Song-Performers
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Performers
© 1983, Roy Stucky

Time travel people lost
In our advancing day,
Have non-fiction counterparts -
Lost In The USA.

People who don't know why
We stay on the ground.
What stars are -
That speed can outrun sound.

They get by
Because they know how
To drive another man's car.
To dig dirt -
To light the rich man's cigar.

They perform for the people with the answers
Play the music demanded by the dancers -
'Til they're too slow
Learning a new song.
'Til they're too slow
Learning a new song.

Every new level we embrace
Stretches the line
Anchored at the base
By people living at their
Ancestor's pace.

We can help them with our advances
But there's more of them than chances
To wear a modern costume.
Everyone wants on the easy side,
But there isn't room.

They perform for the people with the answers
Play the music demanded by the dancers -
'Til they're too slow
Learning a new song.
'Til they're too slow
Learning a new song.

 


" Time travel people " is a metaphor drawn from the stories of people time warped from the past into our modern age.

" Advancing day " is that our era is dominated by the myth of evolution, that change is inherently progress, when the natural world is in fact driven by decay.

" Nonfiction counterparts " is that, sadly, these 'people out of time' are not entirely characters of fiction.

" People who don't know why " is that an entire segment of the population essentially knows nothing more about the world than did their great grandparents, while the amount of essential knowledge continues to explode. This forms the "line anchored at the base".

" Every new level " is that these people are not being carried along by the great god of technology. They are still " living at their ancestor's pace ". The higher science climbs, the further behind the performers get, the more vulnerable they become to a sudden change of economic climate. Where is their place in the technological utopia? To be very hard, their place is six feet under the boots of those who shrug and say, 'Adapt or die'.

Of course the ever expanding gap is not merely within the U.S. There are people in the world who grow grain with wooden tools and grind it on stones. Where the blessings of technology have come to such as these, they have gained nothing but the destruction of the old ways for a place in a global society that sees them as mere fuel for the machine.

If you want to see the gap clearly, focus on the primary concerns of different groups. Many in our nation are worried about things like global warming and massive deforestation. But the primary concern of the people who are cutting down the rain forests is getting enough to eat, just as it was their ancestor's primary concern thousands of years ago.

 


This song makes it clear why Jesus could say, "The poor you will always have with you." The great technological hope of erasing poverty and ignorance is actually a view that only sees the elite. Wisdom demands we acknowledge this, and act accordingly.

By this, we mean Jesus calls us to help those around us instead of chasing some utopian myth in the hope of not having to deal with poverty directly, not having to get our hands dirty, because our magic bullets will remove the problem. The war on poverty has been exactly such a magic bullet, and it has utterly failed. Lumping the poor together by the million will not make aiding them efficient.

Further, a whole person recognizes the need to understand causes instead of merely reacting to effects. Otherwise one is relegated to playing another's song, essentially becoming an instrument someone else plays.

 


Steal Worth
(Condition Section)

This song combines isolation, reducing a person to a thing, and materialism. In the marketplace of people as commodities (instruments, to follow the metaphor), those who do not have the skills desired by the economic machine are nearly Orwell 'unpersons'.

This song is about those who play the "demanded" music. The next song, Marionette Minuet, is about the "dancers".

 


This lyric was written in April of 1983. It was first set to music in 1987.

The idea for this song came from a statement in a documentary, to the effect that there are people in the U.S. who don't even have basic knowledge, like what stars really are. I was young enough, and naive enough, to be astounded at this. It was a beginning point for my learning more about the world's disenfranchised, because it tore my middle-class-child-world-view to shreds.

The song was in incubation for a couple of years, until one day it collided in my mind with the common story line of primitive people time-transported into our modern era. I realized in some ways it wasn't science fiction at all, because the people without knowledge have no better shot at controlling their destiny than did the bewildered caveman. They have no chance to push society or the economy in any particular direction, but instead are the one's being pushed.

 


QUOTES

"My people are destroyed for a lack of knowledge...."
Hosea 4:6


"If a nation expects to be ignorant and free in a state of civilization, it expects what never was and never will be."
Thomas Jefferson


"You always have the poor with you...."
Matthew 26:11

There will be no technological Utopia where poverty has been erased from this world. Those who seek this man-made machine ideal fail to understand poverty is not at root a technological problem.


"For it is written in the law of Moses, 'Do not muzzle the mouth of the ox while it is treading out the grain.' Is it for oxen that God is concerned? Or does He not speak entirely for our sake, that whoever plows should plow in hope, and whoever threshes should share in the produce."
I Corinthians 9:9-10

Those who have become rich from the labor of others clearly have a responsibility laid upon them as to how they treat those people, the greed-justifying elite snob philosophy of Ayn Rand notwithstanding.


"Calmly and impersonally, she, who would have hesitated to fire at an animal, pulled the trigger and fired straight into the heart of a man who wanted to exist without the responsibility of consciousness."
Ayn Rand

Here the heroine kills a man for, literally, the great crime of standing in her way. Objectivism in action? It sounds, particularly the 'calmly and impersonally' part, very much like the elite minded thoughts of another philosopher - as follows below.


"But what doth human distress matter to me! My last sin which hath been reserved for me, knowest thou what it is called?"

"Pity! answered the soothsayer...."
....

"Be of good cheer, replied Zarathustra, as I am. Abide by thy customs, thou excellent one: grind thy corn, drink thy water, praise thy cooking,-- if only it make thee glad! I am a law only for mine own; I am not a law for all. He, however, who belongeth unto me must be strong of bone and light of foot,-- Joyous in fight and feast, no sulker, no John o' Dreams, ready for the hardest task as for the feast, healthy and hale."

"The best belongeth unto mine and me; and if it be not given us, then do we take it:--the best food, the purest sky, the strongest thoughts, the fairest women!"
....

" ' Ye higher men,'--so blinketh the populace--'there are no higher men, we are all equal; man is man, before God--we are all equal!' "

"Before God!--Now, however, this God hath died. Before the populace, however, we will not be equal. Ye higher men, away from the market-place! Before God!--Now however this God hath died! Ye higher men, this God was your greatest danger. Only since he lay in the grave have ye again arisen. Now only cometh the great noontide, now only doth the higher man become--master!"

"Have ye understood this word, O my brethren? Ye are frightened: do your hearts turn giddy? Doth the abyss here yawn for you? Doth the hell-hound here yelp at you? Well! Take heart! ye higher men! Now only travaileth the mountain of the human future. God hath died: now do WE desire--the Superman to live."
....

" 'O Zarathustra,' said he to me, 'I come to seduce thee to thy last sin.' "

" 'To my last sin?' cried Zarathustra, and laughed angrily at his own words: 'WHAT hath been reserved for me as my last sin?' --And once more Zarathustra became absorbed in himself, and sat down again on the big stone and meditated. Suddenly he sprang up,-- FELLOW - SUFFERING! FELLOW - SUFFERING WITH THE HIGHER MEN!' he cried out, and his countenance changed into brass. 'Well! THAT--hath had its time!' "
Friedrich Nietzsche

The "Superman" differs from "Atlas" only in that Atlas pretends to care if the world falls from his shoulder, while the Superman flings it to the ground as an unworthy burden. And note Who this 'thinker' considered to be the great obstacle to the reign of this master higher man, who takes what he wants. Why? God is the basis of equality because He is not impressed by the mighty Superman any more than by the lowest coward, so He had to be 'killed' to clear the road for the Superman whose right is derived from his might, and his lack of any compassion in exercising that might.

And in the end even consideration of his 'chosen' is discarded, because they are unworthy of him. How hopelessly Superman.


The Holy Bible

Daniel Keyes
Flowers For Algernon

Thomas Jefferson
to Charles Yancey, 1816. ME 14:384

Friedrich Nietzsche
Thus Spake Zarathustra

George Orwell
1984

Ayn Rand
Atlas Shrugged

Upton Sinclair
The Jungle

 


According to the most recent article I've read, 20% of the full time permanent jobs in the U.S. do not pay enough to keep someone above the poverty line. For those under 25, it is 50%. Clearly many are having difficulty learning the new songs, and not just for lack of education. But if this is happening to college graduates, imagine what it must be like for those "people who don't know... what stars are".

In the late 1970's, I read an article that said the U.S., with 10% of the world's population, consumed over 30% of the world's energy and other resources. Since you can't have each tenth consuming a third, there is no way for every nation to live like the U.S. "There isn't room" in our luxury suite for everyone, especially since the U.S. no longer has a tenth of the world's population but probably continues to consume a third of the energy.


The idea for the ending of this video came from Janis Stucky.

An early draft of the video script shared a second place John and Virginia Scott English Award at Sterling College in 1987.

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