Uncategorized

Jay’s Jams: Ages and Ages, Divisionary (Do the Right Thing)

Do the right thing do the right thing
do it all the time do it all the time
make yourself right, never mind them
don’t you know you’re not the only one suffering

I see you up again wandering so diligent
crossing your t’s as though it weren’t irrelevant
they say formality, this is what they really meant:
they can be the walk and we can be the pavement

Do the right thing do the right thing
do it all the time do it all the time
make yourself right, never mind them
don’t you know you’re not the only one suffering

So what you’re up against all the disingenuous
They wave you along and say there’s always room for us
But we know better than that to take’em serious.
Still don’t let’em make you bitter in the process

And when the light is up, this is how oughta be
We’ll make it alright, they’ll come around eventually
They say it’s nothing but that ain’t the reality
They may take us on but they can never take us easy

Cuz they ain’t moving, they’re just moving around
So if you love yourself, you better get out now

I hear a higher calling
Better here than there I guess
so long

Reflection

I chose this song for between the High Holidays because of the refrain which repeats “Do the right thing.” It’s a very appropriate mantra for thinking back on past mistakes and looking forward to a new year and a new you.

The theme of the song is doing the right thing, living a life of inner integrity. It can be quite difficult – the tone of the song is defiant because we endure a constant barrage of social, political, and economic pressures that have little of our self-interest in mind. To try to live actually aligned with your most deeply held values is a constant challenge, hence the repetition of “do the right thing, do it all the time”.

Parker Palmer writes regarding finding one’s passion in life and pursuing it, that to do something that is not aligned with your passion is not simply damaging to you, it also harms others. This is because when your heart is not in it there is greater potential for resentment, mediocrity, and low morale, none of which benefit anyone. This is how I understand the lyric “Don’t you know you’re not the only one suffering.”

Discern who you are, discover your passions, and do everything you can to follow them: Do the right thing (for you), do it all the time.

Rate this song below. And tell me what you think about the meaning of life in the comments section!


Jay’s Jams post at the beginning of every month. Every song I post will be accompanied by a reflection, often but not always connected to Judaism, which elucidates or complicates the meaning I draw from the song. Occasional contributors will supplement my own favorite jams.