“O, what good is it to live
With nothing left to give
Forget but not forgive
Not loving all you see?
O, the streets you’re walking on
A thousand houses long
Well that’s where I belong
And you belong with me
Not swallowed in the sea.”
~ Swallowed in the Sea by Coldplay
There are some songs, like this one, that just hit a spot in you. I can’t explain why they do this, but they slap you in the face, and they make you think: “There’s a lot of people in this world who have less and have lost more than I have. What can I give to them?” Because even if you run out of physical, tangible things to give away, there are always gifts in your mind and your heart, if you have taken care to become that kind of a person. And you realize soon that nothing is about you, that there is a tie you have to other human beings, an inborn ability to help them, to become their brother and sister, so that if we had a correct picture, you would see the whole of humanity stumbling up a mountain, and every person would be holding someone else’s hand, or pausing to bind up each other’s feet. Idealistically.
But I have to interrupt my own thought, and I have to put it to rest, and realize that before we can paint that picture, we must have the model. Unlike a mirror, which falsifies its object by showing the exact opposite of what it sees and makes you believe it’s not, the artist would paint exactly what he saw, exactly what was there, with no pretending on the part of the subjects. The problem with dreamers is that we tend to dream of the results instead of how we get to them.
Because we are not naturally good. When I see a person who looks absolutely perfect, I remind myself: “Well, I bet they pulled their sister’s hair and scratched their brother when they were two. Those sinners!” And then I laugh. And then I blush, maybe, because I realized that I did that, and then I want to go hide so no one can see me because I think that they can see all my memories of all the horrible things I’ve done. But a line from a Muse song comes to mind: “I choose to hide from the All-Seeing Eye.” And I shrug my shoulders, thank God for his mercy and forgiveness, and trudge on.
I think the greatest lie in humanity is the lie that people tell themselves when they say: “I am alone.” And the lie that says you were meant to be alone. If only we were not deaf, we could hear each other’s voices, we could hear the birds, the wind, and we would realize that there is something out there, and then we would reach out our hands and still not feel anything, except a sense of fullness and satisfaction. For when you open your heart, you open it to a great danger, and that danger is that something might enter it, and when something enters it, everything you know, your whole life, all your plans, become the bits and pieces of a smashed monument: for when your heart is open, you no longer have the heart to live for yourself.
Songs like this make me want to create. They make me want to capture a quiet moment, a meaningful moment, and show it to the whole world. They make me want to catch images in my mind, and plaster them to the walls of my mind so that the force of their meaning will always be with me, staring me in the face wherever I go, and I will remember most of all that picture of humanity climbing the hill.