Male - 26 Years Old
|Back in the days of the old screeching weasel website, Ben put up his rants and one of them was explaining this song ("The Science of Myth"):|
I love it when some uninformed blowhard decides to quote my own lyrics to me. Following is a line for line explanation of my own song, The Science Of Myth:
'If you've ever questioned beliefs that you hold you're not alone.' - Whether you're questioning the Judeo-Christian dogma you've been fed since birth or the big bang theory, if you've gotten to the point where you're listening to a Screeching Weasel record, surely you must have some idea of the spirit of punk rock; surely you must be someone who constantly questions, who never accepts someone else's words as the ultimate truth.
'But you oughta realize that every myth is a metaphor.' - This line states the thesis of the song and provides a lead-in to the next section of lyrics.
'In the case of Christianity and Judaism there exists the belief that spiritual matters are enslaved to history.' - This line is basically self-explanatory. Judeo-Christian thought says that the bible is God's word. It makes few, if any, allowances for added material and misinterpretation. If God told us in the Old Testament that we shouldn't waste our "seed", that must mean that jacking off is wrong. More importantly, Judeo-Christian thought leaves no room for taking into account evolving technology, education, or cultural and technological advances; what was good for Noah should be good for us.
'The Buddhists believe that the functional aspect override the myth / While other religions use the literal core to build foundations with.' - Besides the fact that this lyric is clumsy in order to accomodate a rhyme, it states that Buddhism, unlike most other religions, teaches its followers that religion without practical applications is essentially useless; the Buddhists believe that if you can't see it, hear it, taste it or feel it, then it's of no use to you. They do not demand that you follow the words of the Buddha if those words don't make sense or apply to you. Conversely, Christianity calls for blind faith; a belief in a system of thought no matter how strange or useless it might be to you. You are ordered to defend that line of thinking in all cases or you will burn in the eternal fires of hell. On top of all that, you're ordered to indoctrinate non-Christians. Buddhists don't believe in indoctrination; they believe that time spent trying to convince others to become Buddhists is time that would be better spent meditating and working on one's self.
'See, half the world sees the myth as fact while it's seen as a lie by the other half and / The simple truth is that it's none of that.' - People usually accept all or nothing when it comes to religion. Christians tend to see the bible as divine truth. Hardcore atheists tend to see the Bible as a silly fairy tale with little or no relevance to modern times. But if we look at stories in the Bible, or any holy book, as metaphors, then we develop an understanding that the authors of the Bible were trying to make a point about morality. It might be a point that was clouded by the current political climate, or that might have been re-written by a man with his own screwy agenda, so you have to learn that literal interpretations are usually incorrect. But by studying the work of theologians and translators such as Stephen Mitchell and through developing an understanding of storytelling by reading stories from Greek mythology to fairy tales to Stephen King novels, we begin to see that there are certain themes common to the human experience throughout history, and we then enable ourselves to see those dilemmas from perspectives other than the ones that we happen to hold which are based primarily on our experiences, or stories. Thus, we've learned the value of the Biblical allegory. My main point with this line is to point out that atheists aren't much smarter than fundamentalist Christians if they can't see that even though the Bible is a fairy tale, it still contains some important ideas.
'Cause somehow no matter what the world keeps turning / Somehow we get by without ever learning.' - Despite our inability to come to terms with a hybrid of the spiritual and scientific worlds, we still manage to struggle ahead, often watching technology advance far ahead of our collective intellect and rate of growth of maturity as a species.
'Science and religion are not mutually exclusive.' - Blind acceptance of a doctrine, whether religious or secular, stops the mind from working. If we're going to make advances in medicine, technology and spirituality, we have to use all the tools at our disposal. In his book The Sun My Heart, Thich Nhat Hanh discusses the limitations of conceptual thinking: "Many scientists acknowledge that great discoveries are often realized through intuition. For them, reason is not an agent of discovery but a tool to explain and support it afterwards. These discoveries often occur at the most unexpected times, times when the scientist is not actively engaged in thinking, analyzing, or reasoning. An illuminating perception comes about because the scientist has been paying continual silent attention to the problem - while eating, walking, talking, even sleeping, every moment of the day."
'In fact for better understanding, we take the facts of science and apply them.' - Science should exist to help us to a better understanding of ourselves, nature and the world. Without that primary goal, science is virtually useless.
'And if both factors keep evolving then we continue getting information.' - If we grow and mature in our interpretations and understanding of matters of both science and religion, we then gain more of the tools necessary for clarity of vision. Essentially, if we pay attention to all thought patterns, prejudices, concepts and states of mind in our spiritual life as well as our secular life, we're in a better position to understand both the spiritual and scientific worlds, and this is how we progress as a species.
'But closing off possibilities makes it hard to see the bigger picture.' - Deciding that "this is the way things are" means you stop questioning and investigating. No longer are you exploring every possible avenue; you stand still and inevitably stagnate. It is impossible to learn, grow and evolve without constantly questioning and evaluating everything that comes into your line of view. Nothing is off-limits, including the possibility that God may not exist or that the big bang theory is wrong.
'Consider the case of the woman whose faith helped her make it through / When she was raped and cut up, left for dead in a trunk, her beliefs held true.' - This line comes from a case I read about in a Chicago newspaper in which a woman was raped, knifed, beaten within an inch of her life and locked in the trunk of her car. Somebody discovered her after several days and she survived. When a reporter asked her how she'd managed to hold onto her life and not give up hope, she stated that her belief in (a Christian) God gave her the strength to hold on and keep fighting for her life. Whether Christianity saved her or whether it was the psychological force of a belief that might as well have been about worshipping an ear of corn is immaterial. The point was, this was a critical situation and what she believed worked for her.
'It doesn't matter if it's real or not / 'Cause some things are better left without a doubt / And if it works then it gets the job done.' - Someone who is in pain is not going to worry too much about the methods used to relieve that pain. Regardless of the scientific fact that there's absolutely no proof that acupuncture actually works, I've experienced the benefits and developed a wary belief in the existence of chi. Similarly, there are Christians who believe in the power of prayer as a method for curing disease and/or relieving pain. In that sense, it doesn't matter if I believe that the concepts of chi or the power of prayer are so much bullshit. In a crisis, people need to use whatever they can to get through that crisis. The time for debate about those methods comes later. And when that time comes, people have to keep an open mind, particularly people who have a firm belief that a given method of medical or spiritual care works; if we're going to learn, grow and evolve, we have a responsibility to retain a healthy skepticism.
seemed like a pretty reasonable guy back then. forever such a stellar track.