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State of the Art

Updated: Apr 16, 2023

State of the Art (adj.) - belonging or relating to the most recent stage of development.

For our Teach4Endurance newsletter this month, we're focusing on the concept of "state of the art" in a metaphorical sense. We're comparing us (humanity) to the notion of "state of the art". As an adjective, "state of the art" means belonging or relating to the most recent stage of development.

However, just because "state of the art" is the latest stage of development, doesn't mean it is at its BEST or MOST OPTIMAL stage of development. We're going to do a lyrical analysis of sorts for our time together this month. The song "State of the Art" by Incubus is an awesome song musically (in my opinion), but it's the lyrics and what I believe they're alluding to, for which our lesson and reflection takes place. You can see the video below, if you wish and then come back to me to discuss:)

The first verse of the song is (to me) the allusion that this song is about humanity.

You were the first in flight

Now a modern relic

Nearly a payphone on a 1 a.m. sidewalk

Historically speaking, the Wright Brothers are usually thought to have been the first to fly an airplane at Kitty Hawk, North Carolina on December 17, 1903. However, there are others who believe the accomplishment belongs to two other pioneers: Alberto Santos-Dumont of Brazil and Gustave Whitehead of Connecticut. Regardless of who truly "flew" first, they're all human, so there ya' go.

The second and third lines allude to the fact that in the current time, we're basically old news . . . a relic. I mean, how many people still use a payphone? You get the point.

In the second verse, there is a line which states:

Right as we start to finally figure out what we are

While all art is subjective, my thoughts on this is that we are indeed becoming more knowledgeable by the day about our place in this universe and/or realm of existence.

  • the multitude of near death experience studies which undoubtedly show that we indeed go on after this realm.

  • we learn more and more about the universe that surrounds us with advanced technologies.

  • we understand more about how our bodies and its systems function, leading to phenomenal medical advancements

. . . and this is just the beginning of such a list. Unfortunately, with all these advancements in knowledge, we're consumed with information, but we've lost wisdom in the process, in my humble opinion. Case in point: we're more connected than ever with smart phone technology; but our collective IQ's have dropped since the smart phone's inception. How's that for irony? What good does all this "information/connection" provide if we've forgotten how to be a good human being?

Now we're brought to my favorite line in the pre-chorus.

but the years have teeth, and sometimes they bite

Oh yes, they indeed do! In these years of advancements, we've progressed ourselves into an inescapable corner.

  • we're more connected than ever, but we're also more lonely and lost than ever before . . . thanks social media. Mental health statistics validate this notion.

  • we've created a climate where it's the norm for our children to perform lockdown drills and be fearful of going to school.

  • through this never-ending connection, we've found ways for our voices to be heard, but we've also forgotten how to communicate and compromise . . . which is a huge problem.

  • we've created weaponry so powerful that we cannot ever use it, but inevitably somebody will and that spells END GAME.

  • we've allowed too many people with fragile egos to rise to positions of great power; it's these same people that will ensure the second bullet.

  • we keep pressing forward with technology (which is certainly important); however, we do things to prove we can before we think about any consequences. AI, for example, could be a wonderful advancement (and it may be), if we reign it in properly. However, with our track record (see weaponry above), I'm a little concerned.

  • as we've become more aware of the world around us, we've forgotten that Mother Earth is all of ours and should be treated with respect. We've failed miserably in this capacity. At some point, Mother Earth is going to become pissed and show us who is truly in charge. In fact, she's already hinting at this now (i.e. the weather seems a little chaotic lately, would you not agree?).

. . . and this list could go on and on, but the point has been made. Basically, these "years" of advancements are already "biting" us and some of these "bites" can and/or will be really painful.

This brings us to the first line of the chorus:

Look at you, you're falling apart

Simply put, look at the above bullets and think to yourself: "As a species, are we truly in a good place?"

This brings us to our last lyrical example, which comes in the 2nd verse.

But this justice feels

More like a poison apple

And inevitably everyone will bite into it

Essentially, this alludes to the fact that, as a species, we don't handle temptation well. We can't help ourselves to always want more and more and more and more. This gluttony is terms of technology, money, power, greed, etc. has become poisonous. The last I checked, poison is toxic and deadly. I won't spell this out for you, as I'm sure the metaphor will become crystal clear, if you think about it.

In the end, we need to be less concerned about patting ourselves on the back for all of our supposed advancements, because all we're doing is slowly making ourselves obsolete. Essentially, we're our own worst enemy. This self-destruction is ego-driven, pure and simple.

If you need a refresher on the battle between our ego and our spirit, check out my podcast episode, The Battle of You.

Basically, every day throughout our decision making, interactions, etc. there are two creatures battling inside you. Since I love sharks, I’ll pick them as the allusion for this battle. Two sharks (battling inside me everyday) - pick the animal (or whatever) of your choice. The bottom line is there is a battle being fought daily inside you (and you may not even be aware of it).

*Who wins? That depends. Who should win? That’s a non-starter. That answer should be obvious, but is very elusive to our species more often than not. So, let’s learn and discover a little about ourselves shall we?

Shark 1 - Ego (fear, jealousy, judgmental, denial, non-authentic)

Ego is defined as the view that a person has of himself. An example of ego is the way that you look at yourself. An example of ego is thinking you are the smartest person on earth. (psychology, Freudian) The most central part of the mind, which mediates with one's surroundings.

Shark 2 - Soul (love, truth, grateful, empathetic, introspective)

The natural characteristics of soul are in abundance. While infinite knowledge, infinite vision, infinite energy, and infinite bliss are the main attributes, there are many others too.

Hopefully, this can be a WAKE UP CALL for all of us to reinvent who we are through our spirit and not our ego. How do we do this? Remember what it is to simply LOVE! It's not that difficult, so we need to get out of our own way, suppress our egos and truly become State of the Art again. Let's begin truly taking care of each other and stop looking at life as a huge competition. Why? Because at this rate, it's not a game we're going to win.


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