Rush is one of the best bands out there not only for instrumentation, virtuosity, and precision, but also lyrics. Amazingly, the lyrics below are a song written by Neil Peart. It’s a haunting piece about aging, success, confidence, sadness, desperation, and suicide. It’s absolutely remarkable. In the end, I have a link to watch it being performed live. For anyone who tries to reach the pinnacle of performance and the zenith of success, you will no doubt resonate with this melancholy song. Alas, death comes for us all, and as soon as we are born we start dying. For some it reaches the point of absurdity and extreme existential angst. I will add a few quotations for your consideration in the end.
The dancer slows her frantic pace
In pain and desperation,
Her aching limbs and downcast face
Aglow with perspiration.
Stiff as wire, her lungs on fire
With just the briefest pause,
The flooding through her memory
The echoes of old applause.
She limps across the floor
And closes her bedroom door…
The writer stares with glassy eyes
Defies the empty page,
His beard is white, his face is lined
And streaked with tears of rage.
Thirty years ago, how the words would flow
With passion and precision,
But now his mind is dark and dulled
By sickness and indecision,
And he stares out the kitchen door
Where the sun will rise no more….
Some are born to move the world
To live their fantasies;
But most of us just dream about
The things we’d like to be.
Sadder still to watch it die
Than never to have known it
For you, the blind, who once could see, the bell tolls for thee,
For you, the blind, who once could see, the bell tolls for thee….
Info about the song HERE
There is only one philosophical question: Is life worth the pain of living?
The idea of death brings an authenticity to social life: there may be no better way to clear our calendar of engagements than to speculate as to who among our acquaintances would make the trip to our hospital bed.
Every man’s life ends the same way. It is only the details of how he lived and how he dies that distinguish one man from another.
Action is the antidote to despair.
I have often been downcast, but never in despair; I regard our hiding as a dangerous adventure, romantic and interesting at the same time. In my diary, I treat all the privations as amusing. I have made up my mind now to lead a different life from other girls and, later on, different from ordinary housewives. My start has been so very full of interest, and that is the sole reason why I have to laugh at the humorous side of the most dangerous moments.
What is hope? Nothing but the paint on the face of existence; the least touch of truth rubs it off, and then we see what a hollow-cheeked harlot we have got hold of.
They lived and they died, they prayed to their gods, but the stone gods did not make a sound. And their empire crumbled ‘til all that was left were the stones the workmen found.
The average man, who does not know what to do with his life, wants another one which will last forever.
Character building begins in our infancy, and continues until death.
I still feel the pain; it just doesn’t control my life. The challenge is to find the blessing in the pain.
Science does not offer consolation, it offers death. Everything, from the unwinding universe of the astronomers to the college girl irradiating life with beauty and laughter, must pass away: this handsome youth, erect and vigorous, fresh from athletic victories, will be laid low tomorrow by some modest, ingratiating germ; this noble pianist, who has dignified his time with perfection, has taught a million souls to forget themselves in beauty, is already in the clutch of death, and will, within a decade, be rotting in the tomb.
Surrender is not giving up, far from it. Surrender takes an enormous amount of courage. Often we are only capable of doing so when the pain of trying to control the outcome becomes too much to bear. Reaching that point is actually liberating, even if it is not fun.
People are looking for something to believe in. They’re looking for meaning in life. They’re looking to be part of a broader project.
They are not long, the weeping and the laughter, love and desire and hate:
I think they have no portion in us after we pass the gate.
They are not long, the days of wine and roses: Out of a misty dream…. ~ Ernest Dowson
If I can stop one heart from breaking/ I shall not live in vain/ If I can ease one life of aching/ Or cool one pain/ Or help one fainting robin / Unto his nest again/ I shall not live in vain.
When I consider the brief span of my life, swallowed up in the eternity before and behind it, the small space that I fill, or even see, engulfed in the infinite immensity of spaces which I know not and which know not me, I am afraid ….
The worst part of holding the memories is not the pain. It’s the loneliness of it. Memories need to be shared.
Our lives are purposive if they are directed toward the pursuit of important values. And it is the pursuit and attainment of important values that most clearly would give life itself importance. We can immerse ourselves in trivialities in this world, or we can seek to embody and achieve values of importance in what we do.
Believe, when you are most unhappy, that there is something for you to do in the world. So long as you can sweeten another’s pain, life is not in vain.
Get busy living, or get busy dying.
If you are distressed by anything external, the pain is not due to the thing itself, but to your estimate of it. And this you have the power to revoke at any moment.
Now, don’t hang on, nothing lasts forever but the earth and sky; It slips away, and all your money won’t another minute buy….
What meaning of human life may be I don’t know: I incline to suspect that it has none. All I know about it is that, to me at least, it is very amusing while it lasts. Even its troubles, indeed, can be amusing. Moreover, they tend to foster the human qualities that I admire most — courage and its analogs.
I am emotional about all the pain I’ve seen – so many broken lives, broken dreams, broken families. I am on fire to change this.
I would rather live a short life of glory than a long one of obscurity.
But when the night is falling
And you cannot find the light
If you feel your dream is dying
Hold tight – you’ve got the music in you
Don’t let go – you’ve got the music in you.
The sun also rises. ~ Ernest Hemingway
To accept from life what we must, take from it what we should, and give to it what we can is an excellent path to a death without regret. ~ Dee Hock
The extent to which people have found meaning and purpose in their lives is linked with how they approach death (Dokken, 2013). One study revealed that individuals with a chronic, life-threatening illness — congestive heart failure — were trying to find meaning in life (Park et. al., 2008). In another study, individuals with less than three months to live who had found purpose and meaning in their lives felt the least despair in the final weeks, whereas dying individuals who saw no reason for living were the most distressed and wanted to hasten death (McClain, Rosenfeld & Breitbart, 2003). In this and other studies, spirituality helped to buffer dying individuals from severe depression (Smith, McCullough & Poll, 2003).
Lyrics license held by NEIL PEART. Publisher: Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC, Warner/Chappell Music, Inc., OLE MM, OLE MEDIA MANAGEMENT LP