I talked to John about how music influences on one’s mind state:
“Everything that happens has a big influence on the state of mind. Our senses are constantly being bombarded with all kinds of things that are making a constant change to what goes on inside of us. We have so many tendencies that have been put in place by things that have happened to us in life, and everything that happens to us to some degree affects our tendencies in the future and affects our state of mind. To me what I’m noticing more with music- that separates it from incidents that happen- that change somebody’s state of mind, is that it seems to come through another channel besides the five senses. When the music is being created, the ideas enter the musician from an unknown source, through a channel that there’s no medical term for, no biological term, no psychological term for. There’s some channel that the ideas come through and the sense of musical balance that the musician employs in order to organise the ideas. That’s also something that there’s also no word for. It’s all the unknown, and a person that has a good sense of musical organisation has no idea where that sense came from. Partially it may come from loving and listening to music and really appreciating the balance and organisation of music that’s so cosmic, but there’s a lot of people who appreciate it that don’t have a sense of it, of how to manipulate that organisation, how to take control of it.
I would say that in the creation of music, where the ideas are coming from- why one idea means a great deal to me and another idea means nothing to me- and that there’s some sort of mental criteria to distinguish between these two things; it’s not something that anybody has grasped in any way. And then in the reception of music, I don’t believe it’s just the notes, chords or melodies in themselves (although there’s a lot to ponder just in those- why they affect people in the way they do). I also think that what’s underestimated when people are judging music is that you are hearing the intention of the composer or musician or the band or whatever. I believe that there’s a sort of 6th sense when we’re hearing music and some people have this. For some people this sense is clearer than for others.
You can hear when someone is doing something for reasons such as personal gain or ego gratification, and when the intention is to purely explore this wondrous thing which is the nature of music as it’s presented to us by the laws of the cosmos. If you put some crap, some commercial band who’s only doing it because it’s how they make their living and they get a certain amount of ego gratification from it- if that same band played a Fugazi song, it wouldn’t mean the same thing as what it means to somebody who needs to hear Fugazi to feel good. It’s not a matter of the song, it wouldn’t matter how well it was played; we’re hearing something behind the music. We hear the psychological state of the people who are playing or composing it, and I feel that something else comes through into the listener besides what’s apparent to the senses. I feel really sure of that.
I really feel that when you’re talking about the reception or music or the creation of music- the most important parts of can’t be quantified or measured, and there’s no way to put your finger on them. I feel like it’s that way with love and to any person who has a special thing; if there’s a guy obsessed with mechanics or if there’s a guy obsessed with plants or something. These things produce an excitement in people that can’t be measured by just the virtues of the subject themselves. There’s some sort of connection between that persons soul and whatever that thing is that they really love, and it seems like music has this direct connection to excite a much larger group of people than most isolated subjects. I think part of the reason for this has to with the fact- I think there are messages that are coming across in music. There are messages that music is conveying, there are truths about the nature of existence. In nature, you have your things like trees and flowers, grass, human beings and brains, water, and air. There are these other things that are part of the fabric of existence that exist- like for instance numbers exist as a part of nature regardless of whether there’s the human understanding of them.
In other words the human understanding of a number is more a symbol of the thing. We have no way to actually grasp numbers in of themselves, even thought they’re an inescapable part of existence. With music you have mind boggling things going on with numbers. The truth about numbers themselves is that they all exist as one thing together. They’re all dependant on one another. There’s no existence of 4 without the existence of 3. There’s no 1 billion without the existence of 2 billion. All numbers are interdependent on one another and need one another to exist, and so they are one thing. But it’s the nature of the human mind to perceive these differences from one thing to the other. I don’t think that these differences exist not only with numbers, but I don’t think a tree is any different from a person- is any different from the air- is any different from the water. I think we’ve been blessed with this psychological ability to be able to differentiate between one thing and the other. It’s all existing in harmony with one another. To me it expresses that no one thing is different from anything else. With numbers, every one absolutely needs the other one to exist, and so- are all one number. Or you could say numbers are all one thing.”