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Episode 24 You Tell Me Love is Easy

December 25, 2011

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Words and Music–Richard Allen
Produced by David Barratt at the Abattoir of Good Taste

Vocal and Guitar–William Thaumatrope
Ukulele and everything else–David Barratt

NARRATIVE

This song about hope (albeit hedged with a Thaumatropian get out clause) seems right for the Christmas season. But what does it mean to be hopeful? Hope is a human disposition to believe that the future will be better than the past, that the future will bring happiness. Is it irrational to be optimistic or hopeful? One is inclined to respond: it depends on the circumstances. Rational hope needs reasons to believe, it measures future prospects against past experience. For those who live in the middle class in the west it is reasonable to hope today, given current levels of nutrition and medical knowledge, to reach the age of three score years and ten, indeed four score years, whereas it would not have been reasonable for anyone one hundred years ago. But it seems unreasonable to hope that the current economic recession is going to end any time soon and this will impinge on the life expectancy of those who have nothing in the first place.

Since it is a disposition, hope is not simply something one can decide to have, it is not something that is parceled out by a calculus of reason. It is, rather, a frame of mind that human beings by and large are predisposed to be in for it is the will to live itself: “hope springs eternal in the human breast.” Since hope is a disposition it tends to feed upon itself. The hopeful person is more likely to find her hypothesis of a brighter future confirmed simply by virtue of the fact that she is hopeful. Our experience of happiness partly depends on our capacity to experience happiness. Nothing will make scrooge happy. A hope that doesn’t take account of reasons not to be hopeful is false hope. But while the person who insists on being hopeful is undoubtedly naïve, I don’t think he is necessarily foolish; after all, the eternal optimist is a happy person.

Yet what does our will to live amount to in the face of old age and death? For the hard-nosed realist it is little comfort to be told by the religious person that there is a form of life beyond death far more glorious than this one in the Kingdom of God or in a perpetual cycle of reincarnation. The whole infrastructure of religious belief appears constructed to give false hope to an essentially bad situation. There are two ways of answering this. While it is true that one cannot be optimistic about conquering death, unless in the possession of religious belief, to hope to conquer death is itself an essentially irrational hope; there is no reason to hope for something that cannot occur. The atheist can remain an optimist. The other answer is that religious hope is not irrational hope, but a distinctive kind of hope; it is a hope that is absolute and cannot be measured by reason.

LYRIC

You tell me love is easy
You tell me to let go
But there are things about me
I don’t want to know

Just because I kiss you
And get some satisfaction
Doesn’t mean I have become
A slave to love’s attraction

Don’t give up believing
Don’t give up on me
I can’t quit self-deceiving
Yet need you loving me

You think the power of your smile
Will set my poor heart free
But I have locked it in a cage
And I can’t find the key

You use your words like magic
And cast your spells with glee
But I am hard of hearing
I can’t be tricked you see

Tell me you don’t love me
Tell me you don’t care
Tell me that my time is up
And I’ll be out of here

I know you think I’m distant
But it’s not being unkind
If I prefer the silence
To speaking out of line

But please don’t stop believing
‘Cause I am giving ground
You might discover so much more
If you just hang around

Don’t give up believing
Don’t give up on me
I can’t quit self-deceiving
Yet need you loving me
Try and set me free
I need our love to be

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From → Thaumatropemusic

5 Comments
  1. Suzanne permalink

    Beautiful lyrics Richard. Merry Christmas to you all.

    Suzanne

  2. Geoff H permalink

    Yes, the lrics are deceptively simple but well crafted and avoid repetition. Well done to get through the year with the project! Have a happy 2012
    Geoff.

  3. Geoff H permalink

    And of course an atheist can be an optimist, but should never be a false optimist. A friend of ours lost her Mom just recently. It must have been quite a shock for our friend but not really a surprise. It sounded as though it was not a bad way to go – a peaceful end with her children around her – having had 90 years of life, granchildren and great grandchildren, without any major debilitating diseases to give her pain or take away her mobility or dignity. I’d settle for that. She would go, if not happy, at least at peace with the world, I reckon, and knowing that without death life could not have its precious nature.

    geoff

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