I am releasing my first batch of new songs in a long while.
I’m happy to be sharing them all with the wider world. I believe in them, and I hope they make friends and help others to feel good.
I am also releasing a new Kindle edition of a book on songwriting that uses a horticultural metaphor – of growing plants from seeds – to visualize the process of creating songs from ideas. The book is called Songfarmer: Writing More and Better Songs. Here’s a free ebook preview of the text.
After the last few years, any song and any book I am releasing these days will be motivated by the hope to increase well-being, dignity, and integrity in the world.
I know how many of you are taking care of each other and working towards making the world a better place. I appreciate what you are doing. Onward.
Now is a time for music to bring us together, to celebrate our common seeking of the good, beautiful, and true. Music and songs to help us see the truth – that there is no “other,” no “them,” there is only a big “WE.”
Life is a collective phenomenon. We make up the one the biological network of Earth, and so the name of this new recording project is Tree of Life.
The Song of Us
In October, I am launching a Patreon community – to enable new recordings, monthly livestreamed shows, and conversations about songwriting and the power of songs. I believe songs can help us recognize our larger family of humans – to connect us and help us feel more at home in the world wherever we are.
“We are a way for the cosmos to know itself” – Carl Sagan
“I am large, I contain multitudes.” – Walt Whitman, Song of Myself
“I am the consequence of 3 miracles: the miracle of Life, the miracle of Mind, and the miracle of Culture.”
Our life, our being, is a compressed distillation and expansion of many lives before us. Every life, every interaction of matter and energy that ever happened before us and to us, is STILL reverberating though the universe in a ever-expanding field, with waves of behavior still causing other waves of behavior. We ARE the ongoing Big Bang, still exploding, connecting, finding interactions that enable more interactions. It – we – are all one, interdependent, and there are no real separations or boundaries between us. We are clouds of matter and energy in giant clouds of matter and energy. But we are not just clouds of matter and energy. Through evolution and adaptation, we have capitalized on flows of energy to coordinate, cooperate, and create new levels of being.
The universe, through emergent levels of matter, life, mind, and culture, has found a way – with molecules, DNA, nervous systems, and human communication – to talk to itself, to find out what existence is and what it is becoming. It – we – are always becoming. The universe is talking to itself, asking questions to find out what it is.
We – the bearers of consciousness having the ability to commune with other consciousnesses – are the leading edge of the evolution of the universe, responding to the environment with patterns of behavior to find resources, to be known and valued by others, and to justify our actions with narratives that we live by and tell others.
From an astounding number of impressions and experiences, we select from our subjective experience the most salient events, people, and relationships — and we develop a personal mythology that we live by both consciously and unconsciously. We observe the consequences of actions and our resulting feelings to try to navigate toward pleasure and pain, heading towards more of the former and less of the latter. We seek to be seen, heard, known, and valued by important others. We seek to have consistent narratives that allow us to make predictions and coordinate our actions with others.
Rules and principles occur to us through observation and conversation: patterns of behavior that lead to more pleasure and contentment and less pain or regret. We call these discovered principles: wisdom.
I write songs seeking to use wisdom as fuel and the intended outcome for myself and the listener is wisdom, connection, communication, and recognition of the beauty and mystery of the human experience.
Some of the songs I am writing are about that journey of consciousness through clouds of past behavior – by my ancestors and me. The letters, photos, documents, and oral histories retold by relatives let me know what my ancestors cared about, what they worked on, how they made people feel, and how well things worked out for them. I can still correct the course I am on – I can change my behavior to lead to valued states and away from regretted states; they cannot – except, importantly, through me now. Part of my responsibility is to heal what they could not and to do more of what produces well-being, dignity, and integrity.
Of course, my family history is your family history. We all share the same ancestors if you go back far enough, and we do go back far enough.
Consider that as you go back in time, the number of your direct ancestors doubles with each generation: 4 grandparents, 8 great grandparents, 16, great-great grandparents, 32 great-great-great grandparents, 64 GGGG grandparents, 128 GGGGG grandparents, 256 GGGG grandparents, etc. This number of our grandparents doubles each generation we go back in time, all while the total population of the earth gets smaller and smaller. Eventually, these numbers are equal – our number of ancestors equals the population of the earth. That means that everybody on earth is our relative.
Other songs I’ll share are born through conversations with interested, conscious, and engaged fellow travelers: friends in person or online and creators of books, songs, articles, and movies.
I will share them all, and I look forward to the conversation with you, comparing notes on our ride through and in the universe together.