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Old 03-08-2002, 11:29 AM   #1
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When you look at the world...

Quote:
When you look at the world
What is it that you see?
People find all kinds of things
That bring them to their knees
I see an expression
So clear and so true
That it changes the atmosphere
When you walk into the room

So I try to be like you
Try to feel it like you do
But without you it's no use
I can't see what you see
When I look at the world

When the night is someone elses
And you're trying to get some sleep
When your thoughts are too expensive
To ever want to keep
When there's all kinds of chaos
And everyone is walking lame
You don't even blink now, do you
Or even look away

So I try to be like you
Try to feel it like you do
But without you it's no use
I can't see what you see
When I look at the world

I can't wait any longer
I can't wait till I'm stronger
Can't wait any longer
To see what you see
When I look at the world

I'm in the waiting room
Can't see for the smoke
I think of you and your holy book
While the rest of us choke

Tell me, tell me, what do you see?
Tell me, tell me, what’s wrong with me
From the first time I heard this song, I was blown away by the sheer honesty and open spirituality. The way I've always heard it (note: I am saying this is MY interp, not claiming it is the one and only one ) the song sounds a lot like Bono crying out to Jesus and asking him for a bit of insight. If we could only see things through his eyes. The verse about "seeing through a glass darkly" comes to mind.

Anyways, this song is a great encouragement to me because it expresses what I often feel. It is frustration but without a sense of hopelessness. Ultimately, Bono is acknowledging that even though he can't see everything the way it should be seen and doesn't have the answers...someone else does. The answers are out there. I guess it comes down to the idea of growth and becoming more like Christ. gah, I am using Christianese! But I don't know how else to put it, so bear with me. The way I understand it is, the more we draw into relationship with Christ, the more like him we become, the more we can understand IN PART a tiny bit of how he sees us and perhaps be able to see a bit more how "all things work together for good".

Well anyways, those are my random thoughts. Discuss amongst yourselves!

-sula
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Old 03-08-2002, 12:51 PM   #2
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I agree. Good insights.
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Old 03-08-2002, 02:52 PM   #3
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I can't much else then agree in what you said. I love this song and the lyrics, as you said, are so open hearted and honest. My guess, is one reason why it wasn't played live, it's private.
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Old 03-08-2002, 04:28 PM   #4
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Spanisheyes-

Didn't Bono say somewhere that a "soul" singer is one who reveals rather than conceals? I have a feeling that Bono really enjoys knowing that he writes songs that so many people can relate to and take comfort in. Several times Bono's songs have expressed my heart better than I could have dreamed. I am soo thankful for him.
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Old 03-08-2002, 09:52 PM   #5
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Amen, Sula. My thoughts exactly about this very song. There are times where I just *stop* what I'm doing and look around and think "WOW, what a glorious world this is"...and then there are other days that nearly bring me to my knees over all the sadness, war, death, hatred, and man's cruelty to man (and women...and children).

Bono (again) has put my own thoughts and feelings into black and white....I try to look at the world as Christ does, but most days, it's very difficult! And I know I don't have all the answers...but He does!
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Old 03-09-2002, 03:26 AM   #6
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I've often wondered when Bono writes a song like this if he ever wishes that for once he could just keep one to himself. A song so personal, that to put it "out there" might cheapen, or leaving it wide open for misinterpretation take away from his meaning in the truest sense of the word. I guess that is part on one's artistic endeavor, to be as true to one's interpretation of life, and give it away as a vehicle for self-evaluation and inspiration that reveals the shortcomings of life, as well the need for moments of strength we find in music.

For me, 'When I Look At The World' is one of those songs, and my little rant above is in no way to take away from Bethany's beautiful interpretation of this song.

Chris
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Old 03-09-2002, 07:27 AM   #7
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I agree with what everyone has said - it just doesn't ring true for me that this song is about a friend with a simpler faith than Bono (which is what a lot of people say) or about Ali, though I find it plausible that Ali helped inspire it.

I have to say that the image of Jesus
"you don't even blink now, do you, or even look away" has moved me tremendously. It also reminds me, in a curious way, of some of the very first words Bono addressed to Jesus on an album (if you hear this song that way--you may not, I do) "your eyes make a circle, I see you and I go in there."

Because of that, I have been thinking it would be interesting to go through U2 lyrics looking for references specifically to the gaze of Jesus.

Also, that sweet, childlike sing-song prayer at the end "Tell me, tell me..." Ah!
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Old 03-09-2002, 02:36 PM   #8
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You don't even blink now, do you
Or even look away


Well, prepare, 'cos this post is gonna be long. The above quote has opened my eyes to the greatnes of Christ. That He is always there to help, no matter what, 'cos He loves me for me. It's a fabulous thought. He is always there for me, now I need to try to be there for him.

Tell me, tell me, what do you see?
Tell me, tell me, what’s wrong with me


This, to me at least, summarizes so much of what I feel. What IS wrong with me? I don't know. And there's a lot of sould searching that needs to be done before I can repair the holes in me.

As far as being like Christ, I don't feel comfortable with that for me. I don't feel comfortable emulating Christ at all. He was Christ and - oh I don't know exactly how to explain it, but I feel that if I were to be like Him I would take away from Him and His greatness. I'm not sure why I feel that way, but I really do.

I regards to finding your Christianity through U2, I believe in that! It's pretty much how I became re-interested in being a Christian. Just the other day I said I was a Christian in casual conversation and I scared myself. Just a month ago, I would NOT be comfortable with myself throwing that out there (not that I don't believe in Christ, I'm just not one for labels, especially that one, since it's the biggest label to bestow on someone). U2, Bono's lyrics showed me that I wasn't the only one who believed in God but was still skeptical about the whole "organized religion" part of it. The Church and its decisions scare me sometimes, I just don't agree with them and I feel cut off from the group (a feeling I have become accustomed to...). I think a HUGE turning point for me was when I used to attend a youth group and we went to a Saturday night mass with a lot of other youth groups from around the state. People around me were discussing how ironic it was that I was there being that I wasn't even baptized (which made me quite irritated in the first place). We went on to discuss what I thought about different policies (that can't be the right word, can it? something to that effect, but no negative connotations ok?). We came upon the topic of abortion (this is just for the story, not for discussion, I know we aren't in fym), I stated I was pro-choice (in VERY regulated ways) and I was called a murderer to my face. The next thing I knew they were telling me to be tolerant and loving and peaceful. That really stuck with me, so I shyed away from affiliating myself with church and Christ for a long time. But now I realize that not all Christians are like that. I also see how much I need Him in my low times (which have been increasing as of late). And at first it was difficult for me to call on Him. While I do call on Him now with relative comfort, I still find myself asking a lot of questions. It was Bono's lyrics that showed me that that was ok.

Bono obviously believed, but he obviously questioned too. And that was so amazing and even more it was comforting to me. In Zooropa when Bono says "And I have no religion, and I don't know what's what." I coudln't believe what I was hearing! Bono did the same thing as I did, and he was kind enough to be open about it and help me along the way. Every time I hear that song I SHOUT those lyrics (and most of the rest of the songs too). U2 was my in to Christianity and I thank God for delivering them to me (especially when He did).

So sorry if this is long, or if you find it boring, but it's just a bit of me I decided to share today.

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[This message has been edited by Lilly (edited 03-09-2002).]
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Old 03-09-2002, 02:57 PM   #9
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Lilly: That was really, really nice to read. It's a cliché, I know, but it could have been my own words. My story looks exactly like what you told about yours, and how U2 and Bono's lyrics tought me that it's ok to ask questions, be angry with God etc.

Oki, I won't tell my whole story here. I'm just so glad to see how U2 have opened more eyes then my own to God again. Specially after I opened up to a friend, christian, non U2 fan, about what they've done for me after I "broke up" with God, and almost felt like a moron because in other's ears it sounds weird for a rockband to be able to do something like that. It feels good to know that it's not in my imagination but that others has had the same experience. Thanks!

And sorry Sula for being a bit out of topic here.
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Old 03-10-2002, 04:15 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally posted by mebythesea:
I agree with what everyone has said - it just doesn't ring true for me that this song is about a friend with a simpler faith than Bono (which is what a lot of people say) or about Ali, though I find it plausible that Ali helped inspire it.

(a SIMPLER faith?? Not if they bothered to listen to the song!)

I have to say that the image of Jesus
"you don't even blink now, do you, or even look away" has moved me tremendously. It also reminds me, in a curious way, of some of the very first words Bono addressed to Jesus on an album (if you hear this song that way--you may not, I do) "your eyes make a circle, I see you and I go in there."

Because of that, I have been thinking it would be interesting to go through U2 lyrics looking for references specifically to the gaze of Jesus.


wow, I hope you do. And I'll be listening for them with every album I play from now on... The single most compelling thing about U2's songs is their direct, intimate address of Jesus. It's radical, reassuring (amen, Lilly), illuminating, and deeply humane. I tend to hear most of their songs, mebythesea, as adressing the Divine, especially those lines from IWF.

Also, that sweet, childlike sing-song prayer at the end "Tell me, tell me..." Ah!
That was the part that most moved me. Particularly in the contrast between the trudging delivery of Bono's lines, and then the plaintive, soft refrain, hungry, humble, drained of ego -- What's wrong with me?
Everything we are, all our struggle and strife, reduced to the essence of humility. In it, I hear true, deep longing for Christ's vision, I hear the sound of one prepared to die to himself; in it, "what's wrong with me?" sounds not like self-pity, but rather like acceptance of the limits of the flesh and the ego. In it, I remember how to pray.

namaste,
Deb D



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Old 03-10-2002, 12:54 PM   #11
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it's a shame it was never performed live (aside from the snippet Bono sung at the end of Bad during a show late on the 3rd Leg)

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Old 03-12-2002, 11:41 AM   #12
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Sula I like your interpretation. This part has always thrown me off though:

I think of you and your holy book
While the rest of us choke


I think I saw an interpretation of those lines that I liked once, but I can't remember now and the only thing I can think of is that it is referring to church clergy..
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Old 03-12-2002, 12:35 PM   #13
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I think of you and your holy book
While the rest of us choke


To me that is a clear reference to the Bible. Sometimes the Bible seems awfully vague and impersonal to us, especially when we are going through hard times (choking). When you combine it with the lines previous to it:
I'm in the waiting room
Can't see for the smoke


I see it as him saying that we are here on earth and it's a bit of a waiting period. We're not done yet (still haven't found what we're looking for ) so it's a waiting room. Things are unclear to us. We can't see through the smoke. And during all this, Bono thinks of "you" (Jesus in this particular interpretation) and the Bible and perhaps knows that there are answers there even while we choke on the problems of life. Or maybe it's a bitter statement like 'what good is the Bible when people are suffering?' I dunno. It seems to me it could go either way.
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Old 03-12-2002, 02:13 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally posted by sulawesigirl4:
I think of you and your holy book
While the rest of us choke

Bono thinks of "you" (Jesus in this particular interpretation) and the Bible and perhaps knows that there are answers there even while we choke on the problems of life. Or maybe it's a bitter statement like 'what good is the Bible when people are suffering?' I dunno. It seems to me it could go either way.
....or both at the same time. i think part of growing in faith is being able to acknowledge those times when we feel "I really do believe I can find your strength in the Bible, Lord, but I just can't feel it right now..."

like...."You *know* I believe it but I still haven't found what I'm looking for."
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Old 03-12-2002, 04:31 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally posted by mebythesea:
....or both at the same time. i think part of growing in faith is being able to acknowledge those times when we feel "I really do believe I can find your strength in the Bible, Lord, but I just can't feel it right now..."

like...."You *know* I believe it but I still haven't found what I'm looking for."
That's a great perception. I wholly agree with you. The tension is there, isn't it? And perhaps it will always be so.
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Old 03-12-2002, 04:52 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally posted by sulawesigirl4:
That's a great perception. I wholly agree with you. The tension is there, isn't it? And perhaps it will always be so.
The tension? It is SO there! I'm going to go into a bit of music stuff here, but indulge me. Bono's voice is a bit cracked and hoarse there, giving off a feeling that he's been in the waiting room, and he knows the pain too. It's a voice of frustration, he's frustrated for all of the reasons that have been aforesaid in this thread. Adam's bass line and the drum beat a re regular, something solid for Bono's voice to fall back on. Put 'em together and it's good symbolism for what they're talking about.

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Old 03-24-2002, 06:24 AM   #17
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I remember either reading or hearing an interview in which Bono shortly described When I Look At The World as "perhaps the only jaded song we've ever done." And I think it ties in a lot with the Psalms and how, as Bono says, David was always honest with God - sometimes crying out in pain "where were you when I needed you?" There's a lot of that in here, but there's also that earnesty there, that true yearning to be able to see the world the way God/Jesus does that I think is always pervasive in U2's songs.

A line like "I still haven't found what I'm looking for" could be taken very negatively, as if nothing in this world is good enough, but ISHFWILF has that awesome inspirational tone that says "I'm going to keep trying." I find a little bit of that in WILATW, although the narrator in this story has seen a lot worse things and has lost a little faith compared to the one in ISHFWILF. On one side it seems like Bono is really questioning Jesus angrily - sort of like a "how can you hold so much faith and hope in humanity when we've screwed things up so much? How can you hold your head high after seeing what we've done?" But the really powerful part is that there's something vague - something undefined and yet present in Bono's voice and in the song that just seems to show that he's still trying. He's not just sitting back and throwing anger towards God. He hasn't given up. He is a little angry, he is a little jaded, but he...still hasn't found what he's looking for, and although at times he gets impatient ("I can't wait any longer, I can't wait till I'm stronger..."), he's still looking for the time when he is stronger and when he will find it.

That's what I find so awe inspiring in this song. That despite the hurt, the pain, the anger and the frustration in this song, he hasn't given up - he's still looking and he's still striving to live up to Jesus's image. That's incredibly comforting and inspiring to me.

My 2¢.

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Old 03-26-2002, 05:26 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally posted by sulawesigirl4:
I think of you and your holy book
While the rest of us choke

This reminds me sharply of Please and its sentiments. But rather than focusing on one subject in Please, the singer in WILATW is looking from a different presective..

(that's about all i can think right now sorry- brain fried)

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