Sunday, November 11, 2007
Where Have All the Prophets Gone?
Thanks to Jimmy for reminding me about the Bob Dylan song "Masters of War". It's a truly great song that resonates now as much as it did in 1963 when it was written. Pearl Jam has done a great cover, which Jimmy also brought to my attention: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q2kk-v7NLr4. Anyway, as I said in my post yesterday we had some really good discussion over coffee and it was nice to have Siobhan there to add a little light from a younger generation. I know what she thinks about a lot of these issues because we've discussed it, but there seems to be a dichotomy between what she feels and what she can do about it. I think she sincerely cares about what's going on in the world around her; she sees the suffering and the hopelessness that is a real part of a lot of peoples lives, but I think she believes that she can't do anything about it. I know while she doesn't have a lot of sympathy for US soldiers that are fighting and dying in Iraq (she thinks they should have known better than to join the Army or whatever, a point I disagree with , but we'll leave that for some other time), she definitely feels for the innocent Iraqi's who never wanted us there in the first place and are now part of the death toll because of it. And not just the war, she has really strong feelings that to be able to withstand the coming energy crisis, as well as a lot of the other problems that will be her lot in her lifetime; in spite of the pity she might feel for others; she has to make sure that she and those she cares about make it, and if that means other people die well so be it. She knows that recycling and switching light bulbs and driving hybrids is not enough to save life as we know it. Anyway, it's not so much about the common good as a survival instinct is what I'm hearing. Which leads me back to the original point of "Masters of War". I have always wondered why there doesn't seem to be a poet who speaks to and for this generation on the issues that matter to them. The last band that I can think of besides Pearl Jam who brought attention to and tried to get people to act on issues was U2. There doesn't seem to be a political voice for this generation. I can't believe that they are so selfish that they just don't care enough, although I have to say that Siobhan believes that's the reason. Do all of them see their futures as a fight for survival in the mass of problems that preceding generations have left them, and that's all that matters? Is it so hopeless that there aren't even any prophets for this generation? Or are they being lulled into silence by other things before they gain their voices to speak out? Like the media; TV and advertising and all the other trash that's thrown at everyone everyday? Or is it because the end of the world truly is coming, and there are no prophets to speak because there is nothing to speak of? Have we as a race really lost our shot at repentance and reparation? I don't want to believe that. I prefer to think that it's something peculiar to this generation, and that it will pass and change into something better. As things change, as the media is silenced, as the structures fall apart, as the center comes undone those voices will awaken and there will be the leaders of the future as there was of the past. I don't know what I believe in anymore, but if there is some power out there I pray that it lets that be true.