Symbology is important because some things can’t be said directly. We may be thinking of sublime things but not only sublime things. Things like cosmology and particle physics — string theory — these things may be so complex that they can’t be understood any other way. The two-dimensional man cannot conceive of a third dimension. What can’t we conceive of?
The human ability of pattern matching is extremely important. That’s how we learn and progress. They didn’t have the technology we have now 200 years ago. They had all the necessary materials but they didn’t know what to do with it. It took physicists and mathematicians to build the foundation that engineers built this world on. This is the result of pattern matching and symbology. First we understood things symbolically (like light, magnetism, the motion of the planets, electricity). Then we built on these patterns. We wrote it down. And science evolved.
Symbology is a way of communicating differently. It’s why it was the first way ancient people “wrote”. First they drew pictures and then pictures became symbols. These words are symbols. This: 2+2=4 is symbols. This: $100 is symbols.
Stories are symbols. Ideas portray themselves as symbols. We think in symbols. We dream symbols. Symbols symbols symbols.
There are things more important than what we possess. Much more important. Our lives must be valid. They must be meaningful. We must teach our children much more. We can only do this by living it. Living it is realizing that you have tremendous local impact. You must participate in it. You must focus on what is important. You gotta let your dim light shine.
Dig deeper into that part of yourself that is real.
This is what the symbols are telling us.
I was thinking it would be fun to drop some names. It’s not that I think I’m cool or anything, but in my previous career I interact with a lot of famous people.
The first famous people I met was when I worked at Royal Recorders, a recording studio in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin. They included Jerry Harrison, Adrian Belew, Tommy Shaw (of Styx) and Sebastian Bach. I was an assistant recording engineer so the majority of my interaction was stuff like “Do you want cream or sugar?” and “Here’s your headphones.”.
Then I moved to Paisley Park. Meeting Prince for the first time was scary. I used to love him. He is an intimidating personality. The first time I met him he asked me to open the vault for him. Apparently he didn’t (at that time) know the combination to his own vault. The vault was full of tapes — like a 20 by 20 room with nothing but big 2″ multitrack tapes and mixes and some CD’s and stuff. I didn’t know the combination to the lock either so I had to call someone and they were trying to talk me through it and it kept not opening. Prince was sitting there staring at me as I tried over and over and finally got it. I ended up working one-on-one with Prince a lot — hours and hours for weeks on end. He works the crap out of you. When working with Prince I met a lot of people. I borrowed a smoke from Sinead O’Connor. I drove Carmen Electra around in my Hyundai. I met Paula Abdul, George Clinton, Morris Day (and Jerome), Bobby Z., Dr. Fink, Vanity, The Replacements, Kim Basinger (who brought me in a piece of pie to the studio), PM Dawn. I talked to Kate Bush on the phone. I recorded some organ with Michael Stipe from REM at the Basillica. I did some mixing for MC Hammer, produced a song with Prince for Elisa Fiorillo. Wrote and produced a record for Ingrid Chavez.
After Paisley I met Booker T, Steve Cropper, Duck Dunn from Booker T and the MG’s. I worked with some lesser known bands such as E (who later formed the Eels), frente from Australia, Moxy Fruvous and Basehead.
As I was getting in bed the other night I got one of those warm, funny feelings where I thought, “Damn, I’m lucky. I have a house, a car, a job, a great relationship….”. I had heard on the radio about a doctor that was building hospitals for poor people. He had some amazing insights about compassion. In this wealth-frenzied world it seems like the norm that people are concerned only for their own self-interest at the expense of all else. Here was a guy that was working his ass off every day to help people who desparately needed help. It made me feel sad for all the rich people in the world who still, with all their blessings, are trying to accumulate more wealth. I’ve written about that elsewhere. But as I was getting into bed that night I thought, damn, I’m lucky. I’m not rich by any American usage of the word, but compared to so many in the world, I am wealthy beyond all dreaming. It makes me feel bad that so many suffer so much when I have so much.
But here’s the thing: I want my government to help solve this. I think our government has a mandate to educate people, help them when they are sick and provide to them the opportunity to work towards better lives. Note that I am not saying that government has to wipe people’s butts. People still have to work for it. It’s the opportunity that government has to provide, not the outcome. I really, truly think that a capitalist society with a compassionate government can provide this. I think this nightmare of poverty and healthcare crisis is a direct result of our government not doing its job well. We are far too focused on the military. We are far too supportive of big business and the rich. Paul Wellstone said it best — the rich are surely capable of taking care of their interests. They don’t need the federal government looking after their interests. (That’s not how Paul said it.) The doctor I heard on the radio said: it’s simple: public dollars — public good. That’s what our government is for. We can hope that charities do it or hope that those with plenty do it. Or we can demand that our government does it. Believe me, we all benefit as human beings and as citizens when everyone has the chance to get in a clean, warm bed in their own house and feel lucky to be alive. Let’s do this.