Arcade Fire’s Ontological Anthem

we exist

Arcade Fire have an interesting prayer in their song:

Down on your knees
Begging us please
Praying that we don’t exist

This is a classick example of an unbelieving 21st century philosopher’s prayer, he goes beyond hoping that God does not exist, his ultimate hope is that he doesn’t exist. If we don’t exist then we can do what we want and live at the centre of our own self-made lucid-dream (or nightmare). Lennon said it first, ‘Living is easy with eyes closed’. Win Butler’s character’s equivalent is to close his ears not his eyes: ‘Walking around head full of sound’.

But what I like is that We Exist rejects this possibility. Despite the fact that this unbeliever is desperate to conclude that nothing is real, the song’s refrain relentlessly reminds him (and us) of the truth…

We exist.

So what now?


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