Pop Culture

Music: The Great Unifier

It doesn’t take perfect vision to see that our country and our world are divided, or that this division seems to be getting worse every day. The current political climate, deep-rooted cultural differences and a variety of other factors are forcing us to pick sides rather than pick each other’s brains; to attack rather than understand; to take a stance rather than take a seat at the table. In an environment where these divisions are infiltrating every part of our lives, including our workplaces, friendships and even our families, many of us are struggling to find the universal things that bring us together rather than tear us apart; Recovery Unplugged Chief Strategy Officer Paul Pellinger recently shed some light on music’s role in bringing forth this much-needed unity.

In a recent conversation with Paul, he offered poignant insights regarding music’s power to unify people, heal emotional wounds and bring us to a place of sheer joy where differences take a backseat to experience. He even relayed some everyday examples in his own life outside of his work with Recovery Unplugged: “I was sitting in heavy traffic recently, which can get people heated enough without adding any other drama. On one side of me was a little Toyota Prius with a “Hillary” bumper sticker; on the other was a truck with a Trump sticker. We were all sitting, there visibly irritated by the traffic, when James Brown’s ‘I Feel Good’ came on my radio. I turned up the volume and looked left and right to see both of them bobbing their heads to the music. Eventually they even acknowledged each other and smiled. I don’t know if that exchange ever would have happened, were it not for the music.”

Paul also discussed a recent Snoop Dogg interview with Howard Stern, in which the rapper discussed music’s unifying impact on prison inmates, and how rap-battles were the one thing that seemed to bring different races together when he was on the inside. Finally Paul discussed how music instantly saved a potentially irritating start to a recent ski-trip with this family: “By the time we went to check in and get our supplies before heading toward the mountain, the line at the lodge was practically a mile long. Everyone was getting more annoyed by the minute. All of a sudden “Jump Around” by House of Pain started playing on the loudspeaker and people in line began dancing and reacting positively to the music. It was a clear illustration of music’s power to improve people’s moods and relieve tension.”

Music is everywhere and for everyone. No matter what else we have going on in our lives, how slighted or hurt we may feel by others or how disappointed we are with the state of the world around us; we can put on our favorite songs, or even just hit play on our car radios and immediately lose ourselves for a blissful and life-affirming few minutes. As more of us integrate music into our daily lives, the world undoubtedly will become a better and more unified place.

As the architect of a music-based treatment model that has helped thousands of people find their way to long-term recovery from drugs and alcohol, Paul offered inspiring stories of music’s power to unify. Now we want to hear from you. Recovery Unplugged is encouraging readers to offer their own first-hand accounts of how they’ve seen music unite people in this deeply divided world. Please reach out to our team on Facebook, Instagram and all of our other social media platforms so we can get a conversation going. We look forward to hearing your stories.

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