Soliloquy of "Seeing Is Believing" From The Golden Dawn
About Power Plant
Power Plant was a record by the band The Golden Dawn. It was recorded in 1967. It was delayed and not released until 1968. It was the band's only album. It was rereleased in 2008 as a CD. The CD is unique in that the band's founder, George Kinney, gives a summary of the band's history and the meanings of the songs. While not a collector of 1960's music by any means, it is the most expressive of existentialism that I have ever heard - so much so that I made a video following one of the song's themes. Why did I do this? I wanted to share the song, its existentialism, and offer Christian apologetics. Today's medium is video, so what better way to go?
What Is Existentialism?
Existentialism is the belief that the meaning of life cannot be found in the rational and logical, rather in the nonrational and nonlogical. While daily life is necessary, no purpose or meaning can be found in it. Meaning and higher consciousness are found in the irrational. The 1960's was a honest pursuit in the the irrational to find meaning. Golden Dawn helped me realize how much irrational pursuits for enlightenment permeated the culture. Irrational enlightenment was in the day's music, art, literature, Eastern religions, and most prominently found by taking mind altering drugs.
The Message of Power Plant
There are ten songs on the CD. Collectively, the message is growing through higher awareness and consciousness both as an individual and in relationships. There are warnings for looking only to the material world for meaning. The CD's message is summed up well on the back with a written philosophy reading "The physical level of existence, including corporeal realities as eating, drinking, sexual satisfaction, material possessions, so forth and so on, have been provided for us as a beautiful oasis in which we are able to abide as long as we are physically connected with the earth. But, in order to fully appreciate and enjoy these physical pleasures and to benefit from them, we must not fall prey to the false and unnatural conclusion that they in themselves are the sole or even major purpose for our existence. It is vitally necessary that through meditation and constant self-examination we conceive clearly and distinctly the proper relationship of the body of man; and we must not delay, for even as the body is satiated with the fruits of the earth, so the soul may be starving".
About The Video
Besides being a catchy tune, why did I select the particular song Seeing Is Believing to make a video? There are two reasons. First, the song offers the strongest contrast between the logical/rational life verses seeking meaning in the irrational than any other song on the CD. The lyrics speak of ordinary life, while the chorus echos rejection of the logical/rational "See is believing. No! No! No!" It was easy to select images and video of ordinary life for the lyrics. The chorus was a bit more difficult. I knew that I wanted to include a clip of a particular dance recital my daughter was in. The recital itself was a masterpiece written by her dance instructor, Karlo Lollard. It contained existential elements to begin with and easily fit the video by just adding some distortion. The third (and last) chorus happened by coincidence. My wife knew I was making this video and suggested that I attend the dress rehearsal of a play she was in. She was Golda in Fiddler on the Roof. She stated that the dream scene was pretty surrealistic and indeed it was. All I had to do was speed it up. The second chorus was a challenge. Having stage performances for two choruses, I wanted to keep the stage theme. Since I wanted to borrow from my life experiences, the worship portion of my church service seemed fitting. Pasture Duane Hunt's relationship to God is strong. I know few pastors who would allow me to distort our worship service.
Second, at this stage in my life I have had a lot of experiences to draw from that I wanted to share. Coupled with that, at age 50 plus, life's routine is getting pretty weary. With age comes the increasing realization of how dysfunctional everyday life is and I am, unfortunately at times, part of the problem. It is no longer a question of picking your battles, rather it is a challenge of avoidance and extraction from fruitless conflict and picking the windows to express your witness. The song and video seemed to encompass an opportunity.
The Christian worldview is that the rational, logical material world is reality. There is spiritual value and meaning in it. It is, however, seriously flawed and broken as are the people living in it. To rely on it solely as a source of meaning is futile. It is similar to a child trying to enjoy a broken toy.
God is in a sense existential in that He is spiritual and beyond the confines of time and space. Man's place is not in that arena in that we were designed to operate in the physical and will spend eternity in the physical, albeit in a world that functions correctly as God will have design it. In the interim here and now, He has not left us stranded in a broken world. My video plays on the rational/irrational except right in the middle with Christ on the cross. At this point in history eternity met time. Through Christ, God gave the individual the opportunity to be reunited with God - an opportunity to be redeemed. With that redemption comes a new person seeing the material world as it really is and experiencing God in a spiritual manner. Moving through a broken world as a redeemed person is fascinating and sad. But, you are no longer in despair and definitely look forward to eternity.
One question that frequently crosses my mind is, the River of Life that is described in Genesis in the originally created earth and reappears in Revelation in the redeemed earth, will it be a cold or warm water fishery?