Living or Just Existing?

Thoughtful.I like thoughtful music. Music where the lyrics ask questions that make me think. Lyrics where the writer wrestles with the realities of life. I also like good music. I mean good in the sense that composition and melody are progressive and original. I have a wide variety of musical tastes and there is not much that I will not listen to–at least once.

One such musical group I have enjoyed over the years is the Canadian “power trio”, Rush. This is a band that has progressed through the decades and have maintained a high level of musical integrity. I was listening to their Grace Under Pressure album (can you say album nowadays?) and the particular song, The Enemy Within. The lyrics are introspective and worth sharing.

Things crawl in the darkness
That imagination spins
Needles at your nerve ends
Crawl like spiders on your skin

Pounding in your temples
And a surge of adrenaline
Every muscle tense–
To fence
The enemy within…

I’m not giving in
To security under pressure
I’m not missing out
On the promise of adventure
I’m not giving up
On impossible dreams–
Experience to extremes–
Experience to extremes–

Suspicious-looking stranger
Flashes you a dangerous grin
Shadows across your window–
Was it only trees in the wind?

Every breath a static charge–
A tongue that tastes like tin
Steely-eyed outside–
To hide
The enemy within…

To you is it movement or is it action?
Is it contact or just reaction?
And you–revolution or just resistance?
Is it living, or just existence?
Yeah, you–it takes a little more persistence
To get up and go the distance…

I’m not giving in
I’m not missing out
I’m not giving up
On impossible dreams–
Experience to extremes–
Experience to extremes–

With all the myriad of issues that we as human-beings wrestle with on a daily basis, have we made a conscious effort to live or are we allowing ourselves to be buffeted by internal and external forces? I like the last portion of the song specifically because it makes me ask this very question.

To you is it movement or is it action?
Is it contact or just reaction?
And you–revolution or just resistance?
Is it living, or just existence?

Stop existing and start living!

Lyrics by Neil Peart. All lyrics © 1984 Core Music Publishing

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