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Closer to Fine

So it’s a pretty old song and maybe discussing its meaning is a little redundant, but it’s a song that I really love and it doesn’t get talked about nearly enough. That is, “Closer To Fine” by the Indigo Girls.

“Well darkness has a hunger that’s insatiable/And lightness has a call that’s hard to hear./ I wrap my fear around me like a blanket/ I sailed my ship of safety til I sank it.”

This song is important because it doesn’t just discuss the surface, relatable need to find yourself. It’s more about depression and figuring out how to cope with that rather than just the basic need to understand the meaning of life.

“I went to see the doctor of philosophy/ With a poster of Rasputin and a beard down to his knee./ He never did marry or see a B-grade movie/ He graded my performance,/ he said he could see through me./I spent four years prostrate to the higher mind,/got my paper and I was free.”

There’s also some pointed remarks about the usefulness of conventional academic learning and whether it improves or suppresses our lives.

“I went to the doctor/I went to the mountains./ I looked to the children./I drank from the fountain./There’s more than one answer to these questions/Pointing me in a crooked line./The less I seek my source for some definitive./ The closer I am to fine.”

The basic point of the song is that there isn’t just one answer to the many questions of life. Unlike Douglas Adams would have you believe, 42 is not the only answer to life, the universe, and everything. Actually, there are so many different answers to life that everyone has different solutions and wants everyone else to think theirs is the right one. Thus the many religions, political beliefs, philosophers and psychologists.

“We go to the Bible/ We go through the workout./ We read up on revival and we stand up for the lookout./ There’s more than one answer to these questions/ Pointing me in a crooked line./ The less I seek my source for some definitive,/ The closer I am to fine.”

Don’t get me wrong, finding yourself can be fun, sure – and this is a cool song about travel, meeting new people and learning about different cultures. Still, there’s a lot more to this song than meets the eye. It also shows that sometimes searching for a specific meaning to life might just cause stress rather than bring you true happiness. Enjoying life and your experiences might be a better pursuit of happiness. Plus the song’s catchy, which makes it extra loveable – and sing-able (at least at karaoke).

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