The mind-boggling power of words and music

And here I go again, looking at the books and records lined up on the shelves and contemplating how many hours or days it would take to read all of the books and listen to all the waiting music.

I think about how long it takes to craft a book and send it to market, and the years spent learning to read and write and play an instrument and combine the playing with other musicians to create a song, and here are hundreds and perhaps thousands of songs and stories surrounding me just in this room.

Many of the souls who created these works have moved on to wherever souls go when their bodies are spent, but their creations remain, and they come alive again when I open the book or play the recording. Our bodies do not live forever, but the words and the music survive and flourish.

What is humanity’s greatest invention? I say words, and music close behind. They unite us in ways all other inventions can only approximate. Oh, they can divide us, too, in the wrong hands, but what we have in common is always stronger.

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