No Headphones

Get a pair of earbud headphones and attach it to your computer or iPod. Jam the buds deep in your ear. Then put on a song you really like, something high energy where both channels are the same. Turn the volume up so you can’t hear anything else but the music. Now listen for a minute.

Where in your head is the sound coming from? If you are like me it’s being “simulated” somewhere in the middle of your head behind your eyeballs. When you hear something out of one ear it is not because you hear it just at that ear, it is because your brain is telling you that it is probably being heard in that ear. (It can be tricked, like with firetruck sirens in a city corridor.) Your ears just contain vibrating organs—the sound is processed in your brain and then made to feel like its coming from your ears. But when you put on headphones, you can bypass this locater function so it’s almost like the sound is coming from the same place as your thoughts, which have no choice but to take a break. And that is the reason why I don’t wear headphones. It blocks the world around me, limiting my observations and thinking. I will never understand why many owners of mp3 players choose to kill their thoughts at every opportunity they can. Assuming, of course, there is something to kill.

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