Philosophy in a song
I’m a great believer in popular music. It has directed many of my travels: along Route 66, to Luckenbach, Texas, to New York, New York, Istanbul (not Constantinople), and wonderful, wonderful Copenhagen.
Finding meaning in some songs is difficult. It seems that some of the best and most popular tunes have lyrics that are opaque as well as catchy. I have no idea what meaning to find in Paul McCartney’s Mull of Kintyre, but I loved the song, a huge hit for him in 1977.
The hit song Africa by Toto in 1982 was similar. Great song, but what did it mean? I still don’t know, but one verse leaps out at me now:
The wild dogs cry out in the night
As they grow restless longing for some solitary company
I know that I must do what’s right
As sure as Kilimanjaro rises like Olympus above the Serengeti
I seek to cure what’s deep inside, frightened of this thing that I’ve become.
I left my brains down in Africa
I’m not sure of the wild dogs seeking “solitary company”, but the truth of the verse hit me recently.
Sometimes – well, most times – the right, the wise, the ethical way of doing something is as clear and unmistakable as a mountain, “rising like Olympus”, home of the gods.
But all too often, we do something else. Deep inside, we find that we choose a path that is selfish, lazy, hateful.
There is a piece of philosophical advice that I love: “Ask yourself, what would a wise person do?”
We don’t always have a wise person – such as my wife – on tap, at the other end of the telephone. But we do know what a wise person would say, and they would counsel against the thoughtless, idle, indulgent path. We just know it, deep inside.
Bonus Leica photo
Here is a shot of Misty, with a fresh wound under her eye. We’re lamenting the demise last year of Jem, our neighbours’ cat, a gentleman cat, a top cat in the backyards around us.
He and Misty maintained a frosty relationship that never reached violence. But since he’s gone, a number of contenders have sprung up, and they beat up on our gentle puss.
I took this shot of Misty sitting by the window, looking pensively out at the hostile territory. Shot wide open at ƒ1.7, pushing all but her face out of focus. Helped along by her fluffy coat, of course.
I must talk more about my new camera, but for now, let’s just note that it is a delight, and I love it. I’m off travelling again next month, and I’m hoping to bring back some keepers.
(Image credit: Ninara on Flickr)