Weather/water cooler/elevator talk has little value to most of us but serves some point, if only to prevent awkward looking away. Who knows, it might even lead to a human connection. Most people are working or studying towards something that has some value to us and presumably others affected by our work, which unless you live on a farm by yourself are always present. And although work has definite value (like paychecks), it can often be asked what the point is.
Take music and the brain for example. Being a musician and scientist, I’m naturally interested in how music works in the brain. While the field is relatively young and will surely progress beyond our current imagination, we already have a pretty good idea of why music affects us the ways it does. In brief, it’s a combination of the different parts of our brain that developed during different periods of evolution working together and processing the rhythmic, melodic, and harmonic aspects temporally.
So…what’s the point? I find it fascinating, but the majority of people don’t know that and enjoy music just fine. Most people of any art or field believe to some extent they enjoy or appreciate the activity and its nuances in ways most other spectators don’t. But I’ve never had any real reason to believe non-musicians don’t appreciate music as much as musicians, even if they aren’t identifying chord changes. In fact some musicians have told me they are able to enjoy music listening more when they put away all the musical elements that tie them to the ego and just listen.
Does this mean there’s no point in studying music in the brain, or anything that doesn’t have a directly useful result? It’s hard to think of anything aside from technological advances in health and getting necessities (food, water, shelter) to people in need that meets these criteria. But most of the 7 billion people in the world aren’t contributing very much to these things. So are all of our lives pointless? Even the comedic inclination to say yes can’t be taken seriously for any length of time. So maybe the idea of a point to things is a matter of semantics, and everything simply has different, relative values. Or maybe meaningful things have concise points lost in the shuffle of words. But I don’t know of anyone having experienced the deepest forms of communication through music, art, or a divine gaze and ask directly afterwards, “what’s the point?”
I will culminate this with the point of everything I do on here. With respect to what I said above about musicians, I have felt incredibly blessed to experience music the way I have throughout my life. It has provided me more moments of ecstasy than anything else of this world, and while I’m not claiming to be the savior of rock, I feel the most worthwhile thing I can do with my life is create the experience for anyone with the communication channels open. I can be a reserved person at times, and it takes the music for me to come into true form. When we do that together, through the stage or recording, I never have to ask what the point is.