PARTICIPATE JOYFULLY- Sung by Vox, Sara and Humanity’s Kids
This song is based on a quote by Philosopher Joseph Campbell, “Participate joyfully in the sorrows of the world. We cannot cure the world of sorrows, but we can choose to live in joy.” Campbell reminds us that life is a continual unfolding of sorrows and joys, and that both are needed. Without joy, we could not bear the sorrow. Without sorrow, joy would have no meaning. And so, my song “Participate Joyfully” tries to convey that idea.
“Don’t worry ‘bout what you can’t cure; focus on the positive and you’ll endure.”
Now, this is not a “Don’t Worry, Be Happy” song. Nor is it an excuse song, “I’m not going to worry about the global pandemic, because I can’t cure the global pandemic. No! That’s not the point. Maybe you or I as individual actors can’t cure Covid-19, but if you and I and a few billion other folks team up, each doing what we can do, even if it’s simply staying home, maybe we can, in fact, cure Covid-19. So, I am not going to worry about a meteor crashing into the earth and causing another great extinction. But, I am going to “worry” about things that humans, working together, can, in fact, cure. And, I am going to do it with an optimistic attitude, seeking out joy where I can find it, participating fully!
YOU ARE HUMANITY’S CHILD- Sung by Sara and Humanity’s Cousins
This song is deeply rooted in adolescent psychology and, at the same time, plays out throughout the lifespan for most humans. It has to do with three fundamental characteristics that must be in place for people to grow and accomplish things in life...self-identity, self-esteem, and self-efficacy. Self-identity is “who” we think we are; self-esteem is what we think of “who we think we are;” and, self-efficacy is what we believe “the who we think we are” can do. And so, the intent of this song to promote the notion in people, aka Humanity’s Children, that each and every human being is unique. Although sharing many characteristics, no two human brains are exactly the same. Do you have a secret? Something no other person knows? If you do, that secret is stored in a kind neural “closet” as a specific neural structure that makes your closet different from every other closet on the planet. You are unique. You are special. “You are Humanity’s Child!”
FREEDOM- Sung by Sara, Vox and Humanity’s Cousins
Like the previous song, this song “Freedom” is rooted in adolescent psychology and plays out throughout life. Human beings go through a period of transition from childhood to adolescence that is fraught with cognitive dissonance. On the one hand, young people deeply desire the freedom, independence and autonomy they associate with adulthood. On the other hand, they also want the safety and security they felt in childhood. This universal human experience is playing out in front of us today. CNN recently broadcast coverage of a large group of folks protesting “lockdowns, social distancing” and its effects on the economy. One woman carried a sign that read in very big letters, “Open Up Now!” Underneath that, in small letters, was, “...with a safe plan!” Freedom to work and safety at work; we want both! And that, pretty much is what the “American Dream” has promised us but, due to Covid-19, is no longer delivering. So, what are we going to do about it? Well, that brings us right back to emotions. One of the great revelations of psychology over the last few decades has been the idea that emotions, not cognitions, are actually what drive us. We like to think that we do what we do because we “think” we should. Cognitive science would suggest that the thoughts we think are a result of the feelings we feel...that is, our emotions. All emotions have in common an essential characteristic: they all make us want to do something; joy makes us want to laugh and love; fear makes us want to fight or flee. And, if we do not do what our emotions tell us to do, we find our self in a state of dissonance. In life, as in music, unresolved dissonance is very unsatisfying; humans really like to be satisfied and content. So, when facing an experience such as Covid-19, where we can watch the suffering of others in real time, we feel a profound dissonance and a strong need to resolve it. So, what can we do to “resolve our dissonance?” Well, we can think about those folks in trouble; we can hope they’ll get better, and we can pray for them. And, in my view, all of those things are quite good for resolving emotional dissonance. Unfortunately, as evidenced by the current context where literally billions of people worldwide have been thinking, hoping and praying as more and more people are suffering and dying; thinking, hoping, and praying do not seem to be enough.