Empty V

iplanRecently I came into a song that pounded me deep into the heart of my soul. It was one of “those songs’ — you know the ones, they call out to you as if to say “Let us guide you through through the rough waters of delicate and deep thought”. It wasn’t the deep, crunchy sound of the music that struck a chord with me…it was the words. They hit hard and didn’t let up. Every so often this happens like this. When it does…it sticks with me for a very long time. This was no exception.

The song? “Mr. MTV” by Nothing More. It’s about how easily fooled into being molded by corporations to the point that we are almost indiscernible from one another. The song relies heavily on Apple’s “iProducts” to make their point:

In my iLife in my iWorld
On my iPhone, With my iGirl
Just one bite to understand
Even Eve couldn’t live without the iPlan

Powerful words that speak powerful meaning.

I’ve spent much of my life not following the “iPlan”. Why? I realized, a long time ago, there is only one of me and it is my duty to serve and respect that ideal. I alone…an island for all to behold and visit. That ideology has infected everything I do and has helped to mold me into what I am today. I cannot speak for anyone but myself — because I am not the voice of a generation. I can, however, speak to and from generations.

I am a product of the 80s. I was graduated from highschool in 1987. New Wave was in my blood. As I look back, through time and tide, the only conclusion I am inclined to draw is that the 80s was truly the last great generation. Music and fashion came together in ways no one had ever dreamed of (nor has since). That melding gave birth to an anything goes sense of self and style. It was a thing of beauty. We all had the chance to re-define ourselves according to what truly spoke to us. We did it to the best of out ability. Sure, there were trends (most often defined by artists like Madonna, Cindy Lauper, Billy Idol, The Sex Pistols), and we followed the trends — but did so in a way to make them wholly and completely unique to us.

  • We were goths
  • We were punks
  • We were preps
  • We were alternakids

But most important…we held on dearly to that sense of “I”.  The children of the 80s are close to their fifties and, to varying degrees, still hold on to that sense of self.

I am me. Not you, not them, not that. I am not defined by what iWear or what iBuy but how iThink and how iFeel and how I bring all of that together to create the unique being that is Jack Wallen. I work hard to make sure that sense of uniqueness threads itself through everything I do. As an artist, it is crucial to me to open my eyes wide and fill my vision with everything life can throw my way. With MTvision, I cannot create, cannot bring to life the ideas in my heart and mind.

Vision, of course, isn’t limited to artists. Vision is that thing that allows inventors to invent, entrepreneurs to create businesses, missionaries to heal, leaders to lead…with an empty vision, the range and scope of success becomes so narrow, there’s no chance. Humanity needs vision and minds open wide to accept all possible configurations of possibility that lay out before us. Otherwise we all walk the same path, to the same drummer, to the same endgame.

That is no life I want to live.

Lemmings, packed tight, in shiny, metal boxes.

To me, life is about openness and truth. It took me decades to open my mind and heart fully to accept and understand my own personal version of truth. I was fortunate to not have parents insisting iFollow in their footsteps and be just like them, this, or that. I was allowed to find my way and be led through life with my heart and my vision.

To that end, I have done everything iCan to keep my vision and my heart full. As well, iHave done everything in my power to help widen the vision of my step-awesome, Courtney. Is my way the right way? For me, yes it is. For you? Who knows…probably not? But with an empty vision, iAm not me…iDo not belong to the truth that has helped to create what I call the “jVerse”.

Anyone that bothers to read my words, I ask you — how full is your vision? Do you live your life with your eyes and hearts wide open? Or do you follow the iPlan and keep your scope just wide enough to see what everyone else is doing. Do you follow or lead the Joneses? Do people want to be you or you them?

Be the best you, you can be. There is only one and the world is a lesser place without it. That you is a color in the grandest box of Crayolas ever dreamed up. Should one color go missing, the whole is ruined.

And for those curious as to the song which inspired this moment in the jVerse, I give unto thee, Mr. MTV, by Nothing More.