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Interpretation of “Horoscope” by Christos Thivaios

For this entry, I have picked Horoscope (Ωροσκόπιο). Before you think that you do not believe in astrology: relax! This has nothing to do with it. Just enjoy: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n8bY3mOrgwI.

The song is beautiful musically, but also has some profound lessons for those of us who want to pay attention. Also check my previous entry on a song performed by Christos Thivaios: Hamlet of the Moon.

Below are the original lyrics, my translation of them, and subsequent philosophical commentary:

Ωροσκόπιο

Ερμηνεία:  Χρήστος Θηβαίος
Στίχοι:    Άλκης Αλκαίος
Μουσική:   Θάνος Μικρούτσικος


Μέρες βροχής κι ένας αέρας δυνατός
σε παρασέρνει σε αδέσποτο σεργιάνι
Σκηνές φιλμάρεις με μια κάμερα νυχτός
ξέμπαρκα μάτια και φευγάτα στο λιμάνι

Στην πολιτεία οι τοίχοι μάρτυρες βουβοί
Φορούν συνθήματα παλιά ξεθωριασμένα
Ξέρω θα φύγεις πριν χαράξει η αυγή
κι εγώ θα μείνω δίχως άλλοθι κανένα

Μην πεις ποτέ-ποτέ πως όλα ήτανε μια πλάνη
περιπλανήθηκα μαζί σου και μου φτάνει
Βάλε σημάδια μες στη νύχτα μη χαθείς
είναι πιο εύκολο να κλαις παρά να ζεις

Έλεγες «αύριο θα 'ναι ο κόσμος φωτεινός»
έλεγα «είναι με το μέρος μας ο χρόνος»
Δεν ειν' ο χρόνος με το μέρος κανενός
τις συμπληγάδες του περνά καθένας μόνος

Μην πεις ποτέ-ποτέ πως όλα ήτανε μια πλάνη
περιπλανήθηκα μαζί σου και μου φτάνει
Βάλε σημάδια μες στη νύχτα μη χαθείς
είναι πιο εύκολο να κλαις παρά να ζεις
Horoscope

Performance:  Christos Thivaios
Lyrics:       Alkis Alkaios
Music:        Thanos Mikroutsikos


Days of rain and a strong wind
takes you on a free roam
You capture scenes with a night vision camera
stray eyes and elusive at the port

At the polity the walls [are] silent witnesses
They wear old worn off slogans
I know you will leave before the crack of dawn
and I will remain with no alibi whatsoever

Never-ever say that all was a delusion
I wondered with you and it suffices
Place signs in the night to not get lost
It is easier to cry than to live

You said "tomorrow the world will be bright"
I said "time is on our side"
Time is on nobody's side
Each crosses its dire straits alone

Never-ever say that all was a delusion
I wondered with you and it suffices
Place signs in the night to not get lost
It is easier to cry than to live

The bad weather described in the opening lyrics is a reference to the fact that (i) we operate under imperfect circumstances and (ii) life is not always pleasant the way a warm sunny day with gentle breeze normally is. In essence, we do not exert control over the magnitudes that inform, influence, frame, condition, or otherwise determine our experiences. We retain the impression of control over our disposition towards what is happening and we have a kernel of volition manifesting in the limited choices we can make. Still, our will alone cannot undo the “bad weather”: it is not subject to our whim.

The polity is the instituted reality we have set up. It consists of constructs that are the product of our mind and conventions, encapsulated in the substance of those writings on the walls. Even within this human-made milieu where we assign value and meaning, we know that what is to transpire will do so despite our preference to the contrary. I wanted this shared moment to last an eternity: I wanted what I could not get.

Our powerlessness to intervene in the workings of the cosmos does not render those moments irrelevant. We still experienced them, given our means. We cried, we laughed, we partook in ecstasy. Eternity being unrealisable for us does not cancel what happened to us. Instead of labelling them delusions, let us cherish the fact that we were in this together. In so doing, take notice of the moments, reminisce on what took place, and remember to remain open to what unfolds in present time. Live the moment, for that is all that can be lived.

Time is not a magnitude we influence. Its progress, the way we see it, is inexorable. We know this yet get trapped in our ways of overthinking things. We dither and delay taking action. Our years go by, postponement upon postponement. Then we suddenly remember our birthday and how we are 20-something, only to realise we are nearing our 40s. Fools! We think that we will do it at a later stage because, fundamentally, we are not prepared to admit the truth: time is not ours. Act now! Tomorrow does not exist: you may not be around by then.

As for those who stay behind, remind them of the here-and-now. Encourage them, friend, to not discount what they had. It was not a series of lies for them. And if you ever get the chance, do utter those words you so wanted but kept inside—they may be your last.