Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Obama and the Rise of the Indigo Children

There is going to be a healthy dose of artistic license and philosophical driftings to this post, but bear with me. Somehow, I'm going to try and tie a song to New Age mumbo jumbo, to generational theories, to our current socio-economic climate, and then finally to our current presidential election.

Yesterday, I came across Maynard James Keenan's new solo project Puscifer. Maynard, of TOOL and A Perfect Circle, apparently wanted to have a little fun while selling his music, art, clothes sans the restrictions of music labels. So while working with an assortment of friends and fellow musicians he just records whatever happens to move him or as he puts it, "the space where my Id, Ego, and Anima all come together to exchange cookie recipes."

It's a lot of him just screwing around, having fun with lyrics and new sounds. As a fan of most of his work, I actually find most of it pretty much unlistenable, (the irreverent style is very much like the filler tracks on TOOL albums, i.e. Gaping Lotus Experience) until I came across the song Indigo Children (JLE Dub Remix) on the album of remixes, V is for Viagra. The song sounds a bit like hiaku gregorian chants over an ethereal, melodic techno track. The atmospherics and the surround voices have a transporting effect that allows one's mind to drift into new places, very much like TOOL's work but more subtle.

I really like where this is taking techno, as I believe it has the most potential for layered composition similar to classical greats, if it can get past the goofiness and the ecstasy. But, that isn't what this post is about. Rather, I want to deconstruct the lyrics no matter how Keenan intended them, because we'll probably never know, nor will he ever tell. While most of his work is fairly abstract, we DO know that he'll take on issues of political foment more directly such as Pet and Noose from A Perfect Circle, as well as the entire eMOTIVe album.

E.M.P. from the Mother and Sun [as in Mother Earth - my addition]
toward the digital down
dawned at the age of the innocent ones

the indigo children
the indigo children come

From Wiki: The term Indigo children originates from the 1982 book "Understanding Your Life Through Color," by Nancy Ann Tappe. Tappe, a synesthete and psychic, claimed to possess the ability to perceive people's auras. She wrote that during the late 1970s she began noticing that many children were being born with "indigo" auras. Today, she estimates that 60 percent of children age 15 to 25 and 97 percent of children under ten are "Indigo."[1][2]

I am going to leave behind all the paranormal New Agey stuff because my agnostic nature senses the bullshit. However, for the purposes of lyrical interpretation I will cherry pick this part, "in New Age philosophy, "Indigo children are highly sensitive with a clear sense of self-definition and a strong feeling that they need to make a significant difference in the world.""

So based on the ages defined, we're dealing with the Millenial Generation. I've done a significant amount of research on Millenials mostly to find out how they might affect city planning and how their general characteristics will affect housing typologies. The most useful came from authors Strauss and Howe's two major recent works, The Fourth Turning and Millenials Rising.

Study of the Millenial generation shows that they are truly not X-squared or Y (cleverly disguised as Why?). Those are both suggest gen-x traits which is incorrect. What generational studies teach is that you can't extrapolate one generation linearly to the next. Rather they are cyclical, actually being reactions to the previous generations, which is what Fourth Turning specifically suggests.

Millenials, as a cohort, are optimistic, talented, well-educated, collaborative, open-minded, influential, and goal-oriented. But, what do statistics tell us about the Millenials? For one, there have been significant increases in SAT and IQ scores paired with drops in teen pregnancy, violence, and drug use.

These aren't the self-indulgent idealist Baby Boomers nor the cynical, nomadic Gen-Xers. In fact, they are quite different than Gen-X and the polar opposite of the Baby Boomers, if you by into the Fourth Turning theory. The theory, in quite explicit detail, chronicles the cycle of four generations back thru history and how roughly every eighty years there is a crisis, brought on by the bickering self-indulgence of one generation, followed by the directly related apathy of the next. The following generation rallies and unites to the cause, and thus rebuilds civilization. Eighty years ago was the depression and WWII; eighty years before that, the Civil War, before that, the French and American Revolutions. In Fourth Turning, the authors take these cycles back 6 cycles to the War of the Roses and the Late Medieval Ages.

So how does that apply to now? Well, the baby boomers are in the peak of their socio-political representation and thus the most influential over cultural opinion and dialog. The "Me" generation entered adulthood when times were good and everybody could "live it up." They focused on individualism, luxury, and privacy. One characteristic of this cycle is the petty bickering and partisanship, which in this case has led to the so-called red and the blue, two differing versions of reality and religious polarization without gray area.

Furthermore, their need for privacy and luxury have led towards the suburban isolation in which the Gen-X and Millenials were raised. Gen-X intuitively understood the hypocrisy and what was missing, but preferred to accurately and comically needle it from afar without creating much discernible change (See: Colbert Report, Daily Show, Nirvana, Maynard, South Park, Fight Club, etc.).

analog type piece. sky wide
sync to the ticker inside
move to the rhythm of the moon and tide

the indigo children

Well, the largest cohort since the boomers has had enough; enough of the partisanship and social dislocation. They've been raised with environmentalism as a central issue and is part of their being and are more in tuned with the issues. One might say it is "sync'd to the 'ticker' inside."

Strauss and Howe's prediction that this generation would essentially rise as one and begin to make a difference. We are literally seeing a tidal wave of the young generation getting involved in politics, with one candidate in particular captivating them with his representation of their ideals of bipartisanship, despite how much Fox News and their xerox copies tries to drive wedges into the movement.

Sirius, Venus, and the Lunar Child(Get your life up untied)
giggle and the flames grow higher
dance in a circle around a central fire(dance and laugh and love and learn. Grow higher)

The Indigo Children.

Hence, the indigo...as in purple. The mixing of the red and blue, fully embodying the ideals of American Democracy, the enlightened self-interest of Jefferson (rather than the mere self-interest of previous generations, blind of long-term implications, such as rejoicing over tax rebates that are really just loans at interest from the Chinese Government), and a shared common cause. They will rebuild.

Wine, song, food and fire,
clothe, shelter and seed;
No more need for the old empire (fare thee well to the empire).

The Indigo Children