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You are watching: Living on a thin line meaning



One of the memorable songs of the 1980s is ” Living on a Thin Line “ by the Kinks. Largely unrecognized, it underwent something of a rebirth after it was offered, of all points, for an episode on The Sopranos .

The song has been construed many kind of ways ; some think its around the fragility of life and also just how our best-lassist deindications deserve to unravel at any type of minute. Others think it’s a statement against politics and war, particularly the Falklands War (which developed quickly before its release), yet that might be also narrow a summary. I think it has actually bigger dimensions. Living on a Thin Line is an elegiac ode to a Britain that no longer exists—or maybe (as cynics might say), never really did exist.

Whatever before its intfinished meaning, the song, admittedly very secular, is paradoxically—and also maybe unintentionally—a warning against secularism. Its lyrics are revealing, also haunting:

Living this way, each day is a dream. What am I, what are we expected to do? Living on a thin line, Tell me now, what are we meant to do?

Now one more century virtually gone What are we gonna leave for the young? What we couldn’t carry out, what we wouldn’t execute, It’s a crime, however does it matter? Does it matter much, does it issue much to you? Does it ever really matter? Yes, it really, really matters. Listening to these lyrics, one can’t help think of the aimlessness of modern-day society, not simply in Britain however throughout Europe (and progressively, the United States). Many human being, particularly those who assail the Church, have actually absolutely no concept just how to order their lives, a lot less boost the stays of others. They are extremely passionate about discussing the sins of Churchmales (actual and also imagined); and also explaining why Christianity is supposedly a blight upon the people. But once it concerns answering the good metaphysical questions—Why is there not nothing? Why is tbelow anything at all?—the majority of are left speechless; and the clumsy efforts of a few celebrity agnostics and atheists to eliminate God from the world on “scientific” grounds hasn’t aided .

If you ask secularists what the interpretation of life is, and also what they are living for, you’re most likely to get a quizzical look, a secular platitude (“to each his own”) or a perplexed, unconvinced response: “We’re not really certain. We’re simply kind of going with the flow.” The problem with “going via the circulation,” but, is that it isn’t leading anywhere—at leastern nowright here healthy—spiritually, mentally, or emotionally. Theologian Henri de Lubac dealt with this concern at length in his masterful book, The Drama of Atheist Humanism : “If male takes himself as a god, he deserve to, for a time, cherish the illusion that he has increased and also freed himself. But it is a fleeting exaltation! In truth, he has actually merely abased God, and it isn’t lengthy before he finds that in doing so, he has abased himself.”

Modern, secularized guy is in a state spiritual and also emotional eclipse; if he is not stricken with what the French call ennui —a boredom and also philosophical listlessness—he is frequently get rid of via anger, also paranoia, which is raising all the time .

Despeprice for guidance, desperate for leadership, wanting somepoint more than the civilization can offer, he doesn’t know where to turn; and so his heart cries out in a whimper, like the song quoted above, “What am I, what are we intended to do?”

Pope Benedict, prefer all good Christian leaders, understands that longing and knows that it exists even among rebels. Watching secularists chant “We don’t need God!” brings to mind the brash teenager that claims he resents his parents setting a curfew—all the time covertly appreciating that parental guidance and also love.

Benedict will be going to Britain to sell that love and guidance. He won’t be aiming to elevate himself, but instead revolve individuals thoughts and hearts towards the One who produced us and from whom we attract our everyday sustenance.

Those in search of answers to life’s greatest concerns will certainly be provided them for the listening. Benedict’s recent Blog post for World Youth Day spoke to these ongoing anxieties : “To some level, this urge to break out of the plain is present in eexceptionally generation. Part of being young is desiring somepoint beyond daily life and a secure project, a yearning for somepoint really truly higher.

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Is this simply an empty dream that fades ameans as we become older? No! Men and women were created for somepoint good, for infinity. Nothing else will certainly ever before be sufficient.”