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#3993 - Wednesday, August 25, 2010 - Editor: Jerry Katz

The Nonduality Highlights - http://groups.yahoo.com/group/NDhighlights    


  Here's an article I found that turns psychological or even physical imprisonment, and pain, into art and there's liberation in that. Art, poetry, music is like an airplane that takes us above the gray clouds for a glimpse of the sun. It comes back down. Way back down. But we've seen the sun. Here's a fleet of planes for you to take ... even if you don't need them ... someone needs them ...      


   

Six Amazing Songs That Illustrate What it Means to Be Human

http://www.raptitude.com/2009/03/six-amazing-songs-that-illustrate-what-it-means-to-be-human/

by David on March 28, 2009

 

Music produces a kind of pleasure which human nature cannot do without. ~Confucius

I just took a look at CNN’s site and it was, as usual, boasting its favorite palette of troublesome nouns and verbs. Terror, death, murder,  destruction, Bush. People do bad things sometimes; it’s not really news, I know. But contrary to popular notions, I think war, exploitation and violence are not the results of our differences. Rather, they are the result of our most pervasive similarity: that we all suffer, and none of us want to.

No, these ‘news’ items aren’t new. They are the same patterns of anguish that have recurred continually throughout all cultures, across all generations: lost love, fear, alienation, self-loathing and jealousy. Being human just hurts sometimes. Despite our surface differences, we’re all in the same boat. We all want the same two things: to fulfill our desires and to avoid suffering. These two motivations, and the behavior they inspire, comprise the human condition. There is nobody on this earth with whom you don’t have at least those two things in common.

Linguistic and cultural barriers keep us from recognizing these two universal similarities in others, but there is a human invention that can circumvent all that. Music has been touted as the universal language, not only because all cultures create and celebrate it, but because music expresses themes that are truly universal: beauty, love, pain, and everything else it means to be human. As a communication medium it is unmatched at conveying emotion.

I find it fascinating, but also completely unsurprising, that music has developed in every single human culture. There seems to be an immutable need in our very DNA for us to find some way of expressing ourselves in rhythm. I am not much of a dancer, but when I hear music I feel a very visceral, physical urge to move my body to it. Whether you believe we’re products of evolution or divine creation, there is no question that there exists within us a deeply-rooted need to let our emotions resonate with rhythm. It’s a language we all know.

Music unites us by telling stories with which we can all identify. We all know love. We all know heartbreak. We all know what they feel like, and what they sound like.  Right at this moment, in every town in every country, there are people tapping their feet, sharing smiles, sobbing into their pillows, and falling in love to the sound of music.

I’ve compiled a short list of songs that, to me, embody the universal theme of what it means to be a living, breathing, loving and hurting human being.

Before you listen I have two requests.

First, I politely ask that you don’t ‘scan’ the songs, listening for a few seconds and then skipping to the next one.  Listen or don’t listen.  If you don’t have time right now, bookmark this post and listen later.  Halfhearted listening is not listening. Pay attention to the words.  These are people’s heartfelt stories.

And secondly, turn up the volume.  This is imperative.

We’ll start off with something familiar.

Gimme Shelter – The Rolling Stones

A dark testament to the desperate human need for security.  Off 1969's Let it Bleed, Gimme Shelter is a shining example of that visceral rock beat, and it happens to contain what I think is one of the coolest moments in rock: Merry Clayton’s incendiary vocal solo at 2:44.  If you listen to nothing else on this page, listen to that.  When her voice breaks at 3:03, you can hear the muffled cheer of someone behind the glass in the studio control room.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fhBpUJcpiCg

Oh, a storm is threat'ning
My very life today
If I don't get some shelter
Oh yeah, I'm gonna fade away

War, children, it's just a shot away
It's just a shot away
War, children, it's just a shot away
It's just a shot away

Ooh, see the fire is sweepin'
My very street today
Burns like a red coal carpet
Mad bull lost its way

War, children, it's just a shot away
It's just a shot away
War, children, it's just a shot away
It's just a shot away

Rape, murder!
It's just a shot away
It's just a shot away

Rape, murder!
It's just a shot away
It's just a shot away

Rape, murder!
It's just a shot away
It's just a shot away

The floods is threat'ning
My very life today
Gimme, gimme shelter
Or I'm gonna fade away

War, children, it's just a shot away
It's just a shot away
It's just a shot away
It's just a shot away
It's just a shot away
I tell you love, sister, it's just a kiss away
It's just a kiss away
It's just a kiss away
It's just a kiss away
It's just a kiss away
Kiss away, kiss away

Folsom Prison Blues – Johnny Cash

The most amazing part of this song is the crowd.  Recorded in Folsom Prison, you can hear the unabashed gratitude in the captive audience.  They’re elated to be there. Not to be doing time in prison, but to be there in that moment with the Man in Black, as he sings a little vignette of regret and shame.  The rapport between the prisoners and Johnny — certainly no saint himself — is almost tangible in the sound.  What a treat it must have been for an inmate, not just to see some precious live music for the first time in years, but to finally hear someone tell their story.  You can hear it in their cheers: each one knows he’s not perfect, and that he’s not the only one.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4T7sU3A2m18

I hear the train a comin'
It's rollin' 'round the bend,
And I ain't seen the sunshine,
Since, I don't know when,
I'm stuck in Folsom Prison,
And time keeps draggin' on,
But that train keeps a-rollin',
On down to San Antone.

When I was just a baby,
My Mama told me, "Son,
Always be a good boy,
Don't ever play with guns,"
But I shot a man in Reno,
Just to watch him die,
When I hear that whistle blowin',
I hang my head and cry.

I bet there's rich folks eatin',
In a fancy dining car,
They're probably drinkin' coffee,
And smokin' big cigars,
But I know I had it comin',
I know I can't be free,
But those people keep a-movin',
And that's what tortures me.

Well, if they freed me from this prison,
If that railroad train was mine,
I bet I'd move out over a little,
Farther down the line,
Far from Folsom Prison,
That's where I want to stay,
And I'd let that lonesome whistle,
Blow my Blues away.

Country Feedback – R.E.M.

A dismal portrait of a burned-out love affair, Country Feedback illustrates the malignant, unhealthy nature of dependent relationships.  Sometimes the clothes just don’t fit right anymore, and you need to be out.  Makes my heart cave in like the plastic-bag kid from American Beauty.

http://www.awefulmusic.com/music/REM-OutOfTime-CountryFeedback.mp3

This flower is scorched
This film is on
On a maddening loop
These clothes
These clothes don't fit us right
I'm to blame
It's all the same
It's all the same

You come to me with the phone in your hand
You come to me with your hair curled tight
You come to me with positions
You come to me with excuses
Decked out in a robe
You wear me out
You wear me out

We've been through fake-a-breakdown
Self hurt
Plastics, collections
Self help, self pain,
EST, psychics, fuck all
I was central
I had control
I lost my head
I need this
I need this
A paper weight, junk garage
Winter rain, a honey pot
Crazy, all the lovers have been tagged
A hotline, a wanted add
It's crazy what you could've had
It's crazy what you could've had
It's crazy what you could've had
I need
I need this
It's crazy what you could've had
It's crazy what you could've had
I need
I need this
It's crazy what you could've had
It's crazy what you could've had
I need
I, I need this
It's crazy what you could've had
I need this
It's crazy what you could've had
It's crazy what you could've had
I need this
I, I need this
It's crazy what you could've had
It's crazy what you could've had

My Body is a Cage – The Arcade Fire

As I was parting with a friend after having a pint at a bar and grill, he handed me this album and told me to listen to it on the way home, but skip right to the last song.  I was stunned, it blew me away. My Body is a Cage is a haunting portrayal of the agonies of self-consciousness and self-loathing.  Most inspiring though, is the implicit promise that these problems can be overcome.  The narrator knows he has the wisdom within him to escape, but for now he is in prison, locked away from his ability to love freely.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DXr3CCQPxJY

"My Body Is A Cage"

My body is a cage that keeps me
From dancing with the one I love
But my mind holds the key

My body is a cage that keeps me
From dancing with the one I love
But my mind holds the key

I'm standing on a stage
Of fear and self-doubt
It's a hollow play
But they'll clap anyway

My body is a cage that keeps me
From dancing with the one I love
But my mind holds the key

You're standing next to me
My mind holds the key

I'm living in an age
That calls darkness light
Though my language is dead
Still the shapes fill my head

I'm living in an age
Whose name I don't know
Though the fear keeps me moving
Still my heart beats so slow

My body is a cage that keeps me
From dancing with the one I love
But my mind holds the key

You're standing next to me
My mind holds the key
My body is a

My body is a cage
We take what we're given
Just because you've forgotten
That don't mean you're forgiven

I'm living in an age
That screams my name at night
But when I get to the doorway
There's no one in sight

My body is a cage that keeps me
From dancing with the one I love
But my mind holds the key

You're standing next to me
My mind holds the key

Set my spirit free
Set my spirit free
Set my body free

Lives – Modest Mouse

Singer Isaac Brock opens with a fundamental truth about humanity: Everyone’s afraid of their own lives / If you could be anything you wanted, you’d be disappointed, am I right? He understands the Unhappiness Script; that our own Hell comes from inside ourselves.  It’s hard to remember we’re alive for the first time, and simultaneously we’re alive for the last time. Why fight this?  I like this.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6oDxFoVEYr0&feature=

Everyone's afraid of their own life
If you could be anything you want
I bet you'd be disappointed, am I right?
No one really knows the ones they love
If you knew everything they thought
I bet that you'd wish that they'd just shut up
Well, you were the dull sound of sharp math
When you were alive
No ones gonna play the harp when you die
And if I had a nickel for every damn dime
I? have half the time, do you mind?
Everyone's afraid of their own lives
If you could be anything you want
I bet you'd be disappointed, am I right?
Am I right? And it? our lives
It's hard to remember, it? hard to remember
We're alive for the first time
It's hard to remember were alive for the last time
It's hard to remember, it? hard to remember
To live before you die
It's hard to remember, it? hard to remember
That our lives are such a short time
It's hard to remember, it? hard to remember
When it takes such a long time
It's hard to remember, it? hard to remember?My mom? God is a woman and my mom she is a witch
I like this
My hell comes from inside, comes from inside myself
Why fight this
Everyone's afraid of their own lives
If you could be anything you want
I bet you'd be disappointed, am I right?

A Hard Rain’s A-Gonna Fall – Bob Dylan

Saved the best for last.  I know I’m prone to hyperbole, but I think this may be the most poignant illustration of humanity my ears have ever heard.  This is not Dylan’s most well-known song, but I think it’s a masterpiece.

With gut-wrenching lines like I met a white man, he walked a black dog, and I met a young woman, her body was burning, a young Bob Dylan revealed his profound insight into humanity’s illnesses.  He just observed human nature at work, and echoed it back in crystal clear poetry.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gSr32dY8ApA

Oh, where have you been, my blue-eyed son ?
And where have you been my darling young one ?
I've stumbled on the side of twelve misty mountains
I've walked and I've crawled on six crooked highways
I've stepped in the middle of seven sad forests
I've been out in front of a dozen dead oceans
I've been ten thousand miles in the mouth of a graveyard
And it's a hard, it's a hard, it's a hard, and it's a hard
It's a hard rain's a-gonna fall.

Oh, what did you see, my blue eyed son ?
And what did you see, my darling young one ?
I saw a newborn baby with wild wolves all around it
I saw a highway of diamonds with nobody on it
I saw a black branch with blood that kept drippin'
I saw a room full of men with their hammers a-bleedin'
I saw a white ladder all covered with water
I saw ten thousand talkers whose tongues were all broken
I saw guns and sharp swords in the hands of young children
And it's a hard, it's a hard, it's a hard, and it's a hard
It's a hard rain's a-gonna fall.

And what did you hear, my blue-eyed son ?
And what did you hear, my darling young one ?
I heard the sound of a thunder, it roared out a warnin'
I heard the roar of a wave that could drown the whole world
I heard one hundred drummers whose hands were a-blazin'
I heard ten thousand whisperin' and nobody listenin'
I heard one person starve, I heard many people laughin'
Heard the song of a poet who died in the gutter
Heard the sound of a clown who cried in the alley
And it's a hard, it's a hard, it's a hard, it's a hard
And it's a hard rain's a-gonna fall.

Oh, who did you meet my blue-eyed son ?
Who did you meet, my darling young one ?
I met a young child beside a dead pony
I met a white man who walked a black dog
I met a young woman whose body was burning
I met a young girl, she gave me a rainbow
I met one man who was wounded in love
I met another man who was wounded in hatred
And it's a hard, it's a hard, it's a hard, it's a hard
And it's a hard rain's a-gonna fall.

And what'll you do now, my blue-eyed son ?
And what'll you do now my darling young one ?
I'm a-goin' back out 'fore the rain starts a-fallin'
I'll walk to the depths of the deepest black forest
Where the people are a many and their hands are all empty
Where the pellets of poison are flooding their waters
Where the home in the valley meets the damp dirty prison
Where the executioner's face is always well hidden
Where hunger is ugly, where souls are forgotten
Where black is the color, where none is the number
And I'll tell and think it and speak it and breathe it
And reflect it from the mountain so all souls can see it
Then I'll stand on the ocean until I start sinkin'
But I'll know my songs well before I start singin'
And it's a hard, it's a hard, it's a hard, and it's a hard
It's a hard rain's a-gonna fall.

Readers, I would love to hear the songs that speak humanity to you.  When I’ve got enough suggestions, I’ll find and embed the songs in a new post.

Rock on friends, our future may depend on it.

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http://www.raptitude.com/2009/03/six-amazing-songs-that-illustrate-what-it-means-to-be-human/

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