Living in a Soulless World

Just returned from my workout at the gym. I’ve been going pretty regularly to the gym for a couple decades now, and have noticed that something has changed in the past few years. Suddenly, about half the people “working out” are texting. They sit on equipment “between sets” and text. It is rather bothersome to people like me, who are there just to work out. I’d much rather be focused on my workout – I get so much more out of it that way.

This is not something just happening at my gym. I don’t know if it’s worse in Los Angeles than other places, but people are texting everywhere. In their cars (which is illegal here), while walking on the street, while shopping in stores, eating in restaurants, and even when I’m at people’s homes – they are sometimes texting. I can never understand what is so important that people can’t be away from their phones for two hours. Have we turned into a culture of immediacy? Or is it just that we so desperate to connect anyway we can in this total electronic age we live in?

There is an outdoor shopping mall in Los Angeles called, “The Grove”.
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According to “Fortune”, it is the second most successful mall in the country. It is full of the same stores as many other higher end malls – The Gap, Nordstrom, Anthropology, The Apple Store, J. Crew, Barney’s New York, etc., along with a movie theater (the most successful theater in the country) and one of the last big bookstores around me – Barnes & Noble. It also has a trolley car that goes from one end of the mall to the other (not that far), and a fountain that shoots water to music occasionally. I don’t go there that often (and almost never go to the movies there) as it is way too crowded for me. But it occurs to me every time I’m there that people seem to be there to just hang out. People sit or stand by the fountain, or in the grassy area behind the fake pond with the fountain. Or they just walk the cobblestone street down the center of the mall where the trolly runs. Many of the people don’t have shopping bags with them, and don’t seem in a rush to shop. They are not even window shopping. Perhaps the popularity of this mall is because of a human need to be social – that need to be around other people? It is like a gathering place. I wouldn’t be surprised if that were the case. In this cell phone world it is no wonder people venture out to the mall to hang out and physically be with people in the flesh. After all, humans are social creatures.

There is a moneymaking trend going on of having us be more and more isolated – with the illusion of being more connected. I’m sure there are those who will disagree, but Facebook, cell phones, Twitter, Instagram, Skype, FaceTime, Vine, (and dare I say) blogging, and so on are not real human ways of connecting. They are a means of passing on information and opinions, but they lack actual human interaction. They don’t contain the experience of seeing the nuance in someone’s eyes while speaking with them, feeling the energy of a person’s reaction, or walking arm in arm with someone and feeling actual human touch. There are no substitutes for any of those experiences. And those are vital ways we connect with others. We are missing a thousand subtle ways we communicate with one another. Remove them and there is no heart, no soul to our interactions, only the passing along of information, opinions and implied feelings. Add to that, being alone while “communicating” and reacting to whatever we are reading, seeing or hearing and you don’t get an actual social environment, and it is certainly devoid of what makes us human. But as long as money can be made from software and telephones and electronics, there will be campaigns to make us think that is the best and only way to go about life.

It is very different than the pre computer world I grew up in. I know the joys and importance of what it is to “hang out” with people. I’ve grown from the value of face to face conversations countless times in my life. I have perspective on how important it is to be there for someone – really “be there” by their side – in the flesh. I was raised playing with other kids. We made up games, we used our imaginations. The phone would ring and we wouldn’t always be there to answer it. This was before answering machines, and sometimes you would call someone and let the phone ring and ring and ring and ring – twenty times maybe – in the hopes that they were just coming in the door and would finally pick up. They often didn’t – and life went on. Being with people was the important thing. Our lives were shaped that way. Having dinner at a friend’s house, or having them over for dinner. Either way, we all sat around a dinner table and talked. Talking, exchanging information person to person was the main course. Our lives were built on social events. It was a totally different world.

I’m not against technology (and I don’t think it is because I’m getting older) but I do think we are losing something very important these days because of it. As the world has become vastly more connected (through the internet and cell phones and so on), I think we are actually becoming more isolated. These modes of connection are actually impersonal, and you can present yourself anyway you choose and never know the person with whom you are communicating as a whole and actual person. It isn’t an authentic representation of someone. From my perspective, all this technology isn’t making people happier than they were when I was young. In fact, it seems to me, people are getting more stressed, more crazy, more paranoid, and more self-centric – and way more isolated. There is a reason putting someone in solitary confinement can be one of the most damaging things you can do to someone. I think it is worthy of us revisiting the way we live, and trying to put back that vital, actual human connection. Being connected will also bring back compassion, understanding, empathy and awareness of others – states that are slowly disappearing from day to day life.

As I’ve been doing with my blogs these days, I’m exploring what drives me to create the art I create. These feelings of living in an isolating world were the source for my song, “Soulless World”, from my third CD, “Revelations”. You can hear it here, and I’ve included the lyrics below the song. Enjoy!

SOULLESS WORLD
© Jay Jacobson
Get out of bed and go to work, that’s how I start my day
Drive with my bluetooth on and GPS, they lead the way
Something’s off I can feel it
One small dent
Lost my soul
Don’t know where it went
 
Texted it straight from my phone
Love conversing while alone
Left it by my new TV
Need my dose of reality
Isolating human race
Disappearing face to face
 
Where’s my soul
It’s a soulless world
Soulless world
Soulless world
Soulless world
Soulless world
 
Turned on my radio and all the songs they sound the same
Watched someone on TV trade their dignity for fame
Gone is beauty and refinement
We want bling
Lost our souls
It’s the missing thing
 
Lost it shopping at the mall
Expensive goods make me feel tall
Cashed it in to get more fame
Don’t be different be the same
The driving force right now is greed
Sell yourself and you’ll succeed
 
Lost our souls
It’s a soulless world
Soulless world
Soulless world
Soulless world
Soulless world
 
Sold it to a developer
Cash makes my world greener
Gave it to a missionary
They know just what’s best for me
The driving force right now is greed
Sell yourself and you’ll succeed
Lost our souls….

 

 

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Earth Day and “The Circle” of Life

Happy Earth Day! Today, April 22, is the anniversary of the birth of the modern environmental movement, and it is a day on which worldwide events are held to support environmental protection. It is celebrated in more than 190 countries. How wonderful to officially acknowledge and celebrate our home!

I’ve been very lucky (and am very thankful) that I’ve seen a lot of this planet. To date I’ve visited at least 27 countries on 5 continents. I’ve seen deserts, glaciers, rain forests, pine forests, fjords, lakes, rivers, islands, oceans, mangroves, beaches, valleys, sounds, rock formations, icebergs, and jungles. One of the many things that traveling does is open my mind to how varied life is on this planet. There are so many different places and ways to live – none of them better or worse than any other – just different.

In the past 7 years or so, an interesting  thing has been happening. In every place I’ve visited during that time, people have mentioned a change in their climate. Whether it was too much rain, not enough rain, snow at the wrong time of year, snow for the first time, unusually high temperatures, or unusually cold weather. And there have been unusual sighting such as seeing birds that haven’t been seen in that part of the world before, or seeing a type of whale in their waters that they don’t normally see.

The planet is changing, big time. I remember the first unsettling moment I experienced regarding climate change. It was in 2009. I was on a three hour tour on a small boat in Alaska looking at the stunning “Sawyer Glacier”. Someone asked our guide if we’d see it calve (calving is when a piece of ice at the edge of the glacier breaks off and falls into the water). The guide (who visited the glacier weekly) told us the chances were very, very slim since he rarely sees that happen, and already saw it calve the week before. And, he pointed out, we would only be there for 20 minutes. He went on to say that if we did see it calve, it would be a bad sign that it was melting too quickly. In the next breath, we heard a huge cracking sound in the distance, and watched the far right edge of the glacier break off and fall into the water. In our 20 minutes in front of the Sawyer Glacier, we saw it calve 4 times. It was pretty spectacular and at the same time very ominous. Even our guide was concerned.
Two of the four times I witness the calving of the Sawyer Glacier

Two of the four times I witness the calving of the Sawyer Glacier

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Being Earth Day, I feel I need to address “global warming”. There are still many global warming “deniers” out there – many of whom I’ve run into throughout the years. So since it is Earth Day, I’m going to take a moment and give a brief explanation of global warming. I am not an expert or a scientist, but I am informed. I’ve read many, many articles from lots of different sources over the years, watched countless documentaries, and have spoken to many people from all over the globe during my travels. Funny enough, the only deniers I’ve met have all been in the USA. I’ve also noticed that the “deniers” have three things in common:

1. A disregard for science
2. They are uninformed
3. They lack common sense

Yes, I’ve been warned that global warming is a “conspiracy” to con us by the government and/or those “greedy green energy companies”. Yes, I’ve heard that it is just a “liberal hoax.” Yes, I’ve heard about the one “scientist” who says man has nothing to do with global warming. Yes I know the warming of the planet is a natural state of the earth. I’ve also been told many times that there are “record low temperatures” and record snow falls, “proving” that global warming is ridiculous and can’t be real. When I am told these comments, I quickly realize I am speaking with a person who is very uninformed about climate change. For those who don’t quite understand what global warming is, here is a brief, layman’s explanation:

GLOBAL WARMING 101:
Basically, the sun’s rays penetrate our atmosphere and warm the planet’s land and water. The planet warms from absorbing some of the sunlight, and then gives off heat – some of which radiates towards space leaving our atmosphere, and some of which remains in our atmosphere, trapped by a “blanket” of carbon dioxide and greenhouse gasses. This “blanket” of gasses is what keeps the Earth warm and livable for us all. However, it has been scientifically documented that since the Industrial Revolution, humans are using energy in greater quantities and creating more carbon dioxide gas than would have naturally occurred. The extra carbon dioxide and gasses drift up into the atmosphere making that “blanket” of gasses thicker, which traps even more of the Sun’s heat, thus, making the planet warm quicker than it would if that blanket wasn’t as thick. That is generally the concept.

If you do even a small about of research, you will find that just about every independent science organization from around the world agrees that man has directly contributed to speeding up the warming of the planet. Since the industrial revolution (around 1750), human activities (mostly burning fossil fuels, deforestation and agriculture) have substantially added much larger doses of CO2 and other heat-trapping gasses into the atmosphere. For instance, cars emit gasses. If you double the amount of cars being used, you double the amount of gasses emitted in the air. The more gas burning cars we use, the more gasses we emit into our air. It is common sense. Another example: Trees take in CO2 and convert it to oxygen. If man cuts down trees (which we’ve done by the billions), naturally, there are less trees removing CO2 from the air, leaving more of it in our atmosphere. Again, common sense.

All these gasses contribute to a thicker “blanket”, which makes the planet warmer. And that has many other consequences, among them the melting glaciers. One thing glaciers do is reflect the suns rays away from the Earth – like a mirror, as opposed to absorbing the sunlight like the oceans. As the glaciers shrink, we get a smaller “mirror” reflecting the sun’s rays away from the earth, and a larger surface (more ocean) absorbing the sun’s rays. I could go on and on (but I won’t). But one last point. As for the natural warming of the planet, research has proven that if you take away all of the gasses emitted by human activity since the Industrial Revolution, the planet would be fluctuating in the range it was before that time, instead of rising to the level it is now. Here is a great video which explains the science of it here if you are interested:

THE CIRCLE OF LIFE:

My first trip to Costa Rica opened my eyes to nature in a way I had never before witnessed. I stayed in an Eco-Lodge in the Osa Peninsula, which is described by National Geographic as being “the most biologically intense place on Earth”. There was life everywhere – mammals, birds, amphibians, reptiles, insects and so many different trees and plants. I saw monkeys, toucans, scarlet macaw’s, crocodiles, tapirs, sloths, poison dart frogs, eagles, snakes, spiders, iguanas, and so many other forms of life.
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A monkey eating a colorful grasshopper, in the Osa Peninsula.

 

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Two Scarlet Macaws in the trees, in the Osa Peninsula.

What I learned while being there was that everything in the rainforest has a place. It is a total balance of life. There were termite mounds on many trees. They eat the dead trees and keep the forest green. There were trees that grew like a parasite around another trees, killing the original tree. The new tree would become hollow inside where the dead tree was – becoming a perfect protective home to wildlife. Everywhere you looked, things worked together, like pieces of a puzzle fitting together. This got me thinking about the “circle of life”. And I realized how out of balance we are. There are just too many people, and we don’t give back to the Earth. We are no longer part of the circle. This inspired me to write a song, “The Circle” which can be found on my CD, “Revelations”. I even recorded some forest sounds in the Osa Peninsula, which I included in the song. Here are the lyrics, and you can hear the song by clicking at the bottom. Let’s each do something to help our home become more balanced. Why not plant a tree? It is a start!

THE CIRCLE
by Jay Jacobson
 
Nature does thrive in its pure state
All things alive do integrate
And then…
 
Quails eat the seeds and the fox eats the quail
The quail turns to dirt so that seeds can prevail
Living things all have a proper place
Nothing in the forest goes to waste
One thing dies yet another is gained
Give and take is the plan of how life sustains
 
We have stepped so far from the circle (We’re buried in a box)
As God we are miscast (Don’t even feed the worms)
We have stepped right out of the circle (We sit on porcelain)
Outside it we won’t last (Don’t fertilize the grass)
The circle is bigger than us
The circle is stronger than usThe circle is begging us to return
 
Mother earth is infested with man
Freeloaders who just take what we can
Take without a thought of giving back
Scales have tipped so far they’re out of whack
Think we sit at the top of the chain
To be on top you must be a part of the game
 
(We play with chemicals)
(Make waste that can’t be used)
(We tear down creature’s homes)
(We’ve overrun the earth)
 
That oil is mine
That rock is mine
That animal’s mine
That gold is mine
That tree is mine
That dirt is mine
That water is mine
That forest is mine
That ocean is mine
That air is mine
That land is mine
That country is mine
This world is mine
 
(We hunt just for the thrill)
(We killed our predators)
(We over fish and drill)
(We think we own the world)

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1¢ shipping on ALL my CDs at CD Baby now through Wednesday

JayHolidays

Holiday Music Sale!

Still trying to find the perfect gift for the music-lover in your life? I wanted to let you know that CD Baby is charging only 1¢ for shipping when you purchase my music on CDBaby.com between December 1st and 3rd.

Whether you buy 1 disc or 100, it’s only ONE PENNY for standard domestic or international shipping – TOTAL.

You can find my music right here: JAY JACOBSON ON CD BABY

In addition, my back catalogue of CDs are currently on sale for $9.99 each (regularly $12.49 and up) now through December 25th!

Here’s to a music filled holiday to all!

 

Critically acclaimed new CD, “The Ride” – shipping just 

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THE RIDE

“This is an incredible album…Jay has one of the most distinctive voices in pop music today…On “The Ride”, Jay demonstrates a uniquely focused and sincere take on what it is to be a singer and a songwriter in the 21st century. His voice and music is at once as endearing, as it is effective in communicating pure, honest emotion!”

Includes the hits, “With Our Love”“I Lived”, “I Need a Change”, and “Animal”.

CD’s now on Sale – $9.99 each! And shipping is just 

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PEACE AT LAST

“Warm pop grooves, expressive classical elements, and gorgeous harmonies, on top of his personal brand of emotional trip-hop.”

Includes the hits, “Grass is Greener”,“And Now” and the title track, “Peace At Last”.

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REVELATIONS

“Framed and orchestrated in his emotional trip-hop style, his third CD release, ‘Revelations’, is an undeniable benchmark in his evolution as an artist.

Includes the hits, “Love is Love”, “Break These Chains” and “Souless World”.

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READY

An eloquent tenor voice, expressive songcraft and melodies floating on lush waves of sparkling electronica describe his second CD, ‘Ready’“.

Includes the Top 10 International hit,“Boy”, along with “Hidden Side of Me” and “I’ve Arrived”.

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INFINITE MAN

“With a sterling suite of original songs, a magical tenor voice, and an incandescent vulnerability, Jay Jacobson reveals himself as a striking craftsman with his CD debut, Infinite Man’.

Includes the hits, “Beautiful Being”,“Marry Me”“Give Me a Sign”, and the hit title track, “Infinite Man”.

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Back Catalogue CDs are on Sale Now through December 25th!

FirstFourBannerFirst let me say “Thank You” to all the people who have bought my new CD, “The RIde”! And I can’t thank you enough for the overwhelmingly wonderful comments and emails I’ve been getting about the CD. It makes my day every time I get one of these messages – you have no idea how much it means.

The CD continues to get rave reviews from critics. The latest one can be read here: THE RIDE REVIEW. For those of you who wrote reviews on iTunes and Amazon – thank you, thank you, THANK YOU! If you bought the CD and like it and haven’t left a review, please do so. Having many reviews helps to get my music into their search engines (especially on Amazon, so I’m told).

For a limited time (now through December 25th), physical CDs of my four previous CDs: “Infinite Man”, “Ready”, “Revelations” and “Peace At Last” will be on sale for $9.99 each at CD Baby (regular price is $12.49 and up)! It is a perfect time to complete your collection, and they also make great holiday gifts! The sale only is at CD Baby and applies to physical CD purchases only.

The first music video for “I Lived” (from “The Ride”) has been also getting incredible reviews and feedback. If you haven’t seen it, you can watch it here:

I LIVED by Jay Jacobson

More music video from songs on “The Ride” are on their way shortly!

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