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What “Wicked” Says about Living Life

November 22, 2010
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Last weekend while sitting in Yost Ice Arena watching the University of Michigan Ice Skating Team’s Fall show, one skater had chosen to perform to the song “Dancing Through Life.” At first I didn’t recognize the song from the Broadway Production Wicked, as it was a country version of the song. The lyrics caught my attention as it was suggested we should all just dance and not worry about studying or the stress of life.

“Why invite stress in?/stop studying strife and learn to live ‘the unexamined life’.”

Once I heard this, I immediately thought of the caption under the title of the blog and one of our first readings this semester. It is not certain after researching a bit, if the song is making reference to what Socrates says in Section 28 of “The Apology”; however, since the words “the unexamined life” are quoted I think it is reasonable to infer that this song offers a counter agreement to Socrates belief that “the examined life is not worth living.”

The song suggests that the characters should live “skimming the surface.” Does that suggest that we should live life not worrying about civic duty, enlightenment, and/or maturity? From Socrates to Mill, I feel like all the theorists we have read would disagree with the meaning of this song.

Dancing Through Life From Wicked

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3 Comments
  1. jungle12 permalink
    November 26, 2010 5:28 PM

    I think that this is very interesting in how you compared the lyrics to a Broadway show to the ideas of Socrates, and I can kind of see how they are related. And I agree with you a little bit that all the philosophers that we had studied in class would disagree with these song lyrics. However, I believe that Socrates would agree a little bit with the lyrics; Socrates was a martyr and he did not care about what others thought about him and his opinion. As long as he was able to speak his mind he was content. And with the song lyrics suggesting the characters to skim through life, then I believe it is implying that the characters should live their life without others people or things to let them down. Also that the “unexamined life” is that their is a mysterious world out there that needs to be found.

  2. cwatson872 permalink
    November 30, 2010 10:28 PM

    I was actually touching on something I feel really related to this when talking about Buddhism and Enlightenment with one of my hall-mates today.

    Buddha means “the awakened one” and we started saying some things around the lines of “it’s kind of intersting and kind of sad that so many people seem to go through their lives without ever waking up”. Just meaning that there’s some depth to life that we didn’t always see and learned only by studying or strange experience.

    However, some people seem to go through their whole lives never having some of the crises that might come from some of this “enlightenment” or even they’re simply perfectly content with life the way they see it.

    So, it just kind of made us wonder, who’s got it right, those who “wake up” or those who never need to? (I’d probably say no one’s got it right and so does everyone, but the question is kind of interesting)

  3. justinrostker permalink
    November 30, 2010 11:14 PM

    At the end you say all of the philosophers we have discussed would disagree with the song. However, I believe Rousseau would agree with the song. Rousseau harps on the fact savage man is what is best, and while human progress is inevitable Rousseau continues to urge to keep this progress minimal and as simple and noncomplex as possible. The song dancing through life is all about just barely skating by and try’s to show how life is so much easier without complications and how people can be happier without stresses. Similarly, savage man has no complications or complex situations and skates by and enjoys life just like the song says.

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