Where does aesthetic responsiveness arise? A prototype may well lie in the nonverbal emotional rapport and empathy of the earliest infant-parent interplay. Within this matrix are found, too, the rhythmic sing-song and syllables that universally comprise the rudiments of music and words. Reaching further back, there is the interactional synchrony that neonates manifest within twenty minutes of birth: they react to voices with synchronized movements (cited by Benzon, 2001). And still further, since auditory systems become active three to four months before birth, perhaps the fetus becomes entrained to speech patterns in utero. Little is known about any of this.
We know perhaps even less about the continuum between knowing and feeling. Or words and music. We do know that words and music are both rooted in the body. As Freud (1891) made clear in a number of his writings beginning with On Aphasia, every word has been bathed in sensory sources coming from parental speech and intonation. There is no such thing as a disembodied word.
Emboldened by recent neuroscience, it would seem more apparent than ever that cognition and feeling are basically inseparable and not only in infancy. In the course of development and the attrition of daily life they become more differentiated from each other.
It is a common problem of clinical practice to attempt to rejoin them and thereby help restore a sense of inner and outer wholeness without the danger of flooding. The early discovery of transference, then counter-transference, and now an increased sensitivity to intersubjectivity are among the tools in this direction.
As for words and music, words tend to cluster towards the knowing end of the intellect-feeling spectrum; music towards the opposite pole.