On Tuesday, in my RCAH 202 class called “The Presence of the Past”, we analyzed the song “Viva la Vida” by Coldplay. Unbeknownst to me, the song is actually about empires (and therefore entirely relevant to the class. We are in fact studying empires). Lo and behold, when I looked up the album after class, I found that there is a famous painting of the French Revolution on the cover.
The idea that I had listened to this song so many times and never really heard the words is disturbing to me. If someone had come up to me and asked, “Have you ever heard the song Viva la Vida by Coldplay?” I would probably have replied in the affirmative. However, if they had asked, “What is it about?” I would, until recently, have been at a loss to tell them.
Perhaps I’m reading too much into this, but it got me thinking. How many other things – songs, radio advertisements, or actual conversations – have I heard and failed to realize the significance of? Sure, a song or an advertisement may not contain earth-shattering news, but a conversation may very well contain information that is important, serious, or even life-changing.
After looking up the album, I listened to the song once more. It’s been stuck in my head ever since – perhaps as a kind of revenge for never listening properly in the first place.
At the risk of my blog turning into a lecture series, I’ll finish up this post with a simple plea: take the time to stop and really listen to the world around you. You never know – you might be missing something big.