Up@dawn 2.0

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Andrew Bird Imitosis write up

Robert Sieben
Atheism
Dr. James P. Oliver
2nd Report/Presentation

Andrew Bird
"Imitosis"


Mitosis-
"Mitosis is the process, in the cell cycle, by which a cell duplicates into two genetically identical daughter cells. In mitosis, chromosomes in the cell nucleus are separated into two identical sets of chromosomes, each in its own nucleus."

Machination- 
To plot a malicious act

Palindrome- 
A word or sequence that reads the same way forewords and backwards

Thomas Ruggles Pynchon- American Novelist who wrote about history, science and mathematics.

The four components of a cell membrane- Lipids, Phospholipids, Carbohydrates, Proteins.

One track that sparked my general interest in religion and philosophy was Andrew Bird's  fourth studio album track "Imitosis" from his 2007 debut Armchair Apocrypha (hidden things). This track, to me, exemplifies the basic idea that everyone is alone. I think he got this from Kant originally saying that "Every man dies alone". 
Bird took his time to study many different aspects of biology, philosophy, and religion to get to the point of musical creation that he's at today. I think he has some pretty sound musical interpretations of the way that people live and why people think the way that they do. First and foremost I want to lay out the words to this song I'm describing. I then want to break down individual passages and lines from and throughout the lyrics in an attempt to show how I think Bird views these ideas. 

He's keeping busy, yeah, he's bleeding stones
With his machinations and his palindromes
It was anything but hear the voice
Anything but hear the voice
It was anything but hear the voice that says that we're all basically alone

Poor Professor Pynchon had only good intentions when he
Put his Bunsen burners all away
And turning to a playground in a Petri dish
Where single cells would swing their fists at anything that looks like easy prey

In this nature show that rages every day
It was then he heard his intuition say
We were all basically alone

And despite what all his studies had shown
That what's mistaken for closeness is just a case of mitosis
And why do some show no mercy while others are painfully shy?
Tell me doctor, can you quantify?
He just wants to know the reason why
The reason why

Why do they congregate in groups of four,
Scatter like a billion spores and let the wind just carry them away?
How can kids be so mean?
Our famous doctor tried to glean as he went home at the end of the day

In this nature show that rages every day
It was then he heard his intuition say
We were all basically alone

Despite what all his studies had shown
That what's mistaken for closeness is just a case of mitosis
Sure fatal doses of malcontent through osmosis
And why do some show no mercy while others are painfully shy?
Tell me doctor, can you quantify
The reason why?

In the first line Bird mentions a character with bad intentions and a confusing style. I think he's showing that this ill intentioned man at the end of the day still feels that he is alone. As much as he feels this way, he does all that he can to avoid the actual outcome. 

The second line describes who I now believe to be the famous american author Thomas Pynchon. He had only the best intentions with his studies and works for the better of human existence, but in the end finds that his tests and studies only decide to react after he has put them away. 

The chorus references that there are intuitions telling us that we are basically alone. It also describes closeness to anything really just meaning a replication of ones self. To be closely related in any sense, but just as easily mean to be replicated by the cell process instead of just related. I think this could also mean that together we are all alone by rights of one cell multiplying and creating all of us. 

The four components of a cell membrane are comprised of Lipids, Phospholipids, Carbohydrates, Proteins.I think the intention in the third verse was to show that these components all need to hang together to keep us alive, but like most things in the world, they get taken away at some point. There is no real rhyme or reason to the way that people treat others, but rather nature has been controlling that since the beginning of time. 


I don't think it would be too far fetched to say that this song could have some solipsistic tendencies. There are definitive arguments that Andrew Bird truly believes that we are each alone in life and I think he is definitely working under Kant's impression that every man dies alone. 

1 comment:

  1. We die alone, no question. But our lives, including the last days of our lives, CAN be gloriously communal. That's a central humanist conviction.

    Let us know if you get to the bottom of the Pynchon reference. Good luck in the post-grad world of "reality," Robert!

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