At the center of every album is a musical thesis. For R.E.M. and their album, “Collapse into Now,” that thesis is fully formed and internally focused. On my first listen of the entire album, I feel the full weight of the trials experienced in adulthood. These range from self-worth to meaning to purpose and everything in between. For me, this collection of songs demanded I take some of the pressure off my shoulders. Instead, I should focus on the here and now. When we are honest with ourselves, that’s really all we can control.
Next, this album confronts the world and the unforgivable way in which it breaks your heart. Much is said of those who wear their hearts on their sleeves. They are often looked down upon or offered half compliments. If we are those people or are people who find ourselves living in a world that continually disappoints, we often find ourselves apologizing for giving a damn. This world asks us to kindly stop. I, for one, cannot agree with this request enough. I am fond of saying optimists get their hearts broken. Pessimists get nothing accomplished. Pragmatists are the ones who actually change the world. No matter which camp you find yourself in, stop apologizing for your feelings.
Finally, the album makes a list of demands from life. We all have expectations, desires, and needs. When brought together under one roof, these demands shape how we experience the world. For me, this means a chance to live securely, liberally, and with an opportunity to pursue ventures to make a difference and express myself. Your list is probably different. No matter where your attention is drawn, we should be focused on doing no harm, liberty for all, and a true sense of happiness for ourselves and those who surround you. If those wants are met, this life becomes a pretty amazing thing to experience.
Be good to each other,
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