By Kayode Ojewale
Death is not the opposite of life but a part of it — Haruki Murakami, Japanese novelist.
In Nigeria today, mortality rate is not massively reducing as expected even with the advent of technology and other inventions that make life easier to live.
The average lifespan in our country gives an indication that the obtainable high death rates could be attributed to environment-induced factors. Apart from accidents and illnesses being the main causes of death, there are other man-made and self-inflicted causes of short lifespan.
With an estimated population of over 200 million, Nigeria has an annual growth rate of 3.2 per cent. Death rate in Nigeria stands at 9.6 deaths per 1,000 inhabitants. Last year, the National Population Commission revealed that the overall life expectancy of Nigeria stands at 52.2 years.
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As defined by the World Health Organisation, life expectancy is the average number of years that a newborn is expected to live if current mortality rates continue to apply. By implication, and if this trend continues, it means that, as more people are born, they only have few years to be alive.
It’s not a doomed prognosis for Nigerians, however. How is it not so? It is being increasingly proved that we can redeem the situation with music. Yes, music! We shall demonstrate this shortly. Between two dots, birth and death, is a hyphen called life. That hyphen is the voyage man travels in his conscious living.
No consciousness or life before birth and after death. Invariably, man, to a large extent, can decide what kind of life he would live as the power of choice and decision lies with him.
Now, let’s imagine life without music. How would man have survived if music was never invented? If it is true that the origin of music is unknown because it occurred before records of history, then it is a pointer to the fact that, music is part of our life.
Music has been with us and man has lived with music. In man’s life, music, by default, naturally modulates and expresses his emotions. Music is known to reduce stress and anxiety. Studies have revealed that our mood, cognition and memory can also be improved through listening to music. It is a good antidote to depression and anxiety.
Man’s internal state of being and his physiological response to a situation or something based on or tied to a physical state is called emotion. How invaluable someone or something is determines the level of emotional attachment that will be involved.
The Holy Scripture also affirms that a man’s heart will be where his treasure is. The role music plays in man’s life cannot be overemphasized because it is the propeller that drives human feelings. Music keeps life going when one is at certain crossroads.
Whether you’re sociable or unsociable, music is the force that controls your emotions. Apart from the entertainment and pleasure that music provides to the human soul, it also creates avenues to pass messages across to certain needs and situations of life.
It avails a platform to express and share his thoughts or feelings. Music is the only literature that the human heart reads. Music, if it invokes interest in the listener, has the capacity to spark off different responses via dancing or any gesticulating signs. Music, to many fun lovers, is the soul of entertainment.
It fights loneliness. Music (depending on the genre) serenades some to sleep when they need rest. Sometimes one may not even understand the language and lyrics of the song, yet one would still love to listen over and over again – that’s the mystery of music!
Music harmonizes the whole body’s physiological setup by appealing to the heart and soul at the same time. It does to the body what ordinary written or printed words can’t. Music is that important tool that bonds, soothes or psyches up our emotions. Music provides some kind of pleasure to the human nature.
On a final note, music has proved to be a strong unifying instrument that brings together people of different tribes, religions, origins and interests to subscribe to loving a song regardless of the artiste.
Death, on the other hand, shares some similarities with music as regards the physiological impact it leaves behind when it strikes. There is a connection between the effects created by music and death – emotion, either excited or sober
If there was no death, life would have been worthless. The reality of dying makes us appreciate life. In this context, how death occurs or happens might not really matter; what does matter is the reality of the absence created by death.
No one lives forever and with this view in mind, man can only but live in this brevity with his fullness. Our life is borrowed from the Giver, our Creator and some day we will return it to Him with a stewardship account of how good or bad we have used it.
Death only brings to an end the biological life; it in reality announces the beginning of testimonial references to the deeds of the dead when around and still alive. Man never truly dies, it is only the mortal body that does because his works outlive him.
Death is cessation of life but to those who are left behind, it is the beginning of a revelation of how that life was lived. Death is the end of every mortal, so living a life of meaning and impact is nonnegotiable.
Music and death catapult us from the physical to the spirit realm. Both music and death are capable of creating emotions when they play out. Music may arouse excitement with an attendant urge to dance, while in most cases, death is accompanied with sadness and sorrow.
Music can also in a way sadden or enrage as the case maybe in the song. A song may be sad or happy depending on the message in it and whoever it is intended for.
Emotions, whether joyful or sad, are the effects largely left behind by music and death. That music is controllably activated and death occurs mostly unannounced, does not suggest any disparity in their after-effects.
Music passes a message to the listener directly, while death does to the loved ones of the deceased.
In our quest for survival and in the pursuit or actualization of our goals in the journey of life, we must compulsorily factor in quality time to take a rest and unwind with good music in the overall interest of the body. This way, the extension of a healthy life is guaranteed.
As my final analysis of the impact of music on man, I submit thus: Life expectancy will increase if music is effectively deployed as a social tool to lead a healthy life.
Let music be the life between birth and death that will keep us fit for longer life if truly we cherish the body housing and carrying that only irreplaceable life we have.
We all will do well to avail ourselves the benefits provided by music while we live life with death in view. In all, music and death bring us to our deep, internal and true feelings.