by Stephen Michael Murphy
(Music & Lyrics written, arranged and produced by Stephen Michael Murphy)
“Nobody Knows How Deep it All Goes” is a mind stopping concept for me; like a Zen Koan when considered overflows river banks of thought, expanding outward through my body in a feeling sense of connection. It’s also a phrase that engenders respect, awe and most of all humility. The powers that be have a difficult time managing the awe struck personality. None of the Reality TV programming works on us and we avoid food and information that lacks nutritional value. Basically we don’t follow the message or Kanye on Twitter. Today’s pop culture is littered with mind traps that hypnotize souls into fodder for the status quo leaving people internally conflicted; one side wants deeper meaning and the other needs the advertised material success. In the pursuit of “more,” important information can be unearthed as actress Liv Ullmann put it “the best thing that can come from success is the knowledge that it is nothing to long for.” This simple realization can return us to baseline by disarming the dangling carrot.
“Nobody Knows How Deep It All Goes” is the dope on a microscopic and macro-cosmic stage. The body mind, emotions, environment, planet and the universe are at best understood by human beings on the most surface of levels. Emotionally, we’re still sweating things at the cave door; you can see it in our elected ones. It hurts to watch so much loneliness and limitation from a species capable of such beautiful dreams. Even something within reach like a fair and balanced world economy is beyond the pale stymied by the politics of primitive greed. Most “experts” have lost themselves supporting selfish corporate machines while authentic earth healers are ignored, defamed or remain in hiding.
The beat goes on with little grip on anything yet we “progress” often at a venomous pace to the planet and ourselves. Dangerous deep water drilling companies are one example, oncologists some with a dismal 14% survival rate are another, both aggrandized by their institutions and subsequently the public at a steep price. For generations the implication has been “we’re on the verge of a cure”; the truth being the last major disease to be eradicated was Polio in 1955. In one day a thriving billion dollar industry disappeared, it’s been said shortly thereafter a meeting of medical elite resulted in a consensus to never “cure” a major disease (aka money maker) again. Instead, they would create protocols and treatment to maintain a modest measure of success and an immodest measure of profit. The cancer industry generates close to 160 billion dollars yearly, health care is the biggest business in the world worth a whopping 1.5 trillion per year. Since modern life is inherently carcinogenic; every family pays and prays for a solution yesterday. Do you think the stockholders of Big Pharma want the cures that could cut their dividends? Not likely, so instead the power of spin media is consistantly deployed .
It’s the same doublespeak in the energy, defense, religion and food industries, crimes of omission, of policy and legality, oblique crimes against humanity with ultimate numbers that make atrocities in the Sudan pale in comparison. As long as the vast majority of us remain distracted the truth remains invisible.
So what’s wrong with a little profit taking at the cost of human lives? Certainly it’s nothing new. In the last 100 years, at least 100 million people have been slaughtered worldwide, mostly money motivated, famines with wars, over religion or race, uprisings and downsizing ad nauseam. Many think of it as an improvement; more business a little less war with expectations purposely set low so the benefactors can sleep at night. Throngs of hard working people, unwitting accomplices, are absolved of their residual guilt by a Pastor or Rabbi. Across the salty river from my home are the major defense contractors, weapons for the world. All the well paid engineers I’ve met, employed by these companies claim to work on “weather balloon technology”. I think in their heart of hearts a conflict exists but in tandem with a disconnect, a denial that runs deep shared community wide. Buddhists have something called right livelihood or the ethics of earning a living. They say don’t do business in weapons, human beings, meat, intoxicants and poisons. Seems simple enough but as a consumer it’s hard to know what’s been made in an Indonesian sweat shop; certainly being legal doesn’t insure something is right. The next step requires clarity and deeper self understanding then over time a change in culture to distance ourselves from negative pursuits. Someday our progeny will create a more mature version of this world, one less tainted by hidden childhood fears and traumas.
Originally, “Nobody Knows” the tune, was a dream song, “Spill the Wine take that girl” song. Realizing I couldn’t fabricate the dream I decided to live it. “Going as far south as I can, in my van, bridging the span, in the continental Uncle Sam”1 to the land of my forefathers actually my current father. Henry was a Boston boy stationed in Key West on a US Naval destroyer in the early 1950’s. I heard his stories about defying the odds at high speed on the old single lane Overseas Highway and a lot less about his honky-tonk nights doing the Duval crawl in a bona fide Navy town. When dad wasn’t swabbing the deck, he walked a perimeter with a .45 caliber sidearm part of an eight man team (two members from each service branch) guarding then President Harry Truman on his frequent visits to the Little White House in Key West. There was even a distant cousin, a WWI vet who labored on the construction of the Overseas Railroad (Flagler’s Folly); he perished with hundreds of others on Upper Matecumbe Key in the 1935 Labor Day Hurricane. So there was history driving me down the “new” Overseas Highway and what I found at the southernmost point was a dream in waking life
Once we crossed the Seven Mile Bridge, I could feel it; the geomagnetic vibration of no more land, layers of earth gone, only porous limestone and coral remain. It was like being on a ship at sea, a liberating natural buzz that coupled with the life style would eventually produce what the locals affectionately call “Keys Disease.” Back then our supporting cast was intensely hued with originality; we were a band of expatriates living on the edge with a Kmart. You’ve heard the stories about Key West and freed up inhibitions, well it’s not just the party hardy, Cuban coffee, alcohol and cocaine. There’s a power in the neutrality of the Keys environment; imagine the surreal tranquility of Switzerland as WW II raged around them. We on the other hand found a place geographically insulated from the “upper 48” (without the old world shadows and dairy cows). In the islands “live and let live” sprang from a natural humility and the confidence of being self sufficient, many didn’t make the cut on the rock. With no jobs per se, you had to grow up in a novel way or move your ass back to Ohio. The upside was a creative one; with life in the present our new home was an inspiring empty canvas. I found my voice and learned that the spirit and the political aren’t just opposite sides; they’re the exact same coin. Sue and I cruised for many years at sea level before moving on and both our sons are Conchs. “We go to church at Mangrove Mamas another gay parade in the street, I play jazz at Café Exile, volley ball on the beach, happy hour Mel Fischer, sunset on the square, tourists with their dollars out, Goombay smiles everywhere.”2
Those were the days my friend and just as “Generallissimo Francisco Franco is still dead”; “Nobody Knows How Deep it All Goes” is still and always will be alive. Can you imagine?
1,2Nobody Knows How Deep It All Goes, lyrics and music Stephen Murphy © 2017