88.9 Hey Radio, Collision of Innocence, and Me

Today we have a band that is quickly gaining popularity. Lucky for us they were helpful enough to give me some insight into their inspiration for a specific song.


Collision of Innocence was formed at the beginning of 2018. Bill from 88.9 Hey Radio messaged me and wanted me to take a look at their song "The Void". It's an excellent song, but I wasn't able to find the lyrics anywhere. So, I messaged the band on Facebook. Not only did they send me the lyrics, they also told me that the inspiration for the song had come from a message by Billy Graham. I have all of that for you, then I'll dive into the song myself and see what I pull out of it.

You can listen to the song on Youtube here: https://youtu.be/QlRBXG5ZYwc
And, here is their Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/collisionofinnocence/

Ever wonder about the secrets of making connections like these? Here's how I do it, in a straightforward manner. No matter what happens there won't be complications this way because there aren't secrets or hidden agendas and then there can't be drama. Here's the message that I sent them:

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I'm working on an article for 88.9 Hey Radio on your song "The Void". I haven't found the lyrics for it online. Could you send me the lyrics?

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Most likely one of two things is going to happen here: 1) They're going to send you the lyrics. 2) They're never going to respond. Either way, there's nothing to fear in reaching out.

They sent me the lyrics first, which I'll show in a minute, then they sent me this:

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Thanks Brother!
This song is about about the void of the human heart and how we try to fill that with a lot of things but God is the only thing that completes us. In a nutshell... there’s also an amazing article that ties it together by Billy Graham. I’ll try to find it

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Well, a response doesn't get better than that. It does put some pressure on me though. Since I'll be going through and pulling my own personal meanings from the lyrics it will seem odd if I have a different perspective than the band that wrote the lyrics and Billy Graham who was the inspiration for the lyrics. I'm guessing that's going to happen though. Luckily I don't feel a strong need to agree with people or conform, and if I did I wouldn't do any writing or public speaking. It will be interesting to compare and contrast. (It reminds me a bit of the article that I wrote on Grandpa Loves Rhinos about their song "Aquaman" where I assumed it had something to do with Aquaman and I learned that I was completely wrong when I was messaging with the band after I wrote the article. It's like that, but in reverse.)

Here's what they sent me from Billy Graham:

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We all have a hunger in our hearts for God — an empty place in our souls that only He can fill. The Psalmist in the Bible put it this way: “My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When can I go and meet with God?” (Psalm 42:2).

The problem is that instead of turning to God and letting Him fill our souls, we turn to other things — pleasure, fame, money, sex, or drugs and alcohol. Some people even turn to false philosophies or religions, hoping these will lead them to the truth and fill the empty place in their lives. For a time, they may think they’ve found what they were looking for, but in the end, they’re just as empty as they ever were. Tragically, some will even discover that they’ve almost destroyed their lives.

Only God can satisfy our inner hunger, and He will, as we turn to Him and by faith open our hearts and lives to Christ’s transforming power. God doesn’t want us to wander through life, constantly wondering who we are or why we’re here. Instead, Christ came into the world to bring us back to God, and He will, as we commit our lives to Him.

Don’t be deceived by those who urge you to take a wrong road, no matter how glamorous or famous they seem to be. Instead, make Christ the center of your life. God’s Word is true: “Why spend money on what is not bread, and your labor on what does not satisfy?… Give ear and come to me; listen, that you may live” (Isaiah 55:2-3).

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Alright, now it's time for the lyrics. I think the lyrics are better than Billy Graham's quote. Here they are:

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This emptiness
Inside so cold my spirit seems dead
I long to fill this hollow void
This world can’t help it only destroys

Escape into me
And you’ll find the rest that you need
Confide in me
I’ll eclipse, surpass all of your dreams

In this dark abyss
Here I’ve found anything but bliss
Offer me their medications
For this ache they don’t know the remedy

Escape into me
And you’ll find the rest that you need
Confide in me
I’ll eclipse, surpass all of your dreams

Behold I’m coming soon
Knew you before the womb
I’ll never leave you, never deceive you
My arms are open wide
I want you by my side
Wipe away all your tears, diminish all your fears

How long will you wait? How long, so long so long I’ve been waiting

Escape into me
And you’ll find the rest that you need
Confide in me
I’ll eclipse, surpass all of your dreams

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(I feel like I should have done a bigger intro, maybe something like, "For the first time being presented to the public in written format on the internet, I bring to you, direct from the band, a JeffreyAlexanderMartin.com and 88.9 Hey Radio exclusive collaboration, the lyrics for Collision of Innocence's "The Void"! You have to read it in a boxing radio announcer's voice to really get the effect. Anyway...)

I like the structure of this song. It's both obvious and subtle at the same time. I didn't realize this the first time I heard it, but I realized it as soon as I saw the written lyrics. There are two characters in this story, and they both speak from the first person perspective. Depending on which perspective you take in this song you could be one of those voices, or you could have a separate third person perspective of either a dialogue or duel monologues that are happening. What I'm talking about will become more clear as I go through it stanza by stanza.

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This emptiness
Inside so cold my spirit seems dead
I long to fill this hollow void
This world can’t help it only destroys

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This stanza is from the perspective of a suffering person. The first three lines are the suffering, the feeling of suffering. This type of suffering is a lack, something is missing from the person's life and they have an urge to find it to feel less empty, less spiritually dead, and less hollow. Let's dive into this a bit more because that fourth line will be its own thing.

This lack of meaning in life is common. In modern society it's even becoming pervasive. This is especially true for people that don't have to struggle to survive. You get time and energy to think about what your life is about and what your life is worth. Unfortunately, many people have a hard time finding answers to these questions. Philosophy and psychology have largely dropped the ball in this area, which is probably the most important area of life. Some people have confronted it and have useful insights, others are less useful.

The philosopher Albert Camus proposed the idea that the most important question in philosophy is "Is life worth living?" In a series of articles titled "The Most Important Question in Philosophy" I proposed the idea that there is a better question, "What makes life worth living?" Albert Camus doesn't offer great answers, really they are quite disturbing. He founded the philosophy of Absurdism as a branch of Existentialism. The basic Absurdist take on this matter is that humans have an inherent yearning for meaning in life, but there is no meaning in life. This is an absurd situation, thus Absurdism. The best answer that Camus can give is that there is also a defiance in humans that allows us to press on in the face of this absurd situation in spite of it all.

A much better discussion of this topic is handled by Viktor Frankl who founded the philosophy and psychology of Logotherapy. He's known for being a neurosurgeon and psychiatrist that survived the Nazi concentration camps. The three basic axioms of Logotherapy are: life is intrinsically meaningful (Unconditional Meaning of Life), we are capable of discovering opportunities for meaningful action (Freedom of Will), and we are motivated to want to make our lives meaningful and purposeful (Will to Meaning). There is so much that is good, useful, and relevant from Frankl here that it would be an entire article. I won't dive into all of that. Just to get a taste of some of the great insights he has you can check out the article I wrote titled "An Interesting Note of Suicide from Viktor Frankl" which is where this feeling of emptiness can lead when it's at its worst. Here's that article: http://www.jeffreyalexandermartin.com/2019/01/an-interesting-note-on-suicide-from.html

Now, that fourth line brings up some interesting things, controversial and debatable things. "This world can’t help it only destroys". This is a world denying stance. The idea is that the world is corrupt, a wholly corrupt manifestation of a greater and purer spiritual plane of existence. This is one of the basic tenets of Gnosticism. The Gnostic movement was quite big in early Christianity and survived for several centuries before the Catholics were able to eventually kill them off. In some ways it will always survive and humans will always come back to it. The Apostle Paul was criticized right at the founding of Christianity of being too Gnostic. At that time there was quite a mix. There was no bible, the parts of the New Testament were still being written, many pieces of writing about the accounts of Jesus were in circulation with a bunch of different factions vying for control and sway over the beliefs of the public. It was a huge deal for the early Christians trying to figure out how Jewish they were and there was a lot of integration, disintegration, and debate about that. We would think of them as a bunch of denominations now. There were many, but it was fewer than the current 34,000 different Christian denominations. It's overly simplistic to say that there are two sides to this debate, but... to avoid this article turning into a series on the history of theology I'm going to say that there are two basic takes.

One view is that the world is something to be overcome and let go of. This has some movement in modern Christianity, but it's overshadowed by the world affirming versions of Christianity. You see this same theme most clearly in the modern world in Buddhism, where the world denying factions are the major force and the world affirming versions of Buddhism are smaller. I think it might be the case that all religions have different versions of these two camps. The ideas about an ideal realm of forms is prominent in the philosopher Plato as well. (John Vervaeke is a psychologist from the University of Toronto that delves into many ancient and modern perspectives on these things in his online course "Awakening from the Meaning Crisis". It's worth a look if you want to delve deeply into it.)

This idea of a duality is easy to comprehend and comes up again and again. Some versions of Christianity raise the power of Satan up to equal, or at least challenge, that of God. That's one type of dualism in religion. Zoroastrianism has a good god and an evil god. It's a fairly straightforward idea.

The other major way for dualism to work is to have the idea of a material world and a spiritual world. We also see this type of dualism in the philosopher Descartes where the idea of the mind is separated from the body. The dualism that puts two opposing forces against each other in the world is still world affirming, they just acknowledge various corruptions from the opposing force. The dualism that posits a good plane of existence and a bad plane of existence is necessarily world denying, although there are a lot of details to those views that we aren't going to dive into here.

(The Cathars in France and Italy had this type of dualistic good spiritual world and bad material world view too. The Catholics were eventually able to wipe them out in the 14th century. But, we see here that this dualistic view of a good world and bad world is something that comes back. I'm not sure about the specific religious views of Collision of Innocence, but I'm going to guess they're Protestant because they're from the United States and there aren't that many Catholics, Anglicans, or Eastern Orthodox here. Protestants are generally considered heretics by Catholics too, although there hasn't been a major war in awhile. Really, every group considers every other group heretical. Rarely is it noted that heretics are the saviors of religion from itself, or that Moses was a heretic, Jesus was a heretic, Luther was a heretic, etc.)

Personally I try to be world affirming, but acknowledge the major limits of that view and see the perspective taken against it. I think all of these perspectives come down to different takes on modes of being that are developed in humans. The psychiatrist Harry Stack Sullivan calls these steps prototaxic, parataxic, and syntaxic. Sullivan founded Interpersonal Psychiatry, which is all about human interactions. In the first step things aren't perceived as separate. In this second step things are distinct from each other but in unclear ways. In the last step things are well defined. An adult human uses all of these modes of being to a greater or lesser extent. Limits on the personality are created by approval and disapproval of the person right from infancy. This forms two basic models of interaction, the good and the bad. This is the same basic concept we have been talking about, and this is why it exists in all people. You could also make a case that it's an archetype, as in biologically embedded in humans. That's the take from psychologist Carl Jung, but I like Sullivan's formulation more.

Wow! That was a lot. Let's look at the second stanza. I'll speed this up a bit too.

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Escape into me
And you’ll find the rest that you need
Confide in me
I’ll eclipse, surpass all of your dreams

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This is not the same person talking. This is God talking to the person. That's the interesting structure that I was talking about before. These first four stanzas are a back and forth between this suffering person yearning for meaning and God.

Here we see the same call to step away from the world, to escape this place of suffering. The second line is interesting. You need rest because you are exhausted from being in the world. What's the answer to being exhausted and worn out from this material world? To escape to and confide in God. (You could also take the perspective that this "rest" is talking about something that is lacking and there is a searching for the rest of it. I like that idea, but I won't develop it here.)

The etymology of confide is revealing here. Etymology is the history of a word. The best place to look up etymologies is etymonline.com. Confide is like confidence, it comes from the Latin confidere. Con fidere literally means "with faith," or "with trust." (As a wedding officiant last year I noted this in the ceremony.)

So, that line could be translated from English into English as "Trust in me" or "Have faith in me". What will you get if you do this? You'll have all of your dreams surpassed. We don't get a reference to what dreams this entails, but if we remember that God is talking to a person searching for meaning then we get some idea.

Notice that it doesn't say you'll get all of your dreams. It says your dreams will be eclipsed and surpassed. To eclipse means to fail to appear. To surpass means to go beyond. So, to eclipse and surpass your dreams means that you definitely won't get your dreams, you're going to get something else.

Wow! There is more here. I feel like I'm not even halfway done talking about this. I think I could write a series of essays on these first two stanzas, but let's look at the third to keep things moving.

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In this dark abyss
Here I’ve found anything but bliss
Offer me their medications
For this ache they don’t know the remedy

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Darkness is a symbol of the lack of knowing. This is also good Gnostic symbology. In a very general way the Protestants propose that salvation is through faith. Others, namely the Catholics, propose that salvation is through works, sometimes faith and works. The Gnostics propose that salvation is through Gnosis, knowing, knowledge. I agree with that view. I just disagree as to what the knowledge is and its interaction and relation with faith and works. I lay out some of those basic ideas in my article "Theoconceptualist Theology" here: http://www.jeffreyalexandermartin.com/2018/12/theoconceptualist-theology.html

In the second line we see that what this person has been searching for is their bliss. The idea of following your bliss is associated with the mythologist Joseph Campbell. Here's a good quote from him about it:

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If you follow your bliss, you put yourself on a kind of track that has been there all the while, waiting for you, and the life that you ought to be living is the one you are living. Wherever you are — if you are following your bliss, you are enjoying that refreshment, that life within you, all the time.

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It's the idea that you are doing what you're supposed to be doing, what's important to do. This is about values.

(I can't believe I haven't talked about values yet. Really though this entire article is about values, and the song is about values, and everything every living being does is about values. So, it's in there, just under the surface.)

The idea of having an ache and seeking a remedy that's a medication works literally, but it also works great metaphorically. It works materially, where I have found the medical system to be horrible. But it also works mentally and spiritually, where many of the options we have are also a letdown. Questioning meaning and value in life is not a disease that can be fixed with drugs, it's part of being human and needs to be solved in a human way, a chemical way won't work. And other short term, simple, and quick solutions won't work either. You have to go down deep into the soul to deal with these things. (Here's something disturbing, in 2014 the best selling prescription drug in the United States was the antipsychotic Abilify. That's right, for psychotic people. It had 7.5 billion dollars in sales. Here's the thing, many or most of those sales were for people that weren't psychotic. Guess what happens when you aren't psychotic and you take antipsychotics designed to change your brain chemistry in major ways? You become psy____. Thanks big pharma, for preying on people in the throes of spiritual upheaval and offering a solution that makes the world a worse place, and makes people less healthy physically, mentally, and spiritually.)

Other than drugs, many other solutions don't work either. If your life feels empty you need to find the values that will fill that inner void. These won't be things that we usually classify under the headings of power or pleasure, but that's what many people try, and many people try those things for their entire lives. If you do that then your emptiness will never go away. There are three major types of values: creative, experiential, and attitudinal. This song is talking about taking a certain perspective on life, a religious perspective guided by God. That attitude will lead to a different experience of life. That experience will lead you to do and create things differently than you would have otherwise. And it all starts with the attitudinal value. (The framework that I presented in this paragraph is right from Viktor Frankl.)

Here's what I haven't covered yet.

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Behold I’m coming soon
Knew you before the womb
I’ll never leave you, never deceive you
My arms are open wide
I want you by my side
Wipe away all your tears, diminish all your fears

How long will you wait? How long, so long so long I’ve been waiting

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The thing is, I'm psychologically exhausted from writing this article. You've probably only been reading for a few minutes at this point, but I've been writing for hours. It takes a lot more time and effort to create something than it does to consume it. So, I'm going to skip the detailed analysis of this last section. I'll let you imagine what I would say about it. Or, message me, let me know what you think about it. I know the normal take on it, my take would not be the normal take, it never is. What can you see in it that might be a unique perspective?

Well, that was a pretty wild ride of an article. I'm sure that Collision of Innocence wasn't expecting anything like that when they sent me those lyrics. If there's something that you liked in this article then message me and let me know. If there's something that you don't like then you can message me about that too, I get love and hate mail about everything I write. But, I suggest that you sleep on it one day before you respond if it's a disagreement. In the heat of the moment we are less articulate.

I would like to thank all of my sponsors. (I'm just joking, I don't have any sponsors. Although, I've been thinking about setting up a donation page on my website so that people can support my work. I know there are some people place a high value on it, and with some financial support I could do more. Maybe, maybe...)

Last thought. It's amazing how powerful and deep songs are. I don't usually comment on anything having to do with the music or the sound because I don't know much about those technical areas, but I wonder what this song would be like with two singers? One for the suffering person and one for God. It might be interesting.

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You can find more of what I'm doing at http://www.JeffreyAlexanderMartin.com

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