G.T. THOMAS' 9 THOUGHT EXPERIMENTS
With each song of my latest album "I Am a Highlighter Pen," I was trying out a different "thought experiment" – a pair of lenses to look at the world through. On this page, I'm bringing you deeper into each one. These are my "9 Thought Experiments."
Each one will be released here over a series of 9 weeks (July 16 - September 10, 2020). To be informed before anybody else as soon as a new one comes online, you'll definitely want to be on my mailing list for updates:
This series should not only entertain you, but may also tickle your brain, inspire you, or get you looking at life a little differently.
Let's start with a little introductory video about the 9 Thought Experiments. This will help everything make sense when you officially dive in on the first one, which is up next. Ready? Set, go!
Important disclaimer: In this series, I don’t claim either to believe nor disbelieve each thought experiment I propose. With any given song, I pose it as a hypothetical question purely for our collective consideration and as the idea I wanted to flesh out, musically. Ponder at your own risk. 😉
Video release date: July 9, 2020
Hi! G.T. Thomas, here. Welcome to this first video in a series about my 9 thought experiments that wrote themselves into the 9 songs on my album “I Am a Highlighter Pen.”
We’re gonna start off with just a little introductory video.
Let me start by saying that I never really studied philosophy outside of logic and a bit of epistemology. But from my beginner’s understanding of both of those, and the thoughts that form as a result of that understanding, I hold it as a guiding principle in my own life not to make big claims as to what’s TRUE unless there’s some really solid evidence for those claims.
What I prefer to do instead, is try on different lenses through which to view the world, and just see how my day-to-day life and interactions change (or don’t!) as a result of those lenses. I look at this as carrying out little “thought experiments.”
In 2018, I spent 9 months writing through my observations of life through various lenses in a new-to-me journaling practice. And then I would go through and do something that I've actually been becoming increasingly associated with nowadays. Namely: Highlighting!
HIGHLIGHTING the stuff that I wanted to allow to continue to saturate my daily life for an indefinite amount of time.
That highlighter stripe on those pages became a literal representation of that saturation on the pages of my life.
When I wrote the 9 songs on my latest album, it was the accumulation of those 9 months of thought experiments, and highlighted, life-saturating ideas. Each song had stemmed from its own lens.
When people experiment with things scientifically, we typically expect there to eventually come a result or verdict.
And I think the temptation with thought experiments is that, after trying on new perspectives for a bit, we feel the urge to know, “Well, is that perspective RIGHT? Is it WRONG? Should I live my life in a different way than I did before? Is this a new thing for me to invest my beliefs into? IS IT TRUE?”
From my current outlook, I feel it’s a waste of energy, kind of, to invest in getting those kinds of answers when we carry out thought experiments like the ones I turned into these 9 songs.
(Now, this might be starting to feel a little vague, so let me just give one example of a thought experiments that turned into one of these songs: “What if what I hear said is a reflection of me, not the other?” That's the thought experiment that I'll be sharing with you 2 weeks from now for my song "Shut a Mouth.")
I think after experimenting with these types of thoughts, you begin to be able to just tell what “ways of thinking” help you align with your authentic-heart –who you are at your core– versus which ones were less helpful.
Whether you opt to put on a pair of lenses permanently, or just for a stage of your life, I think remaining open to new ideas and willing to put in time trying on new perspectives that intrigue you is a healthy use of time. Because curiosity is good! So is a large dose of skepticism and non-fallacious thinking is a must, by the way. I just have to say that.
(Because Sunk Costs fallacy is a THING. It's something I just want to lovingly remind people of, it is that it is OKAY to call it quits with a lens that’s not working for your own good, no matter how invested you are!)
So anyway! I decided I want to engage in a new, TENTH thought experiment with YOU... to encapsulate what we are doing with this mini-series in the first place. It’s a thought experiment that’s been tugging at me for a while now. It asks me:
WHAT IF OBSESSION COULD BE A POSITIVE GUIDING FORCE IN OUR LIVES?
Obsession seems like it amplifies parts of your unique "you-ness" by drawing out a quality or trait in your spirit and putting it under a magnifying glass.
Whether that trait is a positive one or a negative one, that’s what obsession does. Only you can decide if you trust in yourself to have positive traits that, when magnified under the magnifying glass of obsession, expand that positive part of your spirit and add something good to life on earth.
Before I kick-off thought experiment #10, though, I need to make something really clear from the get-go:
I am aware there’s such a thing as a *negative* obsession as well. It’s neither my job nor duty to advise anyone as to what’s a positive obsession and what’s a negative obsession. What I can tell you upfront is simply that when I obsess about the things that bring me to life, spark me up, bring me joy, and that, just, overall I find very stimulating in a way that feels light, enthusiastic, or loving, I become more present in my own life and seem to find my actions aligning with my values more.
So, it's under the banner of this tenth thought experiment about obsession as a positive guiding force in our lives that I decided to create this mini-series for you, in which I’ll be bringing you along with me as we positively obsess over each of the 9 thought experiments that birthed my latest 9 songs.
Throughout the time of the mini-series, you’re invited into the fun of becoming slightly obsessed with these songs and the thoughts that went into them!
So, I’m going to help you do that through 9 more videos that are going to show up in your email [if you're signed up – here otherwise] for the next 9 weeks.
Let’s see if that obsession over these thought experiments could be a positive force for good! That’s the goal.
I‘m going to give you so much to think, so hold onto your hats and get ready for "Obsess-o-rama 2020" with G.T. Thomas!
I will look forward to giving you the first thought experiment for track 1, "One of Us," next time we talk. Bye!
1: ONE OF US
Video release date: July 16, 2020
Welcome to this week's video about the first thought experiment from my album, "I Am a Highlighter Pen." This one is for track 1, "One of Us," and the pair of lenses I was giving a whirl on track was this:
WHAT IF EVERYTHING THAT'S HAPPENING IS A CONVERSATION I WANTED TO AIR?
So. Allow me to introduce myself: I’m you. The you outside of you, that is. I’m here to be a part of a conversation that something inside you wants to air.
Kind of like in a dream, all the characters are there to represent a part of yourself, projected outward for you to interact with and solve life’s riddles with.
Hmm… but if that’s true for you, it’s true for me as well. And if that’s the case, wouldn’t this be a battle of wills? Who gets to decide which conversation to air, when? Seems problematic.
Unless… there was actually only one of us.
So… What if there IS only one of us, after all?
A question like this may make a person explore what kinds of riddles, and questions might be aired if we were actually all just one being, cooperating within itself in one big, zany conversation (even through creating conflicts… and, dare I even suggest… viruses?).
Maybe one would begin to see whatever’s happening in their life as something that they, themself, wanted to air, and listen to that conversation more closely, and with more curious openness to what is being said.
I wonder what we’d find.
Whether you appreciate this thought experiment or not, I do hope you like the G.T. Thomas song "One of Us." And that you will stay tuned for the next edition to talk about the thought experiment behind track 2, "Shut a Mouth." See ya then!
2: SHUT A MOUTH
Video release date: July 23, 2020
Welcome back for this week's thought experiment, which is for track 2, "Shut a Mouth" off of my album "I Am a Highlighter Pen."
The pair of lenses I was givin' a whirl on track 2 was this:
WHAT IF WHAT I HEAR SAID IS A REFLECTION OF ME, NOT THE OTHER?
Let's just imagine that until we put in conscious effort to do otherwise, the default starting point for us humans is that when another person is speaking, what we hear them saying is more likely a representation of something already on our own mind... somewhere.
Should it be a goal to tune in to a message from outside yourself, rather than just hearing your own same-ol' messages in every conversation you engage in? Is that even possible?
Is the trick to refrain from speaking? 🤐
Is the trick to ask more questions? 🤔
If hearing your own thoughts reflected back is the default for you as a human, then that's true for your interlocuter, as well, so... how much of the responsibility is in your hands to get them to hear what you're trying to say and not whatever they were already thinking? *ugh* What EVEN IS "dialogue"? 🤣
Richard Johnson (author of Inner Gold: Understanding Psychological Projection) says, “We barely understand how much of what we perceive in others and the outside world are actually parts of ourselves.”
All of us have negative qualities we neglect to take ownership of, where –when we get annoyed with them in someone else– we're really just annoyed with the part of ourselves that that other person is reflecting back at us.
On the other side of the same coin, all of us have incredibly positive qualities we have cut ourselves off from, where –when we admire them in someone else– we're really just in awe of something we, ourselves, have inherent potential for.
We are all mirrors to each other.
Shines a whole new light on the words "I'm here for you" and "you're here for me." Doesn't it?
In fact, it sounds like what Ram Dass had to say on the matter: "I can do nothing for you but work on myself... you can do nothing for me but work on yourself."
So what about conversation? Dialogue? Are we stuck, unable to actually hear each other?
Okay, howzabout another quote?
Richard Bach (the author of Jonathan Livingston Seagull) says, “Learning is finding out what you already know. Doing is demonstrating that you know it.”
I wonder if we could look at listening to others the same way he talks about learning: it's is a kind of *finding out* of what's already there.
So, perhaps hearing a reflection of yourself in whatever some else is saying is neither to be judged as good nor bad... perhaps it's not something you try to get away from...
Perhaps conversations are about receiving what's already there, as openly as possible, so we can consciously integrate it into our doing.
(That's the "demonstrating that you know it" part from that Richard Bach quote.)
And so, the more integrated we become within ourselves, the more we can begin to open wider, to what more the other really has to share with us. Maybe this is how expansion can occur through dialogue?
And by knowing that our words, no matter what you're intending to say, are quite likely also reminding others of what they know, and providing them with the opportunity to integrate their knowledge into their own doing as well.
These are the kinds of thoughts that went into my song "Shut a Mouth" and I hope that you look forward to next time when we're going to talk about the thought experiment behind track 3, "Future Moving."
So, I'll see you then!
3: FUTURE MOVING
Video release date: July 30, 2020
Hi, welcome to week 3! This week we're looking at "Future Moving." And the pair of lenses I was giving a whirl on this song was this:
WHAT IF I HAVE A ‘HIGHEST OBJECTIVE’ –A REALITY IN WHICH I'M SUCCEEDING AT BEING MY MOST-ME SELF– AND NO MATTER WHAT MISSTEPS I TAKE, MY ‘HIGHER SELF’ CONSTANTLY COURSE-CORRECTS ME TOWARD THAT OBJECTIVE.
Okay. Let's pretend that there's a "future you" who has gotten as absolutely much out of life as possible, made the most of every possible moment, and got to where they are by being the most delightfully YOU version of you that there could ever be.
Let's say that that future you is living something we could call your "Highest Objective."
Okay, you might be thinking, "Welp. I've already missed THAT boat. Many times over! Just yesterday I was grouchy with my [kids, partner, roommate, cat, etc] –or– I've been working this job I hate for way more months than I ever thought I would –or– I'm playing things safe when I want to let my freak flag fly..."
But what if that "Highest Objective"-livin' Future You –someone we could maybe call your "Higher Self," for short– was STILL able to make the absolutely most out of this life by constantly course-correcting you of now.
After any move you make that doesn't feel all that aligned with the truest You-you, what if your Higher Self was pulling you back onto the path of the Highest Objective?
What if the only thing slowing you down was: kicking yourself every time you notice yourself getting off track again?
What if that was only causing you to detour even further, making it more of a stretch for your Higher Self to pull you back on the road to your Highest Objective?
Like a burden or a weight you're carrying around... it does no good if the moment you've set down the stone you were just needlessly lugging around, you pick up another one called "regretting having carried that previous stone." Right?
"Just let the Higher Self get to course-correcting as soon as possible" is the idea here.
You might be asking "How?" One idea is to try saying to yourself, "I intend to let myself return to being pointed toward my Highest Objective."
Okay, so... imagine you are walking a straight line that runs between the you right now and the Future You who is living your Highest Objective. (Your "Higher Self," right? That's that Future You.)
What if this "Highest Objective" is pulling you like a magnet toward itself, and that straight line is your path for the simple reason that the shortest distance between "you now/here" and "you then/there" is said straight line, and magnets like that kind of directness of route?
Now think of all the effort it would take to divert yourself off that straight line.
Pulling yourself away from life lived as the most delightfully, youest-You...
Imagine if you suddenly were to let go of whatever you are clinging to that is pulling you away from that straight line: With the magnet force, you would find yourself FLINGING forward, would you not?
Even if you didn't let go of everything leading you astray at once...
Even if it was just one small thing you could tell was definitely not aligned with the straight path I've mentioned... and you could release it, you could expect to feel a re-balancing of the magnet's pull.
And that might just make it easier to release more and more, and get pointed toward that Highest Objective.
The best part is, because the Higher Self is impartial, and merely course-corrects like a natural force (like magnetism), it doesn't care about any of the things you might consider "failures." The Higher Self knows only one objective: The Highest Objective.
That's where the line in this song came from that says:
The Higher Self can only see the successes"
So, in writing the song "Future Moving," I developed a lens that helped me realign with things that matter to me. That make me feel like my Most-Me me.
For just one example of where this has been useful for me, it's helped me in forming boundaries by saying "yes" to things that feel aligned with who I am, and "no" to things that don't. It's all about alignment.
Those are just are couple of present-day actions that align you with your Highest Objective doing it's "magnetic-pull thing" toward a Future You that is most thrivingly, fully YOU.
So! Thank you for listening to this episode of the exploration of these thought experiments and I will see you in the next edition! See ya then.
4: LIKE OXYGEN
Video release date: July 30, 2020
Hello, G.T. Thomas here. Thank you for joining me once again to hear about the thought experiments that went into the songs on my album “I Am a Highlighter Pen.” And today we’re gonna talk about “Like Oxygen,” which is track 4.
Here is the thought experiment, I was giving a whirl on this track:
IF "BEING HERE" IS 0 OR 1, ALL OR NOTHING... AND I’M HERE... THEN: I’M ALL.
WHAT IF THAT MEANS I’M ENOUGH?
It’s easy to fall into the temptation of comparing ourselves to others. It's easy to question whether we are doing enough, making enough (whether that’s money/ progress/ creations)… um, posting enough stuff on our social media, making enough people smile, or think...
Ultimately, much to the detriment of our peace of mind, “enough-ness” is an extremely common –and serious– concern for so many of us.
When I wrote "Like Oxygen," I had been really struck by a very cut-and-dry thought – almost deceptively simple:
Either you’re here, or you’re not. If those are the only two possibilities, then the question of "enough-ness" becomes totally moot.
“If it's all or nothing...
And if you're here at all...
You know you're all.
And all's enough.”
Now, okay *spoiler alert* I'm about to share something about this song's "big reveal."
It's the result of a transformation that takes place through the entire lyrical journey up to this point.
At the start, the sense is that "I need a spotlight. I a highlighter pen. I need an amplifier" – needing all these tools to make my SELF or my message or my work or my sense of purpose LARGER, MORE, BIGGER...
That feeling of need arises out of the sense of not being enough.
But… by the end of the song, after looking at bite-sized, everyday ways we prove our enough-ness to ourselves, we reach a point of realizing that by simply BEING HERE at all, we are enough.
And… part of the realizing process is just noticing. And when you are engaged in the act of noticing, you are acting like a spotlight. You are acting like a highlighter pen.
And… that is why the lyric of the song actually transforms at the end into:
"I am a spotlight.
I am a highlighter pen.
I am an amplifier signal goes in, and be sure I'm gonna
Make something unignorable out of the tiniest thing."
Now, you may recognize this is where the name for the album comes from, "I Am a Highlighter Pen." Just wanted to point that out. ‘Cause some people ask me.
The thought experiment at the core of this song proved to really seem sum up the entire album. (That is also why I released the album in a format that incorporates an official G.T. Thomas highlighter pen. )
So, anyway, I hope that this song inspires you to breathe deeply –and– maybe even, like, openly, curiously ask "what if" inside the very fact that you can inhale oxygen so deeply into your being in the first place... what IF that is all the proof you've been seeking that You Are Enough?
Thanks for being here for this episode, and I will catch you next time where we’re gonna talk about track 5, “Count Me In.” See ya!
5: COUNT ME IN
Video release date: August 13, 2020
G.T. Thomas here, welcome back for this 5th edition of the Thought Experiments that went into the making of my album “I Am a Highlighter Pen”.
This week’s episode is about song number five, “Count Me in” and the lens that I was giving a whirl on track 5 really piggy-backs off of last week’s, “Like Oxygen.” It goes a little something like this!:
WHAT IF "ME-BEING-ME" IS THE RIGHT AMOUNT OF ME, NOT TOO MUCH, NOT TOO LITTLE?
So, I just want to explain that sometimes, if I’m invited to participate in something (like a party or a project), I find myself realizing randomly part-way through things that I’m behaving with one or another guard up of some kind.
Or... like I’m trying to fill a role that I’ve just sort of assumed the host or leader wanted me in, even though they didn’t really even specify this, and it isn’t really my default mode to be that way.
When I notice, I try to switch over to being fully present as myself, but it’s not always super graceful. And it’s definitely easiest all the way around if I’m just ME from the get-go. Sometimes I have wished that I’d had a reminder that:
When we show up in the manner in which we think other people want us to, or we think other people are expecting us to, all this does is keep both parties from your best stuff – your actual stuff: The You of you, the Most You-you.
If I had that reminder, then maybe I'd remember how much better it is –when I agree to be here– to go ahead and dive in all the way, as ME.
And that's why I wrote the song "Count Me In."
When I dove into writing and producing this album, the task I gave myself was to start and finish each song from scratch in 3 days, for a whole month.
About halfway through the month, there was this specific moment when I was kinda surprised to realize that I was showing up every single day as 100% me, no holds barred.
And, you might be wondering why was that surprising? Because past attempts at coming to recording with a cohesive sound had often been muddied with all the influences I was trying to harness, while self-consciously seeking to remain quote-unquote true to myself, at the same time.
So, I ultimately realized that the tight turn-around of just 3 days to pump out new songs simply left no time for second-guessing things, and that really contributed to my ability to show up as me-as-can-be, or not show up at all. How cool is that?! It was like I'd given myself a signal like, "aaaaandddd... GO!" and just had to do it all the way or not all.
I feel like I was really learning the lesson of "Your amount is right. Not too much, not too little.”
I was so pumped by how GOOD this felt, to just be myself every minute of every day of the project, that I decided I would write one of the songs about that very feeling. That's this track!
On the recording, you’ll hear that many voices "count on" each others' steady presence and, in a semi-hocketed effect, they build a dependable structure you can rest assuredly upon. That was my way of trying to capture the "showing up for others" concept I've been talking about.
But I also wanted to emphasize in the lyrics, particularly in the middle of the song, that only YOU can decide how much of yourself you bring to the table.
No matter the support, the invitations, the precision and structure of the network around you that you're welcome to be a part of, it's still up to you whether or not you bring the You of you, the Most You-you.
And whatever amount you are in that “Most-You posture,” that's just right. Not too much, not too little.
I hope you will join me again next time when we talk about the thought experiment for track 6. See you then.
Video release date: August 20, 2020
Hello, hello, G.T. Thomas here, hot off the set of my new music video for the song “Edges” -which, what a coincidence, is exactly the track off my album whose thought experiment we’re here today to discuss!
And the pair of lenses I was giving a whirl on this track, is this:
WHAT MIGHT CHANGE FOR ME IF I WERE TO CONSCIOUSLY CHOOSE WHICH OF MY BOUNDARIES I KEEP AND WHICH I PUSH THROUGH?
Edges is a song about BOUNDARIES.
The thought experiment it comes from, more or less, is addressing being intentional about what we do with our boundaries.
So, whether you are:
A) Pushing through your edges in an act of growth (like a plant that shoots out a new leaf, branch, or bud from a stick or stem)
–or– whether you’re...
B) Clearly demarcating where your edges need to be and stay in order to maintain healthy boundaries for yourself
... one thing remains true:
Simply acknowledging that the edge is there at all is required if you wish to make *conscious*, responsible decisions about said edge.
The consciousness we bring to deciding whether to uphold a boundary we have or to push ourselves through it is what differentiates "a panic-attack- inducing overstep" from "a mindful, intentional act of growth that –by positively affecting you– very likely has a positive impact on those around you, as well.
One of the lines in the song says, "When you disregard the edges, you start dropping your croissants."
This was my way of saying: don't go agreeing to provide favours to anyone –like going on coffee and croissant runs– if you know this is going to push you over the edge in any way.
Being thoughtful not to put ourselves into situations in which we might wind up “dropping the croissants” is one thing.
But, we also have to respect the boundaries of *others*- as this boundary is, in practice, our COLLECTIVE edge.
Does that make sense?
That’s the perspective in the song Edges, anyway.
(And at the time of writing this –in the midst of a pandemic– this has really never rung more true: Whether spending more hours than previously accustomed to living, like, in close quarters with a partner, or passing anxiety-riddled neighbours on the street, it’s never been more important to respect each other’s boundaries, and to be gentle with those who are feeling a li’l angsty.)
To not "disregard the edges," in this way, is not ONLY about being conscious about your own boundaries, as outlined in the thought experiment for this song, but having a larger humility and compassion for our collective, societal edges, let’s say.
So that is the thought experiment that went into the song Edges. And, I hope you found it interesting. Again, I will share another thought experiment with you, for track 7, Magic, next time. Till then!
Video release date: August 27, 2020
Welcome back, it’s G.T. Thomas here and we are going through the 9 Thought Experiments from my album “I Am a Highlighter Pen” - and this week we are looking at track 7, Magic.
The pair of lenses that I was giving a whirl on track 7 is this:
WHAT IF I DIDN'T HAVE TO UNDERSTAND EVERY SINGLE STEP INVOLVED IN MY SUCCESS IN ORDER FOR ME TO BE SUCCESSFUL?
Doesn't life sometimes feel like a movie to you? Where the main character –you!– are going along, minding your own business, pursuing your goals, but it feels like striving.
You have the grating, itching urge to know the answer to the question HOW? "How do I get closer to the things I want??" It's like you're trying to read ahead in the script...
But – what if you didn't have to know "how," and your success could come anyway?
When I step back a little further and look at what's going on with a movie –as in: a motion picture– in the first place, here's what I see:
Even though it's actually a series of still frames, spaced out by *missing information* we have the EXPERIENCE of continuity while we go through it!
How is that possible??? So cool.
Well, it's because the gaps are immaterial. As long as the frames are of some *consistent* interval and tempo, the story is successfully conveyed.
You know, I wrote "Magic" in a moment of surrender and wonder, asking "What if my urge to know HOW –to fill in the gaps in the information– is actually slowing me down from just receiving the stuff that I want? And that stuff that I want is trying to get to me by methods that don't depend on my understanding.
“Do I actually care ‘HOW’?! I just want to trust my that success can happen without me having to be in control every step of the way!”
What followed was a series of thoughts about animation. It felt like an invitation to be gracefully illustrated, like a fluid dance instead of a bad rendition of the robot.
And not but moments later did I realize that what makes those missing frames work for gracefully illustrated animation is that CONSISTENCY of interval and tempo. Consistency is way more important than knowing how!
That's the playground for graceful magic, and that's where I would rather hang out.
To close this episode out I want to try something a little different. What it is is a meditation for magic. And I don’t really mean that in a mystical or spooky way.
Participation is optional.
You can listen to it once and then maybe try it after you’ve listened – just t’make sure your’e comfortable with it. Here’s how it works, it's a–
MEDITATION FOR MAGIC:
So, before we start, set the intention of this meditation to decrease the harrying urge to control and plan all the steps toward desired outcomes in your life.
Your intention is to decrease that urge in order to create a welcoming landing place for marvelous things to happen for you that you never could’ve planned, or anticipated.
Letting your shoulders relax, start by asking, “What if I didn’t need to know HOW?”
Take three deep, but comfortable breaths...
And on the final exhale begin with the following:
Exhale, “I grant myself magic.”
Inhale, “I receive magic.”
And repeat as needed.
You may find it helpful to listen to my song Magic, which actually sings through this “mantra.”
Alright, I hope you enjoyed this thought experiment and the meditation, and I will see you in the next edition for the thought experiment behind track 8.
Just two more to go! Wow! See ya then!
Video release date: September 3, 2020
Welcome back, it’s G.T. Thomas here, and we are looking at the Thought Experiment behind my track, “Frownfetti,” which is the 8th song on my album, “I Am a Highlighter Pen.”
And the pair of lenses that I was giving a whirl on this track is this:
WHAT IF I WERE TO CELEBRATE MY CHOICE TO END MY PITY PARTY, THEREBY HARNESSING THE ENERGY OF A PATHETIC OCCURRENCE INTO SOMETHING POSITIVE?
Now, this is a very fancy way of saying, “Turn that frown upside down! Stop the pity party!” Right?
But, it’s also saying, “Don’t stop there…. Let’s actually throw a NEW party off the back of that other party that’s saying, “Yay! I stopped the pity party! Go me!”
This track is stylistically a little divergent from the others on my album. While I used the same pallet on every song, as a basis, for this one the biggest difference you’ll hear is that it’s, like, 70% instrumental only, where the rest have a lot of vocals and lyrics.
I just wanted this song to feel festive. That was really the big picture. Because the thought experiment was really about turning a pity party around.
So that’s why I chose for a musical influence for this one from my love of the whole “space age bachelor pad” style of music (in particular, the composer Esquivel).
There are very few lyrics in this song, really the only thing I’m saying is:
"Enough! Enough! Enough Frownfetti!"
I want to share where this thought experiment led me. We’ve all had days where the number of things that’s going wrong reaches a kind of boiling point, even though rationally we may know other people have it worse off (for example, those struggling for basic human rights or battling life threatening disease)–
It’s natural in those moments where every little thing seems to be working against you for it to feel like, “It’s not fair!” And that we wish someone would come over and reassure us that we don’t deserve things to be happening this way. Because we know we don’t!
But, just be cause it’s natural, doesn’t necessarily mean it’s healthy .
It’s truly one of life’s funny little ironies how it can actually start to feel good just how bad we feel!
That’s called a pity party, and sometimes we let it go on just a liiiittle too long.
So track 8, Frownfetti, is a song that I hope possesses the power to snap you out of that, if you’re feeling that way!
Next time you’re having yourself a little pity party, if you’re able to remove yourself juuust enough to realize that’s where you’re at, might I recommend pumping up Frownfetti, and seeing how you feel afterwards?
Now, I did want to make one quick ammendment in case it flew by there too fast, but it feels important at this particular moment in history when I’m making this video, to be crystal clear about where I stand on something: This song is not a statement about people standing up to actual injustice.
I, in no way, consider that a “pity party,” so please do not misconstrue that as such.
If anything, I hope somehow that those of us with our “crying over spilt milk moments” could harness these into some positive momentum, taking that “let’s turn this around” energy of the song Frownfetti to help others experiencing worse circumstances than our own.
In other words, I hope that Frownfetti could, at its best, be a catalyst for standing up to actual injustice – even though it sounds kinda funny considering the goofiness of the song.
But in my experience: that’s life. Goofiness and seriousness, plush things and difficult things… they coexist, that’s planet earth, let’s do this together.
So! That’s the thought experiment. That’s where it led me. Next week we’re gonna talk about the final song from the album and its thought experiment. And then I’ve got some fun stuff to announce after that so – stay tuned.
Talk to you next time, bye-bye!
[EDIT from beyond the realm of the video: G.T. here, to just add one more thing. After the fact, I’ve decided that I really dislike that I used the words “crying over spilt milk” in this script. It doesn’t feel like a kind approach to the subject matter and I wish I’d worded it differently. I hope that main point wasn’t lost (although I could honestly understand if it was), that – wouldn’t it be amazing if (when able) we could pull ourselves up out of being in a bit of a mood, dust ourselves off, and let the positive, forward momentum of that CHOICE help us help others? Thanks for baring with me as I still stumble with my own thought experiments from time to time!!]
9: OUR FIRST DAY
Video release date: September 3, 2020
Hello! G.T. Thomas here, thank you for sticking with me for these 9 Thought Experiments that I have been sharing with you. They are the thought experiments that went into each of the 9 songs on my album “I Am a Highlighter Pen.”
Uh, it’s been really cool for me to get to share these with you I hope you’ve enjoyed kind of obsessing over the songs, which was the idea behind the “10th thought experiment” that I shared at the very beginning of the series:
"WHAT IF OBSESSION COULD BE A POSITIVE GUIDING FORCE IN OUR LIVES?"
This week is our final episode! That means I’m sharing the thought experiment behind track 9, “Our First Day.”
The pair of lenses that I was giving a whirl on this song is this:
WHAT IF I COULD LET MYSELF FEEL TODAY THE WAY I IMAGINE I'D FEEL IF I WERE LIVING IN MY HOPED-FOR FUTURE?
Now let me ask you, did you know that this song is family with track 3, “Future Moving”?
The text for both looks at “future living,” and they’re also connected musically.
For those just joining us, I'll recap that when I wrote these songs it was a speed-writing/ speed-producing challenge to create 9 songs within a month. They're on my album in the exact order I wrote and produced them.
When wrapping up track 3, I mindlessly tagged on this outro: a 100% separate musical idea from the rest of the song. It felt like a new song that I wanted to express but, um… as I soon found out, it wasn't ready to be born just yet.
“Weird little outros” aren't typically synonymous with "solid pop form."
To play it safe, I could've removed it and waited for a full song to become clear, making an entire track out of it then. (Plus, if the complete song never panned out, there'd be, like, no vestigial traces of a failed concept.)
But a thought that wouldn't leave me was:
If the song WOULD be born and join the album with this outro, I'd be living the actual concept of the song “Future Moving”: feeling the "future moving through me."
Hoooo, I was struck by how MAGICAL and POWERFUL that would feel!
It'd feel like proof the thought experiments I'd been carrying out were WORTHWHILE.
It'd feel SO SATISFYING when my VISION would come to life! I'd be so PROUD and CONFIDENT in my ability to carry out my INSPIRED plans.
Feeling into how I wanted to feel, I opted to act in trust that this'd work. That action was that I left the outro in!
Flash-forward too the end of the challenge, the final song. I'd been working feverishly to churn out new tracks every 3 days all month long & I felt TIRED. I was looking for some hidden inner strength, to push on.
THE OUTRO! Of course!
Imagine my gratitude that my past self had been so courageous as to feel into the feelings in that moment that it wanted to have as my reality in the future!
This gave me a gentle reprieve when I was experiencing weariness from the project, while also giving me the experience of seeing my vision come to life, which did ultimately create the feelings I'd longed for back when I took the leap of faith to act upon them.
It's truly 1 of my favourite “conceptual art” accomplishments thus far!
Now, I wanna talk about something else, for a second.
"Fake it till you make it":
It’s a phrase that implies there's something false or fake going on and I'd like to share why I'm not down with that, plus: offer an alternative!
It starts with a story of how I've functioned on an emotional level for much of my life:
As far back as I can remember, if I'm in a negative mood & something shifts where it'd be actually pretty okay for me to switch to a positive mood, it does NOT feel okay to just *poof* switch over.
As much as I dislike a stinky mood, abandoning an active one for a smile has felt disingenuous, or like I'm being asked (although “by whom,” nobody knows) to pretend that things were never bad enough to cause that mood (whether they actually were or not isn't the point here).
There's value in letting yourself move through your genuine emotions at any tempo that's organic, right? However, there's also such a thing as *resisting* a shift toward the positive when an opportunity presents itself in a way that would also be organic.
(I actually talked about this in the episode about Frownfetti, a week ago). I know I've experienced this a lot, personally.
One way people distance themselves from positive emotions is by daydreaming about the future.
How, if things one day change from how they currently are experiences and emotions that feel locked away, out of reach right now will become available *then*.
Most the time, however, they AREN'T actually locked away. And, have you ever noticed that the future never comes if you continually postpone "tomorrow" from becoming a "today." But how to make the shift, then?
This is where some people suggest to "fake it till you make it," but I like to apply this method instead:
“Act like someone who (fill-in-the-blank)”…
In this case– act like someone who feels the way you want to feel.
The reason I prefer this is because then you're ACTIVELY taking real ACTIONS. Nothing fake about it!
I've been working this approach for years now and it has totally changed my "moods" experience.
Where I used to brood long past "brooding's freshness date," I now say, "So I wish I felt XYZ? Okay, act like someone who feels XYZ." I know from experience this sounds overly simplistic at first, but when you start doing it, it is astonishing how quickly you'll find the things you'd hoped for tomorrow – are real for you right now.
So that was the thought experiment on this song. And that “outro” situation from track 3, with the future moving… the whole thing just came together in a way where this song, for me, really feels like the perfect culmination of all these thought experiments and the whole concept of this album.
And, so I just really hope that there’s been something in at least one of these thought experiments that has led you to be provoked to thought, or tickled your brain, or just made you appreciate the songs on a different level.
I hope that you have felt free of spirit to act like someone who is a little bit obsessed with these songs, by learning about all these thought experiments behind the songs.
Thank you so much for joining me. And I will be seeing you routinely, all over the web, come and find me…
You can also come support more videos like this and get access to the "making-of" these videos if you join my Patreon which is at patreon.com/gtthomasmusic. Uh, you can join as low as a $3 membership per month and have access to all kinds of goodies.
So! Thank you so much, and I will see you around!