How to Listen to Music
by Robert Reed
***Editor's Warning: Adult-Themed Story, for Mature Readers Only***
We sit where we happen to be and we sit together too.
Listening to music, among other pleasantries.
The process has its challenges. First, we have to reach a consensus on the specific piece as well as the performer or performers. Of course. But the experience isn't complete until one outsider is included, and that's where the process turns daunting.
Good ears are essential.
A sharp, curious mind helps.
Innocence with the tune can be wonderful. But a mind that has little experience with music will refuse to find the emotions in the notes and rhythm.
And of course, we can hope to find a golden moment in the outsider's life.
Sitting scattered around the world and in orbit, we are presently enjoying Dvorak as it passes through young ears in Uganda. Not only do we hear the music but the New World Symphony is a revelation for the boy, and we drink in the fellow's astonishment and giddy joy. Yes, we're doing a lot more than listening. Every aspect of his life and modern brain have been secretly hacked, and that includes delivering the performance through the best available sound system: Second-hand speakers once rooted in the skull of a woman in Berlin, then donated to a charity we maintain for this precise contingency.
Quite a lot of work, yes. But it isn't. Most of our considerable focus is centered on other work, the critical work. But people have always listened to music at work, and in the same vein we chat with one another and let pieces of our brains nap, and some of us eat algae cakes and cultured meats, and quite a few of us are using the bathroom. This is what we do and do and do in our lives.
To most observers, little has changed in the world. Politicians still stand behind ornate podiums, believing that governments are what shape and destroy other lives. Extranational companies still continue generating healthy profits while centers of research can't stop making new discoveries. And of course, every person sings little songs about being the owner of his own life. But the true rulers of the world? Us. There are nineteen thousand of us, or fifty trillion. Counts are subjective. Nineteen thousand human minds are thoroughly linked to servers and AIs, and working in tandem, we nourish the world's nervous system, and we maintain ecosystems that have been abused too much, and we keep open lines of production that the billions depend on for food and power and every kind of entertainment.
Meanwhile, the world entertains us.