December 5, 2015

How Do You Choose Your Form?

I recently listened to a song by Joanna Newsom, titled, "Divers." Such a beautiful and haunting song. Check out the official video. There were a couple of lines that gripped me. First,

"In an infinite regress: / Tell me, why is the pain of birth / lighter borne than the pain of death?"

The second,

"But how do you choose your form? / How do you choose your name? How do you choose your life / How do you choose the time you must exhale, / and kick, and rise?"

From my perspective, this song is thinking about being before and after death. It is imagining a situation before we are animated matter. In this way, it draws a compelling parallel between our lack of experience before the time we can remember and the time after we are no longer experiencing time, i.e. after we have passed.

Newsom's harping contributes to the antique quality of this song.