On the job with Pete

Scott Schrade schrade at akrobiz.com
Mon Jun 7 17:03:56 CDT 2004

> While I was singing the song, I wondered what Pete was writing about, what 
> he was seeking for and thought he wouldn't get before he died.  Then I said I 
> thought he was singing about salvation.  Just my opinion.

You said the song was about God.  I said the song was concerned more with
man doing the seeking rather than any answers he might've found.

> That is true.  He is vague about what it is that he is seeking for.

You said it's obvious he's seeking God!  Spiritual fulfillment!  So, which is it?
Vague or obvious?

> He does mention that it is something he won't get until the day he dies.  So 
> what is that?  For a Christian, that is heaven.........for an atheist, is 
> it..............nothing? stillness?  blackness?  No after life?  Why would Pete be 
> yearning for that?  

I never said that!  I never said Pete was yearning for nothingness!  Your
comment cloaks your original intention which was to ask, "Why would an
atheist yearn for nothingness?"

If you have a question, ask me.  Don't put words in my mouth.

Atheists don't yearn for nothingness.  We'd like there to be a happy afterlife, too.
That'd be kick-ass!  Unfortunately, there's no evidence for it.  I need more proof
than some 2000-year-old fables.  Just like I'd need more proof to believe in 
Santa Claus.

I'm not gonna believe in something because I *want* it to be true.  I need real
evidence.  Real proof.  If I gotta go on faith alone, fuck it, I'm not going.  Faith
is fine.  As long as there's evidence to back it up.

> Being an atheist = tortuous seeking?  Think about it.

Never said that, either.  You might want to go back & re-read my original post.
Pete's the one who's tortured in "The Seeker" (if we assume the song is auto-
biographical).  He's the one not getting any answers.  He's the one not getting any 

There's no resolution in the song.  He never shouts out, "God is the answer!"
He just goes on seeking, believing that he won't get what he's after until he's
dead; which may or may not be interpreted as him finding the Lord.  

And I have trouble with that interpretation because:

A. Saved Christians should've already found the Lord *before* they died, and....
B. If he knows he'll get the answers when he dies then why go on seeking?

I think it's a figure of speech like, "Oh, that guy won't be happy until he's dead." 
That's why I called Pete "tortured" in the song.  He hasn't found anything.  He
hasn't been enlightened at all.  The end of his seeking won't come about until
the end of his life.  It's the use of irony.  

> Atheist = non-spiritual??

Nope.  Wrong again.  I went to Yellowstone last year & had plenty of spiritual
moments out there in all that raw nature.  Don't call me non-spiritual.  Difference
is, I didn't credit the beauty I saw to an invisible man.  I gave credit where credit
was due:  Mother Earth.  Nature.  The Universe.  I don't need make-believe
stories to appreciate things & feel connected to them.  My spiritual awareness
is stronger because it's based on reality, not fantasy.

> If you listen to "Christian" music, you'll hear why they don't play secular 
> music on Christian stations, unless it is advertised as alternative Christian 
> music.  Although there are some pretty rocking Christian Bands these days, 
> sometimes, THEY don't even get played on Christian radio stations. 

Fine.  Just don't try to pigeon-hole Pete as some kind of Christian rock
artist, cause he's not.

> Believing in God does not = being a Christian.  You have to believe in God 
> and the son of God, Jesus to be a Christian.  Again, Pete can be singing about 
> seeking a higher power without being a Christian.

You have a very secular view of what it takes to be Christian, I'm afraid.  It
works for you because it isn't very intrusive.  However, the people who founded
the religion you claim to believe in would, I think, demand a little more from you
than just accepting Jesus as the Son of God.  You gotta turn your whole life
over to him, girlfriend.  And worshipping that sinner Pete Townshend better
be the first thing to go.  You can't have it both ways.  God doesn't have any
Who posters hanging up in Heaven.

> "I got values that I don't know how or why"
> I think that line might be another indication that he is searching for a God 
> or higher power.  He is wondering how and why he has the values that he 
> has.  Doesn't mention if they are good values or bad.  But, that doesn't 
> really matter.  He could be searching for a higher meaning or power that 
> gave him the values that he has.

Yeah, I agree that that particular line almost completely lends itself to a strictly
religious interpretation.  I'm surprised you didn't write, "Atheism = no values?"

That's another misconception that religious people have about atheists.  "If
you don't believe in God then what's to stop you from going around killing

Well, I'm the proof that that type of reasoning is incorrect.  I'm an atheist & 
I have no desire to kill anyone at all.  I have no desire to rape.  I have no desire 
to steal.  I have no desire to cheat on my taxes.

The great writer Arthur C. Clarke once said:

"One of the greatest tragedies in human history was the hijacking of morality
by religion."

I'll leave you to draw your own conclusions as to what that might mean.....

> Your argument was not persuading enough to change my mind.  

Well, you'll remember that I did say your interpretation was valid & was 
probably Pete's intended meaning.  I just wanted to show that the song could
be interpreted without all the religious connotations.

> It just occurred to me that in order to really find out what Pete was actually 
> seeking in that song, we would need to know what Pete's mindset was at the 
> time.  He was and still is into the teachings of Maher Baba.  The next question 
> I would have then would be: Does Maher Baba teach of a higher being or a 
> god or God?  The answer to that question would be good evidence as to what 
> he was seeking.

Yeah, we all know Meher Baba believed in God.  But if that's the case, if Pete
bought the whole Meher Baba thing, & by virtue of association, the whole God
thing, then why is he still seeking in "The Seeker?"  If he had the answers, then
why was he still searching & asking questions?  Why was he still "desperate?"

That's what leads me to believe the song is more about man than God.  More
about seeking than knowing.  I think that's the message Pete was trying to con-
vey in "The Seeker."  Not, "I found God!" but instead, "I want to know!"
Again, the song is about man, not God.

> But, in the end, we all have the right to interpret the song how we believe.

Ah, what a nice conciliatory note to end on!  Cheers!

- SCHRADE in Akron

John Kerry For President

More information about the TheWho mailing list