Thursday, December 6, 2012

Closer to the Heart

Heart shaped stone at the Bay of Stoer
Heart shaped stone at the Bay of Stoer ©Ulrich Hartmann CCL

I have been listening to some classic Rush recordings recently and have found myself troubled by the opening line of the song Closer to the Heart. Overall, I like the sentiment expressed by the song and agree that each of us play a role in making the world a better place.

The phrase that bothers me is "And the men who hold high places, must be the ones who start." My concern is that the belief is naive and actually discourages action by ordinary people.

To me, "the men who hold high places" implies leadership in government. In a democratic society, those who get elected are those that embrace the beliefs of the majority of the population and offend the fewest members. This process makes it highly unlikely that any new initiative will begin at the top. Political leaders follow public opinion, they do not lead it.

Change begins at the bottom, usually with those neglected and reviled by the majority. Through hard work and time, justice is accepted by more and more people.  Eventually, support for change crosses a tipping point where those in governmental leadership positions are willing to risk lending their support.

If we wait for change to begin with government, we will never mold a new reality.  Change must begin with churches, businesses, non governmental agencies and individuals.

Change must begin with you and me!

I am not able to change the historic lyrics to classic rock songs, but if I could, I would rewrite the opening line of Closer to the Heart to:
And the ones who care most deeply
Must be the ones who start!
To mold a new reality
Closer to the heart
Closer to the heart

The blacksmith and the artist
Reflect it in their art
They forge their creativity
Closer to the heart
Closer to the heart

Philosophers and ploughmen
Each must know his part
To sow a new mentality
Closer to the heart
Closer to the heart

You can be the captain
I will draw the chart
Sailing into destiny
Closer to the heart
Rush Farewell to Kings

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