If anybody has listened to one of my Shadows of Immurement songs, “Entropia,” they may remember a line that I whispered that went “We already spend most of our lives dying.” It may sound poetic but it’s not a metaphor for anything. Shortly before I wrote that song I came to a realization concerning this subject. At some point in our lives our bodies begin to break down and age beyond “growing up.” I’ve heard different ages for this to happen but I’ll go with the estimate of somewhere in the mid to late twenties. It’s the oldest age that I’ve heard for this and it will still apply to my point. Given the average life span for those of us in first world countries these days (and I promise I’m not going to get political this time) that means that we spend the majority of our lives slowly dying.
My initial thought was “That would make a great Shadows of Immurement lyric.” But this morning I thought about it a bit further. People have a tendency on looking upon people like myself who wear a lot of black and listen to dark music and write about death as “morbid.” But considering that we spent the majority of our adult lives as dying people, what’s so strange about that? By the very fact that we are extending our lives well beyond that midway point we’re increasing the time that this breakdown of our bodies occur. In other words, you can’t get much more morbid than health care in some ways. Why not celebrate this key aspect about our existence?
When I think about the phrase “dying species” I’m not thinking about the idea that the human race is going extinct. It might be—I should mention that I’m one of those that is strongly in favor of the idea that humanity should slow down reproduction and lower our overall population on this planet. But when I use “dying species” I refer more to the fact that we’re a species in which most of us are walking around slowly dying. I’m not grim about this. I’m all in favor of increasing our life span and if we can somehow move the time in which this breakdown starts to a point later in life then all the better.
In “Entropia” I squeezed the lyric into an overall theme of a human society that’s slowly decaying. The song title itself is a portmanteau of “entropy” and “dystopia” (or “utopia” if you’re so inclined). It wasn’t meant to be a grand statement but an aesthetic piece that closed off the album nicely. I would like to re-record the song one day as I had intended for it to be more complex and involving more instruments. I had to rush to finish it for the RPM Challenge so it ended up the minimal arrangement that you can hear above. That kind of fits the idea of the song so I don’t regret it. The lyric that this post is addressing also can represent society as well as the individual. We are in a slow cultural decay. However it feels as if it’s perpetual. I liken this to the fact that even though we’re a dying species several of us still reproduce, resulting in another generation of eventually dying people.
Call me morbid if you want. Hey, it might help my image in the band. But if you can’t celebrate death, how can you celebrate life?