Kendrick Lamar is a phenomenal storyteller.
He understands that human emotions are complex, but he also understands how to elicit those emotions from his listeners. Kendrick’s song FEAR. is the epitome of his ability to employ his own story in an effort to help the listener better understand their own.
While the manifestations of our fears may differ, Kendrick illustrates three elements of fear that affect all of us, regardless of circumstance.
These elements bond the emotions that stem from our experiences; they illustrate the similarities in the human experience rather than the differences.
A closer look at the elements of fear presented by Kendrick can help us better understand each other and help one another embrace love rather than fear.
Timing has a profound impact on our lives.
Viktor Frankl has a notion of the human ability to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances. When describing this power, Frankl explains that we control how we react to any situation, and our responses determine “whether or not you would become a plaything of circumstance.”
A plaything of circumstance: a being moved through life at the will of the circumstances they encounter. A reactive, rather than a proactive being.
An innate ability to choose our response is empowering; however, this belief has a tendency to incite negative connotations towards circumstance. The decision to submit yourself to circumstance can be just as empowering as the notion that we possess the ability to choose our attitude.
Frankl declares the power of refusing to become a plaything of circumstance, but there is also importance in our power to allow circumstance to play its role in our life.
The catcher does not try to launch a 98 MPH fastball in response to the pitcher’s 95 MPH fastball. The catcher simply focuses on catching and framing the pitch before tossing the ball back; the catcher does not attempt to one-up the pitcher.
The active listener follows in the catcher’s footsteps, focusing on understanding the content rather than thinking about how they can one-up the speaker.
There’s an implicit system for a favorable outcome in a game of catch and in a conversation. The system hinges on a mutual understanding of the roles in the process.
By the time the Titanic’s First Officer ordered the ship to divert course and avoid the obstacle, it was too late. The unsinkable suffered from the unthinkable. The Titanic’s right side had struck an iceberg, piercing five of its watertight compartments. As water filled the now faulty compartments, the ship sank slowly. Over a thousand passengers perished in the icy waters of the North Atlantic.
90% of an iceberg lies beneath the surface. Read More
The suspension of disbelief is the linchpin of a fictional narrative’s success; without it, a great deal of film and literature would be unrelatable and thus ineffective. The essential idea is that the audience must temporarily accept fiction as reality to connect with the art.
Though the concept is most frequently discussed in terms of film and literature, we actively engage in suspending our disbelief when listening to music. In doing so, we are able to heighten our experience and truly engage with an artist’s work.
The application of suspended disbelief to music enables us to expand our perspective and further connect with the music, providing us with the opportunity to improve our worldly understanding.
Humans are complex and unbelievably difficult to understand. Fundamental truths about human nature can be conveyed through nearly anything, but fiction proves to be an ideal medium for the illustration of truths, as the writer occupies the role of a master of destiny. If desired, a writer can amplify the effects, feelings, and ideas in hopes of conveying some truth. As readers, we must suspend our disbelief to engage in the alternate world, and we can learn a great deal by doing so.
Haruki Murakami’s writing is a quintessential example this; Murakami’s books are extraordinary journeys through the bizarre, in which he illustrates deeper truths of human nature through his manipulation of reality.
In his book Kafka on the Shore, Murakami offers a beautiful explanation of memories. In stereotypical Murakami fashion, the plotline is a tour de force of intertwined character development and otherworldly treks. An interaction between two central characters, Miss Saeki and Mr. Nakata, allows Murakami to illustrate his understanding of memories. An anguished older woman, Miss Saeki, attempts to explain memories to Mr. Nakata, an admittedly mentally weak and sweet older man who has no concept of what memories are. Murakami offers a simple and elegant description of memories:
“Memories warm you up from the inside. But they also tear you apart.”
Wow. That’s powerful.
Relativity of Time
Between the ages of ten and twenty years old, I doubled the length of my existence. My repository of memories and experiences multiplied, and my potential reference points expanded. Five minutes now appear more fleeting than they did ten years ago. As I increased the amount of time I lived through, I experienced an effect on my perception of the length of time.
Each additional day that we live, the moments that constitute our days become relatively more transient.
This is not merely a subjective feeling; it can be quantified. At the age of ten, I had lived for around 3,652 total days, meaning that one day constituted roughly .027% of my life. At the age of twenty, I had lived for around 7,305 total days, meaning that one day constituted roughly .013% of my life. Thus, the relative value of a day in my life had decreased doubly between the ages of ten and twenty.
It’s important to note that the relative values apply to each day of our lives. Not only is the current day valued at .013% of my life, but each preceding day (at any point in my life) is also equivalently valued at .013% of my life. Hence, the relativity of time should be approached with a present-oriented mindset. As each day passes, the value of each day diminishes; however, only the present day exists within our circle of influence. We cannot change the events of an earlier day, and thus the consideration of the diminished value of past days is irrelevant.
It is only useful to focus on the relative value of a day in terms of the present day, as that is the only day for which we have influence over.