In this day and age, (and at this age), it is absolutely vital for me to have heroes, individual human beings who live or have lived as examples of the full potential of our species. I need them to keep me inspired enough to act in the world. Some of my heroes are entrepreneurs, inventors, or futurists, like Sir Richard Branson, Bucky Fuller, or Jacque Fresco, people with the imagination and influence to try and design a better world for us. A few are political leaders, like Malcolm X or Barack Obama, whose extraordinary charisma galvanizes people into that rare, glorious state of unified action. Most of them, though, are artists, because the Irrational Mind is the only realm left in our material world where Mystery still resides, and the artists who plumb its depths are the only people who can still remind us of Mystery's power over us.
Art has outlasted Religion, cut it from its moorings. Religions are just stories now, creative expressions of the Irrational Mind, the human mind. In order to confront the Mystery today, we have to use Art. It's the only way we have left. And music is, for me, the most reassuring, beautiful medium of all, because it can be right there with us, painting the situation, constantly decorating time, as we navigate the cacophony of 21st century life.
The American producer J.Period and the Somali refugee rapper K'naan have created a trilogy mixtape celebrating three of the 20th century's greatest music-heroes: Fela Kuti, Bob Marley, and Bob Dylan. It is called The Messengers, and you can get it for free right here. It is one of the most inspiring and edifying things I've heard in a long time. If you need a boost of courage, I encourage you to download it.