Current Song Obsession: Sia’s “Elastic Heart”

Sia’s words shake me, resonating personal truth. I’d love to post a video of her piece, but I can’t seem to get my wordpress video to upload one. Words are way more important to me, so I’m thankful for the lyrics being on the Internet — age is a signifier here, lol…anyone who sat next to their tape recorder rewinding pausing rewinding to figure out the words can relate. However, I’ve noticed recently that a few modern pieces suggest a different direction to me before I look up the words. Often the lyrics lose meaning when I can see them and note my perspective was way off.

Sia’s song makes more sense now that I’ve seen the lyrics. Upon reading the words I achieved my ah-ha! moment. Many thanks to Sia for her creative genius and modern approach to the theatrics of music. Also kudos for the inclusion of interpretive dance – the first time I heard “Elastic Heart” was on television during one of my husband’s late night shows. Beautiful performance! There are postings revealing the meaning behind Sia’s song, but before I read any of them, I want to get my subjective interpretation down in efforts to dislodge the song from my mind.

Elastic Heart

“And another one bites the dust
Oh why can I not conquer love
And I might have thought that we were one
Wanted to fight this war without weapons…”

Relationships refuse to follow stable systems, and the one we recognize as our celestial match or soulmate fail to live up to the constructs inside our personal designs. The horror of mistaking someone as a contender for one’s heart is disarming.

“And I wanted it, I wanted it bad
But there were so many red flags
Now another one bites the dust
Yeah let’s be clear, I’ll trust no one…”

Consciously one sees the tragic flaw in the relationship, that the “one” is not who one thought him to be as he fails to match up to the image subjectively created in the mind. Warnings abound that he is not the “one” and one is left feeling nobody should be trusted…How to ever trust again? No, only fools follow.

“You did not break me
I’m still fighting for peace…”

One is not broken by the reality and must continue searching for the soulmate created my one’s imagination. The journey for contentment must continue.

“I’ve got thick skin and an elastic heart
But your blade it might be too sharp
I’m like a rubberband until you pull too hard
I may snap and I move fast
But you won’t see me fall apart
‘Cos I’ve got an elastic heart…”

The struggle for love is a life-long obsession, and one must develop impregnable resiliences in self-defense. A constitution strong enough to repel sharp words, insults, and feelings. A heart that is not fleshy and wet with emotion but resilient and able to snap back like nothing shook their soul. A plastic manufactured thing, created to withstand outside attacks and shortcomings. Advancement from the natural in which reality failed to live up to the ideals of a transhumanistic spirit.

“And I will stay up through the night
Let’s be clear, won’t close my eyes
And I know that I can survive
I’ll walk through fire to save my life…”

One might have been foolish enough in the past to rest safely next to their intended, but no longer will one place the value of life on another. One will do anything to continue life’s journey, no obstacle will conquer the will.

“And I want it, I want my life so bad
I’m doing everything I can
Then another one bites the dust
It’s hard to lose a chosen one…”

One refuses to settle, but every attempt made is thwarted. Love is gone. The ideal and the real did not match up. Deep pain to realize reality, one’s delusion shattered.

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Essay: Beware the Imagination

Beware the Imagination

by A.D. Shaffer

{Graduate studies; originally written for Humanities 530 Spring 2015}

The French philosopher, Michel de Montaigne, takes a new approach with expository writing in the form of the essay. His tone is unlike other philosophers in the sense that the writing itself is very casual and easy to read. Faculties of thought are expressed in his Essays, and Montaigne’s initial perspective of the imagination is that it is a tremendously powerful thing – if one perceives the imagination to be true, it may conjure a new reality. By his empathetic nature, Montaigne notes his avoidance of his imagination as much as he can as: “…the very sight of another’s pain materially pains me, and I often usurp the sensations of another person” (364). Empathy, or understanding another person’s grief so truly that it resonates inside the self, to Montaigne is a wonder of the imagination. He recommends keeping the imagination in check so as not to arrive at a misfortunate end.

Too much authority is awarded by the imagination. In Gallus Vibius’ case, his fascination with madness drove him out of his mind, and he was known to be lost to wisdom (366). The capabilities of the imagination appear limitless, according to Montaigne’s stories, as long as one fully gives over to the power of internal thought or awkward mishap. Mary Germain underwent serious physiological changes due to a robust leap – she became a he. Mary Germain was a girl from her birth till her twenty-second year; Montaigne met with Germain who was: “…very full of beard, old, and not married. He told us, that by straining himself in a leap his male organs came out; and the girls of that place have, to this day, a song, wherein they advise one another not to take too great strides, for fear of being turned into men, as Mary Germain was” (368). Biology was not understood fully in the Renaissance, but the altering of one sex to another seems a bit extreme for a power of thought. If manliness were related to exertion alone, then all women – in wanting to maintain their sex – would avoid leaping about in fear of physical activity encouraging the growth of male organs.

Montaigne is leery of the imagination in which he charges passion with violent causation – to give into the illusion of the imagination is to give it grounds to grow into an accepted reality. The power of the mind and the human conception of reality are subjected to various weaknesses of fancy, and mankind must keep their emotions in check: “Neither is this disaster to be feared, but in adventures, where the soul is overextended with desire or respect, and, especially, where the opportunity is of an unforeseen and pressing nature; in those cases, there is no means for a man to defend himself from such a surprise, as shall put him altogether out of sorts” (372-73). Care should be taken, in regards to passionate thought, so as to cement the minds of men in realistic reason over imagination.

Montaigne’s credibility is rooted in reason. The anecdotes he shares in Chapter XX, to expound on the powers of imagination, do not belong to him: “…for the tales I borrow I charge upon the consciences of those from whom I have them. The discourses are my own, and found themselves upon the proofs of reason, not of experience; … if I do not apply them well, let some other do it for me” (391). The importance of his stories is not in the absolute truth of the happenings but more concerned with the plausibility of thought. Montaigne concerns himself with what may happen, and given that the power of imagination resides inside all of mankind, he urges caution to the avenues of adventurous thoughts.

Works Cited

Montaigne, Michel de. The Essays of Michel de Montaigne, Complete. Trans. Charles

Cotton. Ed. William Carew Hazlitt. Ebook #3600: Project Gutenberg, 2012

Picture c/o:  https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/3/34/Michel_de_Montaigne_1.jpg