I don’t go out much these days, but when I do, it’s to the supermarket. I need to eat food to survive, and since I don’t grow my own food, I must buy it from the supermarket. Whenever I do go, assuming there isn’t someone yelling at me for not wearing a face mask, I hear music at a volume that is just loud enough for me not to ignore. For as long as I can remember, the supermarket has played music, not just supermarkets in the Washington DC area but every supermarket I’ve traveled to in over twenty states, and even around the world. Where did supermarkets get the idea to play music?
A professional consultant will claim that the music is amendable to business by putting customers in a desired mood that results in increased sales. A “study” with an N of 24 has deemed it, one that could not have possibly been double-blind or reproducible, and yet it is that conclusion which nearly every supermarket in the United States has willingly adopted without hesitation or protest so that when you go to the supermarket today, you will be forced to hear Lady Gaga and Katy Perry, or perhaps Chicago and Madonna. The music must feature electronic instruments and cherish a false idol such as romantic love or the notion of fun.
Father Seraphim Rose, in his superlative lecture series Orthodox Survival Course, commented that music in the supermarket is not an accident. There’s a purpose, a philosophy, behind it.
The same way with music and art — music especially since it’s so all-pervading in society; you go to supermarket and you get music. There’s a whole philosophy in back of why you get the kind of music you do in the supermarket; and you have to understand what this music is trying to do to you, what is back of it. There’s a whole philosophy to it.
You go into a supermarket and you’re subjected to music. You go out in the street and you’re subjected to the art — the buildings, the billboards, everything in the streets is the art of our times. And therefore since one has to be subjected to that, it’s better to be subjected to good, refined art than the barbarism which exists today.
Father Rose answers the question indirectly in his lectures: there is music in the supermarket because it takes your mind off God. The kind of music they play is not classical. It’s not Gregorian chant or Appalachian hymns—it’s the kind of music with worldly lyrics entwined in catchy melodies that lack the sort of beauty which would instinctually cause you to glorify God. The purpose of the music in the supermarket is to contribute to your eternal condemnation.
But how could that be? Such a plan would involve a massive conspiracy from the producers of the music, the singers, the distributors, the owners of the supermarkets and their district managers, the store managers, and even the store employees who are responsible for turning on the store music system every day at 8am. It would be impossible to get them to all consciously agree and coordinate to this Satanic plan, and to that sentiment I would agree. Truth is they don’t even know that a plan exists. They are part of the spirit of the times, and by not worshiping their Creator as we were told through the scriptures, they become unwilling participants in the evil one’s incredibly intricate system to condemn the world through every means at his disposal. A thought or impulse from the demons fills agnostic minds about creating or playing the music, and because they are not actively resisting evil and have no immunity to it, they make the choice to fill our ears with sounds that offer no profit to anyone’s soul.
If the music they play in the supermarket is meant to aid in our condemnation, to serve as one drop of water within a large bucket of apostasy, what else out there aims to do the same? Everything. Everything else that you see and experience, that bombards your senses and occupies your thoughts, that keeps your mind and heart away from Lord Jesus Christ, cumulates through these little drops, leading to a disastrous showing of a modern soul on the Day of Judgment.
Imagine the world, if you will, as a children’s arcade, filled with all sorts of games and amusements, but which contain absolutely nothing nourishing of substance. Our entire world, down to every last street, shop, and television commercial, is fashioned like the arcade, but it’s less an arcade and more a pigpen, filled with the stench of evil that we must actively resist, but of which we are doing a poor job. Many people will live and die in the pigpen, and refuse to accept—despite numerous opportunities—that there is an eternal world in the heavens. They will go into the grave as a soul that has not been purified, or one that does not even know what purity is. They went to the supermarket hundreds of times, and heard the music playing, and liked it enough that they wished it was louder. Even when not in the supermarket, they sought out the same music—anything to keep their minds away from the ultimate truth of why they exist—but it’s only when we close our ears to the music of the world do we really begin to live.
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