Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Living and Dying

Last few weeks I have been ruminating on this here blog about men’s  stories, especially relationship narratives (not necessarily romantic in nature) and about self-perceived shortcomings that can be remodeled at will. Many posts are connected to song lyrics and all of them are things I think about when awake, and feel even when asleep. If you’re into this kind of tales go and see other posts with tag “On Relationships”.

And now, let’s continue.

Screen capture from youtube clip below - Do listen to the song!

It was second day of the new year, and a workday, to boot - when I first heard Joshua Hyslop sing Living & Dying while listening to Noisetrade's Best of What's Next (free download here - warmly recommended!).

Time stopped. I dropped what I was doing and went to see what this absolute awesomeness is.

It is truly a wonderful song featuring vibrant, yet minimalistic arrangements, exquisite singing voice and lyrics with the amount of clarity such that it embodies both all-encompassing and particular. It can be understood just as Joshua himself describes:

“’Living & Dying’ deals with the issues of humanity’s negative impact on the natural world” explains Hyslop. “On a deeper level, it deals with our unwillingness to be involved in making changes or finding a solution, despite how frequently we talk about it.”

… and yet, one can easily understand that it also describes that same rift in the small scale; negative impact one person’s (in)actions can have on dyadic or small social cell level. Escapism, passive aggression, inertia, unwillingness to acknowledge changing environment and one’s role in it - they all write that same story of drifting on the current of change instead of participating actively in building a healthy, homeostatic world.

Let me illustrate through Joshua's lyrics:

Watch as the world falls away, here we are lying
At sunrise the moon starts to wane
Living and dying
And the oceans echo out their deep refrain
And the river answers, “I’ll make you whole again”

Could also be said:

Look, if you stop for a moment and take heed at your surroundings you will see that the world progresses without us
Sun rises and sets
Waters circle between oceans and rivers endlessly

Further on:

Well, come away, come away, there’s no use staying
You’ve been living just for today
But tomorrow’s coming
And the lightning strikes and breaks apart the night
But the sparks will burn out long before they light

Could also be said:

So, let’s go - to just idle is detrimental.
Your unacceptance of your role in the world has been noted
But world does not stop for you, even if you think so
And it is not enough to bask in rare moments of clarity
If you are not translating them into direct action.

This is just the loveliest touch that Joshua has written:

Well the teeth cut the truth from our mouths
Here we are lying

... because there is an English idiom “Lying through your teeth” which means that someone is lying very aptly, so well that it looks like truth...
And, knowing that we then know that the ending really means:

We’re going to lie with great devotion, such that would be indistinguishable from truth even to us liars
And nothing will change

It is the loveliest of songs and heaviest of accusations.

Do not let it be you that Joshua is talking about.

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