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Can Songs Change People?


Love is a favorite topic of songwriters and humanity is coming to the awareness that love is about giving rather than simply receiving pleasure. Love is a far greater phenomenon than simple romance and surface emotion. But until such understanding gains critical mass, most songs will continue to depict and promote the things our lives revolve around: sex, power, money and domination. The love that people are becoming aware of resides deep within and in order to express that in song, songwriters need to connect with this deeper understanding. A song written by a person who knows the essence of life from within will use lyrics that reflect the source of life. Songs of this caliber will produce a lasting effect on the listener.


TV Program with Dr. Michael Laitman
"20 Ideas"

"Can Songs Change People?"

With participation of Seth Breitman

June 29, 2009
New York

Seth Breitman: There are hundreds of songs, thousands of songs that have galvanized people, that have brought people together for a purpose. I'm thinking of in English alone, there are hundreds that have served a great purpose in culture. John Lennon had a song, "Imagine no possessions; imagine no more greed. Nothing to live and die for..." Just everybody being together. And he was assassinated. The song still lives today, thirty years later, but he was shot for it.

Then you have a guy, Bob Marley, who made a song, a lot of songs that galvanized people and brought them together. It was, "One Love, one heart; let's get together and feel alright." Then a kind of an expression that came out of that culture was, "One heart, one blood, one heart, one love; we're all humanity."

Now we're today, there are so many problems, it's like what... Did these songs even do anything? I mean, you see that so much happens in culture. These songs come out, people they go out, they get together, they do events together, they go to concerts together, they feel this way. It inspires them during the day, but at the end of the day does it actually make any kind of effect? Does it affect our progress?

Dr. Michael Laitman: Well, undoubtedly a song is the most powerful means to affect people. I would think that it's more powerful than any other kind of media, because everything else is not that popular, really. Songs are the most popular, I think, from things people create. Within three minutes you can express a lot of power and desire. You bring a person to a certain kind of state of mind, thoughts, connection-there's nothing like a song. I think it's the most powerful means.

We see that among all the actors and people in the cinema or in theater, the singers are the most popular among everyone, they're the most famous. You have contests, but a song is the only thing that accompanies every nation, every culture, for decades. Only gradually is it replaced, after maybe one hundred, one hundred and fifty years, or maybe a few decades at least. That's how long it takes us to forget a song, just like you remembered now John Lennon's songs, Bob Marley's.

Seth Breitman: These are great songs, but what effect did they have? Okay, so they helped people feel together. Listen, someone's driving in their car to work, someone has a hard time, they're a teenager in their room and they're listening, but what does it do for someone?

Dr. Michael Laitman: Let me ask you something else. Where did you see that anything affects humanity immediately, and everyone rolls in line because of that impact? There's no such thing. Evolution is slow and gradual, but still this phenomenon of a song is a special one.

Seth Breitman: The reason for my question, the impetus for it is because I grew up listening to these songs that I talked about, and so many love songs were always on the radio in the ‘70s when I was growing up, in the ‘80s-just love, love, love. It was clear to me by the time I was eighteen years old that when they said, "I want to be with you forever, I love you so much," they were talking about lust, not love. That was clear.

But still, you take... So maybe there's a couple of golden love songs, okay, but then you take these Bob Marley songs or these John Lennon songs, is there... What I'm asking you as a song-writer, is there anything... What else can I put in a song, because it seems like everything's been said already?

Dr. Michael Laitman: Well, nothing has been said, really. I don't think songs have yet become really songs, poetry, about the meaning of life. Even what we have, the Song of Songs, many people know that, but no one understand it, what's written in there. There's a reason why it says, the Song of Songs. A song is a great thing and there's a song of all songs, which is the highest level, the apex of human expression with respect to life, to reality.

Look, just the name itself, this form of the medium, look at what it took! The Song of Songs-there's a reason for it. I think that humanity is currently... Well, it's still evolving and in a very special kind of a development, at a critical point. And they're beginning to understand, as you said that you understood that it's not about love but about lust, and love had nothing to do with sex or with our body at all. It's got to do with giving, with looking at a person as important as me, or even more than me.

This is something... We're not writing about it, because humanity's songs are... It's a point where songs are not there and we're still not worried about it. What do we write about? Food, sex, family, money, power, domination. Our whole lives revolve around that and so do our songs. Nature and how I can enjoy it or not, about suffering, what makes you feel good or bad.

What's the difference between that, forgive me, and a cow moo-ing? For the cow it's more natural, there's no doubt it's coming from the bottom of its heart, and I don't think in its moo there's anything less than, excuse me for saying it, than all the songs humanity put together through all times.

Seth Breitman: When somebody sings a song...

Dr. Michael Laitman: At least a cow expresses its genuine, natural expression, in an emotional, most natural way.

Seth Breitman: Okay, fine. I disagree, but it's a great point.

Dr. Michael Laitman: I'm not disrespecting anything, not yours or your profession or love songs, but I'm just saying we haven't come to express that "moo"-our "moo"-in the deepest and right way.

Seth Breitman: Internal "moo," yeah, okay. You're talking about the Song of Songs. It's over a thousand years old; nobody cares in America. Okay, people care maybe in the "Bible Belt," people care in the synagogue or something...

Dr. Michael Laitman: No, we don't understand what's written there. No, no, no. I'm not even talking about those.

Seth Breitman: That's my point. My point is how can you write... You're talking about writing a special kind of song, but nobody even understands how can you even write a special song if you don't even know what it's talking... You can only write the expression, "No tears in the author, no tears in the person who reads it."

If the person who's writing it can't even feel this thing after fifteen hundred years or even today, you're saying we can't even feel it, so what's the point of doing it? I mean, I can work on it and then the next generation can work on it, and then the next generation. But if we can't even feel what it is that you're talking about, then how can we even write that song?

Dr. Michael Laitman: Well, that song is not an example for us. For that you have to be at a very special kind of attainment about the meaning of life. We're not talking about today's songs, but we'll get there. But at least if a person truly wants to write a song about life, about something more internal, then he needs to work on himself. He has to write it from the source of life; he has to feel humanity at a more internal level.

Where is our life coming from; where is it going; what happens at the end of life, past the end of life? Is there a hidden reality? How can we open ourselves up? There's a lot to write about, even in our lives, without being at the spiritual state or status. There are things which you can write about differently, about everything that happens today with people: the crisis, divorce, drugs, the problems with education, children and parents...

Look, now we're in the midst of crisis. Look at how many people are losing their jobs, how many people have already become homeless? How many people have great difficulties? What happens to people? I don't hear songs about that.

Seth Breitman: Michael Jackson has a song, I'm trying to remember the... It's like, "I'm going to make a change for once in my life. I'm going to start with the man in the mirror; I'm asking him to change his ways." He's talking about, "I have to change. You see the children on the street without enough to eat; who am I to be blind pretending not to see them cry?" It's what you're talking about.

There are so many songs already. I guess what I'm asking you is, is the only thing left to do is just rearrange the words in a certain way so that it'll be the right key to open this door, or is there some other kind of thing? You're talking about family, crisis, economic crisis... This has all been written about.

Dr. Michael Laitman: No, no, no. First of all, maybe enough has been written about it. Songs have to be written from a different level of sensations, of understanding. That's the difference. There's a difference if a child writes a song and it's a child's song (we know children's songs), or if a song is written by a person who knows the essence of life from within. Then his words too change and the music becomes different. You can't even express it; it's a kind of feeling.


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