“What do we do with false prophets?”
Writer’s Note: This post was originally published here.
I’m just gonna get right into it y’all. Around the 6–7 minute mark J. Cole begins to speak about meditation and his reasons for it. I thought that was dope because there’s a lot of research (here, here and here) that supports how impactful it can be if done consistently. And with an artist like J. Cole with such a large influence, it’s something I believe can trickle down to his fans and friends of those fans, if not already. Because the way I see it, in our current and hypertensive environment, meditation can pull us back into ourselves and away from the high anxiety, high alert world we’re so often tuned into.
I say this not to preach, but as a note to self cause I too find myself caught up in the rat race. It can stress you out if left unchecked. The outrage machine, the politics, the attention grabbing headline of an article few of us read or that trending topic we allow to occupy our space when it’s really an intruder of it — and that’s just online. Imagine the things people deal with in the real world. Fortunately, I’m no stranger to sitting back in silence and tuning out the 24/7 noise machine that’s constantly pulling at you one way or another.
Three complementary sources I recommend seeing are:
- Netflix’s documentary titled On Meditation.
- This older, yet classic guided meditation series.
- And a lecture done by a former Facebook employee who touches on a similar subject that Cole does around the 8:50 mark.
Another moment was when he started to discuss his drinking habits and used an analogy for it to explain his take about social media. He mentions being pulled by these things and noticing the effects it was having on him to where he simply fell back from it. I related with him where he starts to talk about strings being pulled. It’s one of my pet peeves with it. It can take full control of your time if used unwisely because you’re constantly being bombarded by this, that and the third.
A bit later, the topic of social responsibility comes up and you hear Cole asks Angie if she thinks that matter, talking about him as an artist speaking out about a controversial topic, and she says yes. I thought it was an interesting question because at one point in time I use to think if only these celebrities and entertainers with their platforms would take full advantage of them and speak up about certain things. How naive of me lol. However, I still hold on to the idea that someone like J. Cole (or Reggie Bush) has a voice where if he says the right thing and in the right way he could persuade and move minds, just like his song False Prophets (more on this later), 1985 or Brackets, which I already touched on.
But then again, I don’t think it matters that much on a large scale, maybe on an individual level, because there’s like billions of hours being broadcasted and uploaded to the internet daily and all that information has to be overwhelming to the point a single message, whether influential or destructive, could easily be forgotten and discarded for the next hit of information.
Now about false prophets.
He goes a bit more into what it was about, mainly this uplifting of celebrities (or people in general) on a pedestal. Now as a side note, whenever these discussion take place I always refer back to this Hunger Games scene where one of the characters say, “you’re meant to be a distraction so people forget what the real problems are.” And in today’s climate, especially today’s climate, it’s as true as the sky not being blue. Of course we see blue, but there’s other significant things going on behind the scenes making it so and that’s how I rationalize these public figures, including J. Cole.
The way I see it they’re more or less like cogs to whatever industry they’re in. When one of them goes renegade, like Mr. West, we see how the media machine responds. People then take sides. The attention of something that seem so insignificant takes over and dumb down the consciousness in the process to he say she say on some Lupe shit. But like Angie said, “what do we do with false prophets?” Good question.
That step child called Capitalism
When Cole spoke against capitalism I thought it was misdirected. I can’t begin to fathom the amount of takes from people on capitalism. Some may have a point, but where I differ with his view is he’s saying capitalism is to blame for what we’re seeing. Whereas I believe it’s just a flawed feature of human nature and behavior. The flesh is weak and I shall not want I’m told. But why is the flesh weak? Is it because of capitalism’s marketing ability to exploit that weakness? Or is just a part of the human experience no matter the system? To get a better view of what I mean, just look at the 7 deadly sins or the concept of it. If capitalism never existed, we’d still have these energies among us. Pride, greed, lust, envy, gluttony, anger and sloth. These are just energies from a world built on polarity so no matter what system you implement, it’d be impossible to separate ourselves from them and their effects.
After all, it’s a material world we live in and the flesh is just a product of its environment and subject to everything in it, unless we somehow evolve beyond the forces of this dimension (read the Kybalion). Until then, this will always be upon us and no human-based system or lack thereof is efficient enough to get rid of it.
But this is where the conversation gets pretty deep, at least to me.
Around the 1:00:00 mark and beyond, they start to dive deeper into celebritism and certain people’s infatuation with them. He relates this need of people to idolize and believe in certain people like Donald Trump, Kanye and even himself. He mentions this being a flaw of people because the only purpose it appears to be for is filling a void inside of ourselves.
For instance, he touched on the people who believe in Donald Trump so deeply that if he said jump, they would probably respond with how high? Same with a figure like Barack Obama.
Like Nas one said, “the people need something to believe in.”
He then goes on to say this is just as dangerous because it plays into people being manipulated because we don’t truly know the full intentions of these people we believe and make our idols, be it a celebrity, an actor or actress, a politician or a loved one. That was a key point I thought, where he compared theses holes we all on some level possess and needing them filled by other people (or things) in attempt to make us feel whole for whatever reason. With that part, I think he hit a pulse on today’s madness or what appears to be madness. These holes he kept mentioning? I thought of these shootings we continue to see happen as a reflection to how broken, empty and misguided people are. The manipulation and strings being pulled? I see it with agenda after agenda to shape and influence the minds of millions on and offline for better and worse.
It all comes full circle I suppose and back to the concept of meditation. Being self-aware and making attempts to refill those empty holes we may have trapped inside, but not with drama in other people’s lives, drugs or some other stressor-stimulant, but with something deeper from within to make us truly whole and immune from the deception outside of us.
I’m only thinking out loud here.
I’ll end it with this last notion. Towards the 1:30:00 mark, the conversation of purpose comes out. Cole goes into how pervasive music has became in his life to a point without it is to his detriment. And I hate to say it, but I think I feel where he’s coming from. In my own life, all I knew at one time was basketball and then it became rap. In between that it was school of course, but also chasing after the girls, hanging out late at night and smoking weed not realizing how much time I had consumed doing mindless activities.
Fast forward to the present, I still love making music, but there’s a part that’s hungry for something else to be as fulfilling as writing a verse was or now with making a beat, which is still an incredible feeling. But with that being said, go watch the interview or let it play in the background if you haven’t already.