After silence, that which comes nearest to expressing the inexpressible is music.
"Without music life would be a mistake," Nietzsche proclaimed in 1889. But although a great many beloved writers have extolled the power of music with varying degrees of Nietzsche's bombast, no one has captured its singular enchantment more beautifully than Aldous Huxley.
In his mid-thirties - just before the publication of Brave New World catapulted him into literary celebrity and a quarter century before his insightful writings about art and artists and his transcendent experience with hallucinogenic drugs - Huxley came to contemplate the mysterious transcendence at the heart of this most spiritually resonant of the arts. His meditations were eventually published as the 1931 treasure Music at Night and Other Essays.
In a magnificent essay titled "The Rest Is Silence" Huxley writes: From pure sensation to the intuition of beauty, from pleasure and pain to love and the mystical ecstasy and death - all the things that are fundamental, all the things that, to the human spirit, are most profoundly significant, can only be experienced, not expressed. The rest is always and everywhere silence.
Although Music at Night and Other Essays belongs in the sad cemetery of life-giving books that have perished out of print, used copies are still findable and very much worth finding.