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Storytellers #6- The Meritocracy of Hell

"You've earned your place, you've earned your space, you've earned it oh so well, Step to the plate and accept your fate in the meritocracy of Hell".

I remember coming up with the title first. It was a little frightening to me. Originally it was only going to be the title to the album. But on one of my many rides into work, where all i do is hum and sing nonsensical sounds to potential melodies, the above lyrics flowed out of my mouth. Creativity and inspiration took control, and even though it's not a technically profound set of words or syllables, and even though one could argue that the above lyrics are simplistic in meter, they mean so much more than the words themselves suggest.

I can imagine that on the surface, and only if one only accepts a literal face value to the words, it's merely a song about Hell. The images are not unlike those found in the literature of Milton and Alighieri. I wanted to create a song that sounded the way a Hieronymus Bosch painting looked. But my reasons behind the song are not to simply speak to a literary or biblical view of punishment in the afterlife. In this case it's a metaphor. Have you ever felt like you suffered a punishment for a wrong committed? Reaping and sowing, karma, the laws of attraction, all of these concepts can be under the banner of the meritocracy of hell. If one earns rewards in a meritocratic fashion in Heaven, then Hell would be the inverse of that. 

The meritocracy of hell could also be the illusion of meritocracy. Where one aspires to greatness through hard work and dedication, but is kept from attaining their goals because the goals they set were unattainable due to never actually existing in the first place. One could argue that the music business is a meritocracy of Hell. Many of us began our journey's hoping to be huge stars, as most young people begin. Greatness was a goal, but then you keep going and see many artists who by their own right should be huge successes, but never get the push that lesser talent receives. Then you see that the business never really had any intention of selling the best music, but only marketing that which they could sell quickly. You begin to see who is pulling the strings and how they control the puppets.

There is an upside to the meritocracy of Hell. It is also about letting go of illusions and accepting life as it is. It's about taking responsibility, it's about understanding consequence and not running from responsibility. I could go on, but at the end of the day the song is open for interpretation. It's not a song you can immediately understand fully without knowing something about yourself.

"Dark figures confine your vision, you can't see if there is no light"

I hope you venture into life with some light. Cheers.


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