Strings for Brains

I once heard an analogy which painted the brain as a piano and the mind as a pianist playing on its keys. Unfortunately, I am not quite sure to whom to attribute this idea, but I find it insightful and sometimes useful.

If I may carry the analogy one step further, I might say that a piece of music called “Reality” sits in front of the pianist. Thus, whatever he pounds out on the keys of the brain is his interpretation of reality. It is not necessarily wrong, but neither is it necessarily true.

If the pianist plays solely from emotion, the resulting mess of rhythms and tones will hardly resemble what is written on the page. Likewise, if he plays solely from analysis, he will lose the entire meaning and effect of the piece. He must first work out the notes carefully, allowing expression to follow naturally from the flow and design of the piece.

I believe our minds are made to work in a similar way — truth producing thought and thought, in turn, producing emotion. Wherever this order is disrupted, nothing makes sense and our feelings are chaotic and overpowering. Truth must come first, then deliberate thought, then emotive response. It is a beautiful system. Logical, stable, and elegant. Why, then, is it so easily derailed?

It turns out that the pianist is not alone with his instrument. A myriad of other sights and noises and people stand around him, all demanding his attention. Talking. Gesturing. Jumbling up his music. And if that isn’t enough distraction, there are even other pianists. It is easy to imagine how someone might get confused and frustrated amid this cacophony.
We all have voices in our heads and in our ears. Lots of them. The challenge is keep the truth always in front of us and to not allow our feelings to jump ahead of our understanding. When we lose sight of our purpose, or when our emotions make no sense, something in the spirit realm is tampering with us, displacing our system from its equilibrium. That is where the will comes into play. That is when we must focus our eyes, straighten our music, and start playing one note at a time.


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