Copyright © XL Recordings, 1994. Inside sleeve painting by Les Edwards for the CD by The Prodigy.
There is a picture in a music album inlay that I hold dear to my heart, it’s in the Prodigy’s seminal ‘Music for the Jilted Generation’ shown above. If you have never owned or heard the album then I highly recommend going online and checking it out, if nothing else but for to get a picture of the UK during the 1990s.
This is an image that conjures strong emotions. On one side of the thin rope bridge there is civilisation but in my humble opinion it is a civilisation built on power, control, rules and a false perception of progress. In the background is a metropolis with power stations, concrete buildings with artificial light and bleakness with a small army of aggressive police with truncheons and riot shields just in front of it – thoroughly uninviting to most rational minded people I’d say!
On the other side of the bridge is a beautiful green field with flowers and trees in a location roughly opposite to where the concrete metropolis is, but in the middle of this field is a gathering of people surrounding some large speaker rigs and some VW camper vans, imagine something like Woodstock for the millennium perhaps! Amongst this contrasting scene is one man stood poised on the pleasant side of the bridge holding a machete threatening to cut the bridge down and holding his middle finger up at the law and order facing him. For me this image is a near perfect representation of the choice that we must all make as to what we want our future to be.
We can blindly accept the notion that we will be happy living in some concrete soulless megaplex of technology that monitors everything we think, speak and do and attempts to control us with rules and conformity under the artificial notion of protecting us. Or… we can choose the other option and spend our humble existence trying to work in harmony with nature and the intricately modelled universe that we reside within.
I know, I know, the green grass side picture that I describe sounds pretty half baked but like the eternal optimist that I am I see our true salvation for mankind in the future as being not from technology but from a fundamental change in our own consciousness. I think the real power to live forever comes not from atomic processors and brain upgrades but from apprehension of a truth that exists in all life, everything that is, ever was and ever will be.
Beholding the sight of any of nature’s intricately fine work will always resonate and move me more than any example of mans technological prowess. I will feel more at home and invigorated immersing myself completely in the natural world than I could ever feel insulated in a concrete capsule sat staring at a computer or TV screen isolated from all other forms of life.
To me life is the ultimate expression of anything, and although we are lucky enough to be the creature on this planet that is most ‘aware’ of our existence, that blessing is also our curse as we allow it to blind us from seeing anything but manifestations of our own wants and desires to please ourselves.
I am a great believer in free will, we must all be free to choose our own destiny, but we must also be aware that this is a collective destiny and our choices will have very real consequences for everyone on this planet. Chance, fate or the universe has brought you here and now it is my job to ask you, which side would you rather be on?