From Self to Society to Divinity: A Relational Ontology of Music
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Since ancient times, the ontology and formation of human consciousness have been widely debated topics, and scholars have agreed that art is crucial in both expressing and forming consciousness across cultures. Within this conversation, modern academic disciplines have engaged in the study of music, endeavoring to address music’s complexity and its action upon various spheres of consciousnesses. However, most of these discussions focus on only one of these aspects, to the exclusion of others. In this thesis I synthesize these multiple approaches, drawing from research across disciplines to demonstrate how music’s unique properties set it apart from the other arts in expressing and forming human consciousness. This will include examination of music and its connection with developing individual consciousness; signifying and strengthening collective consciousness; and mediating between the individual and the collective spheres of consciousness. Although each of us has our own background with music, a comprehensive understanding of music and its relation to the self, society, and spiritual consciousnesses is invaluable; its relational ontology allows us to experience an integrated perspective of all humankind.