Interpretation of “I want you not to worry” by Memphis (Μ3ΜΦ1Σ)

Today I draw inspiration to philosophise from a song by Memphis (stylised as “Μ3ΜΦ1Σ”), one of my favourite contemporary rock bands:

Below are the original lyrics in Greek, my translation of them, and some further comments. Note that I have covered Memphis before:

Θέλω Να Μην Ανησυχείς

Όσοι την αλήθεια δουν
πάντα θα απορούν τί φταίει
Στα όνειρα τους κατοικούν
και ξυπνάνε τελευταίοι

Εκεί μαθαίνουν να αγαπούν
Εκεί κανείς κρυφά δεν κλαίει
Το βάρος του ουρανού ξεχνούν
γιατί η ψυχή τους επιπλέει

Τον κάτω κόσμο αγνοούν
και την φωνή που όλο τους λέει
πως όσοι ευτυχισμένοι ζουν
θα πεθαίνουν πάντα νέοι

Θέλω να μην ανησυχείς
για όσα δεν πρόλαβες να πεις
θέλω να μην ανησυχείς
ξέρεις δεν φταίξαμε εμείς
I want you not to worry

Those who see the truth
will always wonder what gives
In their dreams they reside
and wake up last

There they learn to love
There no-one cries in secret
They forget the burden of the sky
because their soul floats

They ignore the underworld
and the voice that constantly tells them
that those who live happily
shall always die young

I want you not to worry
for everything you had no time to say
I want you not to worry
you know it was not our fault

What I have learnt is to not postpone blithely, to not labour under the delusion that time is a magnitude I control. If we can do something, we better do it here and now. Why? Because we need a sense of urgency in our life. If we can always postpone, we get into the habit of dithering. We delay indefinitely and, ultimately, forget to live in full. Instead of trying to realise our dreams, we resort to overthinking, to masking our insecurities behind a facade of “strategic thinking”.

It is okay to think things through. What is a problem is to never commit to the task at hand. I don’t remember much of my 20s. I was indecisive, ineffective, feeble. Fundamentally, I was under the impression I could always do better in the indeterminate future and would thus not pursue fulfilling experiences in the present. That future never arrived, of course. It never does.

What liberated me was the realisation that (i) I do not need to prove anything to anyone and thus (ii) it was irrelevant how good or bad I was. When we have no inner need to validate ourselves, we stop hiding in the shadows. There is no pressure to perform, no feeling of being scrutinised by those elusive “others”, and no fear of accepting who we are.

Without this burden, we no longer have to worry about the experiences we could not live. We are focused on the actualisable ones. This is why acceptance is key. We work with what we have by no longer hating what we see in the mirror. If we truly wish to be another, we are already dead: we have forsaken the one life we have; the life that happens here; the life that happens now.

Unlike laboratory conditions, life has no means of rewinding and trying anew. The only way to not worry about words never uttered is to state them when it matters. The lightness of life consists in action; in the recognition that we cannot withdraw into a theoretical domain where all factors can be controlled.

Acceptance is not the same as conformity with the status quo. The latter is about yielding to the pressure of our milieu, becoming who society wants us to be. Acceptance is a matter of attitude: the disposition we have towards our self to never feel the need to apologise for the mere fact of being.

Political realities can inhibit us in our efforts. It is why shrewdness is necessary. Being honest with ourselves is not sufficient. We must also be smart with what we disclose to potentially malevolent actors.

Those who live fully die young. Their spirit never gets old. They are eager to spend their last breath planting yet another tree. By living in the here-and-now, they do not stay idle waiting for their inevitable end. They have no regrets, for they did not waste their years trying to be another.