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Top 40 Philosophy: Royal Blood, “Figure It Out”

Posted in Friendly Philosophy, Music, and Top 40 Philosophy

On Monday, we had a song about creation. On Tuesday, a song about heaven. Today, a song about royal blood. Evidently, it’s still Christmas here on Top 40 Philosophy.

Well, okay, the song today isn’t about royal blood. It’s about figuring things out. But it’s by a band called “Royal Blood.” Song #3 on Billboard’s “Mainstream Rock Songs” chart is “Figure It Out,” by Royal Blood.

Royal Blood consists of only two people: a bassist/vocalist and a drummer. The distorted guitar you hear, then, is actually a bass. I had no idea you could use distortion on a bass until I heard Ben Folds Five.

If you are trying to figure something out, as this song repeatedly asserts its singer is doing, that means there is something you have yet to “wrap your mind around.” That is, there’s your mind, on one side, and a thing, on the other, and the two aren’t fully engaged with each other.

This implies, it seems to me, that idealism is wrong. Idealism (in philosophy, not in politics) is the theory that reality is fundamentally mental. All that exists is mind. There is nothing physical. All the things we think are physical are actually mental. Everything, as it were, is all in someone’s head.

Now, if everything were in your head — if everything were your mind — there wouldn’t be the kind of opposition you encounter when you try to figure something out. The thing you’d be trying to figure out would already be figured out, because it would already be your mind (because everything would be your mind).

Right?

“But what if everything were in someone else’s mind?”

Well then, you would be part of the same mind as everything else, and thus whatever you were trying to figure out would be part of the same thing as your mind. There wouldn’t be your mind, on the one hand, and the thing you’re trying to figure out, on the other. Everything would all be part of the same mind.

“But what if we weren’t in anyone’s head, but we were just minds — different minds — and everything else was either a different mind or part of a different mind?”

Well . . . well, okay. That kind of idealism might put you in a position where you’d have to figure things out.

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The Hidden Track

Q: What kind of philosophy were we doing today?

A: Metaphysics, Philosophy of Mind.

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