Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Ladies and Gentlemen, Mr. Solomon Burke...; Spaceship Earth, the other kind

I'm listening to a song, right now, that never fails to get me. "None of us are free, if one of us is in chains, none of us our free." By a very overlooked singer that goes by the handle of Solomon Burke.

My fiancee and I just re-watched the Sopranos. I know, there are two things everyone says to me right away. (I always seem to be talking about the things that everyone always says to me. Why is it?) One, is that there were a bunch of bad episodes "in the middle somewhere." But no one can name any of those episodes. The other thing is people say, "I think they all die at the end." Everyone's entitled to their opinions, even when they're wrong. But that's not what I want to talk about. If you've seen the last season, you'll know these words, "We go about in pity for ourselves, when all along a great wind carries us through the sky."

These kinds of things really resonate with me, because it seems painfully obvious to me that we're all in this together. Kinda like the whole Spaceship Earth thing, except not in an environmental kind of way. I think a lot of people pay lip service to this idea, but then go about their day, cursing the guy at Starbucks and their boss and the price of gas at the pump. We tsk tsk at China burning Tibet and get ready to watch our guys win at the Olympics.

I like to think that I'm helping people out, in my chosen profession. I like to think that songs that Mr. Burke's and shows like that of Mr. Chase spread a tiny morsel of insight to unsuspecting audiences. Maybe I can do that, some day. It has become out of fashion to read fiction, or (shudder) watch TV. Like that kind of empty entertainment is only a waste of our valuable time. Instead we could read yet another non-fiction book that tells us how right we already are. So we can all be reading the same book at networking events and see and be seen charity events.

Fiction is the single greatest crowning achievement of humanity.

Fiction lets us step, for however brief or imperfect a time, into another's role. To see the world through their eyes. To understand that our point of view is not the only point of view.

The very act of living vicariously through someone else, even someone fictional, is an act that makes it easier to feel like we are part of something larger. A part of something to which there is no whole.

The more we learn about how others live, the more we understand how we live, the more we understand others.

We're all in this together. It would be better if more of us started to act like it.

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