It’s All Side-Effects

March 10, 2020

I spent the weekend moving. It was far more difficult than I anticipated.

I have way too much stuff, and I completely underestimated how much I have.

I don’t like to get rid of material possessions. Especially the ones that have sentimental value. Ones that remind me of other times.

But, I noticed a few problems with this mentality.

First, every item I accept into my life brings with it its own cognitive load. That load is experienced whenever I think about the object, whenever I look at it, whenever I have to decide which box it’s going into, or whether to throw it out, or whether to donate it, or how to make sure it doesn’t get scratched when I’m carrying it.

Second, many of these items were not brought into my life by my own volition. Some were given to me as gifts, others just appeared as a by-product of something else. But, I hold onto them because I feel guilty about letting them go. This leads to anxiety and anger.

Third, these items are physically burdensome. They take up space, they are heavy to carry, and they lead to bodily injury as I pack and move them!

Are these side-effects worth it? In many cases, no.

But, this makes me think about how life is composed mainly of side-effects. How what we experience is only a result of something else that preceded it, and how little of it we actually asked for.

I’ll leave you to connect this to your music practice. I’m not in the mood to go there right now.

I know it would be worthwhile, though.

About the author

Michael Korman has played the piano in opera productions and recitals, as well as directing music at a church and coaching classical singers. He draws upon his experiences with meditation and mindfulness to inform his views on music. In addition to music, Michael also holds degrees in computer science. When he's not playing the piano or meditating, he might be practicing drawing or calligraphy.

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