An obscure Audioslave song, Hypnotize, from their debut album in 2002 seems like a strange thing to blog about, but here goes. I was listening to the lyrics, and I couldn’t quite believe my ears, so I googled to make sure I understood what the song said.
Well if you set your mind upon it
I know that you can
You’ve got everything you wanted
You’ve done everything you planned
So let me make an offer
I’m only trying to help
You can make your load
Just a little lighter
All you got to do is share the wealth
So far so good, nothing to see here. He seems to be talking to someone that has made it in life and is encouraging them to share. Of course I believe in sharing. It is why I donate to charities and spend time volunteering. It can really give you some perspective when you spend time helping people that are less fortunate. I’m good with sharing.
Later in the song, I hear this:
But if you want to live
To see the morning
Give it up to your brother
Or you’ll get a surprise
This is where I am like, what the heck? Is that a threat? “If you want to live to see the morning” sounds like a threat to me. I guess it could be a metaphor or an allusion. Perhaps it is an allusion to the rich man that has kept all the commandments but doesn’t appear to want to give away his wealth and follow Jesus from Matthew 19:16 – 22. That is probably a reach, although Cornell’s lyrics are strewn with religious references. I think it is simply a threat, albeit meaningless.
It is a really strange thing to say, though. No one ever actually announces that you should share your wealth or there will be serious consequences for you. It is all, if you are well off, it is your duty to give back, so you should be taxed at a higher rate. No one ever really mentions that taxation is backed by force. No one wants to announce that if you decline to pay your taxes you could end up locked away. No one every says out loud that if you refuse to pay your taxes and refuse to cooperate with being locked up in a cage, that could result in your death. Taxes are thought a civilized method of sharing. What is civilized about force and the threat of force?