Inner Michael » Deliberately Unforgettable

Deliberately Unforgettable

When we think of the unforgettable characters in history and pop culture, we are remembering characteristics that give them color. We might say:”he was a colorful character” or “he was larger than life.”

What is meant by “color?” It usually means a reference to something or someone that has depth and dimensionality. It is colorful and deep or meaningful. Someone is memorable because they leave a strong impression in the minds of those impacted. Someone is memorable because our brains are pleasantly stimulated and the individual “speaks to us.” Speaking to us in a neurological language makes a powerful and lasting impression.

Neurolinguistic Programming is a kind of science that studies how people process information, there are three primary ways that people take in, process and comprehend information. While one can process in a variety of ways, one method is usually dominant:

Visual (Observing and holding a visual picture in one’s mind.)

Auditory (Hearing and understanding through the spoken word or via sounds.)

Kinesthetic (Feeling or hands-on learning.)

People who are primarily auditory will have acute hearing and will remember things by talking about them or hearing conversations. Auditory people learn by hearing instructions or listening to descriptions. They are sound people and listen to the radio and recordings. They learn through hearing and lecture. Those who are kinesthetic will feel their way through situations and will be outstanding with the concepts of placement in space and 3-dimensionl representations. They learn by doing via demonstrations or with hands-on access. And those who are visual people rely on their eyes and observation to understand something. They watch events, movements and images. Their memory is mostly visual and they learn through watching.

How people process is sometimes encoded in their language:

“I see what you are saying.” (Visual person)

“I heard you loud and clear.” (Auditory person)

“I sense that you are a bit uncomfortable with that.” (Kinesthetic person)

There are people whose brains can and do process through all three modes of operation- Michael Jackson was one of those people. Ever the artist, he certainly captures all three modes in his work. It may be that his hearing and auditory senses were the most acute but he engaged the others with almost equal command and passion.

Michael was all about sound. He experimented with different kinds of sounds and textures of sounds. Hidden in “Earth Song,” for example, there are animal sounds mixed in the recording produced in the studio. One can hear grunts of animals and the trumpeting of elephants. He used unusual sounds like breaking glass and even reportedly recorded his voice through PVC piping. He is said to have lain down on a bed to get the correct sound for one of his ballads.

I suspect there are many kinds and colors of sound incorporated in the final incarnations of Michael’s recordings. Michael encodes a great deal in sound. He understood the texture and color of sound and even commissioned sound engineers to go out and get sounds from nature and challenged them to create or incorporate sounds never before heard with the human ear.

Frank Cascio said in an interview that Michael even chose his clothing according to texture and the sound it made. He loved the sound of corduroy. Watching Michael rehearsing or in concert is a study in sound. His ears were sensitive to all sound as he spoke of the sound coming through the “inner ears” during the rehearsal of This Is It as so harsh that it felt like a fist pounding at his ears. Yet, the sound board and studio where Michael recorded that was built especially for him was usually cranked to full throttle when he said “hurt me” meaning to crank it so that it pummeled his body with the amplified physical vibration of the sound.

Michael was equally adept at visual artistry. He understood aesthetics and how emotionally evocative are images. He knew how to code a particular mood or meaning not only with an image—his and others, but also with a look. Michael understood fully that the eyes are windows to the soul and to the inner sanctum of humans. He used his own eyes well—their intense dark color; he even enhanced his own eyebrows to make his gaze even more intense. And I believe he was a master of Shaktipat—affecting others and communicating knowledge with the eyes through silent eye contact.

The aesthetics of his album covers are important to understand the mood and message of the music. He chose the artists and the art carefully. The most mysterious of his covers is the “Dangerous” album. One can extract much meaning by a study of that cover. It says a great deal about who Michael was and about his wealth of knowledge. He understood the power of subliminals and of art. There is much yet to discover about Mr. Jackson. One can almost see and hear him laughing as the decoding continues as it will, long into his forever legacy.

Michael’s short films use color, objects, lighting, placement, movement and particular encoded visuals for the overall effect and the message of the video. Michael has something to say and he says it through images. He was a master at iconic image: the sequined glove, for example is consummate iconic Michael imagery.

He played with the emotions of his audiences with visuals mixed with sound and applied with kinesthetics. One of his most famous concert skits was a depiction of war by bringing a tank on stage, using a bridge, explosives and sometimes the sound and lights of a helicopter. The audience “felt” it.

Michael Jackson’s work appealed to every Neurolinguistic pathway and was a sensory orgy for those who experienced it. It spoke to all people and at all levels of interpretation and understanding. Everybody got the message directly or subliminally through a kind of Neurolinguistic amalgamation by osmosis. Sheer alchemy.

A dancer can’t dance without being totally immersed kinesthetically. Great dancers let the music dictate how the physical frame bends and moves and lets it carry them into other realms—often identifying so deeply as to become one with it or become the music itself. They merge with the music, the experience of movement, the body, the sound, the feel, the location in space and the in between spaces.

Michael also knew how to use motion to speak to his audience. He wisely developed signature poses and movements that no one else could or would mimic. A silhouette visual in the tradition of an inkblot will reveal instantly that the subject is Michael. The on toes pose is probably the most recognized of those. The crotch grab, the signature fedora hat, the signature nodding, the hand gestures, the spin, the stalking the spotlight, tape on the fingers, are all things that Michael, and no other, could do and get away with. Nobody will ever wear the fedora, sequined jacket and crystal glove again.

Michael could use movement to create non-movement and make people quiver with anticipation. He could hold them spellbound with that vibrato, the vocal range, movements that were so effortless to mimic levitation, his costuming and choreography. Nobody but Michael could hold the Superbowl audience in suspension and cheering for more than a whole minute before making one move on stage. He used that same brand of drama while singing ballads on stage—crouching and weeping for real or for shtick during concerts while women in the audience went mad.

Michael Jackson was an artist in and for multiple genres, an accomplished artist and a master of magic—in the three languages of the brain. He was a master of communication without saying a word. He lives iconic in the brains of multiple generations and in the multi-lingual memory in the neural pathways of the collective. Michael says in “Michael:” ‘I am forever.’ He knew exactly what he was saying—he managed to be unforgettable. Deliberately unforgettable.


  1. Joyce said . . .

    Thanks so much Rev. Barbara,
    You have perfectly described the amazing, unforgettable magic of Michael Jackson! When I listen to his music or interviews, watch his concerts, short films etc., or read any of his beautiful thoughts and words, every single one of my senses are awakened.
    I love listening to his music with headphones so I can really hear every one of Michael’s vocal inflections and layering of sound that is in each song. If you read Bruce Swedien’s Book, “In the Studio with Michael Jackson” you really get an understanding of Michael’s genius in using sound to make people “Feel” his music! That “feeling” is indescribable to me. It goes right to my soul!

    I also remember hearing a choreographer describe that when Michael danced he never counted as most dancers do. He truly felt the magic of every note and when we watch him we also feel that same magic. He could be on stage with 20 dancers and I only see him! You are so right about his ability to hold an audience in the palm of his hand with just one movement or one look. It is impossible to not be mesmerized by his amazing, soulful, intense eyes.

    I also have to mention that apparently if one was lucky enough to actually be in close proximity to Michael, he apparently smelled incredible as well! It was mentioned by several dancers in the interviews on “This Is It” and I have heard it in some other interviews as well. So Michael even had the ability to arouse our sense of smell! I wish I could have experienced that first hand!

    I know that I will never stop listening to, watching, and most importantly “Feeling” the incredible magic of Michael Jackson. He will never stop inspiring and amazing me. As you so perfectly quoted from “Best of Joy” on MICHAEL He is “FOREVER”!

    Posted January 29, 2011 at 9:09 pm | Permalink
  2. Dalia Burgos said . . .

    I visualize Michael as a spider weaving its network carefully until it reaches the insect and without further falls in their networks. Or as the snake hypnotizing its prey to catch it without resisting. I feel so delivered to the charm of his person, amazed to see how one person can mean so much in every way. When I see him dancing he is the genius that nobody can match. When singing is something to discuss, his voice is sweet, wonderful, perfect and is also accompanied by a feeling that makes that voice is as brought from heaven. Singing is not only for singing is perfection itself in the interpretation. All accompanied by an image to tell us something, that says a lot without words. The symbols, images that carry a message. When I hear singing in the solitude of my car while driving, I get so excited because the chorus are also his voice and the way they are arranged and mixed. I do not think this was deliberate but the result, the impact of his art creates in me, bounces, as the recipient and becomes emotion. But as well you have said, much of it is deliberate to make an impact, convey a positive message taking advantage of that power. God bless you Barbara.

    Posted January 29, 2011 at 10:48 pm | Permalink
  3. Jan said . . .

    A sensory orgy … yes … what fantastic imagery! Thanks!

    Posted January 30, 2011 at 12:27 am | Permalink
  4. Heidi said . . .

    Michael was a true Magi, an alchemist in every sense who is STILL able to continue his work of transformation. To continue to watch him and listen to his work is to continue to be transformed and healed on levels our human brains can’t even comprehend. Not only for personal transformation, but for global ascension as well. He knew his mission, he knew his minisry, and he was fully equipped to accomplish it. And the fact that he dropped the body does not diminish or alter “the plan” one bit! [Indeed. ~Rev. B. ]

    Posted January 30, 2011 at 2:31 am | Permalink
  5. Sue Springer said . . .

    Thank you Rev. B. This is so perfect. He was magic – there will be no other, because he is not only a part of our psyche, but a part of our souls. The music, the performances, the lovely man, and the messages — all interwined in our hearts and in our souls — and waiting for the generations to come. What a stunning gift and legacy. Love and peace.

    Posted January 30, 2011 at 5:20 am | Permalink
  6. Josephine said . . .

    Beautifully written! Michael Jackson really was simply magic he understood the human feeling and how to spread his message across even without saying a word. I agree with his song “Best of Joy” he is forever. He will never be forgotten; he truly was one of a kind.

    Posted January 30, 2011 at 4:29 pm | Permalink
  7. Rosario said . . .

    Thank you Rev. Barbara for helping us understand why Michael’s music, dance, short films, art, and overall performance deeply impacted our hearts and lives after experiencing it. He was magnificently gifted with skills in the visual, auditory, and kinesthetic modes of operation. This extraordinary gift made him deliberately unforgettable.

    Posted January 31, 2011 at 2:11 am | Permalink
  8. lmat said . . .

    My mind keeps going back to that little kid on Ed Sullivan so many years ago. Even at that young age with his pink hat to the side, Michael imprinted. Over 40 years later, I can visualize that moment as clear as if it occured yesterday. For me, it is the first of many images and impressions burned in my mind’s eye and memory surrounding Michael Jackson. Swirling around those snapshots is that grand music accompanying the dance of a gorgeous and sensual creature. And all by ddesign of a master showman with a genius for the unique and original.

    Posted January 31, 2011 at 11:09 pm | Permalink
  9. Souldreamer7 said . . .

    Great post and Thank you! (I’ve felt some major tribal vibes over the last week.. I wonder who is sending those out) With Love, souldreamer

    Posted February 2, 2011 at 5:36 am | Permalink
  10. Kim said . . .

    Yes magic is a word that describes Michael and his art that he so deliberately and lovingly shared with us. Your words described Michael beautifully. I will read them over and over just so I can take in the imagery. Namaste.

    Posted February 4, 2011 at 2:30 am | Permalink
  11. gertrude said . . .

    Seriously, when the time comes I think every essay on this site should go into one book. I believe it will rocket to the top of the New York Times best seller list and people will finally get the eyefull they should have had about Michael all along. If I was editing it, I would consider arranging the essays most recent to the first ones written being at the end of the book. Then the reader will swallow everything they should about Michael without balking at having their most common misperceptions rightfully debunked, as the earlier essays are more focussed on doing. just sayin’ (smile)

    Posted February 5, 2011 at 5:32 pm | Permalink
  12. Susanne said . . .

    What a beautiful well written article. Michael was magical, and had the heart of a saint. May his legacy go on forever, enriching the generations to come, with his gift’s of music and dance. But most of all, his legacy should include, his extraordinary humanitarian work through his life..

    Posted February 7, 2011 at 11:41 pm | Permalink

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