I’m not sure that I could identify myself as an overly emotional person.
If you know me as well as my immediate family, that statement probably sounds like an outright lie. Growing up, I was always quick to cry (a source of constant frustration, being a male). Even random conversations that resulted in seemingly little in the way of serious repercussions resulted in a teary-eyed mess. Anything from being chastised for being late for work to attending a good friend and co-worker’s pre-funeral viewing, and I was simply put out of commission. I can recall many angry and upsetting conversations around the time I entered college, particularly centered around issues of my waning faith, though surrounded by issues of a changed family situation and self-inflicted doubts and pressures.
But my statement still stands. I’m not sure that I could identify myself as an overly emotional person.
Why is it that I still make this statement, despite the previous paragraph that clearly lays out constructive reasoning for determining why, in contrast, I am an emotional person?
Perhaps this feeling stems back to my view of God and the Christian faith I follow. While I’ve had many emotional experiences relating to my views of God, I don’t know that I can say that I’ve ever directly felt the emotion of God directed toward me (though, perhaps, with the exception of the feeling of peace that said God exists and looks to my best interests). When, during worship songs, people raise their hands high at the apex of a piece of music, I’ve never felt the inclination to join. When I visited Japan on a missions trip, I can’t say I ever felt the oppressive atmosphere that several members claimed to feel in the shrines and temples (that is not to say they didn’t exist as much as I simply did not feel them, though that debate is another topic for another article). I even remember in a psychology class, the professor taking a poll and asking, “Do you believe that God [assuming He exists] is as emotional as people make him out to be?” My overwhelming response, of course, was “no!”
Although the Bible often personifies God with human characteristics, particularly emotions, I have, as I have matured in my beliefs, held fast to the idea that God is not the being that is so often caricatured by modern Christianity. Emotions are, of course, not inherently bad. If that were the case, the Bible would not personify God with them so frequently, nor would they be such integral parts of certain passages. However, He is an indescribable being. He is one without existence in time or space, one without substance that can be analyzed in our limited three dimensions (oh, how I want to reference Ever17!), and surely one that can only be moderately understood through analogies.
Now Japes, all this lofty and pretentious talk of human emotion and the nature of God is well and fine, but where does Miku fall into it? Thank you for asking, attentive reader! Let me direct your attention to one of Mitchie M’s newest Vocaloid creations, “Burenai Ai De”:
If you’ve read any of my articles here on Beneath the Tangles before, particularly this one, my love of Vocaloid and its surrounding culture comes as no surprise. For likely no good reason, I was absolutely obsessed with this video upon release. After dozens and dozens of re-watches, I still enjoy the video. The combination of shamelessly catchy J-Pop rhythm and melody with eye-popping visuals, fun choreography, and Mitchie M’s incredible talent for tricking the ear into thinking it is listening to a human vocalist, the song is nothing short of a masterpiece… one that does not innovate in the world of music and music video composition, opting instead to improve upon each of its parts to becoming something more altogether, but a masterpiece nonetheless.
However, its brilliance is nothing more than my wonderfully flawed opinion. And the wonderful thing about that is that your wonderfully flawed opinion can exist in complete contrast to mine! And what primary aspect of human psychology affects these wonderfully flawed opinions? Emotion.
For some reason, which I have yet to entirely nail down, I react extremely positively to this video. More positively, in fact, that I have responded to a piece of explicitly Christian worship music in years. And just as when I consume any media that creates a positive emotional reaction within me, I was brought back to reflections on my creator. How wonderful is it that we can live in a world where something as outlandish as a fictional pop star with blue hair that reaches the floor and a voice more akin to a chipmunk’s than an android’s can have this effect? Surely this is no proof for God, nor would I ever try to make it one, but if God exists, isn’t that something worth being thankful for… that God would create a world that He called good where something this alien can be created and freely enjoyed?
All of this came to light during a mandatory chapel service at my university (we have three of them a week and we call them “convocations” because we’re cool like that). Although I usually give in to peer pressure and stand during all of the songs, it is a rare occasion that I audibly sing along with the praise music played at the beginning of every service. Generally, I opt to coolly read the lyrics and process them, or pray, or even just think about the day. Again, this is because of my general lack of emotional response. However, one morning the band started with a song unlike any I had heard played by them before. Regrettably, I no longer remember the title (which shows my attentiveness to the Christian music scene), but I will never forget how I felt as they played the song.
I felt nearly exactly as I felt watching and obsessing over my silly Vocaloid music video.
So where did this leave me? Well, as I see it, there can be two conclusions. On one hand, there is the possibility that the song was nothing more than a play on emotions, and the fact that I responded to it as I did “Burenai Ai De” was evidence that the song was not appropriate for the context of worship. However, on the other hand, there is the possibility that secular music and “sacred” music can be equally effective in helping us to appreciate what we believe, which is what I tend to believe. Or, perhaps I am entirely wrong altogether!
In the end, I am nothing more than a Christian otaku, trying desperately to marry his beliefs and his interests.
So what do you think? Have you had a similar experience? Am I completely off-base?? Let us know in the comments!