50 Years After Dylan Goes Electric We Need a New Value System
No we can’t.
We are tougher now. Fifty years ago when Dylan shocked his crowd into boos and walk outs there was an “US” vs. “THEM” mentality that wasn’t all bad. Dylan’s fans were feisty, demanding, and rude then.
We are less rude now.
Watching Noam Chomsky discuss the widening gulf between the tiny HAVE EVERYTHING “masters” and HAVE A LITTLE “slaves” made me remember DEMANDING meaningful things, when we had a cogent idea about what we STOOD FOR (even if it was WRONG and DUMB).
I was five when Kennedy was shot (and we lived in Dallas), nine when Bobby and Martin were shot and ten during the “summer of love”. “All that music,” my enraged father screamed at me one day in the early seventies, “is about sex and drugs”. “No,” I insisted too young to realize parents are often RIGHT.
Deep Purple, Grand Funk Railroad, Black Sabbath were records we LOVED, music that did more than make a few not yet adults prematurely RICH and ROWDY. Things MATTERED and we CARED even if some of all that was hormones and whatever we were smoking.
Where is MUSIC today?
From rude revolutionaries to passive couch potatoes in five decades can’t be the story. We aren’t burning down the “means of production” or electing Bernie Sanders because in dreams we find the magic beans, climb the stalk and slay capitalism’s giant.
Not so much if you look at the DATA, but who does when dreams are involved? Answer: no one.
Instead of demands we play a rigged game drunk on possibility and aspiration. I’m surrounded by talented web marketers, startup entrepreneurs and even CEOs who think revolutionary thoughts about apps, software and websites. I wouldn’t be as harsh as Bowie was to Warhol, “What a jolly boring thing to do” (All You Pretty Things), but is our scope BIG ENOUGH.
Are we living what David Brooks called Eulogy Lives?
We are smarter together than apart. If sharing is the “new economy” then let’s SHARE, collaborate, win, lose and find what’s next together. There is no “yours” and “mine” anymore, or no “yours” or “mine” not already controlled by a wholly owned subsidiary so what’s stopping us? Aspiration? Possibilities? Dreams?
We are MORE CONNECTED and LINKED than ever and much more than we realize. Those connections and our magical wand of a tool (the web) can create Ray Kurzweil’s “Singularity” or we can all don virtual reality’s diving goggles and think all is well.
All is NOT well.
In the Royal Albert Hall fans booed Dylan because they felt betrayed. Who do we boo now? Trump? Hilary? Watching the West Wing last night and hearing Leo say he was tired of choosing between who cares and why not got me thinking.
Then seeing CNN’s great riff on Dylan’s 50th anniversary (of going electric) got me thinking about David Amerland’s What if We Had A New Value System For Goods and Services and wondering WHY NOT? Don’t we have what we need? Can’t we imagine and then create BETTER?
I will if you will isn’t enough anymore.
I will collaborate, share and imagine no matter who is elected or what comes next. Anything I have you can have and if it isn’t free we’ll work on creating a better system of value. If I need to don goggles to see David’s or Kurzweil’s ideas and a better future I will.
I’ve never been disappointed by the kindness of strangers. Strangers keep saving my life by finding cancer “cures” or drugs that make it chronic (and I’ll take chronic vs. alternative). Strangers helped on Martin’s Ride To Cure Cancer as we rode bicycles 3,300 miles across American, and strangers teach me things and help every day.
Life is short, so the time to do anything is always RIGHT NOW.
Sing The Body Electric
David Amerland and Ray Kurzweil ask the right questions in the right ways, but as a cancer survivor I’m here to tell you life isn’t a forever journey. We the RULED must, as Spike Lee says, WAKE UP.
We need to Sing the Body Electric as another revolutionary (Whitman) who “went electric” long before Dylan wrote:
I sing the body electric,
The armies of those I love engirth me and I engirth them,
They will not let me off till I go with them, respond to them,
And discorrupt them, and charge them full with the charge of the soul.
Was it doubted that those who corrupt their own bodies conceal themselves?
And if those who defile the living are as bad as they who defile the dead?
And if the body does not do fully as much as the soul?
And if the body were not the soul, what is the soul?
Kudos to Dylan, David and Walt. Now let’s find ways to use the web to sing the body electric my revolutionary brothers and sisters. And I’m in even if you are still dreaming (nothing wrong with that :). Marty