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This is Freedom Essay 45
Prophetic songs —
and the symbolism of the rising sun
Written by Jeremy Griffith, 2017
Apart from romance, the greatest of all themes of our best songwriters has been the dream of humanity one day finding the fabulously liberating and transforming understanding of our species’ good-and-evil-stricken human condition. And the image songwriters invariably reach for to express this dream is the rising sun—because light symbolises knowledge and its ability to defeat the darkness of ignorance; with the ultimate ignorance being of ourselves, understanding of our troubled human condition. (See Video/F. Essay 3 for the breakthrough explanation of the human condition.)
Which is why there was only ever one image that could emblazon the cover of FREEDOM: The End Of The Human Condition, presenting, as it says, ‘the redeeming, reconciling, rehabilitating biological explanation of the human condition that brings about this dreamed of dawn of understanding and ends all the suffering and conflict on Earth’.
To help grasp the magnificence of just what it is that FREEDOM delivers, consider the lyrics of some of our best songwriters as they utilised the image of the rising sun to describe our species’ bondage, and the glorious dawn of freedom’s arrival.
Before presenting these prophetic amazingly revealing and exciting lyrics, the following extract from my book Freedom Expanded: Book 1 about lyrics like these should be included: “It is relevant to note the phenomenal consistency of description and imagery in all these lyrics, such as of the rising sun representing the arrival of the dreamed of liberating knowledge about our troubled condition. While the anticipation of our species’ freedom was clearly something we, for the most part, had to block out of our mind because it made living with the truth of our estrangement or alienation from our species’ original all-loving instinctive self or soul (see pars 258 and 287 of FREEDOM) and the resulting terrible emptiness of our existing soul-dead, Plato’s-cave-dwelling lives too unbearable (see the description of Plato’s cave in Video/F. Essay 11), it was, nevertheless, a fabulously exciting hope and dream that we have all carried just below the surface of our conscious awareness. As such we couldn’t access it by simply deciding to try to think about it—usually it had to bubble up from underneath our much-reinforced protective, defensive, denial-dependent, superficial, everyday state of awareness. Poetry and song have been marvellous vehicles for allowing this to occur because in their creation we allowed our mind to, as it were, semi-disconnect from its protective denial and simply let rhyme and rhythm express thoughts and emotions it otherwise wouldn’t.
It should also be mentioned that while the anticipation of our species’ liberation from the human condition exists in everyone just below the surface of their conscious awareness, on the occasion/s that it did bubble up and break through to the surface it usually wasn’t long before that awareness was once again repressed; it had to be, because, as I said, it made living with the terrible emptiness and darkness of our existing lives too unbearable. The result of this limited access to the truth of another, human-condition-free state, is that some of the composers of the songs that will be mentioned here have, in later life, denied the suggestion that there was any prophetic element to words that were written in their inspired youth and/or in an inspired state. I once read somewhere Bob Dylan saying something to that effect about his earlier songs. Again, the problem with any acknowledgment of another wonderful, human-condition-free world, was that it made living with the terrible estrangement from our original instinctive self or soul and the resulting emptiness of our existing lives too unbearable. Obviously some individuals have been more capable than others of accessing the truths that the human race, as a whole, has had to repress. As is about to be described, Jim Morrison, John Lennon, Bob Dylan and Bono were and are four exceptionally truth-revealing, prophetic songwriters.”
To provide then some lyrics from our greatest songwriters: in his 1970 anthem Who’ll Stop The Rain, Creedence Clearwater Revival’s John Fogerty, wrote: ‘Long as I remember, the rain’s been coming down. Clouds of mystery pouring confusion on the ground. Good men through the ages trying to find the sun [there’s the sun, namely understanding]. And I wonder, still I wonder, who’ll stop the rain.’
Given Fogerty’s agonising words about the desperate need to ‘find the sun’ and solve the ‘mystery pouring confusion on the ground’ of our corrupted, ‘fallen’, broken, soul-destroyed, bewildered and lost human condition, the following lyrics from Billy Joel, Tracy Chapman and Sir Bob Geldof should be included because they describe just how virtually impossible it has been for humans to confront the fearful issue of our ‘good and evil’ conflicted human condition and by so doing find the holy grail of the reconciling, unifying and healing explanation of it—the explanation that now appears in FREEDOM. Firstly, in his 1993 song, River of Dreams, Billy Joel wrote: ‘In the middle of the night I go walking in my sleep, from the mountains of faith… through the valley of fear… through the jungle of doubt… through the desert of truth… to the river so deep… that is runnin’ to the promised land [where we can finally understand ourselves] … but the river is wide and it’s too hard to cross… I try to cross to the opposite side so I can finally find what I’ve been looking for… I’ve been searching for something taken out of my soul.’
And in her 1995 album New Beginning, which has a sunflower on its cover, Tracy Chapman wrote and sang: ‘The world is broken into fragments and pieces that once were joined together in a unified whole… The whole world’s broke and it ain’t worth fixing. It’s time to start all over, make a new beginning… Change our lives and paths, create a new world… There’s too much fighting, too little understanding… We need to… make a new [truthful, sun-drenched with understanding] language, with these we’ll define [explain] the world and start all over.’
Another of Tracy Chapman’s songs, Why?, from her 1986 album Tracy Chapman, is so prophetic its lyrics simply have to be included: ‘Why do the babies starve, when there’s enough food to feed the world. Why when there’re so many of us, are there people still alone. Why are the missiles called peace keepers, when they’re aimed to kill. Why is a woman still not safe, when she’s in her home. Love is hate, war is peace, no is yes, and we’re all free. But somebody’s gonna have to answer, the time is coming soon, amidst all these questions and contradictions, there’re some who seek the truth. But somebody’s gonna have to answer, the time is coming soon, when the blind remove their blinders, and the speechless speak the truth.’
And in his 1986 album with the appropriate title Deep in the Heart of Nowhere, Sir Bob Geldof wrote and sang, ‘What are we going to do because it can’t go on… This is the world calling. God help us’, and ‘These days are growing colder now, the light is growing dim… Searching through their sacred books for the holy grail of “why”, but the total sum of knowledge knows no more than you or I.’
Jim Morrison and The Doors’ 1968 song Waiting for the Sun contains these lyrics that anticipate the arrival of the ‘promised land’ and the ‘new beginning’ of the sunlit ‘new world’ where we have the answer to the ‘holy grail of “why”’, namely where we have found ‘understanding’ of the human condition: ‘At first flash of Eden [a human-condition-free world], we race down to the sea. Standing there on freedom’s shore, waiting for the sun [there’s the title of FREEDOM and the sun metaphor together!]; waiting for the sun; waiting for the sun… Waiting for you to tell me what went wrong [waiting to explain our good-and-evil-stricken human condition]’. Similarly, in their 1966 song Break On Through, Morrison wrote: ‘the day destroys the night, night divides the day [understanding defeats ignorance]… break on through to the other side [to a human-condition-understood-and-ameliorated new world]’.
The writers of the 1967 rock musical Hair similarly pleaded to ‘Let the sunshine in’, and also looked forward to the time of ‘Harmony and understanding, sympathy and trust abounding. No more falsehoods or derisions, golden living dreams of visions, mystic crystal revelation and the mind’s true liberation [from the human condition]. Aquarius!… As our hearts go beating through the night, we dance unto the dawn of day, to be the bearers of the water, our light [of understanding] will lead the way.’
The 1967 song San Francisco is recognised as the unofficial anthem of the counter culture movement of the 1960s, a counter culture that was actually anticipating the arrival of the human-race-transforming explanation of the human condition that has now finally arrived. (Note that the author of this essay, Jeremy Griffith, is a ‘baby boomer’ from that 1960s generation.) Some of the lyrics from it include ‘If you’re going to San Francisco, be sure to wear some flowers in your hair… you’re gonna meet some gentle people there… Summertime will be a love-in there… All across the nation, such a strange vibration, people in motion, there’s a whole generation with a new explanation’.
Another 1960s classic, Dancing in the Street (1964), sung by Martha and the Vandellas, anticipated the human-condition-resolved, sun-drenched summertime of a transformed, human-race-rehabilitated new world for humans, with these awesomely exciting lyrics: ‘Calling out around the world, are you ready for a brand new beat. Summer’s here and the time is right for dancing in the street… All we need is music, sweet music, there’ll be music everywhere… Oh, it doesn’t matter what you wear, just as long as you are there. So come on, every guy, grab a girl, everywhere around the world.’
The words of Walter Earl Brown’s 1968 song If I Can Dream, which was written for Elvis Presley, also spoke of the dream of finding the answer we need of the explanation and resolution of the human condition: ‘There must be peace and understanding sometime, strong winds of promise that will blow away all the doubt and fear. If I can dream of a warmer sun [there’s the sun again] where hope keeps shining on everyone… We’re trapped in a world that’s troubled with pain… Still I am sure that the answer’s gonna come somehow, out there in the dark, there’s a beckoning candle.’
One of Cat Stevens’s (or Yusuf Islam as he’s now called) most famous songs is Peace Train (1971), and although he doesn’t mention the sun directly, he uses the reverse metaphor of ‘darkness’ to describe our life without reconciling understanding of ourselves: ‘something good has begun. I’ve been smiling lately, dreaming about the world as one. And I believe it could be, some day it’s going to come. Cause out on the edge of darkness there rides a peace train [Note that’s almost the same as Walter Earl Brown’s ‘out there in the dark, there’s a beckoning candle’]… [to] take me home again [back to our species’ original all-loving, soulful, sound state]… Everyone jump upon the peace train… come and join the living, it’s not so far from you, and it’s getting nearer, soon it will be true.’
Another of Cat Stevens’s famous songs, Changes IV (1971), also looked forward to the arrival of the fabulous dawn of understanding when he wrote and sang: ‘Don’t you feel a change is coming from another side of time, breaking down the walls of silence, lifting shadows from your mind. Placing back the missing mirrors that before you couldn’t find, filling mysteries of emptiness…Yesterday has past, now let’s all start the living for the one that’s going to last…Don’t you feel the day is coming that will stay and remain when your children see the answers…when the clouds have all gone, there will be no more rain, and the beauty of all things is uncovered again. Don’t you feel the day is coming, and it won’t be too soon, when the people of the world can all live in one room, when we shake off the ancient chains of our tomb, we will all be born again of the eternal womb.’
Then there are Bono’s words from U2’s 1987 song Where The Streets Have No Name: ‘I want to tear down the walls that hold us inside [Plato’s cave of ignorant darkness that humanity has been imprisoned inside—see Video/F. Essay 11], I want to reach out and touch the flame [of the truth about ourselves that will take us to a place], where the streets have no name [where we no longer have to egocentrically name everything]. I want to feel the sunlight [of enlightenment] on my face, see the dust cloud [of our tortured human condition] disappear without a trace, I want to take shelter from the poison rain, where the streets have no name… We’re beaten and blown by the wind, trampled in dust. [But] I’ll show you a place, high on a [redeemed and rehabilitated] desert plain, where the streets have no name… Then there will be no toil or sorrow, then there will be no time of pain.’ Similarly, in I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For (1987), where Bono sang, ‘I believe in the Kingdom Come when all the colours will bleed into one’. Also, in U2’s wonderfully named 1987 song, When Love Comes To Town, Bono wrote these exciting lyrics that anticipated humanity’s liberation from the human condition: ‘I was a sailor, I was lost at sea. I was under the waves… But I did what I did before love [the ultimate expression of which is truth] came to town… I’ve seen love conquer the great divide [between night and day, ‘good and evil’, idealism and realism, the left-wing and right-wing, instinct and intellect – see Video/F. Essay 3]… When love comes to town I’m gonna jump that train [Note this is similar to Cat Stevens’ ‘Everyone jump upon the peace train’], when love comes to town I’m gonna catch that flame.’ U2’s 1988 song Love Rescue Me is even more explicit about the arrival of a human-condition-resolved, sunlight-of-understanding-filled new world: ‘Love [truth] rescue me, come forth and speak to me, raise me up and don’t let me fall [give me the redeeming, reconciling and rehabilitating explanation of the human condition]. No man is my enemy [I don’t want to be living with so much hate inside me anymore], my own hands imprison me [I’m imprisoned by the unbearable dilemma of my own flawed, seemingly imperfect human condition], love [truth] rescue me… the sun in the sky, makes a shadow of you and I [the liberating truth initially exposes the imperfection of our lives, but that’s not a problem because we can let all that pass by now – see F. Essay 15]… In the cold mirror of a glass, I see my reflection pass, I see the dark shades of what I used to be [before being liberated by understanding]… Yeah I’m here without a name, in the palace of my shame, I said love rescue me. [At this point in the song there is a very long pause, then suddenly the song picks up again but this time describing a whole new liberated world.] I’ve conquered my past, the future is here at last. I stand at the entrance to a new world I can see. The ruins to the right of me, will soon have lost sight of me. Love, rescue me.’
There is also The Beatles’ 1969 song Here Comes The Sun, again anticipating our species’ liberation from the bewildering darkness of ignorance about our lives’ meaning and worth: ‘Here comes the sun, here comes the sun, and I say, it’s all right… it’s been a long cold lonely winter… the smiles returning to the faces… Sun, sun, sun, here it comes… I feel that ice is slowly melting.’ Of course, the most marvellous description of a ‘sun’-light-of-understanding-drenched world liberated from the agony of the ‘long cold lonely winter’ of our human-condition-stricken lives was given by the Beatle John Lennon in his 1971 song Imagine, some of the lyrics of which are ‘imagine there’s no heaven…no hell below us’, a world without the condemning differentiation of good and evil, a world liberated from the uncertainty and insecurity of the human condition and thus the need for religion, where there is ‘Nothing to kill or die for, and no religion too… all the people living life in peace… No need for greed or hunger, a brotherhood of man… all the people sharing all the world… [when] the world will be as one.’
And, there’s the Nobel Prize for Literature-winner Bob Dylan’s prophetic songs. Firstly, his powerful description of humans’ present bewildered and lost human-condition-stricken lives in his 1965 song Like A Rolling Stone: ‘How does it feel to be on your own with no direction home, like a complete unknown, like a rolling stone’; and in Mr. Tambourine Man (1964), ‘I’m not sleepy and there is no place I’m going to… I’m branded on my feet, I have no one to meet, and the ancient empty street’s too dead for dreaming… Then take me disappearin’ through the smoke rings of my mind, down the foggy ruins of time… far from the twisted reach of crazy sorrow… Hey! Mr. Tambourine Man, play a song for me.’ Yes, as Dylan demanded in his 1968 song All Along the Watchtower: ‘There must be some way out of here… There’s too much confusion, I can’t get no relief… There are many here among us who feel that life is but a joke… So let us not talk falsely now, the hour is getting late. All along the watchtower, princes kept the view [waiting and watching for the time when understanding of the human condition would finally arrive]’. Dylan similarly pleaded in Blowin’ In The Wind (1962): ‘How many years can some people exist before they’re allowed to be free?’. Then his anticipation of the arrival of the desperately needed liberating understanding of ourselves in his 1963 song When The Ship Comes In: ‘The hour that the ship comes in [what ship? The ship of understanding]… and the morning will be a-breaking [there’s the sun]. The fishes will laugh as they swim out of the path, and the seagulls they’ll be a-smiling, and the rocks on the sand will proudly stand, the hour that the ship comes in [nature is going to be so relieved by the ending of human upset]… And the words that are used to get the ship confused will no longer be understood as the spoken [all the ignorant darkness of denial and deceit will be replaced by the light of ‘the spoken’ truth]… For the chains [holding the truth back] of the sea will have busted in the night… And like Goliath, they’ll be conquered.’ All the dishonest denials and false excuses we employed while we couldn’t explain our corrupted condition will be ‘conquered’ by the truthful understanding of ourselves that heals and transforms the human race—and, as Dylan wrote and sang in another of his prophetic songs, The Times They Are A-Changin’ (1964), the result will be that ‘the present now will later be past… For the times they are a-changin’!
Finally, for the pièce de résistance, there is Ludwig van Beethoven’s 1824 Ninth Symphony, which is ‘generally considered to be the supreme artistic achievement of western civilisation’ (Paul Gambaccini, ‘Your Desert Island Discs’, BBC Radio 4, 11 Jun. 2011). Indeed, indicative of that status, its final movement was adopted by the European Union as its anthem in 1985.
This sublime piece of music anticipates humankind’s freedom from the agony of the human condition, with its full choir of human voices rising to the final height of glorious unison and excitement with the words from Friedrich von Schiller’s 1785 poem Ode to Joy: ‘Joy’, ‘Joyful, as a hero to victory!’, ‘Join in our jubilation!’, ‘Glad, as His suns fly [some other translations say ‘Gladly, as His heavenly bodies fly’]’, ‘We enter, drunk with fire, into your [understanding’s] sanctuary… Your magic reunites… All men become brothers… All good, all bad… Be embraced, millions! This kiss for the whole world!’ (for this translation see www.wtmsources.com/230).
You can listen to this extraordinary piece of music and hear an explanation of its significance in the video below.
So, it is clear from the creation and popularity of these songs (and many more anticipations in songs of the arrival of a human-condition-resolved world can be ) that humans have a deep awareness of the human condition, and an equally deep faith, hope and trust that one day the reconciling understanding of our ‘good and evil’-conflicted condition would be found. And it is precisely this liberating understanding that is presented in FREEDOM. With its redeeming biological explanation of the human condition, FREEDOM: The End Of The Human Condition brings the yearned for relieving, healing and transforming sunshine of understanding into the lives of all humans and sets us all free at last from the agony of the human condition! (See F. Essay 15: How your life can immediately be transformed.)
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Watch Jeremy Griffith present the breakthrough redeeming explanation of the human condition in Video/F. Essay 3, or read . As mentioned, you can also read many more anticipations of the arrival of our species’ liberation from the horror of the human condition in .
Discussion or comment on this essay is welcomed—see below.
Please Note, if you are online you can read, print, download or listen to (as a podcast) any of the following Freedom Essays by clicking on them, or you can find them all at .
These essays were composed in 2017-2018 by Jeremy Griffith, Damon Isherwood,
Fiona Cullen-Ward & Brony FitzGerald at the Sydney WTM Centre.