June 12, 2020

"Do you think about mortality often?"/"I think about the death of the human race. The long strange trip of the naked ape."

"Not to be light on it, but everybody’s life is so transient. Every human being, no matter how strong or mighty, is frail when it comes to death. I think about it in general terms, not in a personal way.... There’s definitely a lot more anxiety and nervousness around now than there used to be. But that only applies to people of a certain age like me and you, Doug. We have a tendency to live in the past, but that’s only us. Youngsters don’t have that tendency. They have no past, so all they know is what they see and hear, and they’ll believe anything.... I like to think of the mind as spirit and the body as substance. How you integrate those two things, I have no idea. I just try to go on a straight line and stay on it, stay on the level."

From "Bob Dylan Has a Lot on His Mind." The question — "Do you think about mortality often?" — is from Douglas Brinkley and the rest of the quote above is Bob Dylan.

Bob Dylan has a new album, "Rough and Rowdy Ways," coming out on June 19th.

51 comments:

MikeR said...

Death of the human race. What's that about?
When I was young, it was common to think that we were going to blow ourselves up. Right now things look a lot brighter. Yeah, global warming and COVID and stuff, but mostly not really existential threats.

gspencer said...

Human mortality rate remains steady at 100%.

Sam L. said...

Dylan? Nope.

Sam L. said...

Dylan? Nope.

Ken B said...

If Bob Dylan is going to be making more albums then, yes, I am pessimistic.

BarrySanders20 said...

"Youngsters don’t have that tendency. They have no past, so all they know is what they see and hear, and they’ll believe anything"

Well, except for religion. Some do of course, but many do not. Even many of the parochial school kids who grew up on that see and hear diet.

Mike Sylwester said...

PBS has broadcast an superb series of documentaries about our Solar System's planets.

Eventually, Earth's orbit will change enough that human life here will become impossible.

------

Christianity was founded in a belief that the destruction of human life on Earth was imminent. Earth would be destroyed in a cosmic war. A few humans would survive by rising up onto the Firmament and would participate in the cosmic war. A few of those humans would survive the cosmic war and then would continue to exist, but doing nothing but praising God eternally.

Ice Nine said...

Dylan's quotidian conversational speech is poetic. Not surprising.

Fernandinande said...

Woody Allen observed that the entire human race gets replaced about every 100 years.

rehajm said...

Bob, you're waaay old. Are you ready to die?

traditionalguy said...

Practice Tip: there is only one Religion that has an eternal answer for death of our body. Don’t leave earth without it.

Ken B said...

Speaking about morality... how about this front page.

https://www.google.com/imgres?imgurl=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.pressgazette.co.uk%2Fwp-content%2Fuploads%2F2016%2F04%2FSun-front-page-12-June-2020-1-629x800.jpg&imgrefurl=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.pressgazette.co.uk%2Fsun-not-our-intention-to-glorify-domestic-abuse-with-jk-rowling-splash%2F&tbnid=e5XAwtlwU58wuM&vet=12ahUKEwjj5o7SzPzpAhVJRs0KHYz8DcMQMygCegUIARCpAQ..i&docid=Dsr9fafUTuEbgM&w=629&h=800&itg=1&q=sun%20slapped%20Rowling&client=safari&ved=2ahUKEwjj5o7SzPzpAhVJRs0KHYz8DcMQMygCegUIARCpAQ

It clearly IS glorifying violence. The subtext is she deserves it.

tim maguire said...

At some point, the human race will go into decline, loose dominance, limp along for millennia, and then finally go extinct. Just like every other species. Enough time remains before the sun expands to swallow the earth that one or two, or maybe even three more intelligent species will spring up and have their turn and make all the same mistakes we've made.

This is what I think about: what will they know about us? Will anything indicating technology survive? Or will we be just a few bones? Will their archaeologists know we formed a civilisation? Or will they get bogged down in discussions about whether we ate our young? And if nothing that shows we were an advanced species survives, then how can we be sure there weren't one or two before us? How would we know if the velociraptors built cities before the comet destroyed them?

mikee said...

"There’s definitely a lot more anxiety and nervousness around now than there used to be."

This is a variation on "The music today's kids like really sucks. Ours was better, way back."

tim maguire said...

Mike Sylwester said...A few of those humans would survive the cosmic war and then would continue to exist, but doing nothing but praising God eternally.

I always found Revelation's description of heaven to be hellish. It's hard to imagine a fate worse than being one of God's elect.

rhhardin said...

journey from naked ape, musically
The Nairobi Trio

PM said...

MikeR knows. So should Bob.
We all practiced duck 'n cover at school because the Rooskies.

tcrosse said...

Everybody thinks about mortality but nobody does anything about it.

tcrosse said...

Everybody thinks about mortality but nobody does anything about it.

whitney said...

It's not going to be the death of the human race. But it looks like it might be the death of One race

mezzrow said...

Mr Rogers: Hello. How are you?

Billy Bob: You think somebody can get me a cup of coffee or somethin?

Mr Rogers: You're not used to getting up early.

Billy Bob: Huh ... I'm not here yet.

Mr Rogers: What time do you usually get up?

Billy Bob: I usually get up when the sun is warm, like 1:30, 2:00 in the afternoon.

Mr Rogers: I like to get up around 6:30.

Billy Bob: That's insane. You're stupid.

Mr Rogers: Oh.

Billy Bob: You should sleep late man. It's much easier on your constitution.

Yancey Ward said...

Can you pinpoint when you first started thinking about your past- and I mean more than thinking about what you had been doing yesterday or last month. That is when you finally had one.

Jamie said...

Seasons don't fear the Reaper; nor do the wind, the sun and the rain.

Narayanan said...

AA notes ....

Outrageous pessimism at the NYT: "On the Future, Americans Can Agree: It Doesn’t Look Good."

That's the headline — "On the Future, Americans Can Agree: It Doesn’t Look Good."

Hell, no. I won't agree.

------------
how is that different from - Dylan : "I think about the death of the human race. The long strange trip of the naked ape.""

William said...

I read the interview. Here are a few caveats. Dylan has an encyclopedic knowledge of music. The interviewer asks him about what part jazz or the music of Lil' Richard--not just rock but gospel--had on his development. What the interviewer did ask and Dylan did not volunteer was what influence Gershwin, Kern, or Rodgers had on his music. It does seem strange that black music would have more influence on him than those greats who were, after all, from a background more similar to his own. Anyway I don't think you can grow up in America without being influenced by their music.

wholelottasplainin' said...

Recently I saw an astronomer on TV say that we've got it all wrong, that simply by being living beings we have conquered the overwhelming lifelessness of the universe, that the only heaven we will experience is the one we are living in, and that our death just returns us to the cosmic status quo.

William said...

Dylan does mention Ella Fitzgerald. Here's an interesting fact about her. Growing up she tried to imitate the enunciation of Connie Boswell. Connie Boswell was a white singer. Doris Day, the quintessential white singer, when she was growing up, tried to imitate the phrasings of Ella Fitzgerald. Who's culturally appropriating whom?.....Gershwin and Kern were heavily influenced by black music. I think Showboat and Porgy and Bess are no longer quite politically correct. Black performers express reservations about these shows. I suppose some day they'll go the way of statues of Jefferson Davis. Right now they're living on borrowed time. In their day, these shows were considered progressive and provided employment for several generations of black singers. Makes no difference. Off with their heads.....Miles Davis rips off (or pays homage) to Ravel in his Sketches of Spain album. Why when a black artist takes cognizance of his white predecessors is this considered sophisticated but when a white composer uses black idioms is this considered imitative.

William said...

On Netflix, there's a Martin Scorcese documentary, "No Direction Home", about Dylan and his early years. Dylan fell afoul of political correctness before there was political correctness. He took some heat for violating the purity of folk music and the acoustic guitar by going electric. Pete Seeger said he wanted to take an axe and cut the cable that connected Dylan's amplifier. No enemies to the left, but no electric guitars at Newport. I don't think either Dylan or Scorcese interpreted this as an example of the intolerance of the left, but it really was......Dylan has written a number of protest songs, and someday soon he'll probably write one about George Floyd. I don't think Dylan could name a single person who ever starved during the collectivization process in the Soviet Union or Red China, but millions died. No books, no operas, no songs about them. Someone should write a protest song about the ignorance of protest singers....Dylan is truly a poet. I'm not denying his impact or power, but there's a whole world that fluttered and died outside his music. Also, for all his powers as a poet, he never had the melodic gifts and grandeur of Rodgers or Gershwin.

wendybar said...

Kareem Abdul Jabar's 28 year old son was arrested for stabbing a neighbor in California....Too bad they didn't think to call a Social Worker in to defuse the situation!!

The Crack Emcee said...

I think about it all the time.

I'm almost 60.

I got about 5 years left.

Char Char Binks, Esq. said...

Jabbar is loaded with black privilege, the privilege to be a violent, cowardly punk just like his father.

CJinPA said...

"Forget these eternal musings, Bob. Tell us, do you support Black Lives Matter?"

"Think carefully, Bob. This is the most important question you've ever pondered."

"Do you support Black Lives Matter? It's a yes or no question."

"You're thinking, Bob. Is there a reason you're thinking this long? You look frightened. No need. It's a simple question any decent person could answer easily. Everyone watching knows you're a decent person, right?"

Hey Skipper said...

@Ken B:

For the love of God, learn how to embed a link.

Hey Skipper said...

@Ken B:

For the love of God, learn how to embed a link.

CJinPA said...

Christianity was founded in a belief that the destruction of human life on Earth was imminent. Earth would be destroyed in a cosmic war. A few humans would survive by rising up onto the Firmament and would participate in the cosmic war. A few of those humans would survive the cosmic war and then would continue to exist, but doing nothing but praising God eternally.

That's the exact wording of the Christmas cards we send out. Sometimes there's no room to add "Merry Christmas" so we leave it off.

Earnest Prole said...

Or as Woody Allen said, it’s the Second Law of Thermodynamics: sooner or later everything turns to shit.

PHenry said...

Bob Dylan has a new album, "Rough and Rowdy Ways," coming out on June 19th.

Juneteenth? White people are not allowed to schedule things on that day. It belongs to African Americans only!
CANCEL BOB DYLAN NOW! He clearly has not accepted his guilt for his privilege.

Michael said...

Crack
If you are a healthy 60 your actuarial life is probably around 90. Hope that isn't bad news.

narciso said...

well no the black plague wouldn't have have for about 1500 years, and that was the closest to an extinction level of event, there would been more sporadic outbreaks like nicias in the time of justinian,

Mike (MJB Wolf) said...

I hope it’s on vinyl. The lil woman and I have been rocking the record player a lot lately instead of any tv.

Howard said...

There's plenty of time to consider your mortality in the next life.

Bill Burr is on Rogan... be there now

Tommy Duncan said...

"Do you think about mortality often?"

I don't buy green bananas. Does that count?

When I look at buying clothes I ask myself "how much use will they get?" Does that count?

LakeLevel said...

We have discovered that this universe is a really mind bogglingly large place full of an incomprehensibly large amount of matter. That the human race could easily get wiped out is not a far fetched notion, even if you don't ascribe any meaning to the presence of a universal God. We are but small potatoes in this cosmos and it is puzzling that this planet has made it even this far. Good luck to you humanists, you're going to need it.

Josephbleau said...

"I like to think of the mind as spirit and the body as substance. How you integrate those two things, I have no idea. I just try to go on a straight line and stay on it, stay on the level."

At least Descartes had the sexy "Ghost in the Machine." Dylan just says, shit man, who knows, but I don't let it get me down.

"Or as Woody Allen said, it’s the Second Law of Thermodynamics: sooner or later everything turns to shit."

But if you could achieve absolute zero temperature things would never completely turn to shit. A justification for, "better than nothing is a high standard.(TM)"

FullMoon said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Josephbleau said...

"Mike Sylwester said...A few of those humans would survive the cosmic war and then would continue to exist, but doing nothing but praising God eternally."

This is the serf goal. Lack of hard labor and punishment is an improvement. Modern people would be Senior Directors of Strategic Policy reporting to God.

walter said...

I like to think we can manage better than the naked ape.
But what I was thinking just yesterday is that Dylan should update Everything is Broken to Everything is Cancelled, a combo Covid/BLM theme.

Big Mike said...

Human mortality rate remains steady at 100%.

Christians say “not quite.”

Yancey Ward said...

Crack will croke the day before Congress passes reparations.

stephen cooper said...

The Book of Revelation does not describe life in heaven, it describes a short ceremony that occurs after the end of this world.

Life in heaven is not eternal praise of God carried out by strumming on a harp:
rather, it is reliving this life but reliving it with greater resources,
it is spending more time with people we loved, but with the ability to communicate that we lacked in this world:
it involves an understanding of the infinity of time that is reconciled to our limited personhood,
and an understanding that God loves us all,
and that eternity itself is not a sufficient space of time for everything we want to do, with our friends and our loved ones, when we finally realize that not only does God loves us all, but that we were created with the creative and energetic ability to love others the way God loves them.

JAORE said...

Like many, my ego is plenty big.

But I do NOT equate my demise with the end of the human race.