By Gary Sohmers, 2017 copyright, All Rights Reserved
Chapter Ten – Empathy
I announce to the audience that we will be taking an intermission, which gives me some time to analyze everything up to this point. A lot of out of the ordinary things have happened in the first 45 minutes of what was supposed to be a rehearsed show, that have not rattled me or the band, and appears to be entertaining the massive audience.
Terra emits her art because it is within her. She knows this inside her and I could sense this almost immediately when we initially met. One of the reasons I respect her so much is her sincere belief in her own will and hands to help save the environment from being destroyed. She has zero expectations of critical acclaim, or rewards, or any capitalistic form of success from her singing or her art.
During our time together, learning from each other, she has always conveyed her contentedness that she has done her part to the best of her ability.
I have always been able to easily see her beastie Empathy. My issue previously was that she had always been able to easily see my beastie Narcissism, which at the time we met was guiding my life and career. I was the kind of person she was not interested in because of my irrational compulsion for fame and money, even though she told me she could see that, deep within me, there were more good beasties than bad.
Empathy beasties evolve Kindness beasties and kindness is the currency of the universe.
Maybe this knowledge comes from our communication, or telepathy, but she showed me that my Narcissism beastie was misusing my creative talents. Her strength and ability to walk away from opportunity, including our friendship on this truly correct-at-the-time principle, caused me to re-evaluate my life and make the major change that has led to this day. That is why it feels so good to be sharing this with her in this way.
Backstage we are still in a daze from what had occurred, and there wasn’t much chatter from the roadies as they worked on disconnecting the offending platform’s wiring from our PA system. There is a heated debate, looking quite irate about the entire T.Raitor mess, between the sponsor, the producers, the rally organizers, and our management, to the point of my need to look away to not get caught up in the drama laced fray.
With a couple swigs of water, and a couple of Fritos, I gaze upon the huge audience gathered with wide-eyed wonder. This is the largest crowd we’ve ever played in front of before, yet it feels as intimate as every dive bar we’ve rocked. Most importantly, we are able to convey this important message, Terra’s message, through our music to a mass of open-minded people. The closed-minded, small-minded and prejudiced detractors will always exist.
Looking at the stage, I see our other “surprise” sitting cross-legged on the stage, as Gra appears to be also surveying the crowd. Waving his hands in the air like a magician, he is now projecting, moving and manipulating hologram-like charts and graphs, analyses of actions, calculations, interstellar charts and chemical formulas in the air. The TV screens appear in mid-air, hovering, with news channel talking heads showing visions of climate destruction, hurricanes, forest fires, tornadoes, floods and war. Disasters of planetary proportions. Three-dimensional special effects like nothing I have ever seen before, except in movies, overlayed over the reality we are used to. Terra could see it also, but we are not sure if we are the only ones.
The reality portrayed by the “news” channels’ messengers and reporters was consistently divisive, pitting tribes of humans against each other, mostly for power or control and often causing many to be damaged by the few who chose to take advantage. These messages of the actions of evil on society are interspersed with vapid advertisements trying to sell people on numerous frivolous products and distractionary experiences. It’s hard to know what Gra is doing, but I am a little concerned it will rouse the bad beasties in the audience to misbehave again.
Next, he brings up numerous religious channels showing the excess of the false prophet organizations that sell salvation, claiming they have or give people some “god” given right. Sure, there are many who seek to find hope, think that thoughts and prayers are currency or solutions, and sometimes for a totally irrational reason, have faith in a false promise. But in my opinion, the greedy beings who manipulate the unsure and poor with promises of salvation in an afterlife, rob these people from their opportunity to transcend to being a better human while they are here in this life.
One of my firm beliefs is that organized religion corrupts and rewards those manipulators, as they add fear to those who are easily brainwashed, targeting the youngest for culture breeding to sustain their power. This falsely justified mental child abuse, to blindly believe non-facts, may possibly be where all human suffering begins.
The guy Gra was unusual, and sure made me think a lot. Today is a day of wonder.
It is time to begin the second set. The audience is ready for more entertainment. Gra, still sitting peacefully, had abruptly stopped his projections. As we start onto the stage, it appears again as if time has slowed. This time I am able to witness the movements of Terra and the band slow as they make their way to the stage to start the second half of the show. I am aware but also in limbo.
In the frozen moments, I can’t move, but I can clearly hear Gra singing quietly to himself, “I took a few deep breaths, took my mind off the mess, into the outer reaches of the cosmos I leapt, where questions were not asked, because there were no beings with evolving brains needing to know how and why.”
At this moment, I feel as if I am attached to the subconscious minds of Gra and Terra, with all of us in a slowed state of motion. Maybe it’s just my imagination, but we all appear to now be far away from the planet Earth, looking down from quite a distance. I sense that Terra and Gra have possibly experienced this before. My gut tells me that this has to have something to do with our mysterious visitor, Gra.
Gra sings to us, “There was a calm in the universe, as the experiences fell exclusively to the human experiment, affecting no one, and nothing, in the outer worlds, yet essential in evolving the universal goals.”
“I felt the calm, it was strengthening. I knew my fate and my destiny,” Gra sings, adding, “I felt the resolve to accomplish my mission to understand the cause of those irrational emotions.”
In what appears to be a blink of an eye, our view, our planet faced with destruction, is from Earth’s moon. Gra questions singing, “Here I see the difference, but fail to see how, one can choose to be one or the other, is it math, or science, father or mother?”
Another blink of an eye, and the three of us are back on stage where we started, no one the wiser it appears, as Sid kicks into the next part of the opening song of the second set with a drum roll. Instantly, Gra is to his feet, mic in hand, at the front of the stage, singing and pointing to the audience, “What beastie are you and what are you made of, controlled from within and unable to feel love.” Challenging for an answer, he continues, “Does nature, genetics, society, universal guidance or a combo of these, attributes, deflections, unguided sad reflections, cause one human to be kind and fair?”
My lyrics answer the question, but I let Gra continue as he alludes directly to the infringing political rally, “Another obsessed with power will just not care.”
I jump out front, and four back-up vocalists join me. The band breaks into our uptempo, doo-wop style song, voices filling the speakers and the fans happily enthused to have the concert rockin’ again. All attention is back to the stage as we sing words of wisdom disguised as frivolous fun, “The beastie Empathy can shake your core, makes you feel deeply what you never felt before, if you have the conscience to help one another Empathy is mother nature’s lover.” The audience and their beasties react positively.
The back-up singers the producer of the concert hired are known as Birdy and the Tweets. In what appears to be another blink of the eye, to everyone’s surprise, including my own, one of the singers pushes me out of the way and takes over singing the lead with modified lyrics to my own song. The lead singer sports a wig shaped into a pompadour, resembling Conrad Birdie from the musical “Bye Bye Birdie”, portraying an Elvis Presley iconic character.
Birdy changes my lyrics and emphatically sings like a salesman trying to convince people to buy what they do not want or need, “The beastie Fear can shake your core, makes you feel deeply what you never felt before, creates no conscience to help one another, Fear is not mother nature’s lover.” Singing the next verse, again perverting my original lyrics, and continuing the sale of poison as medicine Birdy continues, “The beastie Greed can shake your core, makes you feel deeply what you never felt before, destroys the conscience to help another, Greed is definitely not nature’s lover.” The backup singers facetiously slovenly drawl, “Nature’s lover,” as if it were a joke.
Terra and I stand a bit dumbfounded on the side of the concert stage in front of the easels, wondering how this preposterous insurrection has taken place. Birdy grabs a saxophone and honks out a catchy solo to the amusement of the unaware audience enamored with the show. The Tweets seem choreographed to elegantly block roadies and band from regaining the upper hand, so to speak.
Concluding his sax solo, and not skipping a beat, Birdy reiterates his sales pitch that bad can be good, singing, “The beastie Hate can shake your core, makes you feel deeply what you never felt before, manipulates the conscience, to hell with one another, Hate cannot be mother nature’s lover,” delivering the song with conviction supported by the Tweets’ doo wops.
Our security and roadies finally corral Birdy, and pull the wig off his head to reveal it was actually T.Raitor, who begins tossing handfuls of dollar bills at the staff and audience to buy leniency. In his classic arrogant narcissistic fashion, DT takes a bow, acts as though he alone has triumphed, and dashes off the stage.
Again, it appears as if Gra has waved his hands and slowed down time and the music, so he can sing my lyrics to the crowd, “The beastie Hope will shake your core, makes you feel deeply what you never felt before, enlarges your conscience to help one another, Hope is truly mother nature’s lover.”
Terra, Gra and I, along with the good Tweets, sing out our rousing chorus, soaring voices singing, “Empathy,” with Terra giving her all in response, “You see it in the floods and in the fires.” Gra adds, “You see it in the hurricanes of human desire,” and parallels it with the beastie emotion wanting to help. “Empathy,” we all sing again, this time in multiple layers of harmony.
Terra sings my description of empathy when it can literally shake your subconscious core, “You feel it in your panic to the cries,” while I answer with my lyrics, singing, “Your actions show your feelings,” and we all join to harmonize on, “As your spirit starts to rise.”
The audience knows the song and the words, and joins in a monstrous unified acknowledgement of understanding the lesson, “Empathy,” we all proclaim again defiantly. The final choral escalation of voices concludes the song. Almost as if the entire audience, including their good and bad beasties, have experienced an epiphany. An orgasm of maximum magnitude.
“Empathy starts to rise.”