Thursday, June 14, 2012

Undone: A Song for Our Times

Ever since I became a fan of theirs nearly five years ago now, the metal band Five Finger Death Punch has never ceased to instill in me a purpose with their music. I’m not entirely sure what it is about the music, but it strikes a chord in my soul every time I hear one of their songs. Some are enraging, some are solemn, some are sorrowful, some are reflective, and yet others are haunting. For me, the most haunting is “Undone”, a song that was released with their 2008 “War is the Answer” album’s special edition only. The message is one that almost perfectly reflects the problems with society and culture today.
“Sometimes the things get so jaded
Still my heart slowly beats
Sometimes life gets complicated
Still the world around me sleeps”
The lyrics of the first verse, to my mind, reflect the situation of one lost in a dream; nay, a nightmare.  When I look out at the world, except for the few bright spots where hope still struggles on, I see nothing but a seething torrent of hate, ambivalence, apathy, and blind arrogance disguised as naiveté. And yet, in spite of seeing and knowing what the problem is, right before their eyes, most people go about life as normal, not bothering to look around. As Aldous Huxley rightly pointed out, we are being led into an existence of complacency, decadence, and obliviousness, where existence and gratification are the only things that are real.
“Sometimes the things get so faded
How is it that you can't see?
Sometimes life seems overrated
Makes my heart slowly bleed”
The second verse is the reaction of those who do see the darkness closing in but, in spite of their efforts, they cannot stop it and, worse, cannot convince the mindless sheep (ahem, masses) to stop their march to the pyre of history in their quest to feed their lusts, which leads to self-immolation. For those defenders, the center cannot hold. Too few reinforcements, the slow passage of time that eventually claims even the mightiest of them, and the darkness, which seems unending, grows ever stronger. Slowly but surely, the line will break, and the barbaric darkness will again rule the minds of men.
But the most heart-wrenching and soul-tearing part is the chorus:
“I'm ashamed, not to blame
don't wanna think about it
Who I am, what I've done
How do I carry on?
Wanna change, turn the page
don't wanna think about it
How do I undo what's done?”
For me, the lyrics and the accompanying instrumentals tear at my soul and ravage my mind. This is the final phase of the defeat of the golden light of civilization: despair. Only now do they realize where they road they have tread has lead, and now there is no way out. Some will frantically try to deny their involvement, some will seek to try and go back the way they came, but the way is shut. Some are ashamed but all the same will try to ignore their situation, and yet others, the majority, will recognize the fate of the damned and will resign themselves to it.
What is the cause of this? Again, Huxley hit the nail on the head: humanity stopped seeking the transcendence found in seeking God, stopped trying to live out the virtues and morals of their forefathers, stopped thinking of the future generations and stopped reflecting on past lessons. They focused only on fulfilling their lusts and base nature, feeding the beast they had unleashed. They fed the madness, and now, the entire world is mad. Mad…and ultimately damned.
Is there a way out? Can the defenders of civilization shore up the defenses and man the walls long enough for the Relief? The Darkness is desperate and, thus, doubling its efforts to crush the Light. If we are to save our nation, our civilization, then things must change. Edmund Burke once commented that change is the one constant, but that doesn’t mean in the sense that we think of today. Change, he emphasized, must be synonymous not only with improvement, but with preservation. It doesn’t mean change everything in ways they were not meant to be changed, but to improve upon what already exists, much like how the prejudice (accumulated knowledge and wisdom of humanity) grows more acute with every day from the new experiences and lessons of individuals. Upon the ruins of the Roman Empire arose the Church and the kingdoms of Medieval Europe; upon Judaism was built Christianity; upon the legacy of Jerusalem, Athens, Rome, and London was born the experiment called “the United States of America”. If we stand firm, preserve what is good and purge what is evil and base, then perhaps we can hold the line.
Another lyric (from 5FDP) to consider is this:
“If I fall, I’m dragging everybody down”
As the “last, best hope for humanity”, if we fall, then so goes our civilization…until our Help cometh.
Note: The Huxley comments are drawn from the following source. Hope you enjoy!

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