Friday, September 24, 2004

SINGER OR SHAMAN? It's hard to get an objective biographical sketch of The Doors singer-songwriter Jim Morrison. Most who write of him were believers in him, not merely listeners or concert-goers. Morrison believed himself to be a sort of shaman (he used psychotropic drugs, marijuana, and alcohol to help him feel he was reaching beyond consciousness in order to experientially lead others there). Many who attended The Doors concerts witnessed less "entertainment" and something more akin to a spiritual encounter. Morrison apparently took his perceived gift and role as a shaman quite seriously and tried hard to help those gathered at the concert (er, spiritual festival) to "wake up," experience something transcendent, and open up to a greater consciousness. Morrison resisted the "entertainer" label and fought the industry.

CONSCIOUSNESS & REALITY. Morrison's life ended tragically in 1971. A drug trip into "greater consciousness" left Morrison permanently nonconscious in Paris at age 27. He was a forerunner of numerous rock-era poets, songwriters, musicians, and band leaders whose lives spun out of control under the influence of warped philosophies and addiction to deadly substances. Their lives, so full of ability and seeking, had become unreality long before their deaths. My comment here is not so much a condemning judgment as it is a recognition of the drive and desire for transcendence, and the failed and failing paths to it. More on The Doors and Jim Morrison.

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