How Al-Farabi drew on Plato to argue for censorship in Islam

Israel-2013(2)-Jerusalem-Temple_Mount-Dome_of_the_Rock_(SE_exposure)

Andrew Shiva / Wikipedia

Rashmee Roshan Lall | Aeon Ideas

You might not be familiar with the name Al-Farabi, a 10th-century thinker from Baghdad, but you know his work, or at least its results. Al-Farabi was, by all accounts, a man of steadfast Sufi persuasion and unvaryingly simple tastes. As a labourer in a Damascus vineyard before settling in Baghdad, he favoured a frugal diet of lambs’ hearts and water mixed with sweet basil juice. But in his political philosophy, Al-Farabi drew on a rich variety of Hellenic ideas, notably from Plato and Aristotle, adapting and extending them in order to respond to the flux of his times.

The situation in the mighty Abbasid empire in which Al-Farabi lived demanded a delicate balancing of conservatism with radical adaptation. Against the backdrop of growing dysfunction as the empire became a shrunken version of itself, Al-Farabi formulated a political philosophy conducive to civic virtue, justice, human happiness and social order.

But his real legacy might be the philosophical rationale that Al-Farabi provided for controlling creative expression in the Muslim world. In so doing, he completed the aniconism (or antirepresentational) project begun in the late seventh century by a caliph of the Umayyads, the first Muslim dynasty. Caliph Abd al-Malik did it with nonfigurative images on coins and calligraphic inscriptions on the Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem, the first monument of the new Muslim faith. This heralded Islamic art’s break from the Greco-Roman representative tradition. A few centuries later, Al-Farabi took the notion of creative control to new heights by arguing for restrictions on representation through the word. He did it using solidly Platonic concepts, and can justifiably be said to have helped concretise the way Islam understands and responds to creative expression.

Word portrayals of Islam and its prophet can be deemed sacrilegious just as much as representational art. The consequences of Al-Farabi’s rationalisation of representational taboos are apparent in our times. In 1989, Iran’s Ayatollah Khomeini issued a fatwa sentencing Salman Rushdie to death for writing The Satanic Verses (1988). The book outraged Muslims for its fictionalised account of Prophet Muhammad’s life. In 2001, the Taliban blew up the sixth-century Bamiyan Buddhas in Afghanistan. In 2005, controversy erupted over the publication by the Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten of cartoons depicting the Prophet. The cartoons continued to ignite fury in some way or other for at least a decade. There were protests across the Middle East, attacks on Western embassies after several European papers reprinted the cartoons, and in 2008 Osama bin Laden issued an incendiary warning to Europe of ‘grave punishment’ for its ‘new Crusade’ against Islam. In 2015, the offices of Charlie Hebdo, a satirical magazine in Paris that habitually offended Muslim sensibilities, was attacked by armed gunmen, killing 12. The magazine had featured Michel Houellebecq’s novel Submission (2015), a futuristic vision of France under Islamic rule.

In a sense, the destruction of the Bamiyan Buddhas was no different from the Rushdie fatwa, which was like the Danish cartoons fallout and the violence wreaked on Charlie Hebdo’s editorial staff. All are linked by the desire to control representation, be it through imagery or the word.

Control of the word was something that Al-Farabi appeared to judge necessary if Islam’s biggest project – the multiethnic commonwealth that was the Abbasid empire – was to be preserved. Figural representation was pretty much settled as an issue for Muslims when Al-Farabi would have been pondering some of his key theories. Within 30 years of the Prophet’s death in 632, art and creative expression took two parallel paths depending on the context for which it was intended. There was art for the secular space, such as the palaces and bathhouses of the Umayyads (661-750). And there was the art considered appropriate for religious spaces – mosques and shrines such as the Dome of the Rock (completed in 691). Caliph Abd al-Malik had already engaged in what has been called a ‘polemic of images’ on coinage with his Byzantine counterpart, Emperor Justinian II. Ultimately, Abd al-Malik issued coins inscribed with the phrases ‘ruler of the orthodox’ and ‘representative [caliph] of Allah’ rather than his portrait. And the Dome of the Rock had script rather than representations of living creatures as a decoration. The lack of image had become an image. In fact, the word was now the image. That is why calligraphy became the greatest of Muslim art forms. The importance of the written word – its absorption and its meaning – was also exemplified by the Abbasids’ investment in the Greek-to-Arabic translation movement from the eighth to the 10th centuries.

Consequently, in Al-Farabi’s time, what was most important for Muslims was to control representation through the word. Christian iconophiles made their case for devotional images with the argument that words have the same representative power as paintings. Words are like icons, declared the iconophile Christian priest Theodore Abu Qurrah, who lived in dar-al Islam and wrote in Arabic in the ninth century. And images, he said, are the writing of the illiterate.

Al-Farabi was concerned about the power – for good or ill – of writings at a time when the Abbasid empire was in decline. He held creative individuals responsible for what they produced. Abbasid caliphs increasingly faced a crisis of authority, both moral and political. This led Al-Farabi – one of the Arab world’s most original thinkers – to extrapolate from topical temporal matters the key issues confronting Islam and its expanding and diverse dominions.

Al-Farabi fashioned a political philosophy that naturalised Plato’s imaginary ideal state for the world to which he belonged. He tackled the obvious issue of leadership, reminding Muslim readers of the need for a philosopher-king, a ‘virtuous ruler’ to preside over a ‘virtuous city’, which would be run on the principles of ‘virtuous religion’.

Like Plato, Al-Farabi suggested creative expression should support the ideal ruler, thus shoring up the virtuous city and the status quo. Just as Plato in the Republic demanded that poets in the ideal state tell stories of unvarying good, especially about the gods, Al-Farabi’s treatises mention ‘praiseworthy’ poems, melodies and songs for the virtuous city. Al-Farabi commended as ‘most venerable’ for the virtuous city the sorts of writing ‘used in the service of the supreme ruler and the virtuous king.’

It is this idea of writers following the approved narrative that most clearly joins Al-Farabi’s political philosophy to that of the man he called Plato the ‘Divine’. When Al-Farabi seized on Plato’s argument for ‘a censorship of the writers’ as a social good for Muslim society, he was making a case for managing the narrative by controlling the word. It would be important to the next phase of Islamic image-building.

Some of Al-Farabi’s ideas might have influenced other prominent Muslim thinkers, including the Persian polymath Ibn Sina, or Avicenna, (c980-1037) and the Persian theologian Al-Ghazali (c1058-1111). Certainly, his rationalisation for controlling creative writing enabled a further move to deny legitimacy to new interpretation.Aeon counter – do not remove

Rashmee Roshan Lall

This article was originally published at Aeon and has been republished under Creative Commons.

Possibility and Necessity: An Introduction to Modality

1000-Word Philosophy: An Introductory Anthology

Author: Andre Leo Rusavuk
Category: Metaphysics
Word count: 991

We frequently say things like, ‘This seems possible,’ ‘That can’t be done,’ ‘This must happen,’ ‘She might be able to . . ,’ ‘This is necessary for . .’ and so on.[1]

Claims like these are modal claims. They involve the modal concepts of actuality, possibility, and necessity. Modality concerns the mode or way in which a claim is true or false, and how something exists or does not exist.

This essay explains basic modal concepts, illustrates some different kinds of possibility and necessity, and briefly explains how we try to identify whether a modal claim is true or false.

“Imagine The Possibilities” by Carol Groenen.

1. Modal Concepts

Modal concepts apply to claims and beings, at least.[2] Here are some basic definitions concerning claims, beliefs or sentences:

  • a claim is possibly true if it could…

View original post 1,943 more words

Attention is Not a Resource but a Way of Being Alive to the World

Original Artistry by Steve Cutts

Dan Nixon | Aeon Ideas

‘We are drowning in information, while starving for wisdom.’ Those were the words of the American biologist E O Wilson at the turn of the century. Fastforward to the smartphone era, and it’s easy to believe that our mental lives are now more fragmentary and scattered than ever. The ‘attention economy’ is a phrase that’s often used to make sense of what’s going on: it puts our attention as a limited resource at the centre of the informational ecosystem, with our various alerts and notifications locked in a constant battle to capture it.

That’s a helpful narrative in a world of information overload, and one in which our devices and apps are intentionally designed to get us hooked. Moreover, besides our own mental wellbeing, the attention economy offers a way of looking at some important social problems: from the worrying declines in measures of empathy through to the ‘weaponisation’ of social media.

The problem, though, is that this narrative assumes a certain kind of attention. An economy, after all, deals with how to allocate resources efficiently in the service of specific objectives (such as maximising profit). Talk of the attention economy relies on the notion of attention-as-resource: our attention is to be applied in the service of some goal, which social media and other ills are bent on diverting us from. Our attention, when we fail to put it to use for our own objectives, becomes a tool to be used and exploited by others.

However, conceiving of attention as a resource misses the fact that attention is not just useful. It’s more fundamental than that: attention is what joins us with the outside world. ‘Instrumentally’ attending is important, sure. But we also have the capacity to attend in a more ‘exploratory’ way: to be truly open to whatever we find before us, without any particular agenda.

During a recent trip to Japan, for example, I found myself with a few unplanned hours to spend in Tokyo. Stepping out into the busy district of Shibuya, I wandered aimlessly amid the neon signs and crowds of people. My senses met the wall of smoke and the cacophony of sound as I passed through a busy pachinko parlour. For the entire morning, my attention was in ‘exploratory’ mode. That stood in contrast to, say, when I had to focus on navigating the metro system later that day.

Treating attention as a resource, as implied by the attention-economy narrative, tells us only half of the overall story – specifically, the left half. According to the British psychiatrist and philosopher Iain McGilchrist, the brain’s left and right hemispheres ‘deliver’ the world to us in two fundamentally different ways. An instrumental mode of attention, McGilchrist contends, is the mainstay of the brain’s left hemisphere, which tends to divide up whatever it’s presented with into component parts: to analyse and categorise things so that it can utilise them towards some ends.

By contrast, the brain’s right hemisphere naturally adopts an exploratory mode of attending: a more embodied awareness, one that is open to whatever makes itself present before us, in all its fullness. This mode of attending comes into play, for instance, when we pay attention to other people, to the natural world and to works of art. None of those fare too well if we attend to them as a means to an end. And it is this mode of paying attention, McGilchrist argues, that offers us the broadest possible experience of the world.

So, as well as attention-as-resource, it’s important that we retain a clear sense of attention-as-experience. I believe that’s what the American philosopher William James had in mind in 1890 when he wrote that ‘what we attend to is reality’: the simple but profound idea that what we pay attention to, and how we pay attention, shapes our reality, moment to moment, day to day, and so on.

It is also the exploratory mode of attention that can connect us to our deepest sense of purpose. Just note how many noninstrumental forms of attention practice lie at the heart of many spiritual traditions. In Awareness Bound and Unbound (2009), the American Zen teacher David Loy characterises an unenlightened existence (samsara) as simply the state in which one’s attention becomes ‘trapped’ as it grasps from one thing to another, always looking for the next thing to latch on to. Nirvana, for Loy, is simply a free and open attention that is completely liberated from such fixations. Meanwhile, Simone Weil, the French Christian mystic, saw prayer as attention ‘in its pure form’; she wrote that the ‘authentic and pure’ values in the activity of a human being, such as truth, beauty and goodness, all result from a particular application of full attention.

The problem, then, is twofold. First, the deluge of stimuli competing to grab our attention almost certainly inclines us towards instant gratification. This crowds out space for the exploratory mode of attention. When I get to the bus stop now, I automatically reach for my phone, rather than stare into space; my fellow commuters (when I do raise my head) seem to be doing the same thing. Second, on top of this, an attention-economy narrative, for all its usefulness, reinforces a conception of attention-as-a-resource, rather than attention-as-experience.

At one extreme, we can imagine a scenario in which we gradually lose touch with attention-as-experience altogether. Attention becomes solely a thing to utilise, a means of getting things done, something from which value can be extracted. This scenario entails, perhaps, the sort of disembodied, inhuman dystopia that the American cultural critic Jonathan Beller talks about in his essay ‘Paying Attention’ (2006) when he describes a world in which ‘humanity has become its own ghost’.

While such an outcome is extreme, there are hints that modern psyches are moving in this direction. One study found, for instance, that most men chose to receive an electric shock rather than be left to their own devices: when, in other words, they had no entertainment on which to fix their attention. Or take the emergence of the ‘quantified self’ movement, in which ‘life loggers’ use smart devices to track thousands of daily movements and behaviours in order to (supposedly) amass self-knowledge. If one adopts such a mindset, data is the only valid input. One’s direct, felt experience of the world simply does not compute.

Thankfully, no society has reached this dystopia – yet. But faced with a stream of claims on our attention, and narratives that invite us to treat it as a resource to mine, we need to work to keep our instrumental and exploratory modes of attention in balance. How might we do this?

To begin with, when we talk about attention, we need to defend framing it as an experience, not a mere means or implement to some other end.

Next, we can reflect on how we spend our time. Besides expert advice on ‘digital hygiene’ (turning off notifications, keeping our phones out of the bedroom, and so on), we can be proactive in making a good amount of time each week for activities that nourish us in an open, receptive, undirected way: taking a stroll, visiting a gallery, listening to a record.

Perhaps most effective of all, though, is simply to return to an embodied, exploratory mode of attention, just for a moment or two, as often as we can throughout the day. Watching our breath, say, with no agenda. In an age of fast-paced technologies and instant hits, that might sound a little … underwhelming. But there can be beauty and wonder in the unadorned act of ‘experiencing’. This might be what Weil had in mind when she said that the correct application of attention can lead us to ‘the gateway to eternity … The infinite in an instant.’Aeon counter – do not remove

Dan Nixon

This article was originally published at Aeon and has been republished under Creative Commons.

Pull Harder on the Strings of Your Martyr

Trivium – Pull Harder on the Strings of Your Martyr

The face and the lips,
Tremble as it rips.
Your breath quickening,
As heat rushes in.

Pull, harder,
Strings, martyr,
Stop, you cry, that’s a lie!
Flush, gasping,
White, reddening.
You smile and destroy it,
It’s time that we end this!

It’s our curse,
That makes this world so hopeless.
Allowing our,
King to spread his genocidal wings.

Clawing the skin,
Each kill, your weakness.
Annihilation, your masturbation.
Tyrant, I’ll burn you down!

Pull, harder,
Strings, martyr,
Stop, you cry, that’s a lie!
Flush, gasping,
White, reddening.
You smile and destroy it,
It’s time that we end this!

It’s our curse,
That makes this world so hopeless.
Allowing our,
King to spread his genocidal wings.

My hands grip your throat,
I need your end!
Burned, staked, ripped apart!
I avenge!

You ask me, “Oh, God, why?”
‘Cause I’m God, that’s fucking why!

Pull, harder,
Strings, martyr,
Stop, you cry, that’s a lie!
Flush, gasping,
White, reddening.
You smile and destroy it,
It’s time that we end this!

It’s our curse,
That makes this world so hopeless.
Allowing our,
King to spread his genocidal wings.

It’s our curse,
That makes this world so hopeless.
Allowing our,
King to spread his genocidal wings.


Songwriters: Corey Beaulieu / Jason Suecof / Matthew Heafy / Paolo Gregoletto / Travis Smith

Pull Harder on the Strings of Your Martyr lyrics © Warner/Chappell Music, Inc

What Einstein Meant by ‘God Does Not Play Dice’

Einstein with his second wife Elsa, 1921. Wikipedia.

Jim Baggott | Aeon Ideas

‘The theory produces a good deal but hardly brings us closer to the secret of the Old One,’ wrote Albert Einstein in December 1926. ‘I am at all events convinced that He does not play dice.’

Einstein was responding to a letter from the German physicist Max Born. The heart of the new theory of quantum mechanics, Born had argued, beats randomly and uncertainly, as though suffering from arrhythmia. Whereas physics before the quantum had always been about doing this and getting that, the new quantum mechanics appeared to say that when we do this, we get that only with a certain probability. And in some circumstances we might get the other.

Einstein was having none of it, and his insistence that God does not play dice with the Universe has echoed down the decades, as familiar and yet as elusive in its meaning as E = mc2. What did Einstein mean by it? And how did Einstein conceive of God?

Hermann and Pauline Einstein were nonobservant Ashkenazi Jews. Despite his parents’ secularism, the nine-year-old Albert discovered and embraced Judaism with some considerable passion, and for a time he was a dutiful, observant Jew. Following Jewish custom, his parents would invite a poor scholar to share a meal with them each week, and from the impoverished medical student Max Talmud (later Talmey) the young and impressionable Einstein learned about mathematics and science. He consumed all 21 volumes of Aaron Bernstein’s joyful Popular Books on Natural Science (1880). Talmud then steered him in the direction of Immanuel Kant’s Critique of Pure Reason (1781), from which he migrated to the philosophy of David Hume. From Hume, it was a relatively short step to the Austrian physicist Ernst Mach, whose stridently empiricist, seeing-is-believing brand of philosophy demanded a complete rejection of metaphysics, including notions of absolute space and time, and the existence of atoms.

But this intellectual journey had mercilessly exposed the conflict between science and scripture. The now 12-year-old Einstein rebelled. He developed a deep aversion to the dogma of organised religion that would last for his lifetime, an aversion that extended to all forms of authoritarianism, including any kind of dogmatic atheism.

This youthful, heavy diet of empiricist philosophy would serve Einstein well some 14 years later. Mach’s rejection of absolute space and time helped to shape Einstein’s special theory of relativity (including the iconic equation E = mc2), which he formulated in 1905 while working as a ‘technical expert, third class’ at the Swiss Patent Office in Bern. Ten years later, Einstein would complete the transformation of our understanding of space and time with the formulation of his general theory of relativity, in which the force of gravity is replaced by curved spacetime. But as he grew older (and wiser), he came to reject Mach’s aggressive empiricism, and once declared that ‘Mach was as good at mechanics as he was wretched at philosophy.’

Over time, Einstein evolved a much more realist position. He preferred to accept the content of a scientific theory realistically, as a contingently ‘true’ representation of an objective physical reality. And, although he wanted no part of religion, the belief in God that he had carried with him from his brief flirtation with Judaism became the foundation on which he constructed his philosophy. When asked about the basis for his realist stance, he explained: ‘I have no better expression than the term “religious” for this trust in the rational character of reality and in its being accessible, at least to some extent, to human reason.’

But Einstein’s was a God of philosophy, not religion. When asked many years later whether he believed in God, he replied: ‘I believe in Spinoza’s God, who reveals himself in the lawful harmony of all that exists, but not in a God who concerns himself with the fate and the doings of mankind.’ Baruch Spinoza, a contemporary of Isaac Newton and Gottfried Leibniz, had conceived of God as identical with nature. For this, he was considered a dangerous heretic, and was excommunicated from the Jewish community in Amsterdam.

Einstein’s God is infinitely superior but impersonal and intangible, subtle but not malicious. He is also firmly determinist. As far as Einstein was concerned, God’s ‘lawful harmony’ is established throughout the cosmos by strict adherence to the physical principles of cause and effect. Thus, there is no room in Einstein’s philosophy for free will: ‘Everything is determined, the beginning as well as the end, by forces over which we have no control … we all dance to a mysterious tune, intoned in the distance by an invisible player.’

The special and general theories of relativity provided a radical new way of conceiving of space and time and their active interactions with matter and energy. These theories are entirely consistent with the ‘lawful harmony’ established by Einstein’s God. But the new theory of quantum mechanics, which Einstein had also helped to found in 1905, was telling a different story. Quantum mechanics is about interactions involving matter and radiation, at the scale of atoms and molecules, set against a passive background of space and time.

Earlier in 1926, the Austrian physicist Erwin Schrödinger had radically transformed the theory by formulating it in terms of rather obscure ‘wavefunctions’. Schrödinger himself preferred to interpret these realistically, as descriptive of ‘matter waves’. But a consensus was growing, strongly promoted by the Danish physicist Niels Bohr and the German physicist Werner Heisenberg, that the new quantum representation shouldn’t be taken too literally.

In essence, Bohr and Heisenberg argued that science had finally caught up with the conceptual problems involved in the description of reality that philosophers had been warning of for centuries. Bohr is quoted as saying: ‘There is no quantum world. There is only an abstract quantum physical description. It is wrong to think that the task of physics is to find out how nature is. Physics concerns what we can say about nature.’ This vaguely positivist statement was echoed by Heisenberg: ‘[W]e have to remember that what we observe is not nature in itself but nature exposed to our method of questioning.’ Their broadly antirealist ‘Copenhagen interpretation’ – denying that the wavefunction represents the real physical state of a quantum system – quickly became the dominant way of thinking about quantum mechanics. More recent variations of such antirealist interpretations suggest that the wavefunction is simply a way of ‘coding’ our experience, or our subjective beliefs derived from our experience of the physics, allowing us to use what we’ve learned in the past to predict the future.

But this was utterly inconsistent with Einstein’s philosophy. Einstein could not accept an interpretation in which the principal object of the representation – the wavefunction – is not ‘real’. He could not accept that his God would allow the ‘lawful harmony’ to unravel so completely at the atomic scale, bringing lawless indeterminism and uncertainty, with effects that can’t be entirely and unambiguously predicted from their causes.

The stage was thus set for one of the most remarkable debates in the entire history of science, as Bohr and Einstein went head-to-head on the interpretation of quantum mechanics. It was a clash of two philosophies, two conflicting sets of metaphysical preconceptions about the nature of reality and what we might expect from a scientific representation of this. The debate began in 1927, and although the protagonists are no longer with us, the debate is still very much alive.

And unresolved.

I don’t think Einstein would have been particularly surprised by this. In February 1954, just 14 months before he died, he wrote in a letter to the American physicist David Bohm: ‘If God created the world, his primary concern was certainly not to make its understanding easy for us.’


Jim Baggott

This article was originally published at Aeon and has been republished under Creative Commons.

Awake & Alive

Skillet – Awake and Alive

I’m at war with the world and they,
Try to pull me into the dark.
I struggle to find my faith,
As I’m slippin’ from your arms.

It’s getting harder to stay awake,
And my strength is fading fast,
You breathe into me at last.

I’m awake, I’m alive,
Now I know what I believe inside.
Now it’s my time,
I’ll do what I want ’cause this is my life.
Here, right here,
Right now, right now,
Stand my ground and never back down,
I know what I believe inside,
I’m awake and I’m alive.

I’m at war with the world cause I,
Ain’t never gonna sell my soul.
I’ve already made up my mind,
No matter what I can’t be bought or sold.

When my faith is getting weak,
And I feel like giving in,
You breathe into me again.

I’m awake, I’m alive,
Now I know what I believe inside.
Now it’s my time,
I’ll do what I want ’cause this is my life.
Here, right here,
Right now, right now,
Stand my ground and never back down,
I know what I believe inside,
I’m awake and I’m alive.

Waking up, waking up,
Waking up, waking up,
Waking up, waking up,
Waking up, waking up.

In the dark,
I can feel you in my sleep,
In your arms, I feel you breathe into me.
Forever hold this heart that I will give to you,
Forever I will live for you.

I’m awake, I’m alive,
Now I know what I believe inside.
Now it’s my time,
I’ll do what I want ’cause this is my life.
Here, right here,
Right now, right now,
Stand my ground and never back down,
I know what I believe inside,
I’m awake and I’m alive.

Waking up, waking up,
Waking up, waking up,
Waking up, waking up,
Waking up, waking up.


Songwriters: John Cooper / Brian Howes

Awake And Alive lyrics© Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC, Warner/Chappell Music, Inc

Dare You to Move

Switchfoot – Dare You to Move

Welcome to the planet,
Welcome to existence,
Everyone’s here,
Everyone’s here.

Everybody’s watching you now,
Everybody waits for you now,
What happens next?
What happens next?

I dare you to move,
I dare you to move,
I dare you to lift yourself up off the floor.

I dare you to move,
I dare you to move,
Like today never happened,
Today never happened before.

Welcome to the fallout,
Welcome to resistance,
The tension is here,
The tension is here.

Between who you are and who you could be,
Between how it is and how it should be.

Yeah,
I dare you to move,
I dare you to move,
I dare you to lift yourself up off the floor.

I dare you to move,
I dare you to move,
Like today never happened,
Today never happened before.

Maybe redemption has stories to tell,
Maybe forgiveness is right where you fell,
Where can you run to escape from yourself?

Where you gonna go?
Where you gonna go?
Salvation is here.

I dare you to move,
I dare you to move,
I dare you to lift yourself,
To lift yourself up off the floor!

I dare you to move,
I dare you to move,
Like today never happened,
Today never happened,
Today never happened,
Today never happened before.


Songwriters: Jonathan Foreman
Dare You to Move lyrics © Capitol Christian Music Group

Sappy

Nirvana – Sappy

And if you save yourself, you will make him happy.
He’ll keep you in a jar, then you’ll think you’re happy.
He’ll give you breathing holes, then you’ll think you’re happy.
He’ll cover you with grass, then you’ll think you’re happy.

Now,
You’re in a laundry room.
You’re in a laundry room.
Conclusion came to you.

And if you cut yourself, you will think you’re happy.
He’ll keep you in a jar, then you’ll make him happy.
He’ll give you breathing holes, then you’ll think you’re happy.
He’ll cover you with grass, then you’ll think you’re happy.

Now,
You’re in a laundry room.
You’re in a laundry room.
Conclusion came to you.

You’re in a laundry room.
You’re in a laundry room.
Conclusion came to you.

And if you fool yourself, you will make him happy.
He’ll keep you in a jar, then you’ll think you’re happy.
He’ll give you breathing holes, then you will seem happy.
You’ll wallow in your shit, then you’ll think you’re happy.

Now,
You’re in a laundry room.
You’re in a laundry room.
You’re in a laundry room.
Conclusion came to you.


Alternate Version – “Sad”

And if you say your prayers,
You will make God happy.
And if you do what’s true,
You will make me happy.
I’ll keep you in a jar,
And you will seem happy.
I’ll give you breathing holes,
You will think you’re happy, now.

You’re in a laundry room.
You’re in a laundry room.
You’re in a laundry room.

And if you save yourself,
You will make him happy.
He’ll bring you fine rewards,
Then you will feel happy.
I’ll keep you in my room,
I’m sure you’ll be happy.
And if you save your soul,
You will think you’re happy now.

You’re in a laundry room.
You’re in a laundry room.
You’re in a laundry room.
You’re in a laundry room.


Song Author: Kurt Cobain
Writing Period: 1988
Recording Session: 12-26/02/93 Pachyderm Studios, Cannon Falls, MN
Alternate/Working Titles: Sad / Verse, Chorus, Verse

Word Up

Korn – Word Up

Yo, pretty ladies around the world,
Got a weird thing to show you,
So tell all the boys and girls.
Tell your brother, your sister and your mamma, too.
We’re about to go down,
And you know just what to do.

Wave your hands in the air like you don’t care,
Glide by the people as they start to look and stare.
Do your dance, do your dance, do your dance quick, mama.
Come on baby, tell me what’s the word?

Word up, (up up) everybody say,
When you hear the call, you’ve got to get it on the way.
Word up, (up up) it’s the code word,
No matter where you say it, you know that you’ll be heard.

Now all you sucker DJ’s who think you’re fly,
There’s got to be a reason and we know the reason why.
You try to put on those airs and act real cool,
But you got to realize that you’re acting like fools.

If there’s music we can use it,
Be free to dance.
We don’t have the time for psychological romance.
No romance, no romance, no romance for me, mama.
Come on baby, tell me what’s the word?

Word up, (up up) everybody say,
When you hear the call, you’ve got to get it on the way.
Word up, (up up) it’s the code word,
No matter where you say it, you know that you’ll be heard.


Songwriters: Larry Blackmon / Tomi Jenkins

Word Up! lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group