fire and driving
December 15, 2010, 6:21 pm
Filed under: brave new world | Tags: , , ,

In religion there is the start in the garden and the end in the city, and we have somehow found ourselves in neither place, driving.  There is a core motivation, fear, we must understand to navigate the city and garden; we have misappropriated our knowledge of it which has driven us out of these ancient places into the suburban landscape.

In this review of Arcade Fire’s album The Suburbs, S. Brent Plate gives us a keen definition of two kinds of fear:  one that trembles before something awesome and challenges us to change our lives for the better, and another that quakes before other petty people and their perceived power and causes us to retract and entrench and protect.  This is the classic description of the fear of God and of man; Augustine’s seminal work to disentangle the heavenly kingdom from the Roman and other kingdoms of this earth.

But we’re not navigating them anymore, because we’re in the suburbs.  The suburbs here are blanks, uninspired, unpeopled, confusing, purposeless.

Here’s is Plate’s wonderful description:

There are two kinds of fear: The Bible talks a lot about fear of God—fear in the face of something awesome. That kind of fear is the type of fear that makes someone want to change. But a fear of other people makes you want to stay the same, to protect what you have. It’s a stagnant fear; and it’s paralyzing.

This threat of stagnation makes for lyrics in perpetual motion, movement without destination.

Between fears, earthly and heavenly, and between the city and country, lie the suburbs. Like a sonic version of Google Maps, the “neighborhoods” that The Suburbs drives us through are absent of people, meanings, and deities. Modern kids talk about what they don’t understand. Rooms are empty, and voices are only echoes.

Car Culture Audio: The purposeless driven life of Arcade Fire’s The Suburbs, S. Brent Plate, Killing the Buddha

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