbing effects in listeners disillusioned by modern life, offering up dark visions of fear, loathing, and self-destruction set to a snappy beat. In this context, the marketing of classical and New Age music snippets as yet more panaceas for insomnia and mental stress does seem vulgar — mere bandaids for festering diseases of the soul.

Historian Oswald Spengler (Decline of the West, 1918) observed that among the most reliable predictors of decline in civilizations and empires are trends in art and music, often occurring many decades before evidence of technological and economic decline sets in. Based on this hypothesis as well as other observations of social trends, in 1918 he predicted that, as European classical music had already displayed evidence of disintegration with atonalism (Schönberg, Webern), abandonment of classical form and structure, maudlin sentimentalism (Mahler), and glorification of the ego (Wagner), the decline of the then rapidly industrializing western nations would be certain to follow within the next century. Spengler may have fallen out of favor with university history departments because of his endorsement of authoritarianism as a remedy for cultural decline, his lack of academic credentials, and his tendencies toward mysticism, though I believe his observations of the impact of art and music on social life of a nation are still valid today, and his ideas are being resurrected by modern economic social-cycle theorists. As the Anglo-American empire currently reaches its zenith and imminent decline, perhaps his insights strike too close to the truth, unwelcome reminders to us that our esthetic preferences may be tinged with nihilism nurtured by corporate advertising and media influence.

Spengler and other historians and musicologists have proposed the idea that, in their highest role, artists, musicians, and composers are creative visionaries who perceive possible futures for humanity and crystallize these visions into a form that can inspire ordinary people. Composers like Johann Sebastian Bach, Wolfgang Mozart, Ludwig van Beethoven, and Johannes Brahms are examples of this ideal. During the 19th century, Beethoven, Brahms, and composers who followed them began to experiment with portrayal of the darker sides of human emotion, including anger, rage, depression, and despair. Did these composers perceive the early seeds of chaos that were to eventually shoot up as the toxic weeds of the 20th century? Does their music provide us with insights as to how we as individuals might cultivate our own psychological/spiritual gardens to survive this toxic invasion?

Most people now sense that the world seems destined for some crisis, with economic and social breakdown, wars, and rumors of war in the news almost daily. In retrospect, many American economists and historians pinpoint the start of this trend toward disintegration and conflict in the 1970's, placing the date of incipient decline much later than did Spengler, who had declared the decline to have begun by the early years of the 20th century based on artistic and musical trends. The decades following the 70's witnessed an increasing tendency of Americans to indulge in mindless consumerism, escapist entertainments, and obsession with Hollywood celebrities as a means to distract themselves from reminders that U.S. infrastructure, legal, political, and economic institutions, and family and social life were all disintegrating. Medical prescriptions for antidepressants soared as economic and social disintegration reached levels that could no longer be ignored.

The remainder of this article outlines specific attributes of the European classical music tradition of the 18th and 19th century, prior to the disintegrating influences of which Spengler complained, that I believe are relevant to helping individuals survive their "dark nights of the soul" and to consciously evolve beyond. In the section below, I have also included a few 20th century examples that adhere to many elements and musical ideals of the 18th and 19th centuries.


Why European classical music?

What is it about European classical music that distinguishes it from most other types of music? How do these attributes make it ideal as a tool for evolution in consciousness? Many people may have the misguided idea that such music is for the "upper class"; others may have rebelled against knuckle-whacking piano teachers or against tyrannical school teachers who insisted that classical was the only "proper" music. Nonsense. One of my favorite rock bands of all time is Pink Floyd, whose music can be wildly creative and ingenious. I also enjoy hearing black spirituals, Celtic and Eastern European folk music, certain types of African drumming, Indonesian gamelan, and Indian ragas. And, finally, while classical music had been typically patronized by the upper classes 100 years ago, now, with modern recording technology, classical recordings in high-fidelity sound are often available for only a few dollars — less than most popular hits due to its having declined in commercial popularity.

While the definition of what constitutes European "classical" music is somewhat vague, as the term came into use only in the 19th century, there are a number of common attributes that distinguish it from most other types of music:

  • Its system of staff notation allowed composers to specify in detail the pitch, tempo, rhythm, and many other sound characteristics, facilitating a degree of complexity not possible before the era of written music; classical performers generally require extensive training during which they learn to play with the necessary precision. Greater musical complexity allows for a corresponding increase in the range of emotions and psychic content represented throughout a given work. (For herbalists, consider how much of a difference the written records of ancient Chinese scholar physicians has made in comparison with folk herbal traditions that were passed on orally; the latter never developed anything approaching the complexity and sophistication of Chinese herbology, because of the limits that individual memory placed on such.) For examples of complex orchestral works that depend on precise musicianship to communicate the subtlety and nuance of emotion intended by their authors:
    • Mass in B Minor (BWV232), by Johann Sebastian Bach
    • Piano Concerto #22 in E flat (K.482), by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
    • Symphony #8 in F (Op.93), by Ludwig van Beethoven
    • String Quartet Op.76 #1 in G, by Franz Josef Haydn
    The preceding works are examples of music that promote emotional balance and mental clarity. Numerous studies confirm that regular listening to such music measurably improves academic performance among young people, in contrast to many types of rock music, which generally decrease cognitive ability, memory, and attention span. Parents with "ADHD" children might wish to take note.
  • In contrast to popular style of music, which are constructed on the relatively simple form of the song, works of classical music may be constructed on the form of the concerto, symphony, sonata, opera, dance music, suite, étude, symphonic poem, and others, each of which has evolved its own rules of construction that allow for complex development of thematic material while maintaining esthetic unity. Popular songs are analogous to short stories that may capture the momentary mood of a scene or event; classical music that is fully developed can portray the musical equivalent of lengthy novels, complete with presentation of the characters (motifs and themes) and the esthetic tension or conflict between them, development of the esthetic tension to its climax, and its eventual resolution. For example, by such development a work of classical music may portray the various stages of reaction to trauma and loss described by Elizabeth Kubler Ross: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, acceptance. Powerful examples of this latter include:
    • Piano Quintet in G minor, by Dmitri Shostakovich
    • String Quartet #8, also by Shostakovich
    Other examples of works that develop and resolve dramatic tension, much as in a novel:
    • Piano Concerto #20 in D minor (K.466), by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
    • String Quartet #2 (Op.59 "Razumovsky") in E minor, by Ludwig van Beethoven
    • Symphony #1 in C minor (Op.68), by Johannes Brahms
    • String Quintet in C ( 163, D.956), by Franz Schubert
  • The complexity and extended development allowed by classical forms can be similar to the mental and psychological processes that unfold gradually during meditation practices: emotions, events in our lives, conflicts, and anxieties flicker in an out of consciousness in a kaleidoscopic manner, and if we allow ourselves to consciously evolve, these flickerings reflect back and forth off each other in a manner that promotes insight and potential for transitioning to new states of awareness. For examples of extended, complex works that have mystical, meditative themes:
    • Stabat Mater, by Antonin Dvorák
    • Magnificat, by Alan Hovhaness
    • Piano Concerto #3, by Béla Bartók
    • Piano Trio #6 (Op.70 #2) in E flat, by Ludwig van Beethoven
    • Mass #6 in E-flat (D.950), by Franz Schubert
  • Of all forms of music, many works of classical music come closest to matching the fractal-like patterns of sound found in nature. A key defining characteristic of fractals is that their power density spectra follow a 1/f (f = frequency) distribution, in which variations of pitch, rhythms, harmonic modes, and other musical parameters follow pseudo-random distributions. A bird chorus at dawn is a typical example, and some composers, recognizing the relationships between human music and the sounds of nature have incorporated bird songs into their music:
    • Piano Concerto #3, by Béla Bartók (within 2nd movement)
    • Symphony #6, by Ludwig van Beethoven
    • Piano Concerto #17 in G major (K.453), by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
    • Die Vogel, Franz Schubert

On comparing European classical music with many of the world's traditional and popular music forms, it seems clear to me that European classical music reached a level of sophistication during the 18th and 19th centuries that has been unmatched by any other music. For its psychological insights and potential as a tool of conscious evolution, classical music from that time period is my first choice, as well as more modern works that adhere closely to classical ideals.


Music as a defense against mind control

An interesting phenomenon I've observed with the increasing bombardment of human populations almost everywhere with electromagnetic radiation ("EM" — microwaves, cell phones, radio, TV, WiFi, electronic devices) is that a growing number of people have figured out that listening regularly to classical music can help stabilize one's mind and emotions. I know a number of individuals who are hypersensitive to EM radiation, especially cell phone radiation, and live out in the woods off the grid using their own solar power supplies to power a bare minimum of household electronic equipment. Several of these people have stated that regularly listening to classical music helps to renormalize their sleep-wake cycles and to counteract the effects of any residual EM radiation. Mentally balancing pieces of music by Bach and Mozart seem especially effective for such applications. EM frequencies have long been used as a means of mind control on human populations ever since the discovery in the 1960's that pulse-modulated EM signals could induce brain-wave entrainment at specific frequencies, which correspond to specific mood, attention, and sleep-wake states. •[a1-a3]• Such weapons were used effectively during the last U.S-Iraq war to demoralize and panic the Iraqi troops. HAARP (High-Altitude Auroral Research Project) is another scientific application that has been used to manipulate and disrupt patterns of EM oscillation in charged particles of the stratosphere by using phased arrays of powerful microwave transmitters. This technology can be used to trigger earthquakes and volcanic eruptions and to affect the moods and cognitive states of millions of humans in target areas. •[b1]•

My theory of how music can help neutralize the effects of EM brain-wave entrainment mind control is based on two factors that work simultaneously:

  • Music itself can directly induce brain-wave entrainment. If the musical stimulus contains periodicities that are sufficiently strong, interesting, hypnotic, etc., they may overwhelm the influence of any other externally imposed stimuli, including EM signals modulated at the frequency range of brain waves, 3-50 Hz. (This first principle is widely recognized, I am not taking credit for it, only acknowledging it.)
  • The impact of some mind control or mind influence technologies are greatly reduced after the target (victim) simply becomes aware that his or her emotions and psychic impressions are being manipulated by external stimuli, and he or she is better able to separate "self" from "not self".

Throughout history, music has been recognized for its potential to powerfully affect human emotions and moods more than any other sensory modality. Hollywood film producers recognized the importance of this in the 1950's, when they began including sound tracks in their movies to enhance the emotional impact of the scenes and acting. Many works of classical music portray a large range of emotions, and listeners who consciously listen to a piece of music can generally recognize that the emotions and moods they may experience have been vicariously induced by the music and are part of the not-self. Movie viewers, however, tend to focus on visual impressions and dialogue, and if you ask them questions about the sound track, their response will typically be "what sound track?". Modern movie viewers have become so accustomed to movie sound tracks that these have become relegated to the subsconscious, which makes them more effective as a means of affecting beliefs and behaviors. Conscious, attentive listening to classical music on its own, however, enhances one's ability to observe how the qualities of the music correlate with induced emotions and moods. The key to separating self from not-self is conscious attention. Specific types of popular music, and especially of specific performing artists, however, generally tend to portray a narrow range of moods and emotions in their songs. Listeners tend to prefer styles and moods that match the social contexts of their peer group, and such narrowing often leads to fixation on particular moods and mental states. While a single instance of listening to dystopic forms of music that portray violence and conflict may not deeply affect one's behavior, repeatedly listening to such music for hours each day with others who also prefer such music can have a far more lasting effect, eventually blurring the boundary between self and not-self and leading to alteration of one's personality and thought patterns. Scientific studies of animals and plants exposed to such music have demonstrated that, in certain cases, it can have a deadly effect after only a few weeks. •[5a, 5b, 8a, 8b]•


Music and the pulse

There is a common misconception that traditional Chinese art of pulse-taking is so difficult to learn, requiring many years of study, that beginners and students of Chinese medicine often give up on it before they even start. The following articles explain why most of this perceived difficulty has been due to an unfortunate confusion in the professional literature and lack of a system for breaking down the pulse into a set of easily explained and visualized parameters like rate, rhythm, strength, width, boundary definition, pulse time profile, elasticity, etc.:

Many of RMHI's students have used the TCM Pulse Simulator module of the HerbalThink-TCM software to learn pulse palpation on their own. Of course, it's ideal to seek personal guidance from a master at pulses, but it's quite possible to learn many of the basics by practicing on your own. Video simulations of pulses in 3 dimensions allow one to quickly overcome the terminology quagmire. When you eventually spend time with a master at pulse palpation, you can advance to fine-tuning and calibration of your technique rather than dwell on basic concepts, which are best learned from a combination of reading, study, and practice using video simulator software.

In the following table are just a few examples of how the pulse might respond to specific pieces of music, if the music has been carefully chosen to match the individual's patterns of symptoms, including tongue and pulse. The examples in the table are specific manifestions of a range of possibilities and are not intended to be general rules. Choosing a piece of music that "resonates" with a client is analogous to finding a key that opens a lock. If one gets it right and chooses the correct key, it will usually be clear — the listener's body posture will change, their facial expression will light up, their pulse qualities will shift noticeably, and they will express the equivalent of "That's it! That's the key that unlocks my stuck patterns." Other people, especially those with clinical patterns of opposite quality, may express indifference or even dislike of that same piece of music.

    Example 1:
    Pattern(s) of disharmony:   Grief and sadness in the context of Stagnancy of Liver Qi plus Heart-Kidney Noncommunication with Deficiency of Qi and Yin
    Possible pulse manifestation:   thready and floating pulse, especially in L3 (left chi position) with possible irregular rhythms; thready-bowstring pulse in other positions, especially L2 (left guan).
    Choice of music:   Piano Quintet in G minor, by Dmitri Shostakovich
    Explanation of possible pulse reaction to musical qualities:   The thready floating L3 pulse corresponds here to nervousness and uncertainty about the future with a tendency to react to events rather than planning and attempting to prepare for likely futures; the L3 pulse is weak to non-palpable at the deeper level indicating lack of Kidney Qi. The L2 thready-bowstring pulse corresponds to the aspect of Liver Qi Stagnation associated with the anger stage of the grief cycle. If this piece "resonates" with an an individual of this type, by the 4th or 5th movement, the distinctness (thready) of the superficial pulse at L3 from the weak or absent pulse at L3 deep level will shift to a pulse that is more blurred with smoother transitions between all levels, less narrow and distinct superficially, yet with more energy felt at deeper levels, corresponding with the desired "communication" of Heart and Kidneys. The listener often experiences this change as a conscious recognition of the ways in which they have allowed themselves to be tossed about like driftwood on the sea of life and the potential choices that are now available to them.
    Example 2:
    Pattern(s) of disharmony:   Suppressed rage and grief in the context of Stagnancy of Liver Qi and possible Heart Blood Stagnation
    Possible pulse manifestation:   Choppy pulse, especially in L1 (left cun) position; bowstring pulse in L2 (left guan)
    Choice of music:   String Quartet #8, by Dmitri Shostakovich
    Explanation of possible pulse reaction to musical qualities:   If the individual with these patterns is suffering from suppressed rage that may be associated with buried traumatic memories, the 2nd movement of this piece, which is like a wild, crazy, terrifying roller-coaster ride, tends to flush such memories into consciousness. The pulse qualities often become aggravated temporarily. By the 4th and 5th movements, which descend into the depression and acceptance phases of the grief cycle, the pulse will have normalized. In one especially dramatic case, the individual had previously required taking periodic herbal formulas to keep Heart and Liver Blood Stagnation under control, and experienced mild chest pains during the 2nd movement. These resolved within a minute or so, her pulses normalized during the last movement, and she found it unnecessary to continue taking her former herbal formulas, because she indicated that her former angina pains seemed to have resolved on a long-term basis.
    Example 3:
    Pattern(s) of disharmony:   Heart-Kidney Noncommunication with Deficiency of Yang plus a tendency to respond to otherwise appropriate tonification formulas with an increase in vitality levels that is misused, for example, in self-destructive actions or purposeless busywork.
    Possible pulse manifestation:   Weak pulses generally, especially in R3 (right chi) and in L1 (left cun)
    Choice of music:   Symphony #1 in C minor (Op.68), by Johannes Brahms
    Explanation of possible pulse reaction to musical qualities:   The underlying theme of this pattern is exhausted vitality levels associated with a mismatch between one's will (mind) and one's desire (heart). The key to resolving this condition is to somehow bring into awareness the inconsistency between these two forces and to resolve the conflict by right living and ethical choices. When the Heart and Kidneys "connect" this is not merely some abstract phenomenon; there are usually specific times at which this tends to happen in the course of the music. In the Brahms' 1st Symphony, this event occurs very briefly after the midpoint of the 2nd movement and then again at the very end of the movement as the viola sings an ascending melody that hovers above the rest of the orchestra, then reaches ever higher. It is a relatively quiet moment, lacking overt drama, but it is the pivot point of the symphony. If listeners are sensitive to this particular moment, they often perceive "shivers up the spine", waves of body tingling, and a generalized euphoria that many will recognize is associated with that particular high note in the viola line, which is dependent on the context of the melody and harmonic sequences that preceded it. (That single note played in isolation would not have the same effect at all.) Most listeners tend to readily recall the dramatic opening of the 1st movement, with its "beating heart" kettle drum part, and the very ending, with its earth-shaking brass fanfare, but the connection of Heart and Kidneys that occurs in the 2nd movement will typically be recalled only by those who patterns would benefit by such a musical action, as its subtlety is easily overlooked by those not attuned to it.
    Did Brahms' consciously craft this music to have the physiological effects that it does? We'll never know, but that dramatic opening that so powerfully evokes a relentlessly beating heart tells me that at least at a subconscious level, he knew exactly what he was trying to achieve, and he warns us openly. The process of resolving a pattern of Heart-Kidney Noncommunication with Deficiency of Yang in literary terminology would be called the "hero's journey".
    The pulse qualities may or may not change immediately after listening, but if the Heart and Kidneys have truly connected, which is quite possible after only a single hearing, the individual will be able to utilize subsequent tonification and improvement of vitality levels without self-destructive actions that previously tended to sabotage such efforts. Frequently, if one palpate's the listener's pulse at the previously discussed moments during the 2nd movement, momentary shifts in the pulse will likely be felt, such as increases of strength and pulse definition.
    Example 4:
    Pattern(s) of disharmony:   Heart-Kidney Noncommunication with Deficiency of Heart Yin
    Possible pulse manifestation:   Weak, thready, rapid pulses generally, with especially pronounced thready qualities palpated in L1 (left cun) and L3 (left chi).
    Choice of music:   Magnificat, by Alan Hovhaness
    Explanation of possible pulse reaction to musical qualities:   The general principle here is similar to the preceding example, but because of the general predominance of Deficiency of Yin, the listener is easily agitated and distracted. The overall musical quality of this piece is more mellow and soothing that the Brahms' 1st Symphony, though it is equally profound, influencing the subconscious in subtle rather than dramatic fashion. It achieves this with music that many would classify as meditative and hypnotic. The key point in this work in which the Heart-Kidney connection occurs most intensely is at the very end, during which the final resounding chords of the chorus swell to crescendo punctuated at regular intervals by a gong, timed to coincide with the rhythm of a typical breath cycle. Many listeners will literally feel the repeated hits of the gong as repeated waves of tingling, shivering, and quivering sensations. Pulse responses at this moment tend to be varied, but almost always guaranteed to be uniquely different from the individual's typical resting pulse.
    Heart-Kidney Noncommunication with Deficiency of Heart Yin, like the preceding case, has aspects of hero's journey, but in this case it manifests as the archetype of the saint or mystic rather than the warrior archetype that Brahms so avidly portrayed.


The advantages of learning pulses along with music are several:

  • It's fun for everyone involved.
  • It does not require a license or medical supervision.

By experimenting with different types of music, you can develop your intuition about how music interacts with the TCM patterns manifesting in an individual and at the same time observe how the pulse qualities change during these interactions.


Conclusion — escaping from the Matrix

In the following article

, author Nick Sandberg explains how authoritarian control schemes succeed via the systematic operant conditioning of children to avoid experiencing repressed pain by rigid conformity to social norms. The original instinct for love and affection is suppressed and substituted with material acquisitiveness (consumerism), personal power, sex, and fame — all personality characteristics that further the goals of a worldwide consumerist-corporatist culture.

The "conditioning" process that most of us undergo in the course of a normal Western childhood not only causes us to divert from our natural behavior but also permanently alters the way most of us evaluate information.
By creating a culture in which repressed pain is not released from the system but, instead, can merely be avoided through social conformity, Western populations become emotionally dependent on their culture to feel secure.

Sandberg's article does a great job of giving readers new to the conspiracist view of world history a grand overview of the subject. While reading his article, additional insights came to me regarding Spengler's observations on the decline of art and music. If control over the emotions via behavioral conditioning of children by schools and the media is so important, would it not be a priority of the elite controllers to destroy any literature, art, or music that tended to trigger, reveal, and/or emotionally explore original repressed memories, thus risking an awakening by individuals who might eventually learn on their own how the control scheme worked? Perhaps the decline of art and music is not just incidental, mirroring a weakening of the native culture as Spengler suggested, but occurs by an active process of sabotage.

In high school during the 1960's, I had great interest in classical music as a possible career, but chose not to pursue it because it was a field already in relentless decline; almost all my high school acquaintances overwhelmingly preferred rock music. Today I have classical musician friends whose talents are vastly underutilized by a culture that revels in the degrading music of dystopia. Some of these friends moonlight as rock musicians just to make money, even though they have low regard for such music.

It has been said by philosophers, saints, and mystics throughout history that to change the world, one must first change oneself. If that is true, then might rejecting dystopian forms of corporate "entertainment"-mind-control and exploring the types of music I've mentioned in this article be revolutionary acts?


Please don't leave this article without resolving to listen to some of the pieces of music listed here. Choose the pieces that seem to match your preferences and personality. I've given some very specific clues as to how to do this. More specific details are included in the Music and Health database section of the Self-Study Reference within the HerbalThink-TCM software — see end of this article for download link.

In the Music and Health instructional text that is included with this software, I explain in detail how the following specific musical properties and elements of composition:

  • tempo
  • rhythm
  • meter
  • pitch
  • timbre
  • modes and scales
  • melody (contour, pitch, and interval)
  • harmony
  • loudness and amplitude dynamics
  • compositional architecture (fugues, canons, sonata form, symphonic form, fractal patterns, etc.)
  • orchestration, choice of instruments

are correlated with specific physiological, mood, and cognitive effects. By considering how all these elements combine to create complex patterns, we can begin to explain why certain pieces of music tend to have predictable effects on people with specific TCM patterns of disharmony.

RMHI's latest release of the HerbalThink-TCM software includes a new textbook and database module on music and health, in which I reveal in detail the rules of construction that classical composers have used to induce specific emotional and physiological effects among their audiences. While this reference and interactive-learning software is intended primarily as a tool for learning Chinese herbology, the new additions on music and health provide clinical tools to explore and help resolve existential malaise — the dark nights of the soul that afflict many during these turbulent times. Some users skip over the music and health sections, not quite sure why it has been included in instructional software for Chinese herbology. My hope is that this article will have piqued your curiosity enough to explore further. In the downloadable software package below are included recommendations of specific commercial recordings of the musical works I've mentioned in this article.



Reference —{{ links }} will appear in a new window.