88.9 Hey Radio, Gandhi's Gun, and Me

When Bill sent me the song "Through It All" by Gandhi's Gun, the first thing that I thought of was "Through It All" by Spoken. I thought it was a bad sign because I would just be comparing it to a completely different song that I didn't think it would be able to stand up against, since I like Spoken. But, I was wrong. Luckily they are different enough that I won't compare the two, and I would say Gandhi's Gun is just as good.


There are two versions of this song that Gandhi's Gun has out: the original and the acoustic versions. I like the acoustic version myself. But, we'll get to that in a minute. Gandhi's Gun has the normal story about a band, and I will put that here, but the song "Through It All" has a more interesting story. Both of these came from their website: http://gandhisgun.com/

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With positive messaging and an aggressive edge, Gandhi’s Gun combines the best elements of rock from days past with the most modern textures of synths and electronic dance music. Fronted by two perfectly matched male and female voices, the San Antonio based group steps ahead of their time while remaining comfortably familiar. The most recent incarnation of the group formed in late 2015, has two full-length albums, has released their 2017 EP titled “The Changes We Face," and two new singles titled "Through It All" & "We Are The Stars."

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And the story of "Through It All".

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Before we set out for tour in July of 2018, we wrote, self produced, and recorded "Through It All" but, we didn't feel that the timing was right to release the song. On our way back home from that particular tour, we were in a severe collision outside of Arizona in our 13,000lb motorhome, almost killing our entire band. It was a very close call, and we are very fortunate to be able to continue touring. In the aftermath of the collision, this song became very special to us. We know that many people go through difficult situations in life, often. Originally, this song was to provide hope for others who were experiencing a tough time in hopes that they knew they weren't alone. Now, this song also provides hope for us.

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Here is the Youtube acoustic version of "Through It All": https://youtu.be/AE5SzDXzCuI

The band was nice enough to send me the lyrics. Here they are, then I'll dive into them.

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I know you’re with me through it all

This time I’m
I’m desperate Your end Is all I’m left with
So consume me
Breathe through me
Close my eyes till You’re all I can see

I’m on my hands and my knees
Crying out for relief
I need a miracle
Supernatural
To come and rescue me from my enemies
Don’t let me forget

When I feel like givin’ in
Got nothing to give
I’m breaking within
In my weakness you are strong
This is my song to keep holding on
I know you’re with me through it all
When I’m right when I’m wrong when I’m perfect when I fall
I know you’re with me
I know you’re with me through it all

So control me
Console me
Come be my one and only
Overtake me
Come and break me
Mold me into what you made me to be

I’m on my hands and my knees
Crying out for relief
I need a miracle
Right now

When I feel like givin’ in
Got nothing to give
I’m breaking within
In my weakness you are strong
This is my song to keep holding on
I know you’re with me through it all
When I’m right when I’m wrong when I’m perfect when I fall
I know you’re with me

When I feel like givin’ in
Got nothing to give
I’m breaking within
In my weakness you are strong
This is my song to keep holding on
I know you’re with me through it all
When I’m right when I’m wrong when I’m perfect when I fall
I know you’re with me
Through it all

I know you’re with me through it all

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"I know you’re with me through it all"

The most obvious question from this first line is, who are they talking to? I assume that it is either a person or God, or both. Either way, it's a significant other. Humans are not designed to be alone, we can't handle it. That's why Tom Hanks in the movie Castaway makes the volleyball into his friend Wilson, he needed someone. It's why people in solitary confinement for long periods of time will become friends with spiders. Loneliness is one of the worst things that humans can experience. We need people. That's why ancient societies would exile people for punishments. (The term significant other was coined by the psychiatrist Harry Stack Sullivan. It's important through this whole song (and life).)

"This time I’m
I’m desperate Your end Is all I’m left with
So consume me
Breathe through me
Close my eyes till You’re all I can see"

Desperate people seek transformation. This transformation can come about from different things, but one of the most powerful ways is by interaction with a charismatic personality. That's what charisma is actually about, it's about transformation and reorienting yourself in the world. Len Oakes in his book "Prophetic Charisma" talks about how this works. But, this stanza describes it pretty well in itself. The follower gets the advantage of being transformed, hopefully in a positive way. The leader gets the advantage of having a follower that is acting basically out of blind faith towards an end chosen by the leader.

That last line is a bit different though. This is about what we are aware of and what we aren't aware of. Everything that you're aware of is your phenomenal field. Some of those things are more prominent, those are called figures. Some things are in the background, those are called ground. Your phenomenal field determines all of your behavior. Personality transformation requires a change in the phenomenal field. By making one thing such a prominent figure and pushing everything else into the ground a person can completely change, essentially becoming a different person. Closing your eyes symbolizes this shutting out of the rest of the world so that one figure can come to dominate the phenomenal field. ("Individual Behavior" by Combs and Snygg is a great book on the phenomenal field.)

"I’m on my hands and my knees
Crying out for relief
I need a miracle
Supernatural
To come and rescue me from my enemies
Don’t let me forget"

Being on your hands and knees can represent three things that I can think of: 1) being exhausted and possibly beaten. 2) submissiveness, subservience, worship, surrender. 3) being a child that hasn't learned how to stand on its own yet. In this stanza it seems like it might represent all three of these at the same time, but the first one is the most obvious because the person is crying out for relief. You can see how all of these work right with what we've started to explore about significant others and charismatic individuals. A desperate person is attracted to a charismatic individual in a state of surrender so that they can learn to transform themselves, so they can learn to stand on their own in a new way as a new person.

Supernatural miracles are interesting. Supernatural essentially means something that we can't explain as part of nature, thus it is beyond nature, or super-natural. Miracles are essentially a knowledge gap. Something happened and we don't know how, it's a miracle. Miracles are the good things that are unexplained. And, if we're talking about personality transformation here, which it seems like we are, then it is a miracle because no one understands it fully.

I could say some things about those last two lines, but honestly I'm not fully connecting them. That last line especially, I'm not really sure what that's about. Being rescued from enemies makes some sense. It makes a lot more sense if those enemies are within, and we need to be rescued from something like our resentment or doubt, for instance. Also, once we transform it's easy to forget the period before the transformation because it slides out of figure and into ground in the phenomenal field. Maybe it's something like that.

"When I feel like givin’ in
Got nothing to give
I’m breaking within
In my weakness you are strong
This is my song to keep holding on
I know you’re with me through it all
When I’m right when I’m wrong when I’m perfect when I fall
I know you’re with me
I know you’re with me through it all"

We all feel like giving up at times, or at least I have many times. That can often feel like something is breaking inside. What, what is breaking? There are a number of ways to come at this and I'm going to propose this, it's the breaking of the personality itself. In a stressful situation where we are both overwhelmed and confused part of the self can become dissociated. We're not sure which way to view the world, we're not sure what's important and what's not important, so instead of having one solid phenomenal field we have different possible phenomenal fields that we try to hold at one time. I've never heard anyone else propose this, so it's my own formulation. Essentially we get separate versions of personalities. Sometimes these will show up in dreams and other revery states. If we can reintegrate these parts then we become more unified and whole again. We probably need someone else to help us through that process because it's so difficult. You need someone that is strong while you are weak.

There are a few more things here, but I'm going to move past them because that last paragraph was already a lot of challenging information for one stanza.

"So control me
Console me
Come be my one and only
Overtake me
Come and break me
Mold me into what you made me to be"

This is a great description of the experience of being a follower of a charismatic individual. The last two lines are extremely interesting. The person is seeking to be broken. To transform the personality in a radical way then maybe it's necessary to challenge beliefs and perspectives to the point where the person is confused, and to do this under some pressure. That pressure can be internal, maybe it can only come from an internal place to be effective. Then, in this state, the person has made themselves malleable, and hopefully they've placed themselves in an environment that will help them be molded into the kind of person they desire to be.

The last line in this stanza brings us back to the idea of the significant other. Humans need approval to survive. We can't survive alone, especially when we're young, and if we don't have approval then we will be alone. Social approval from significant others is necessary for life, that's why approval and disapproval are so powerful. Sullivan even proposes that most of the personality is formed from what is approved and disapproved by significant others. They literally mold and form the personality. And, this is as it should be. The psychologist Lev Vygotsky invented the idea of the zone of proximal development. It's what is beyond our ability to learn on our own, but we can learn it with the help of a more knowing other, and that's the only way we can learn so much and so quickly. Learning to be in the world requires this molding of the self from significant and more knowing others. (I could also take that last line of the stanza in a completely different direction theologically, but I won't for now.)

"I’m on my hands and my knees
Crying out for relief
I need a miracle
Right now"

We have covered most of this. Notice that crying out is a social process. If it wasn't social then crying out would be completely pointless. The last line adds some feeling of urgency, which only makes sense when a desperate person that has been overwhelmed by a confusing world has broken pieces of their personality vying to dominate their phenomenal field. They know they need some big, good thing to happen, and to happen fast (a miracle).

"When I feel like givin’ in
Got nothing to give
I’m breaking within
In my weakness you are strong
This is my song to keep holding on
I know you’re with me through it all
When I’m right when I’m wrong when I’m perfect when I fall
I know you’re with me"

Having nothing to give can refer to two things: 1) being so exhausted that you have no energy to do anything, this can be physical and/or emotional, essentially it's having nothing left to confront life with. 2) having nothing to give someone else. So, you need someone else and you need them to be generous.

I think the line about "This is my song to keep holding on" is great. It's one of those things that I could talk about, but I don't think I'm quite up to really pulling apart how powerful it is. Essentially, it is a line that is beyond my ability to add anything of worth to at the moment.

When I first heard perfection referred to in the song I was just a tiny bit confused. Perfection isn't achievable, we're told. But, that isn't really true. If we have an expectation about something, let's say it's about our own actions in the future. And then, we meet those expectations, we were perfect. And, I think most people have had that experience at some point, when everything seems to be just as it should be, that's the experience of perfection. Then, inevitably, we fall away from that impermanent state.

"When I feel like givin’ in
Got nothing to give
I’m breaking within
In my weakness you are strong
This is my song to keep holding on
I know you’re with me through it all
When I’m right when I’m wrong when I’m perfect when I fall
I know you’re with me
Through it all"

This need for the possibility of transformation and orientation through an interaction with a generalized, significant, and more knowing other is why the concept of God is so important and powerful, why it always has existed, and why it always will exist.

"I know you’re with me through it all"

I like that the song ends with the same line that it began with. In public speaking we call this bracketing, or at least I do. It seems to wrap the ideas contained within into a unit, into a package, a single piece that we can hold in our minds.

Overall, I think it's a great song. And I love the fact that Gandhi's Gun wrote it to help other people and it ended up helping them in their own time of need. Serendipity at its finest.

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

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