Article: Is Music and Sounds Programming You? | Benoy J. Thomas, UAE
I remember when I was a kid, walking up to my father, who was journaling some work-related statistics in his workbook, and asking him why he had a whale picture on there. Since he was a Captain for the Environmental Science & Marine Biology division of the Dubai Government, one of his responsibilities was to track and study the changes happening in aquatic life. But, instead of directly answering the question, he sat me on his lap and asked me what I was listening to the night before, while I was in bed. I used to have an old habit of turning on my favourite local radio station and listening to slow jams. So, I told him that’s what it was, and he took me back to my original question and started to explain about a recent study that had been done on whales. And I vividly remember him explaining to me certain aspects of the whales from the coast of Fundy that were being studied coincidently during the 9/11 event. In the study, they were sampling the fesses of these Whales and trying to understand various biological aspects of these marine mammals. But the one thing that they coincidently stumbled upon was the stress hormones in them.
Before 9/11, the stress hormones in these whales were abnormally high, but post- 9/11 surprisingly those stress hormones dropped, reaching a normalizing state. Marine biologists that observed this were amazed and couldn’t understand what changed, till they correlated the sound waves that were capturing and saw a pattern there. The pattern they identified was that ships that used to sail that route, abruptly stopped, and the sounds it created were silenced. My Dad went on to explain another study done in the Bahamas by the US navy, where they were testing out different frequencies of their Sonar system. And what was unusual happening during this time was that Whales were starting to wash up in large numbers around the coast and the locals didn’t know what was really happening and why. Later, it was discovered that these sonar waves – even though it was at a very low decibel (dB) that couldn’t have harmed the hearing of the whales was causing them to get anxious, panic, and ascended quickly to the surface, causing internal bleeding during the air bubbles and leading to their death.
The words my dad told me right after, still resound in my mind, “Benoy, everything you intake through your senses of seeing, hearing, touching, etc. has a significant impact on your psyche so be very careful what you listen to and who you listen to because it’s shaping you and your future.” Today, it makes a lot more sense to me scripturally and scientifically. Romans 12:2, Paul advises us “Do not be conformed to this world but be transformed by the renewal of your mind.”
Sounds have a direct impact on you physically, emotionally, and cognitively. It’s no longer a Sci-fi concept of how we can manipulate the brain with sounds. Scientists are actively working on ways to control our thoughts, feelings, and emotions, by altering our mental states to the desired frequency to manage and maneuver difficult situations better. Neuro-sound is a form of neurofeedback wherein auditory stimuli, such as music, binaural beats, or positive affirmations are utilized to influence brain wave chemistry, to our desired effect. Music is also used in modern medicine to treat premature babies developing in the NICU, people with Alzheimer’s, and even non-invasive surgical procedures to break up kidney stones.
Let me help connect this back to the scriptural. What do you think was Lucifer’s role before his descent from the Heavens? Scholars theorize that according to Ezekiel 28:13, Satan was involved with music in Heaven. So, if we know that this ‘Son of the Morning Star’ was a grand musical, don’t you think he’d not know how to use his greatest strength of sounds and music to steal, kill & destroy (John 10:10). According to 1 Samuel 16:22-23; the music played by David was able to cause the Evil Spirit to depart from Saul and calm his spirit and refresh his mind, body & soul. The same music also brought down the presence of God among his people, during its dedication to the temple by Solomon (2 Chronicles 5:12-14). Once again, we can see the power of singing that strengthened Paul & Silas (Acts 16:25 & 26) and finally in the book of Revelation 4:8, we read about the 4 Beasts surrounding the throne singing Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord God Almighty, which was and is and is to come.
If music and sound hold such mysterious and hidden powers behind them, it’s essential that we discern what we choose to listen to. The subliminal messages hidden in the lyrics, musical beats, and the videography used to get you ‘hooked’, can also be a powerful seductive instrument that neurologically programs your subconscious mind. Even the words spoken are nothing but modulations of sound waves producing a noise we all can interpret. The wisest man alive once said in Proverbs 18:21; “Death and life are in the power of the tongue: and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof.”
As we see & hear popular genres & styles of music slowly creeping into our church songs, we mustn’t fail to realize that its impact on the church and the body of Christ is far and wide, if not contained. In one of the UK Premier Urban Music Festivals called the Wireless Festival 18’, the American Rapper Lil Uzi Vert paused during his singing and said, “You’re all going to hell with me. I’m sorry, you can’t get out now, you heard my song a billion times, and you didn’t even know. It’s messed up, but I love you.” Reflect – what sounds do you think are unknowingly shaping you and your future today?