One of my all-time favorite musicians and songwriters is Donald Fagen, once an English literature major made famous for his founding of and contribution to the band, Steely Dan. He was able to fuse his obscure lyrics with advanced vocal melodies, jazz harmonies, and catchy guitar/horn riffs. In this week’s blog post, I thought it would be appropriate to expose my readers to one of his best compositions titled, “I.G.Y (What a Beautiful World)” which was off of his first solo album entitled, The Nightfly. It is a sarcastic view of the optimistic utopian world view that was popular in the late 1950’s United States. However, as the song progresses, his charming melody becomes tied to a future with technological advancement and integration that is an unwelcome development to the common man/woman (e.g. “A just machine to make big decisions, programmed by fellows with compassion and vision”). Though quite sarcastic, the lyrics do a great job at showing the fact that our peaceful vision for the world has yet to become a reality; more work remains for generations to come.
As millennials, we have a unique opportunity to shape the world in that we, along with our children will live. The wall that Mr. Trump plans on constructing along our southern border is not the barrier that which we should be most concerned, the barrier in the way of political, economic, societal and environmental advancement is ourselves. We must understand that to improve our wellbeing; we must take a step back, look within ourselves and ask, “what am I doing to improve the problem or situation?” It is too easy to place blame on everyone else, and that mentality will prevent us from growing as a society and country. Developed by Larry Shushansky, a Rhode Island-based therapist, the “Independent Enough” theory states that “the real power to change relationships comes from within ourselves by becoming Independent Enough to do the work to overcome the challenges we all face in order to have our most sought-after relationships.”
Just as Mr. Shushansky believes that we all “have the power to have the kind of relationships we want,” I think that we all have the ability to build the kind of world we want! The best part of this psychological concept is that its strips away all stigmas, stereotypes and tendencies of race, gender, religion or political party. We may have differing, emotional views on topics such as religion but that’s what makes it so great to be a part of the millennial generation, a generation that stakes its claim on the openness to and tolerance for new ideas.
So let us remove Mr. Fagen’s sarcasm for one moment and reflect on what a beautiful world this COULD be. That’s the easy part, now, let’s work on how WE can bring this vision to realization. I leave you with a touch of the ever tasteful, Mr. Donald Fagen:
Get your ticket to that wheel in space
While there’s time
The fix is in
You’ll be a witness to that game of chance in the sky
You know we’ve got to win
Here at home we’ll play in the city
Powered by the sun
Perfect weather for a streamlined world
There’ll be spandex jackets one for everyone
What a beautiful world this will be
What a glorious time to be free
Stay tuned for my next blog as I dive into some practical ideas for bringing this world vision, on the international front, back to life!
PHOTO: James Hamilton