Music Monday My letter to Phil Lesh of “The Grateful Dead”

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I have read over 40 autobiographies by ROCKERS and it seems to me that almost every one of those books can be reduced to 4 points. Once fame hit me then I became hooked on drugs. Next I became an alcoholic (or may have been hooked on both at same time). Thirdly, I chased the skirts and thought happiness would be found through more sex with more women. Finally, in my old age I have found being faithful to my wife and getting over addictions has led to happiness like I never knew before. (Almost every autobiography I have read from rockers has these points in it although Steven Tyler is still chasing the skirts!!). I did enjoy the autobiography of Phil Lesh and I would recommend it!!!

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January 31, 2016

Phil Lesh

Dear Phil,

I remember like yesterday when Ron “Pigpen” McKernan died and unfortunately Amy Winehouse was one of the latest member of the 27 CLUB. The issue of death has surrounded many rock and rollers and it is the name of your group.

Back in 1980 I read a book  that mentions your band THE GRATEFUL DEAD. In his book HOW SHOULD WE THEN LIVE? Francis Schaeffer noted:

This emphasis on hallucinogenic drugs brought with it many rock groups–for example, Cream, Jefferson Airplane, Grateful Dead, Incredible String Band, Pink Floyd, and Jimi Hendrix. Most of their work was from 1965-1958. The Beatles’Sergeant Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band (1967) also fits here. This disc is a total unity, not just an isolated series of individual songs, and for a time it became the rallying cry for young people throughout the world. As a whole, this music was the vehicle to carry the drug culture and the mentality which went with it across frontiers which were almost impassible by other means of communication.

Since then I have become a fan of your music but I wanted to write you today about the name of your band THE GRATEFUL DEAD and the greatest book written about the subject of death and that is the BOOK OF ECCLESIASTES!!!

Ecclesiastes 7:2 “Better to spend your time at funerals than at parties. After all, everyone dies–so the living should take this to heart.”

In the last years of his life King Solomon took time to look back and then he wrote the BOOK OF ECCLESIASTES. Solomon did believe in God but in this book he  took a look at life “under the sun.” Christian scholar Ravi Zacharias has noted, “The key to understanding the Book of Ecclesiastes is the term ‘under the sun.’ What that literally means is you lock God out of a closed system, and you are left with only this world of time plus chance plus matter.”

Francis Schaeffer comments on the Book of Ecclesiastes and the subject of death:

Ecclesiastes 9:11

11 Again I saw that under the sun the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, nor bread to the wise, nor riches to the intelligent, nor favor to those with knowledge, but time and chance happen to them all.

Chance rules. If a man starts out only from himself and works outward it must eventually if he is consistent seem so that only chance rules and naturally in such a setting you can not expect him to have anything else but finally a hate of life.

Ecclesiastes 2:17-18a

17 So I hated life, because what is done under the sun was grievous to me, for all is vanity and a striving after wind. 18 I hated all my toil in which I toil under the sun…

That first great cry “So I hated life.” Naturally if you hate life you long for death and you find him saying this in Ecclesiastes 4:2-3:

And I thought the dead who are already dead more fortunate than the living who are still alive. But better than both is he who has not yet been and has not seen the evil deeds that are done under the sun.

He lays down an order. It is best never have to been. It is better to be dead, and worse to be alive. But like all men and one could think of the face of Vincent Van Gogh in his final paintings as he came to hate life and you watch something die in his self portraits, the dilemma is double because as one is consistent and one sees life as a game of chance, one must come in a way to hate life. Yet at the same time men never get beyond the fear to die. Solomon didn’t either. So you find him in saying this.

Ecclesiastes 2:14-15

14 The wise person has his eyes in his head, but the fool walks in darkness. And yet I perceived that the same event happens to all of them. 15 Then I said in my heart, “What happens to the fool will happen to me also. Why then have I been so very wise?” And I said in my heart that this also is vanity.

The Hebrew is stronger than this and it says “it happens EVEN TO ME,” Solomon on the throne, Solomon the universal man. EVEN TO ME, even to Solomon.

Ecclesiastes 9:12

12 For man does not know his time. Like fish that are taken in an evil net, and like birds that are caught in a snare, so the children of man are snared at an evil time, when it suddenly falls upon them.

Death can come at anytime. Death seen merely by the eye of man between birth and death and UNDER THE SUN. Death too is a thing of chance. Albert Camus speeding in a car with a pretty girl at his side and then Camus dead. Lawrence of Arabia coming up over a crest of a hill 100 miles per hour on his motorcycle and some boys are standing in the road and Lawrence turns aside and dies.

 Surely between birth and death these things are chance. Modern man adds something on top of this and that is the understanding that as the individual man will dies by chance so one day the human race will die by chance!!! It is the death of the human race that lands in the hand of chance and that is why men grew sad when they read Nevil Shute’s book ON THE BEACH. 

By the way, the final chapter of Ecclesiastes finishes with Solomon emphasizing that serving God is the only proper response of man. Solomon looks above the sun and brings God back into the picture.  Here is his final conclusion concerning the meaning of life and man’s proper place in the universe in Ecclesiastes 12:13-14:
13 Now all has been heard;
here is the conclusion of the matter:
Fear God and keep his commandments,
for this is the whole duty of man.

14 For God will bring every deed into judgment,
including every hidden thing,
whether it is good or evil

Thanks for your time.

Sincerely,

Everette Hatcher, everettehatcher@gmail.com, http://www.thedailyhatch.org, cell ph 501-920-5733, Box 23416, LittleRock, AR 72221

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