The curious case of the two most important words


Janis Joplin has always been one of my favourite singers. I absolutely adore her voice. This love for her (and certain other people), is what lead to one of my previous posts on rockstars (The Forever 27 Club). But today, the curios case is not about any one of those (Though I’m sure I’ll be back with more posts on musicians. Oh! They’re just too fascinating). Today while listening to one of her songs, Me and Bobby McGee, one sentence really struck a chord somewhere:

Freedom’s just another word for nothing left to lose

And that really got me thinking. I mean, isn’t freedom really important to us humans? Right since we’re kids, we’re taught about a million kinds of freedoms. The Indian Freedom Struggle, the American freedom movement, the French Revolution, we’re taught about the fundamental rights we have like the freedom of speech, freedom of religion, we’re taught about individualistic freedom. And aren’t we always trying to achieve it, through our own different ways? We often resort to religion, to meditation, to alcohol, to drugs. We fight with our parents for that freedom and name it “the generation gap”. All in an attempt to escape reality. To be free.

But what does it really mean to be free? If we didn’t have any ties with anyone or anyone to bother us with, we won’t have most of the miseries. Can we really be free when we are always tied to something? Doesn’t this line really drive home the point of freedom? I think it does. Absolute freedom is a myth.

Moving to the next aspect of this curious case, I’m gonna talk about Into the Wild, the movie based on the life of Christopher McCandless. This brilliant movie has one of those phrases that leave you thinking for hours:

Happiness only real when shared. 

Makes absolute sense, doesn’t it? I mean I don’t even have to think twice to tell you that it’s true. We’re always looking for stuff to share with people. Anything good or anything bad happens, you’ll just run to those near and dear ones to “share” it with them. To laugh about it, to cry about it, to celebrate about it, to hate something  together.

But what does it mean to combine these two things? You can never be absolutely free unless you don’t have anything left to lose. And you’ll be happy because you’re free. But you won’t be really happy unless you have someone to share it with. And you don’t have anyone to share it with because you don’t have anything or anyone worth losing. So in essence are both absolute freedom and absolute happiness huge lies?

Maybe. Maybe they are. But I know one thing for certain. I’ve been happy and I have felt what freedom is. I’ve been happy when I am with my loved ones, with my parents, my friends. Yes, we’ve all had our differences. And yes, at times I have been miserable. And at other times, I’ve made them miserable. But isn’t it a part of the fun thing called life? Won’t it get a little drag if all we did was be happy all the time? I think happiness will lose the position of the most sought after thing among humans.

And as far as freedom is concerned, according to me, freedom is in being what you want to be. Freedom is in loving the people you want to love. Freedom is in accepting people because you love them irrespective of what they stand for.

Because the trick to living a fulfilling life is, I think, in finding a balance between the two. Finding the right equilibrium between being free and being happy. Because all we wanna do in this world is be happy, isn’t it?

 

Image courtesy: http://www.whatype.com and “Into the Wild”

 

The Forever 27 Club

Music for me is life. It is what lets me breathe. I can’t imagine living without music. It is what gets me through those tough days which occur more often than I would prefer. It intrigues me. Especially the art of making music. Appreciating it, I think, is an easy job. You just have to sit there with your headphones plugged in and listen and like whatever it is that makes you feel better. But composing, I feel, must be a Herculean task. I mean how do people come up with such brilliant compositions is beyond my grasp. I have always been fascinated by musicians, their lives, their stories. I find a different charm in them. Among all of them,I have known about this one intriguing tale called The Forever 27 Club for quite sometime now and today I’m gonna talk about that.

The Forever 27 Club is basically a group of musicians that all died at 27. And there’s a lot of them. I mean, yes, people of all ages die all the time but according to a survey I read there is a spike in the number of musician deaths at 27. It is sad and fascinating at the same time, isn’t it? To name a few legends, we have:

  • Robert Johnson (1911-1938) – Blues Singer
  • Brian Jones (1942-1969) – Founder of Rolling Stones band
  • Jimi Hendrix (1942-1970) – Musician and Singer- Songwriter
  • Janis Joplin (1943-1970) – Singer and Songwriter
  • Jim Morrison (1943-1971) – Lead singer of “The Doors”
  • Kurt Cobain (1967-1994) – Founder and lead singer of “Nirvana”

The Forever 27 Club

I know a lot of people have written explicitly about it. And I’m just a fan who has tried to read as much about it as I could. But what saddens me is the fact that most of them would probably have lived lot longer lives had it not been for their lifestyle. Their precipitous behavior is what killed most of them (And in cases when it didn’t, they made sure that they killed themselves.). I mean , thinking about it, what do you feel must be lacking in their lives. Why is it that most rockstars just end up being the reason of their own death in spite of the fact that they are famous, they are loved, people are crazy about them, they earn a lot (If you ignore the fact that some of them still manage to go broke!). And above all, they are all God-gifted with the one thing that most of us rock fans would probably die for. It is heart wrenching. It is sad. And above all, it is inexplicable for someone like me. The reason why these people were so screwed up. Was it the search for happiness? Was it over-thinking (I think that tends to happen to smart people)?

I think what makes them do what they do is the fact that they do not find the meaning or the purpose of their lives. They are just these crazy, highly talented, weird-ass artists with these crazy drifting souls that don’t let them come to peace with themselves.  Otherwise why would Jim Morrison pretend that he had no family? Why would Janis Joplin be that rebellious kid she was, wearing men’s clothing and short skirts? Why would someone like Kurt Cobain kill himself? Better to burn out than fade away? Really? Not something that I can come to terms with. I remember this one line I had read:

“The only thing you can truly control about life is your own death at your own hands”


I think what they do is just another human attempt to find what they are here for. And they fail. And then they resort to alcohol and drugs and eventually killing themselves in their search. And as far as the age 27 goes, I think that is just another one of those fascinating coincidences that this world is full of. They were just these drifting souls looking for happiness, because all we want to do in this world is be happy, isn’t it?