Feeling Machines

Feeling Machines

I recently “discovered” David Bowie. It is sad that happened after he died, but i guess this is a natural phenomenon. Of course I knew several of his songs considering the majestic artist that he was. But I didn’t know his music. I didn’t feel it yet. And, boy, what a journey that was when I finally did.

It’s funny how a stupid funny youtube video — a guy being ejected from a seat when an airbag is activated below it — introduced me to one of his masterpieces: Space Oddity. It sounded familiar, but I obviously didn’t know it the way I should. My friends were quick to make fun of me because of this and pointed me to another youtube video of astronaut Chris Hadley performing the song. And that was spectacular on its own way.

“So” I thought, “It really is looking like a character flaw that I don’t know this guy”. And for the next weeks I went on listening to everything from Bowie.

I’m very emotional and sensitive. Music is one of the things that really does it for me. Along with stories, art, film, etc. Yeah, practically a baby. So while I was into Bowie’s music and getting goosebumps all the time I noticed how intense feelings are and how limited is our capacity to communicate these feelings to others.

We are proud of having developed language as humans, but consider every feeling you have deep in your mind and how hard it is to make others understand them. It feels like describing a color: almost impossible. Even if you try explaining every connection your brain does when you listen to a song and why that hits your heart and makes you cry, it is most likely others won’t get it.

My idea when starting to write this was to try to convey the sentiment of hope, nostalgia and the great things waiting for us in the future when Bowie cries that “We can be heroes, just for one day”. Or how the solitude and the acceptance of the unknown is shown to us through the wonder of Major Tom when he steps through the door floating in the most peculiar way, reaching space in his tin can.

But, I believe that is pointless after all. We are our own feeling machines, and the rare moment when you look someone in the eye and you both know exactly how each other feels can’t also be put into words.

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