Motives and Thoughts
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Edward George Bulwer-Lytton once said, “When the world has got hold of a lie, it is astonishing how hard it is to kill it. You can beat it over the head, till it seems to have given up the ghost and behold! The next day it is as healthy as ever” (53). Lauryn Hill, an astounding singer, actress, musician and above all artist, who has produced many brilliant and masterful works of art in her career. From writing songs to appearing in American films but her poetic strength has projected the farthest, Hill’s poems speak to many, striking nerves and emotions never known to have existed. Her poem titled, “Motives and Thoughts” says a lot about the status of the world today, originating back to the times of the Ancient Egyptian. Hill speaks about how the world has been bogged down by trickery and false vision and also how God is in the fight to correct the mistaken perceptions of society. Hill successfully delves into the idea of deception through the concepts of lies, fallacy, and the obstruction of truth.
Psychoanalytic Theory can profitably be applied to Hill’s “Motives and Thoughts” primarily because it supports the author’s idea behind how and why we have been lied to with society’s “social delusion” and “negative imagery” (lines 2 &3). The article by David Romer titled, “Misconceptions and Political Outcomes,” effectively argues the idea of deception. This article is centered around the fact that many political decisions that have been made have had negative effects on a nation’s or an individual’s welfare, causally making these propositions and concepts brought forth by politicians and other leaders; deceiving, illegitimate and unnecessary.
Many believe that everything happens for a reason furthermore, everything that has occurred and everything that we have been told is the legitimate truth. Ralph Walker’s article titled, “Sufficient Reason,” speaks about how everything in the world would not be inexistence, if it were not indeed true, “Nothing is without a reason, and nothing takes place without a sufficient reason, that is, nothing happens without its being possible, for someone who knew enough about things to give a reason which would suffice to determine why it is thus and not otherwise.” (210)
Lies are a key part of the message that the persona is projecting in this work. The author has, through many references to the current state of society, explained how we have been led to delusionary
perceptions of the world. What we have been told in early stories as a child has created a condition that is corrupt and centered on lies. This poem acts as a list to its readers, describing how we have been negatively evolved into what we are today because of these lies, “Human condition, Morals corrupted. Trapped in reaction, Lawlessness war.” (lines 4 & 5) This passage states that we have all been lied to, and pushed to believe what other want us to believe and live our lives by this way. Our current condition is morally corrupt; we are only acting consciously off of the reactions to these lies. The idea of lies affecting our daily lives has been acknowledged by many, “the possibility that strategic interactions among individuals with divergent interest or preferences can give rise to undesirable political outcomes.” (Romer 1) This difference in opinion has undoubtedly created adverse outcomes for humanity, from the World Wars to the current conflicts of today.
These differences of opinions or lies have been the spark to the negative fire that has been known for centuries. Hill asserts that we have been led to believe certain things about the world today and that when these lies are picked up and carried on we are farther more doomed. “When the Blind lead the Blind, Just more trouble and woes”( lines 16 & 17). This symbolizes how we have only spread the negative lies further more without realizing the need for them to be stopped and corrected. Although, the persona does state that the actual truth exists in some. Hill acknowledges that some have not given into what society wants us to believe and have adopted their own way of thinking and living. This is clearly proven in the poem when the author states, “Light shown in darkness, image exposed. Few can see through the new emperor’s clothes” (lines 13 &14). Light illuminates the idea of the truth in society.
Hill alludes to “new emperor’s clothes,” primary symbolizing lies and deception (line 13). The persona states that few can actually see through the lies that have been provided. When we are being lied to time after time, these lies become a part of our psyche and are then repeated and reproduced later in time. This false belief is slowly killing the minds of society. Fallacy is defined as “deceptive appearance, guile, trickery, or false or mistaken idea” (Merriam-Webster 1). The persona presents the fact that we have been sucked into what the world wants us to believe. The more we are lied to, the more we are going to be negatively affected. “Moral dilemma, pride is the root. Misguided from youth, heart divided from truth” (lines 28 &29).We have been taken from what is right and thrown into the wrong. Hill is stating that we have been “misguided” at a very young age. Our minds and hearts have been separated from what is right in the world. Lacan’s Model of the Psyche can be directly related to how the persona feels about this apparent deception. The author feels as though we are fed these lies and deceived at an exceptionally young age. Furthermore, according to this model, the Symbolic stage of the psyche can be applied for the child looks onto the father for certain ideals. These standards taught by the father to the child could most definitely, according to Hill, be a reproduction of fallacy. The persona sees that the reason behind his misleading is because the government is in it for themselves.
The author proves this by her many references to the “economy” and the “system,” this being the focal point of all that is wrong in the world. “Global economy, in it for self,” additionally “System collapse and he still won’t acknowledge” (lines 23 & 34). To Hill this, falsehood has been the mandate for what we are today as a society. “While Classes in government set up the veil and cultivate minds for more mythical tales.”(lines 39 & 40) The author is explaining the fact that we have been forced to believe what is told to us. Whether it is from our companions or from, in this case, a classroom setting. The persona is saying that every time we attend a class, that we are opening our minds to something that we cannot control once it has been absorbed. The persona believes that what is told to us by an educator is believed to be the only way and further more the truth. Through these classes and repeated readings from different sources, only implants whatever we hear or see in our heads only promoting the hindrance of the acquiring of the truth about society and international mandates.
The obstruction of truth is a recurring motif in this poem. Throughout the prose, this theme is repeated many times in different ways through many different lenses. The persona in this poem is primarily making this impediment apparent to its readers. The author feels as though we as a society are not aware of this problem. Therefore repetitions of facts are commonly used in the prose. Hill has addressed this truth hindrance many times in the poem. For example, “Wicked Theology, robbing the poor. Scheme demonology mislead the pure. Strictly strategically studying war.” (lines 10-12) This passage completely explains her idea of lies, stating that those who are ignorant are easily misguided to further ignorance. Infallibility and legitimacy are what the persona clearly desires in the world. Unfortunately, this aspiration has not been fulfilled. The personas tone throughout this poem is consistent, for what the ego believes in has not been met therefore the persona is perturbed because of the current state of society. Hill thinks that all who believe in the lies that have been fed to society are definitely sightless when it comes to truth and legitimacy. “Blind with the wickedness, deep in your heart. Modern day wickedness is all you’ve been taught. Lied to your neighbors, so you can get ahead. Modern day trickery is all you’ve been fed.” (Lines 45-48), meaning that our vision of the truth has be impeded and this truth obstruction, formally titled fallacy are all that we have accustomed to throughout our lives. Hill’s theme of deception is illuminated greatly in this work. For the use of repetition is consistent and full of understanding.
The state of the author’s psyche has definitely left its mark effectively. The way the author feels about deception, lies and illegitimacy is highlighted throughout the text. The way the persona wears the mask in this poem appears to be against the idea of falsehoods and sham. Furthermore, how the author feels about these topics are expressed in a dynamic manner. When one reads this poem, he or she is completely mentally engulfed in the feelings and ideas that are expressed by the author. Hill has clearly felt extreme emotion in the days of creation of this poem. It is evident by her vibrant visual and mental descriptions of this global deception, “rotating bodies, confusion of sound. Negative imagery, holding us down. Social delusion, clearly constructed. Human condition, morals corrupted.” (lines 1-4)
Romer, David. “Misconceptions and Political Outcomes.” Economic Journals, Royal Economic Society, vol. 113(484), pages 1-20, January 2003 Walker, Ralph. “Sufficient Reasons” Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society, New Series, Vol. 97, (1997), pp. 109-123 “Fallacy” Dictionary and Thesaurus – Merriam-Webster. Web. 10 Mar. 2010. .