David Bowie’s passing this week has been a shock to many – the release of his latest album just a few days before his death gave the impression he was very much alive and well.
What makes a man dying of cancer go on, make an album, create a musical, think about the next album, smile with all his heart?
Some might say he kept busy and refused to face the cruel reality. Others might say he was insuring his family’s financial health by delivering one last dazzling image of himself to the people willing to pay for it. After all, he was one hell of a businessman – he sensed the perfect moment to issue his famous Bowie Bonds.
Others might think he ultimately found God. After all, his wife Iman did say
” The struggle is real but so is God”
on her Instagram account the very day he died. One very interesting thing to say, don’t you think?
David Bowie was a complex human being and we all saw the part of him which resembled us most.
But what do we have exactly? We have a man with many faces, always willing to explore some other part of himself. Never stuck in a particular moment of his fame, always flowing and evolving, understanding more and more about who he is and his place in this world. A truly free spirit backed by flawless vision: he had no trouble recognizing his soul mate and life partner when he met her (Iman), he accurately understood where technological evolution was headed, he was not ashamed to grow old. And no doubt many more – the ones that really knew him would know.
For us who didn’t know him, there’s his music. His music is his diary, it reflects his journey across the sky. Not a blazing comet, but a breathtaking set of fireworks. Sometimes way too much. Silent and contemplative in between.
As Joni Mitchell would probably say, Ziggy Stardust found his way back to the garden.
Good bye old boy! May we be inspired by you.
Thought of the week:
The poor are also the many. They are not represented. They are not the ruling class. The poor are 99.9% of the population: they are workers – be it in factories (not many humans work there any more), hospitals, courts of law, banks, television, you name it. They are the ones with no money or no time of their own – or both.
Until not so long ago the many felt isolated and depressed. They felt they were alone, left to struggle in a world gone irremediably wrong. The supposedly independent media added to that feeling: economic crises, deadly diseases, deadly weapons in the hands of the amoral made up the menu of every single day. They went every day to work, a meaningless job they didn’t dare to hate because they knew damn well they could lose it at any moment. There was alcohol, Prozac, Mary Jane, Viagra and holidays to help them keep going.
And then there was the Internet.
A place where all questions get immediate answers, where everybody is the expert in some unique field, everyone can share a thought, an idea, a new way to open a coconut, a new improvement for a Molotov cocktail… The place where eyes can be opened on planetary problems. The place where people find coaches who tell them there is much more to them than what they have been previously taught.
Note that it’s not at all easy to use it. The Internet was very rapidly flooded with outrageous pornography, useful idiots, paranoiacs gone off medication and about any type of propaganda you can think off. Not to mention all the actual products that can be bought with a click. Not to mention Google and its ranking algorithms. Not to mention the social media and virtual life traps.
Nevertheless, over the years, in all the chaos, there has been a growing feeling of togetherness, people have started to slowly realize they face the same problems. They start to heal. They feel empowered. They start to search the origin of their problems. They start to be politically aware. They start to hold some people accountable. They start to point fingers in the same direction.
You must recognize these are the symptoms of turning tides. Revolution.
You must remember that humanity has been here before. And the powers that be have already successfully reacted to the threat:
the answer is: WAR
In about 6 months we will commemorate 7 years since the death of our one and only King of Rock, Pop and Soul, Michael Jackson.
Do you remember how it was in the 80s and the 90s? There was no person on Earth, aged 4 to 94, not to be ecstatic about that man. Everywhere he went, packs of people of very different cultures would gather and try to have a glimpse of him. Old women in the remotest of countrysides would know his name and appreciate him, to the astonishment of everyone.
If you take a look at the 30 minute making of video of Thriller, you will see a group of youngsters gathered around the place where rehearsals and filming took place. They had glowing eyes and proudly improvised dance moves. Some found him sexy, others good, all incredibly talented.
And yes, Michael was on hell of a dancer. A complete showman. Since Thriller, there have been many other incredibly talented entertainers, maybe more so than Michael. But none has reached that unique status – being loved by almost all human kind.
So, his talent alone cannot explain why people loved him so much. Love is the right word to be used, his fans were like no other. For they were not regular fans -most of them did not identify with him, did not understand a word of his lyrics, never went to see him live or chase for pictures and autographs. They were nevertheless unbreakably in love with the man, at least until allegations of pedophilia were made. Why?
Maybe because he was a master of escapism, creating moments where you could lose yourself and float away from your worries. Maybe because Michael gave a little something to each and everyone of us that lingered with us through our daily life. Like a little spark of magic that told the kid inside of you “you can do it, whatever it is you need to do; you can be the best version of yourself; you can make a difference and change all that goes wrong in the world”. What a childish message! no wonder kids loved him.
You can repeat the experience even though he is dead – you can introduce a small child, let’s say 2 years old, to the music and videos of Michael Jackson. There is a good chance it will strongly react to it and you will see the same phenomenon again – sparkling eyes and being inspired to dance, to dream, to become bigger than nature.
We may not recognize it any more, but Michael Jackson has profoundly changed the lives of many people. Many have become artists thanks to his influence. Others have become workers, doctors, bank employees. Well, maybe no, not bank employees. But they all have been changed in some way, compelled to become the best and stay true to the child they once were. In this sense Michael Jackson was the biggest life coach of all times.
How did he influence you?
Mark and Priscilla Zuckerberg started the month of December with a wonderful letter to their newborn daughter and a pledge to give 99% of their Facebook shares to charity. The news was greeted with applauses by fellow billionaires and generally by the media.
Why did they do it? “because (they) have a moral responsibility to all children in the next generation“. Because they feel it cannot wait until they are older.
This kind of thinking must be miles away from the one most baby boomers have held dear for decades. This must come as a shock – their grandchildren are nothing like them.
Boomers were the generation born in the wake of Word War II. They knew what it is to be hungry. They knew what it is to live with damaged parents, physically and psychologically. They were handed the remains of the world, had a brief moment of peace&love daydreaming, then put on the black suit and got on with business. They never thought beyond themselves. Previous generations put next generations’ wellbeing before their own instant gratification. Boomers have broken this sacred chain. The post-war generation thought “let’s grab all we can and if hell breaks loose, well, it will probably not be in our lifetime!”. Not only don’t they usually help their children and grandchildren financially, but they expect them to pay for everything. Theirs was the era of banks thriving on loans for everything from education to cars, homes, television sets, holidays, air to breathe.
Millennials on the other hand have only heard stories about war. They were raised in a world of abundance. Technology gave them a sense of virtual togetherness. They consider themselves citizens of the world. And their moral responsibility has grown to match their expectations. In 2014, a survey found that 84% of millennials had made a charitable donation that year, hopefully not only to get a tax refund.
Wait a minute, there’s something wrong with this kind of thinking! People wearing tags and being responsible as a generation for all that is wrong in the world is convenient, but rarely true. Maybe boomers were much like millennials when they were in their late twenties. Maybe all post-war generations are ego-centered. Maybe all peacetime generations are generous. We may never know exactly, although a new world war could help us see clearer.
Meantime, let’s enjoy our new generation of givers! Chapeau Monsieur Zuckerberg.