When you were a kid, you probably looked around at the world and assumed that it all made sense.
If you were lucky, you had two parents who loved and cared for you, who filled your life with warmth and comfort, who fed you were you were hungry and consoled you when you found yourself inexplicably moved to tears.
You never had to think about the Big questions, because the adults surely had the Big answers. How else could they move through life with such confidence and grace? How else could they navigate the world so effortlessly?
But as you grew older, you realized that everything wasn’t quite as it seemed.
You learned, eventually, that “adults” are just as scared by life’s big questions as you were. Why are we here? What is the meaning of it all? Why does it feel so damn good to fall in love?
You grew older, and you realized that in fact no one has big answers – just small ones. The small answers, like your home address, Gmail password and high school GPA, are the ones that get you though today and force your eyes awake tomorrow morning.
Our generation is a misunderstood one. Our elders think we’re too passive, too coddled and unambitious. That we aren’t concerned with the world’s problems.
The truth is that we are. The truth is that we’re more self-aware than any generation that came before us. We don’t make any unnecessary presumptions. We hope for a world free from dogmatism and hate. Above all, we believe in common human dignity and compassion. Because we are not afraid of the future.
There was a moment during Afrojack’s set at Coachella when the Dutch superstar brought Paul McCartney on stage. As Afrojack stood there, arms raised aloft, in complete sync with the surging throng of young ravers, I could have sworn I saw him look over at the old master, almost as if to say: “Look at this. I did this.”
In that moment, I felt connected to history. I watched as the wizened old Beatle bounced furiously on stage, electrified by the crowd, his face lit up in a huge, beaming smile. It was as if the years had melted away, and suddenly I was back in 1962 watching four boys from Liverpool emphatically introduce themselves to the world.
If you’re reading this, then you know that music has the power to transcend, to connect the past with the future. You’re a member of our generation. You understand that music can give us mere mortals a glimpse of the divine.
Our generation knows that the truly great artists, from Mozart to McCartney, Chopin to Cobain, will continue to touch our lives long after they are dead. Their music will make us ache with sadness and swell with joy. The truly great artists change the way we live. For the better.
Our generation knows that until you’ve seen and heard and felt 100,000 people move as one, you haven’t really lived. In the words of the Holy Trinity of House, the Swedish House Mafia, “goosebumps never lie. They can’t lie. They’re goosebumps!”
-Written during Dirty South at the Electric Daisy Carnival in Las Vegas, NV, USA. 12:47 am on June 25, 2011.