Homework Help

Does the Switchfoot song "Meant to Live" express a similar idea to the following...

user profile pic

failingengish | Student, Grade 9 | eNotes Newbie

Posted June 15, 2009 at 6:27 AM via web

dislike 1 like

Does the Switchfoot song "Meant to Live" express a similar idea to the following quote?

The weakness of the will begins, when the individual would be something of himself. All reform aims, in some one particular, to let the soul have its way through us; in other words, to engage us to obey.

1 Answer | Add Yours

Top Answer

user profile pic

ecofan74 | College Teacher | (Level 1) Associate Educator

Posted June 16, 2009 at 4:22 AM (Answer #1)

dislike 1 like

Switchfoot's song "Meant to Live" does express a similar idea to that expressed by Emerson when he says "The weakness of the will begins, when the individual would be something of himself.  All reform aims, in some one particular, to let the soul have its way through us; in other words, to engage us to obey."

In the quote, Emerson contends that the everyday things an individual does - eating, drinking, planting, et al. - only serve to misrepresent who that individual is.  These activities neglect the role that the soul plays in allowing an individual to transcend the physical aspects of his/her existence.  When an individual takes the everyday things he/she does to represent who they are - to be "something of himself" - he/she is denying the importance of the soul.  For example, the soul provides the intangible aspects of affection (love), intellect (genius), and will (virtue).  Without the soul, the individual cannot experience the transcendent aspects of affection, intellect, and will.  In short, Emerson expresses that there is a transcendent aspect of the world which underlies those physical aspects humanity experiences on an everyday basis.  Taking the physical aspects to represent the true nature of things serves to "blind the intellect," as Emerson phrases it.

In "Meant to Live," Switchfoot certainly does not attempt to develop a philosophical system on par with Emerson's, but the basic idea of transcending the realm of experience (or acknowledging the transcendent aspect of experience) is clearly presented in the song's chorus:  "We were meant to live for so much more/ Have we lost ourselves? Somewhere we live inside."  Switchfoot indicates that there must be something beyond the everyday realm of experience, at the same time acknowledging the idea that most perhaps have forgotten that transcendent aspect.  Then, they remind the listener that there is something inside that is integral to our existence - our living.

While the song does not develop its ideas nearly as much as Emerson does, it does express the same basic assumptions:  there must be something more than what we experience on a daily basis.  While Switchfoot does not fill in the blank, Emerson suggests the importance of the soul for discovering that "something."

Join to answer this question

Join a community of thousands of dedicated teachers and students.

Join eNotes