Our civilization has established on the pillars of ethics and morals. This web of reasoning governs the harmony of our life. But as a side effect of this, we have generated multiple moral paradoxes which act as the seed of the philosophy behind the hypocrisy of our mind. The mind of an artist is always mesmerized by the gruesome battle of inner thoughts and it is manifested in their works of art. The song Riders on the Storm by Jim Morrison of the band Doors draws that exact battle in the core of the listener.
Under the Skin
This exact song is the very last song recorded by Jim. After that, he retired and went to France where a few weeks later, he died. So, this song is maybe his last message to the mass have potential to unfold an unknown corner of the artist.
In this song, he warned us about a killer who is in disguise of a hitchhiker, who can kill one’s “sweet family” with ease.
Here, the killer is in all of us and we are just some steps away to unleash it. That killer single-handedly can destabilize our equilibrium of life and turn ourselves against our own safe future. As Jim was one of the biggest contributors to the counterculture movement of late 60’s and 70’s, we can’t count him in a believer of the theory that good and evil is a perspective bound matter. Just like many of us, he drew a distinct line between good and evil and his maximum songs conveys this exact philosophy. He willfully rejected the idea that you can live a good life while having both of your shades of your personality in it. Just like the movie Fight Club where the protagonist has created two separate contrasting characters out of himself and performed the duties of both of them. Or we can see How Hannibal Lecter, the infamous protagonist of the Hannibal series(Book, tv series, movie) leads a great noble life of a reputed psychiatrist despite being a serial killer and a cannibal.
Though the examples are pretty extreme of its kind, with the inner fight of the protagonist, we can see the fear of the author from the killer.
We are habituated to live a life which is safe and sound and simple like the others’ from our bubble. But there’s a great chance that the killer can pop that bubble of ours and drag us into the cold world of uncertainty featuring the dark thought of nihilism and ugly truth. This the paradox, artists live in where they have the chance to go with the flow and enjoy the sweet ride of life or else they have to taste the bitter part of it.
Significance of Restlessness
We are just a tiny part of the massive universal harmony. Despite that, we can enjoy the great beauty of it with the tools of science and philosophy. These have taught us that just like other ingredients of the universe, we are thirsty to find stability in every part of our life. This phenomenon has put us in a position where we are now afraid to perform mear amount of restlessness in our life as we are afraid that we may lose the grip of it. You can read the importance of restlessness in my other article about the life of the mythological hero Odysseus and his journey to quench his wanderlust( here ). So, though finding stability in our life could be the ultimate goal of our life, our process of approaching it is not the right one. In the line below, we can see here the killer’s mind is restless and he is waiting on the road of our journey of life to infest his mentality to us in order to abolish our philosophical stability.
There’s a killer on the road
His brain is squirmin’ like a toad
Take a long holiday
Let your children play
If ya give this man a ride
Sweet memory will die
Killer on the road, yeah
Now the paradox is, should we give the stranger a ride? Here we can see the famous painting Girl Before a Mirror by Pablo Picasso, where he painted a girl looking a distorted and demonizing version of herself formed by the mirror.That shows us the same dilemma of an artist fighting his inner selves.
Silver Lining in Nihilism
In the song, the very idea of nihilism is demonized and the proposal of spending the life of faith was manifested. As nihilistic mentality contradicts with our belief system, it breaks our barriers of thoughts and connect us to a greater consciousness. But sometimes it brings waves of existential crisis that questions the very purpose of human life. That is why, in the line below, writer indirectly questions the very reasons for his existence.
Into this house we’re born
Into this world we’re thrown
Like a dog without a bone
An actor out alone
Riders on the storm
The painting above is the creation of the famous artist Edvard Munch, The Scream. That marvelous creation shows the deep effect of the existential crisis in one’s head. This fear of being an insignificant member in the cosmos makes an artist more and more sunk into the deep of the paradox and they are forced to take the particular path to embrace their creativity. This gave no exceptions in the case of Jim Morrison as he followed a distinct path rejecting the darker side of him.
In the ancient Chinese religion, Taoism, there’s a symbol called Yin and Yang which contain dark spot on a white side and white spot on the dark side arranged such way that it makes a perfect circle. This shows that the equilibrium of life is consists of darkness present in the white positivity and hope present in the dark pessimism.
This shows that we can’t live life without the presence of duality in us. the whole concept of paradox is the fuel that runs the beauty of life and connects us to the greater symphony of the cosmos.
So, to live like a human being, we shouldn’t take any initiative to cleanse our every bit of differentiating thoughts as the presence of mistakes act as a nourisher of our creativity and make us more human.