Lauryn Hill’s “Motives and Thoughts” is the poem I have chosen to analyze. My central understanding of this poem is that it strives to tell society that it needs to think for itself and not take everything we’ve been taught as face value. “Social delusion, clearly constructed. Human condition, morals corrupted.” Peoples thoughts are heavily influenced/formed from the information passed unto them through media outlets. Our morals have the ability to be corrupted by the media because they have the power to control the information they release. We might believe that we are thinking by ourselves without outward forces prompting us in any certain ways but in reality, we are being guided to follow certain paths and acts by the things we have been involved with since birth. “Devil’s technology, strategy for human mythologies, urban folklore.” These are examples of ways that society has been able to shape our thoughts on particular things. Mythologies and folklores are essential parts of almost every culture and as traditional views are passed down without anyone truly questioning them, people’s thoughts continue to be shaped in the ways that society wants.
Few can see through the new emperor’s clothes.
Lustful this hustle turn humans to hoes.
When the blind lead the blind, just more trouble and woes.
The metaphorical use of the popular children’s story ‘the Emperor’s New Clothes’ is show that very few of us in today’s society are willing to criticize the people that hold power and authority. We are fearful of asking them for their accountability because we don’t want to be seen as rebellious or eccentric by others. The second metaphor in that sentence is used to tell the reader/listener that when we blindly follow those in power that have no idea what they are doing, more problems arise and can only lead to chaos. Calling out those in authority for their wrongs is a progressive step to creating a more altruistic society. It calls us to question the motives of our societies leaders. “Global economy, in it for self.” The ones with power have control over more things than corrupting the thoughts of people, they create systems in which the rich get rich and poor are left helpless. As Lauryn Hill said, “Wicked theology, robbing the poor. Scheme demonology mislead the pure.” The easiest people to manipulate are the pure of heart and the poor and those with power exploit that for their personal gain.
Ignorance isn’t something meant to be strived for but if people continue to not think for themselves and blindly follow the lead of others then it something that would be attained. “Blind with the wickedness, deep in your heart. Modern day wickedness is all you’ve been taught.” From young we are taught or rather pushed in the direction that revenge is the only option after being wronged instead of justice. The consequences or problems that can come from this revenge however are not taught. We are fed through the media and through the older generations the basis of hate. Hate towards people that do not look like you or act like you, or as a matter of fact, are not you. We shouldn’t be so fixated on other people rather we should be looking into ourselves to make ourselves better. Hate only breeds more hate and wickedness only feeds into that cycle. “Lied to your neighbors so you get ahead. Modern day trickery is all you’ve been fed.” As a repercussion to never having asked questions about why things are the way they are, we are actively participating in this cycle of hating one another. Forming ulterior motives to get benefits that may or may not be beneficial.
In this day and age, we are to watch our own thoughts and motives. According to Lauryn Hill, “While vice and corruption take over the world. Motives and thoughts. Check your motives and thoughts.” Our thoughts and hence our motives have been corrupted since we were young, but the responsibility of understanding and correcting them to ways that are providential, lies with us
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