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Dent 1 Emory Dent Cosmin Ritivoiu English 101 18 October 2013 The Brain, Music, and the Church

Like a dark, enveloping storm cloud, poised to release yet another havoc-educing lightening strike, the controversial subject of musical style and methodology in Christianity seems ever-present. How to worship in song collectively and publically, promoting unity and Biblical soundness, while trying to please as many as possible, has proved to be a rather daunting task. Sermons have been preached, seminars have been televised, and articles have been published by means to shed light upon this shady area. Ultimately, however, these attempts seem to produce little benefit when faced with personal experience and evangelistic efforts, for as long as God is being portrayed to those involved, the musical method seems valid. Thus, another way must be analyzed. In light of scientific study, this paper seeks to portray how music in a Christian liturgical setting should be conducted, by means of promoting optimum brain function. With the possession of a brain being a mutual facet of every believer, the research compiled here will be a

Dent 2 database of principles for all in search of a deeper, more unified liturgical experience through music, one that follows the guidelines God has placed in the minds of all. These principles include: the paradigmatic balance between emotional and intellectual enjoyment, spiritual and carnal mindedness, and proper frontal lobe, limbic, and hypothalamus function. To begin, the brain, its functions, and reactions will be discussed, as well as how music is processed when a brain is exposed to its incoming stimulation. On September 13, 1848, a horrific accident took place near Cavendish, Vermont, which few could consider profitable for quite some time (Fleischman, 1). However, as the greatest scientists and physicians of the day went to work, in search of an explanation to its intriguing outcome, the incident produced revolutionary discoveries concerning brain science and function. Phineas Gage, a foreman on a railroad construction site, was good with his hands, and good with his men, possessing an iron will as well as an iron frame (Fleischman, 1). After a tamping rod, used to pack blasting holes in preparation for explosions, was rocketed through his frontal cortex, Gage, though still a fully functioning human after some muchneeded first aid and recovery, underwent a drastic change:

Dent 3 Phineas is just not his old self. His old employers on the railroad quickly come to the same conclusion. The new Phineas is unreliable and, at times, downright nasty. He insults old workmates and friends. He spouts vulgar language in the presence of women. He changes his mind and his orders from minute to minute. (Fleischman, 20). Closely observing his patient, the doctor who dressed Gages wounds, Dr. John Martyn Harlow, noticed these clashing characteristics with the Gage he formally knew. With the aid of Henry J. Bigelow, professor of surgery at Harvard Medical College, and many other scientists and physicians, research concerning Phineas Gage aided immensely in the establishment of the sound neurological principles upheld today. Though the irons blow was eventually fatal in Gages case, its impact in the scientific realm of today is undeniable. Students of neurology or psychology study his case because it illustrates how the lobes of the frontal cortex-the two halves of your brain that meet in your forehead-are the seat of executive functions. Those are your abilities to predict, to decide, and to interact socially (Fleischman, 65). Housed in the cranial mass behind your forehead, the frontal lobe determines and

Dent 4 expresses ones personality and character traits, thus making an individual who they are: To act human, you mix emotions, actions, routines, customs, manners, words, and expressions in a predictable way. Thats what Phineas seems to have lost (Fleischman, 63). When Gage lost the selfcontrol and discernment needed to mix these vital components, he could no longer express the character and personality he once possessed: The case of Phineas Gage suggests that we are human because our frontal lobes are set up so we can get along with other humans. We are hard wired to be sociable. When we loose that ability, we end up like Phineas. His closest companion was an iron rod (Fleischman, 70). By his degrading remarks toward coworkers and on-lookers, Gage was undoubtedly being sociable; however, he could not express himself in a logical way, because the iron tamping rod had created a chasm between his social potential and his ability to practically express it. In light of Gages frontal lobotomy, the placement of this crucial lobe in our thinking process is worth discussing. Scripturally, two different patterns of thought can be identified in the book of Romans: For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. Because the carnal mind is enmity against

Dent 5 God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be (Rom. 8:6-7). Diving into the Greek, this carnal mind possesses the adjective Sarx, which relates to the fleshy, sensual nature of man (Lexicon, G4561). This description denotes mere human nature, the earthly nature of man apart from divine influence, and therefore prone to sin and opposed to God (Lexicon, G4561) On the contrary, the spiritual mind Paul is speaking of is described with the word Pneuma, that is, pertaining to the Spirit (Lexicon, G4151). This spiritual mind is the disposition or influence which fills and governs the soul of any onethe rational spirit, the power by which the human being feels, thinks, decides (Lexicon, G4151). Expounded upon by Pastor Leroy Moore, this passage serves to demonstrate and contrast proper, Godly frontal lobe function, and the lack thereof. Spiritual mindedness allows for the frontal lobe to decipher the inflow of information through our senses first, allowing it to act as the control center of the thoughts and actions. Then, after a conscious decision has been made, the responsive and emotional zones of the brain act according to what the frontal lobe has instructed, in light of sound discernment. Carnal mindedness, on the other hand, directs sensory information to be discerned first by the Limbic System, the

Dent 6 brains emotional center. Thus, any judgment made or action performed has been adapted to produce the highest amount of emotional pleasure, in order to bring the most desirable emotional response (Moore). Through the degradation of a spiritual to a carnal mind, Gods original and ideal plan is twisted; the controlled becomes the controller, the lower nature rules the higher, and the emotions reign supreme, as in the case of Phineas. Becoming a physical

manifestation of this spiritual state of carnal mindedness, Gages condition isnt, however, only caused by a severe injury. As discussed in the next section, musical input into the brain possesses the same degrading potential, if utilized outside of our Creators guidelines. Scripturally, the carnal mind is obviously something to be avoided, but scientific and psychological findings uphold this principle as well. In 2007, a group of Italian scientists representing the Institute of Neurology and the Don C. Gnocchi Foundation embarked upon an experiment to test the claims and capabilities of music: It has been reported that music may have physiological effects on blood pressure, cardiac heartbeat, respiration, and improve mood state in people affected by anxiety, depression and other psychiatric disorders. However, the physiological bases of these

Dent 7 phenomena are not clear. (Angelucci, Ricci, Padua, Sabino, & Tonali, abstract) Pursuing to clarify theses claims in particular, these neurologists focused their studies on a specific region of the brain, called the hypothalamus, for answers. Serving as the area of the brain that produces hormones that control body temperature, hunger, moods, sex drive, sleep, [and] thirst (PubMed), the hypothalamus is also involved in the regulation of body homeostasis and in the pathophysiology of anxiety and depression (Abstract), thus a vital component in the endocrine system. With this control center of the bodys emotional and physical balance playing such a key role in ones well being, the scientists exposed their rodent test subjects to monitored levels of musical stimulation, and later sacrificed and dissected their brains to inspect the various hypothalami. In their recorded results, the neurologists explain that, due to the musical input in the lives of the selected mice, the production of several different protein complexes (neurotrophins), each playing a vital part in the function of the hypothalamus, experienced either a drastic increase or a significant depletion. Thus, their findings also suggest that [the] physiological effects of music might be in part mediated by [the] modulation of neurotrophins

Dent 8 (Angelucci, Ricci, Padua, Sabino, & Tonali, abstract) as well. This scientific premise relates to the carnal and spiritual mind comparison in that, in light of our bodys desire to maintain a balanced and emotionally-controlled existence, certain aspects of music can cause the carnal mind to demonstrate its effects. When homeostasis is swayed to one side or the other, the limbic systems acts as if it needs to fight back, taking control and possessing dominion over the thinking process in light of the degradation. Truly, the limbic and endocrine systems do need to issue this response; for without it, the incoming strain would degrade biological functions at full force, uninhibited. Yet, the act of unnecessarily stressing these reactions to gain hormonal stimulation, despite our bodys ability to adapt, proves to be far more detrimental than the listener may perceive. A vital aspect in any liturgical experience, music plays a crucial role in effecting the brain. For many individuals, a musical experience consists of simply listening to songs most favorable and enjoyable in light of their personality and life experiences. As these two aspects change in an individuals life, music is adapted to

Dent 9 fit their desires. However, a very different approach to music appreciation is proposed in the following article: The ability to listen to music rather than merely to hear it is not, as such, a natural capacity, but one that has to be acquired and developed by active, continual, and highly pleasurable observation. The power to cultivate this listening skill varies as does any other human accomplishment, but no cultivation is possible without guidance. (Discovering Music v) Musical appreciation isnt constructed overnight, not is it natural to our human capacities and capabilities. Instead, it is something that develops from cultivation, involving physical and mental effort, just as one would care and tend for a garden. Spiritually speaking, this principle stands valid as well. No appreciation for Godly music is possibly obtained without Divine guidance, just as no earthly music appreciation can grow without Satans orchestration. Carnal music is appreciated by carnal minds, while spiritual music is esteemed by spiritual minds. Thus, just as a process must ensue for a carnally minded individual to obtain a spiritual cranial implant, the musical appreciation of this carnal nature must be gradually replaced, as well, with the values and tendencies of a spiritually musical mind. To further clarify, to appreciate

Dent 10 is to recognize the full worth of something or someone (Oxford). A daily-occurring battle between good and evil is constantly taking place, each side desiring the worth of their ways and mentalities to be fully recognized and followed. Two prominent, powerful factors of musical enjoyment can be harnessed and utilized by each side in this controversy. Emotional and intellectual enjoyment stand as the two factors discussed, and can be either detrimental or beneficial to the listener. Any imbalance or lack of temperance in one or the other can be harmful to the harmonious, balanced development in both ones musical appreciation and spiritual walk. Discovering Music further clarifies this concern: unless it [music] provides us with a sense of enjoyment it will be of very little value to the listener. There are, of course, various ways of enjoying music, just as there are of enjoying life. We may approach it through the senses, in the manner of those who seem to feel that sensual enjoyment in the great end of all existenceOn the other hand, we may enjoy our music primarily from the intellectual standpoint through realizing how it is constructed, how logically it develops through various stages to a

Dent 11 final climax, how well it succeeds in varying its constituent parts so as to provide variety and achieve unity. This sort of enjoyment is like that of the intellectual who derives his greatest pleasure in life through the process of his mind and who distrusts the pleasures of his senses. (Discovering Music 35-36) Spiritual mindedness towards music is achieved through balancing both the emotional and intellectual enjoyment factors being portrayed in a song. Seeming to resonate with this idea of balance, Job links it to his integrity: Let me be weighed in an even balance, that God may know mine integrity (Job 31:6). Not solely appealing to emotions or the intellect, our Heavenly Father desires a combination of the two. An imbalance occurs when this mixture is unequal, whether the intellect or the emotions are excited and taxed in excess; either way, carnal mindedness results from this bias. This principle is crucial, yet deficient, in the Christian music culture today. Music that encourages spiritual mindedness doesnt solely have to be intellectually appealing or sound, bringing about little to no emotional response. Lyrical content is vital, especially as it corresponds with Biblical principles, but if emphasized to an extent where Gods love is not felt through the song, ones musical experience will become dry

Dent 12 and formalistic quite rapidly. As stated in the following quote: We must learn to recognize and apperceive the different emotional and mood reactions engendered by music and to evaluate these in comparison to their other elements This is a matter of nice discrimination and avoids the extremes of being completely swept away in a state of emotional hysteria on the one hand, and of entirely abjuring the emotional significance of music on the other. What the music does to us is one of its important powers and should be neither overemphasized nor neglected. (Discovering Music 25) Although there may be times in which one may experience such an overemphasis, whether it be from God instructing us in regards to a higher standard, or through Satans discouraging endeavors, decided effort ought to be made to emerge through the guidance of the Holy Spirit. When the devil tempts along a path of such an imbalance, Ellen White, a popular Christian author, states, When tempted, instead of giving utterance to our feelings, let us by faith lift up a song of thanksgiving to God (254). While Satan is enforcing an imbalance towards sensual emotions or formalistic intellect in our music, Gods children can

Dent 13 respond in a song swayed in the opposite direction, and thus oppose such satanic forces. Amidst the dark, confusing realm of music in the Christian church, principles God has outlined in the brain, especially the frontal lobe, hypothalamus, and limbic system cannot be overlooked. Through correctly utilizing these organs, treating them as Gods dwelling place, the Christian may obtain spiritual mindedness, being able to balance both the intellectual and emotional aspects of their musical experience. And that is just what music ought to be, an uninhibited experience with our Heavenly Father, the Creator perfectly in tune with His creations.

Dent 14 Works Cited:

Angelucci F, Ricci E, Padua L, Sabino A, Tonali PA. Music exposure differentially alters the levels of brain-derived neurotrophic factor and nerve growth factor in the mouse hypothalamus. PubMed National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine. 18 December 2007. Abstract. Web

"Appreciate." The New Oxford American Dictionary. 2nd ed. 2005. Computer Software.

Fleischman, John. Phineas Gage: A Gruesome but True Story About Brain Science. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 2002. Print.

"Greek Lexicon G4561 (KJV). Blue Letter Bible. Sowing Circle. Web. 5 Nov, 2013.

"Greek Lexicon G4151 (KJV). Blue Letter Bible. Sowing Circle. Web. 11 Nov, 2013.

Dent 15 Hypothalamus. PubMed Health. National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine. Web. 11 December 2011

McKinney, Howard D., and W. R. Anderson. Discovering Music. New York: American Book, 1962. Print.

Moore, Leroy. The Nature of Man. Weimar College. Room 225, Weimar, CA. 11 October 2013. Keynote Address.

The Holy Bible, King James Version. New York: Oxford Edition: 1769; King James Bible Online, 2008. Website.

Torres, Louis R., and Carol Torres. Notes on Music. Gaston, OR: Torres LC Ministries, 2004. Print.

White, Ellen. The Ministry of Healing. Mountain View, CA: Pacific Press Publishing Association. 1942. Print.