Tag Archives: Motown

Songs for Sustainability 3

30 Jan

“Oh mercy mercy me
Oh things ain’t what they used to be
No no
Where did all the blue sky go?
Poison is the wind that blows
From the north, east, south, and sea
Oh, mercy mercy me
Oh things ain’t what they used to be
No no
Oil wasted on the oceans and upon our seas
Fish full of mercury
Oh mercy mercy me
Oh, things ain’t what they used to be
No no
Radiation in the ground and in the sky
Animals and birds who live nearby are dying
Oh mercy mercy me
Oh things ain’t what they used to be
What about this overcrowded land?
How much more abuse from man can you stand?
My sweet Lord…My sweet Lord…My sweet Lord”

Gotta love Marvin Gaye. Thought of him at the mention of Motown here. Lyrics of his song Mercy, Mercy Me (The Ecology) from the album What’s going on. Maybe we should make that the first “Albums for Sustainability” and that’s from the early 70’s. Wonder what he would write today. Just found reference to a biography Mercy, Mercy Me: The Art, Loves and Demons of Marvin Gaye by Michael Eric Dyson here. Might make a good read. Just after I finish the one on Laurens van der Post I’ve just picked up.


An Example of Equanimity

29 Jan

Imagine this is your life’s story:

You, of Mexican working class lineage, are born into the early Detroit 40’s in Michigan, USA, a year before the race riots. By the time you hit your 20’s Motown has been founded, Martin Luther King spoke of his Dream, and while Detroit’s having more race riots in the late 60’s you release a low-impact single and follow it with two low-impact albums in the early 70’s. But no grand music career develops. You work in manual labour for the next 20 years, raise your family and dabble a bit in local politics. But no great political career develops. Then, you’re about 56, two chaps from the tip of some wild continent come and tell you that you’re a star in their country. Not only that, but they arrange for you to tour to packed  halls there. Repeatedly. Then elsewhere. And they make a film about the story.

And you, in the film Searching for Sugar Man, you just take the highs and the lows that your life presents you with, with such an equanimity that I am reminded of another of the Vipassana precepts: Remain equanimous, keep a balanced mind in the face of all vicissitudes of life. Remain without craving for pleasant sensations, remain without aversion to unpleasant sensations. Equanimity is purportedly one of the four sublime states of mind taught by the Buddha: Love or Loving-kindness, Compassion,  Sympathetic Joy and Equanimity.

If you want to see what Equanimity looks like, watch the man as the story of Rodriguez unfolds in the film. And the film is just great anyway. Much, much more here.