Pink Floyd and the Passing of God

We don’t need no education. We don’t need no thought control… right?

We just need new thoughts. Humanity longs to have our minds opened.

Why drink? Why do drugs? Why meditate? Why read?

All these activities are means for mind-opening experiences, aren’t they? We feel like we see things more clearly… or at least differently. Some would say that these are ways to remove the blinders we wear. They change our perspectives on reality. They open us up to true vision. They can push us towards a new reality.

These are activities of transcendence, moving us from one reality to another–even if it is momentary. When we drink, meditate, or read, we find ourselves capable of leaving behind a world of struggle for a world ease, clarity, and peace. We momentarily transcend our struggles.

Humanity struggles for transcendence.

pink-floyd-comfortably-numbPink Floyd’s “The Wall” survives as a testament to our human need. Isn’t it the story of a struggling rock star desperately wanting to transcend into a new reality? He wants to find relevance. He wants his music to matter. He wants to escape struggle.

… and maybe that’s what lies behind our need of transcendence: we long to be released from struggle.

Floyd’s “Comfortably Numb” plays that well. Within the song, we learn that The Wall’s rock star is ill and unable to perform. A doctor provides a shot and promises the affect will get the rocker through the show. But the rocker has a unique experience. As he receives the shot, the world of struggle slips away. He tells the doctor:

There is no pain, you are receding…

He floats to some other sense of reality.

He is comfortably numb.

In the drug-addled reality, the rocker shares a reminiscence of childhood:

When I was child I caught a fleeting glimpse, out of the corner of my eye. / I turned to look but it was gone. / I cannot put my finger on it now. / The child is grown, the dream is gone.

What did he glimpse as a child? What was so meaningful that he grabbed on to that recollection in the midst of his transcendental moment?

In Exodus 33, Moses and God strike a bargain: Moses can catch a fleeting glimpse of God in order to envision who he is working with. Moses wants the blinders removed. He wants to see God clearly. And God says “yes”… for a moment… for a moment Moses can glimpse the true glory of God as God passes.

Is that what the rocker glimpsed: God?

There are moments when we glimpse the Divine, aren’t there? Can you remember one? Do you recall the fleeting moment when all became clear… only to have that moment pass and the muddle return? Do you recall a time when you were clear on humanity’s purpose? On the essence of the Divine?

Good luck listening to that song now without wrestling with the eternal mysteries: what did the rocker glimpse? And what does it mean to see God?


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