Music, Cars and Multiple Worlds

(Doc asked that I listen to some of his music while writing this. If you would care to listen to it while reading, you can find it here)

“Doc” Mike Woods loves Jazz. In fact, Doc loves jazz so much that he devoted his entire life to studying, writing, and teaching it. Doc also happens to be a pretty big gear head, and according to him – music and cars, they ain’t so different.

So, why are cars not too different from music? Well according to Deepak Chopra (whose writings Doc ascribes to highly), there are four worlds that we exist in. The fourth we’ll throw out due to lack of relevance and for economy of words, but the first world is the world of objects. The 1982 Porsche 911 SC is about 15 feet long, 7 feet wide and 5 ish feet tall - those generally unchanging properties, that's the first realm. The second is the “quantum world”, but not anything to do with the bizarre physics that the Discovery channel likes to spew about. In the second world, a car can be moving forward, backwards, tearing through a corner, or cruising. In all cases, according to the first realm, it is still the same Porsche, but in the second realm, that one first realm object is inhabiting different states.

The third world is the virtual world, where objects can affect other objects without having a visual cause and effect. And that’s where the magic happens. So that emotional state that the car puts Doc in when cruising through town looking cool as a cat - that's the sort of stuff that makes up the virtual world.

And for Doc, both music and cars allow him to traverse those three worlds at once. An upright bass is an object that has dimensions and has multiple states, but when Doc uses that instrument to play that song that makes you tear up – well “it’s not the song I’m playing anymore – It’s the meaning”.

What is really nice about the Deepak Chopra multiple worlds model, is that it makes really clear why Doc loves his car. For realms one and two (physical dimensions and states), there is a very strong argument that your typical econobox four-door people-mover can accomplish almost everything that the Porsche can. It’s that third realm where the Porsche blows away the Honda Accords and Toyota Camrys out there. To push all of this a little further, this entire multi-realm model helps understand how objects and services are valued.

For example, right now a comparable Porsche goes for about $25,000. But if you were to walk up to Doc with $30, $40, even $50K, he would laugh at you. The reason being is that Doc picked this car to give him the greatest third realm experience possible. The Porsche lacks power steering, it has been freed from the power sapping air conditioning system, and he makes very well sure that all four wheels are covered with very sticky rubber. His reason being that every little device that gets between him and Porsche subtracts from that third realm value and literally cheapens the car. 

It is extremely clear how much he enjoys driving the Porsche though. Despite its very well maintained appearance, you can see the miles in the details. There's a few rock chips here, some corrosion spots in the wheels there, and every time a part breaks down on the car Doc replaces it with a better aftermarket one.

As a result, he has ended up with a rather eclectic series of modifications on the car. He has swapped in a lighter, aluminum flywheel, bolted in a strut tower brace in the front, replaced the exhaust pipe with a larger diameter one, upgraded the brakes, and swapped on a set of shiny chrome rims. If that wasn't enough to demonstrate the magnitude of Doc's personal appraisal of that car, then how about this. Remember from above how Doc would laugh at $50K? Well in order to wipe that smile off of his face you'd better come with a million dollars, because Doc was adamant that he wouldn't part with the car for less.

And that's the thing about valuations - it states how important something is. Whenever you get a pay raise your employer is essentially stating that you are that much more important to them. When Maria Sharapova earned $10 million more than Serena Williams from endorsers, even though Serena has beaten Maria 19 out of the 21 times they have played each other, the endorsers are saying that they get more advertising value out of supporting Maria than Serena. Similar to Doc, John in my last piece would never ever part with his Bel Air or his 1948 Ford, because as a tie to the past they are literally priceless.

For each person, every object has a different value, and that value can tell you a little about both the person and the object. When it comes to objects as expensive and essential as cars, especially ones that the owner has modified, it can say a lot about both person and car. Exploring that link – well that’s what this website is all about.