I’ve heard this song a bunch of times, but I just recently looked at the lyrics. There’s something interesting going on in these words:
All around me are familiar faces
Worn out places, Worn out faces
Bright and early for the daily races
Going no where, Going no where
In this first verse, we catch a glimpse of the writer’s sense of alienation. (Writing about modern man’s sense of alienation is a relatively new thing in history, but I wonder if our sense of estrangement from our very Being has been there all along under a different guise and/or a different name.) I’ve felt this alienation before, and it sucks.
In fact, its crappy enough in order for me to relate to the chorus of this song:
And I find it kind of funny, I find it kind of sad
The dreams in which I’m dying are the best I’ve ever had
I find it hard to tell you, I find it hard to take
When people run in circles its a very, very
Mad world, mad world
Is this the place in which we find ourselves? After all, there are many who do not have this nihilistic sense, a sense of meaninglessness or “running in circles.” What exactly is the connection between subjective perceptions of meaning and happiness and the True meaning of life? Does it matter, for example, if one’s life is Truly meaningless if one perceives it as meaningful? In other words, are we really in a mad world even if others do not see the world in that way? These are interesting questions, and they deserve their own space.
For now, I can remark upon one thing: the contrast between the “Mad World” and the “Kingdom of Heaven.”
In a Mad World, we are doomed to run in meaningless circles. In the kingdom, we run the race that has eternal significance. In a Mad World, we are stuck with worn out places and faces. In the kingdom, all things are being made new. In a Mad World, we long to escape our futile existence, but in the kingdom, to live is Christ and to die is gain.
What does all of this mean? A literal and metaphysical heaven? Or a metaphorical and existential one? Or are these words are nothing at all except the delusions of a weak soul too blind to see that everything is nothing? There is much that I am unsure of.
But perhaps it matters not, for I have tasted and I have seen the Goodness of the Divine, and that Goodness is leading me out of my Mad World. That Truth is big enough to sustain me in my uncertainty. May I continue to be Led out of this mad world, and may I, in the meantime, learn the answers to some of these other questions.