Who's Responsible?

We Are

Though I’m a writer, I have a deep appreciation for music and the visual arts as well. I almost always write with music and it’s an integral part of the internal soundtrack I have playing in my head. And I’ve no particular taste in music, either. I enjoy songs from all sorts of different styles. Just because it is popular doesn’t mean it’s somehow less of an artistic expression than other, more “serious” works, (though it may often be the case that it is).

If Into the Vast did have a soundtrack and I could pick any song to be on it, one of them would certainly be, “We Are” by Ana Johnsson. This song is rather unusual in that its lyrics don’t focus on the typical themes that make up popular music. In fact, if you listened to the radio all day long, and if they were playing any sort of contemporary music you’d be hard pressed to find another song which echoes these sentiments. And yet they really resonate with the story I tried to tell in Into the Vast. Here is a section from the lyrics:

What about the world today?
What about the place that we call home?
We’ve never been so many
And we’ve never been so alone

You keep watching from your picket fence
You keep talking but it makes no sense
You say we’re not responsible
But we are, we are
You wash your hands and come out clean
Fail to recognise the enemies within
You say we’re not responsible
But we are, we are, we are, we are

When do you hear that in music these days? Us? We’re to blame? No, no, it’s got to be the system or tough luck, or my upbringing or my feckless friends. As C.S. Lewis put it:

“I am rather sick of the modern assumption that, for all events, ‘We’, the people, are never responsible: it is always our rulers, or ancestors, or parents, or education, or anybody but precious ‘US’”

Who's Responsible?

It’s a troubling thought and one I don’t like to ponder any more than the rest of us, but what part do we have to play in the troubles we see around us? We may not be murderers or terrorists, but may it be that we are not as innocent as our consciences tell us? In a famous exchange, G.K. Chesterton, in response to an article in the London Times entitled, “What’s Wrong with the World?” is said to have written this very short letter:

“I am.
Yours truly,
G. K. Chesterton.”

By no means is this the main theme of the book, but the idea certainly fuels some of the conflict in the story.

“You say we’re not responsible but we are, we are…”

Thank you, Ms. Johnsson, for reminding us of that.

Share Button

Comments (1)

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *