Thoughts on “Hallelujah” by Paramore

I wanted to try something new and write about music.  I have noticed through the years that I have plenty of thoughts stemming from music, and it would bring a sense of relief to get those thoughts out there to those who care to read.  So depending on how this goes I will probably do this again.  First, let me show you the song that I am going to refer to.

In my opinion this song is so much stronger than most of their material.  The punk sound really came out, and the drums sing while showing his true capabilities (It is in my view, that he holds back too much with the rest of the tracks on this album).  The lead singer’s voice, her voice, tops the sound off with her clarity and precision of tone.  Finally, the sound in accordance to what is being talked about bring images of golden daylight resting on lush tree tops.  I usually fly in this song because of the image of the dove.  This song brings me a sense of excited happiness, like an eager energy wanting to experience the future.  It brings me back to the feelings I had growing up, when life was filled with wonder and lots of happiness.

To what she says, I see two meanings that are obvious to me (thanks to the video), however there is a separate personal meaning.  The first obvious message that this song is trying to portray could be that of reuniting lovers.  While deciding to try again, she is determined to make this new relationship last forever, and celebrates in her excitement for the future.  The second message, and most likely the message intended by the band, was shown through the video.  The song encompasses the experience of their band, and their celebration for the future.

If only time flew like a dove

Well God make it fly faster than I am falling in love

This is pretty deep stuff, deeper than most of the material out there.  Doves mean a multitude of things, but what it means to me is a “good” future in this context.  Time is bringing good tidings into their lives.  The second line for me is harder to discern a meaning.  What would happen if favorable time traveled slower than she was falling in love?  Does she cease to love?  I think this may mean that she wants God to continue their good tidings so that she can continue to fall in love more with her life.  Then she changes this part.  It turns to:

If only time flew like a dove

Well we can watch it fly and keep looking up

To me this means that if tidings remain to be good, that they can just experience time and take it all in.  The image of somebody remaining to look at the sky, reminds me of being a child, when I would look at the different shapes of the clouds.  Essentially, I was happy, and that is what this line is communicating to me.  She is saying she will take the tidings, waiting for more, and remaining to be happy.  After these moments in the song, she exalts “Hallelujah!”  She is thanking and praising God for her life, and she wants to make this moment in their lives last forever.

But there is a personal meaning that I take from this.

I take it to the spiritual context.  I take it that this song is celebrating the reunion of a person and God, and they will work to make the relationship last forever.  The dove is also a symbol in The Bible, obviously, in conjunction with the praise of hallelujah, as well as the golden forests, mountains, and blinding white light that this sound creates for me – I cannot help but feel that this song is talking about a relationship with God.  I have even personalized it to the point that the song was a song expressing that relationship.  Who knows, maybe the band Paramore intended this song to be spiritual but decided to show it in more marketable context for their listeners.  Nonetheless I feel that music can have multiple meanings for a multitude of people, and that is the true beauty of art.  Art is personalized and is intimate – it brings about emotions, messages, wisdom, etc. to the observer.  In everyday conversation, I rarely ever dive into what other people think or feel about particular songs, most likely because it is hard to be familiar with the same music as someone else.  When that does happen, the conversation usually reveals the opinion of each person in regards to the song, but nothing else.  Since I am living with guys, it would more than likely turn into who knows the most music, because guys want to be dominant.  What is interesting, is guys don’t compete into how much they take from their music, more than likely because most people don’t take the time these days to truly listen to music.  I know I am guilty of putting Pandora in the background while I do something, essentially creating a more pleasurable white noise.  I wonder if that is how most music is experienced.

One thing I do know is that I used to partake in the album experience.  I would judge on how the overall flow of the tracks were.  I’d check out random artists from the library, usually striking out but still in wonder listen to every track.  I feel that since being an adult, I don’t have the time to do that anymore.  I barely find time to read.  Realizing this makes me think about where we want society to take us.  Is having more material things more beneficial than getting the most out of what you have?  I don’t know, I just find it rewarding to listen to an album multiple times and trying to find out what that song means from the writers, as well as my own, point of view.

One thing is for certain!  Paramore’s drummer can really ride the set.  I hope you all enjoyed the read, and thank you for taking time out of your day to read my blog.

Till next time.

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An Different Look into Scarcity

Mullainathan, Sendhil, and Eldar Shafir. Scarcity: why having too little means so much. New York, New York: Henry Holt and Company, LLC, 2013. Print.

 

Throughout the majority of my life, my family and I had to deal with very tight financial constraints.  I can’t count the amount of times I have feared that we wouldn’t be able to pay for food, and there have been a multitude of times when we have had to use a food pantry.  I wanted to know how this is possible.  Why are there people flying private jets while there are people unable to eat?  The resources are there!  So  I have tried to get a better understanding of how the economy works, and I have taken time to learn various philosophies when in regards to economic policy as well as general economies as a whole.  The book that I just read, adds a layer of complexity to the study of economies.  As it is stated in the book, various economists make the assumption that people will make the most rational decision.  Yet, as we all know, this is sometimes not the case.  The psychology of scarcity actually can explain this phenomenon.  What is interesting is there are other things that are scarce throughout life.  Time can be scarce at times, followed by calorie intake (diet), the book throws a curve ball and talks about “social scarcity” (loneliness), and quite frankly I think addiction can be applied to the sphere of scarcity as well.  There is probably more, but what this book shows is that what they are finding about scarcity can be applied generally to other cases, not just money.

The premise of their findings was generally stated in the introduction of the book.  Essentially scarcity first forces us to tunnel on the thing we are scarce over.  So if I don’t have a lot of time and I am working hard, I will focus on the most immediate or late deadlines.  This prioritization, or heightened focus on deadlines (tunneling), is a double edged sword.  The efficiency of the person under a strict deadline goes up substantially because he or she is focusing harder to get his or her work done.  However it is through this tunneling, that sometimes other factors that contribute to scarcity in the first place gets overlooked.  So in the time example, while working on a late deadline another deadline has to be completed late.  This is a feedback process, and eventually I would be placed in what is termed the “scarcity trap,” where I am constantly in the state of scarcity, fighting a forever uphill battle to actually complete everything on time.  There is more though.  The authors of this book used the word bandwidth to encapsulate the overall processing power of the brain.  It is found that scarcity actually taxes the bandwidth of the brain, more specifically fluid intelligence and impulse control.

Another example could be used with addiction, or chemical scarcity.  Once the addiction is established, there is a drive to put their drug of choice into their system.  When there are heavy cravings (scarcity) addicts will tunnel to focus on getting chemicals back into their system for their high.  Addicts get very creative when it comes to getting money for their addiction, and that typically means other financial to relationship obligations, fall through the tunnel.  Eventually the added on stress of not meeting those responsibilities is dealt with taking more drugs (not to mention their impulse control is down).  This again brings about another scarcity trap.  Usually addicts have to reach rock bottom in order for them to gain the motivation to stop.  In order to stop any scarcity trap, including that of addiction, impulse control is needed which is extremely difficult considering the bandwidth tax.

Here is a summary of the findings of this book with regards to financial scarcity:

Tying all this together, we see that scarcity traps emerge for several interconnected reasons, stretching back to the core scarcity mindset.  Tunneling leads us to borrow so that we are using the same physical resources less effectively, placing us one step behind.  Because we tunnel, we neglect, and then we find ourselves needing to juggle.  The scarcity trap becomes a complicated affair, a patchwork of delayed commitments and costly short-term solutions, that need to be constantly revisited and revised.  We do not have the bandwidth to plan a way out of this trap.  And when we make a plan, we lack the bandwidth needed to resist temptations and persist.  Moreover, the lack of slack means that we have no capacity to absorb shocks.  And all this is compounded by our failure to use the precious moments of abundance to create future buffers.

Shocks in this context has to do with the financial surprises that life brings us.  They use the term slack to talk about room in the overall budget.  Having slack is a very important component to keeping you out of, and get you out of, the scarcity trap.  Put simply, having a little extra money allows one to save money to keep him or her out of the trap.  When in the scarcity trap, slack allows for somebody to pay for late bills without the need of a loan.  When looking at the scarcity trap, saving is the most important thing one can do to keep yourself from that mindset.  It is extremely risky to spend all of your budget every paycheck if it is avoidable.  It takes just one major “shock” to put yourself into the scarcity trap and mindset.

This book was interesting, but I must say I did not like how they structured the book.  The majority of their theory was revealed in the introduction, which made the rest of the material more bland.  If they were to reveal the theory as they went, the material would have a more interesting factor to it.  I understand they have to be thorough when explaining the evidence for their theory, but in my opinion it was a little excessive.  They spelled it out like someone was a complete moron, being so thorough of their logic.  I suppose this is good, especially considering the kind of people they are selling their book to.  But I found it irritating.  I really think they could of taken 100 to 120 pages off of the book.  Their theory is condensed, not long, not hard to understand, and could be provided evidence through their studies.

This book makes me realize that all people will do things impulsively under scarcity.  So when someone does something irrationally, it has to do with their taxed bandwidth.  I hope that this knowledge can be used by economists to better understand how people behave in the economy.  Maybe it will allow economists to change their assumptions, which would provide a more accurate understanding.  But I hope in the end this will breed more empathy for the poor.  And I hope that one day we will all have the mindset to allow the necessities of life to be provided to everyone.