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You Can Twist and Shout, but Don't Do Drugs: An Exploration of how The Beatles Can Keep Teens Off of Drugs

By Drew Goldblatt


All people experience a form of euphoria or a form of extreme happiness at some point in their life.  At the adolescent age, this feeling seems necessary even more so than at any other time.  Most high school and college students also experiment with drugs in order to achieve this high and to perceive life in a different perspective.  All of these different euphoric feelings can be seen when watching an athlete who scores the winning goal or watching a musician who has just played his heart out to the audience. However, with every high comes a low.  No matter how many goals are scored, no matter how many concerts are well-played, and no matter how many drugs are taken, there is a definite low to every story.  The low caused by drugs always feels bad and sometimes worse than feeling normal, but the high attained by naturally experiencing the inner-soul through meditation, love and smiling has been proven to keep humans at a form of a euphoric high.  While euphoria can come from playing a sport or performing well in school, more often then not, this feeling is attained most commonly through music.  Music is the key to feeling, to expression and to dance.  Song and dance have both been around for centuries, and have been used to instigate another form of euphoric perception.  Despite the substance abuse issues of the musicians themselves, an interest in the actual music of the Beatles enables modern teenagers to refrain from drug usage in their own lives. 

Teens use drugs in order to experience a changed reality.  I do not speak of every single teen; however, I am speaking of the majority of teenagers and college students that do use drugs. When I do use the term ‘teens’, I am referring to an age range of about 12- 23.  I choose teens to prove my thesis on the Beatles, however, because the Beatles were young twenty-year-old musicians creating music that spoke to a major population of teens.  They created a form of music that was so extremely catchy, it became magical and drug like.  The only problem was that these ‘cool mop-top rockers’ were taking LSD themselves and making it a pretty public issue, “and our young people [did] take what they say quite seriously” (British Minister of State 255)1.  As shown, the famous and the bright are role models for our young people, and so the lyrics “All you need is love” and “Let it be” are taken quite seriously by them as well.    The only problem was that John Lennon disagreed.  He felt that it was not his place to be an idol to kids or a role model, even though he was one.  He says in 1967, “I don’t think we did anything to kids- anything somebody does, they do to themselves” (Lennon 255)2.  Others seemed to disagree with Lennon’s statement, saying that the  “youth culture draws few supporters – the young consumers are not to have sufficient maturity to know what is really good for them” (Sullivan 316)3.   The Beatles were not the type of drug users, however, who “[were] no longer seeking to get high, [and] just wanted to feel normal” (Powledge 513)4.  They were seeking something, something spiritual, something all teens search for and Paul commented after taking LSD, “after I took it, it opened my eyes.  [Humans] only use one-tenth of our brain.  Just think what we could all accomplish if we could only tap that hidden part.  It would mean a whole new world” (McCartney 255)5.  The Beatles used drugs, specifically LSD, because they had a motivation to find a God with in them … to find that other nine tenths.  The funny thing is, “The addiction pathway is the brain system that governs motivated behavior” (Powledge 513)6.  Motivated behavior, therefore, comes from the same neurological path as the addiction does.  If teens want to get high, because of peer pressure, stress or depression, their motivation and their addiction to drugs are flowing on the same path.  This means that no matter what motivation teens might have to get high, their addiction or attraction is directly related to their motivation.  The Beatles for example were motivated in order to see God, where as a depressed teen is motivated to feel something other than depression.  The difference in motivation between The Beatles and an angry or depressed teen, shows that these were four motivated and responsible young, creative men seeking something that all people should seek: truth in their spirituality.  Scientists also think that, “the right amount of dopamine, creates our subjective feelings of enjoyment, delight, even rapture- not just from drugs, but when we are eating ice cream, or making love, or getting a compliment” (Powledge 514)7.  Dopamine is, if you will, a brain juice and if too much is pumped into the brain, a ‘high’ is achieved.  Interestingly, “while LSD is not physically addictive, it can be psychologically addictive.  Experts agree that the best way to avoid dependence on LSD is never to start.  Taking LSD may seem like an exciting trip – but it is a trip to nowhere” (Littell 92)8.  If drugs are used to experience a changed reality, and if we know that this changed reality never stays changed, why do we keep chasing dream that ends negatively?  It seems that taking drugs is a way to feel free and view reality in a changed way.  The Beatles searched for a changed spirituality, something deeper and more meaning.  Teens are no different; they are just becoming acquainted with their emotions and body and need a spiritual base to relate to.  Drugs seem like such an easy way out, but why do we love drugs so much, when there so many other alternatives like sports, performing and meditating?

Drugs are an outlet, a way to get away from the nagging parent, the authority in our lives or the stresses in our lives.  Drugs quickly become, however, an expensive and time-consuming hobby.  Since drugs are psychologically addictive, wouldn’t it seem that humans are encoded with addictive personalities?  In the same way, we latch onto different spouses and become addicted to surrounding ourselves with friends, family, education, sports and hobbies; how could drugs be any different? Teens are so different from adults in the scheme of drug abuse because,  “in general, young people who abuse drugs may be attempting to cope with a level of anxiety or depression that is in itself pre-suicidal.  The drug problem is these cases is only a symptom of underlying emotional problems” (Gwynne 76)9. Depression may be a catalyst for drug abuse, but peer pressure can also be a huge catalyst as well.  Addiction is an interesting concept directly connected with the reward pathway.

“The reward pathway exists for reasons more fundamental than fun.  It after all, contains receptors, transporters, and other molecules that normally hitch up not with drugs but with chemicals that evolution has designed for them.  […] Scientists believe activation of the reward pathway is an essential spur to motivation, an incentive to learn and repeat adaptive behavior that they call reinforcement.  Eating may be pleasurable, but its underlying purpose is to sustain life; the pleasure that accompanies delightful flavors and full bellies is an enticement that encourages creatures to make a habit of it” (Powledge 515)10.

The point I am making is that humans are born with an addictive personality and if we don’t acknowledge that, we will never be able to fully understand and consequently overcome addictions.  Because of our an addictive personalities, we cling to what makes us feel good: if we like having a car around in order to drive, then we will keep our car even though cars are bad for the environment and our health.  If taking drugs feels necessary because of social or private issues, then we will cling to that drug the same way we cling to a car or even to food.  Drugs are harmful and do lead to more mental illnesses than having a car does, but the point I am making is that humans are inherently addicted in some way, and if we understand our inherent addiction, then we can better understand why drugs are so popular. 

Music is not entirely different from drugs because Teens also listen to music, specifically rock, in order to expand their personal environments and in order to experience a different form of consciousness.  By listening to rock music, teens are able to better understand their emotions.  Prior to teen-hood, humans are too underdeveloped to understand fully what their emotions mean and how others emotions also matter.  Within the teen age-range of 12-23 it is also likely that feelings of love, depression, and spirituality will most probably have all been experimented.   The teenage process is a time of learning and “It is a brief period of storm and stress, emotional awakening and emotional struggles, in which the various emotional drives, more or less latent before, assert themselves often to cool off or to be attenuated in later life.  The older psychologists spoke of it as a period of rebirth, the passing from the period of protected and directed life into the mergence of a self-asserting personality” (Seashore 268)11.  Teens define themselves by the way they compose themselves, the people they befriend, and the music they listen to and among other things.  Music is one of the most universal aspects for all teenagers, for “the output of excessively high volume creates a physiological sensory response which floods one’s sensory modality. […] This need for sensory motor expression has become one of the main springs of the current new generation culture, and is reflected in modern (popular) dancing, just as much as in the concern with basic sound found in the Beatles’ music” (Davies 279)12.   High volumes seem to be the basis for a party or a rave.  Loud music emphasizes the idea of tuning out and letting the music take over.  Everyone loves a great song and people are especially likely to turn the volume up for a Beatles song, letting that catchy melody take their minds off of their stressful social issues.  However, “ no matter what one might think about the Beatles or the Animals or the Mindbenders, the results are the same – a generation of young people with sick minds, loose morals and little desire or ability to defend themselves from those who would bury them (Sullivan 315)13.  Sullivan might have a point here, but all young people have a sense of rebellion.  As Lennon comments on the social differences between his parents generation and his own, he notices that in “the Twenties or the Thirties, most of the pop music was about the sort of illusionary romantic love that was basically nonexistent.  The songs were always about love and a boy/girl relationship, but they just happened to miss out the most important thing, which was sex.  I think kids sing and want to hear about reality, whether that’s love or sex, or whatever it is.  […] People are just up tight because the kids are having fun.  They didn’t have the same freedom because they didn’t take it; they just followed the lives laid down by their parents.  And they’re jealous of the people that didn’t do that” (Lennon 201)14.   Lennon seems to really understand the difference between the generation before him and his own generation.  The music sung before his time was that of a very hidden message: sing about sex, but never say the word or describe it any way.  Teenage life is so incredibly awkward and it “is the age of emotional response and of social awakening, the age of serious play, the age of decision and elimination, the dominant learning period, and the age of freedom and leisure” (Seashore 268)15.  Teen-hood has a direct link to music.  Teens use music as a vehicle to seriously play, to help make the social learning period easier and most obviously to feel a sense of freedom.  

Teens also expand their personal environment by creating a form of self-expression, usually art.   Finding value in life can replace the gap that drugs sometimes fill.  Different purposes include collecting stamps, taking pictures, exercising etc.  These types of hobbies or sports are outlets and,  “They [the youth] must also be motivated and given the outlets for self expression which tend to have lasting value in their lives” (Seashore 271)16.  Once this purpose is found, a feeling, much like the feeling of listening to music evolves, for “music is viewed as an external phenomenon, the consequences of which the listener is subjected to.  Endorsing the mechanistic viewpoint requires that we consider ourselves to be distant from an environment which, in turn, influences our actions to the point that what happens to someone is caused by his/her environment as if one being its victim” (Deschens 195)17.  The purpose we find in our hobbies is one that has such a weight in a teen’s life, and a purpose that shows how drugs are not necessary to have happiness.  No matter what situation a teen finds him or herself in the music being listened to has an affect on that person individual to that unique situation.  For example, if I were an angry about how my car won’t start up and I can’t get to school, and I hear the song ‘Let it Be,’ then I could attach these words and the melody and the harmonies and the beat and allow it to speak to me.  Because I have allowed my car to be broken, I have become victim to the song; I have allowed life to just ‘Be.’  Because I have allowed a Beatles song to govern the way I perceive my problem about my car, I have allowed one of  “The musicians and composers [I] listen to become, to a certain extent, responsible for [my] appreciation of the music and for the pleasing or unpleasant sensations [I] might have” (Deschens 195)18.  Some might say that since the sensations of music could never replace the extreme sensations of a drug like LSD, so why would anyone want to play a guitar and take the time to form calluses and learn to read music, when they could just pop a pill or two and tune out for ten hours?  The sensations of music are elementary compared to LSD, but music does offer a   “‘musical’ synchronicity, [between voice and instruments which] corresponds to a similar synchronicity of neuronal firings in the human body.  Music perception, in an ideal case, elicits a similar experience in the listener, so perception is more intensive, the more the perceiver’s state becomes similar to that of the producer (Marothy 120-121)19.  The synchronization that music offers ends up giving the player and the producer similar neuronal firings and allows both of them to experience a form of sensation.  This alone shows that having an outlet or a way to express one’s self is a form of experiencing a form of sensation, even though it might be different from the consciousness achieved through drugs.  A man needs out lets and ways to express himself and  “In order for a man to blossom he must be keenly aware of his nature as an animal, rooted to the physical world, to the sun and seas, to the smell of flowers and the touch of trees, to the feel of earth under his feet and the wind in his hair.  A man must be firmly grounded in his loves and hates, in his joys and angers.  He must know the cache of well-worked muscles and the quiet peace of deep sleep.  He must know and accept the brute within before he can be a man and touch God with in” (Payne 8-9)20.   By accepting our emotions and having outlets, we can most certainly be ‘firmly grounded in our loves and hates and in our joys and angers.’  Life is about accepting what is there, and by accepting the fact that we need an outlet rather than a bottle of pills to take allows us to touch the spirit within ourselves.

The Beatles experimentation with Indian culture helped mature their music and motivate teens to search for a form of spirituality.  Specifically in their Sergeant Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band Album, the Beatles proved themselves to be experimentalists and true artists.  The Beatles’ music prior to their venture to India shows an inherent interest in the Indian culture and music.  Sgt. Peppers seems to be a collaboration of the LSD they took and their incredible creative talent all mixed into one unbelievable album.  Not until after recording this album, would they realize that the practice of meditation they had learned from India “helped find fulfillment in [their] life.  Young people are searching for a bit of peace inside themselves They had mixed their roots with new recording techniques such as using backward tape loops and various instruments including George Harrison’s coveted sitar.  Sgt. Peppers was so experimentally incredible that art-was dead because it suddenly ceased to exist as a realm separate from everyday life – as a unit of significance distant from it.  The record was so alive, so surprising, that people suddenly lived their everyday lives with new intensity.  They walked down their streets as if they had never seen them before” (Griel Marcus xxv)21.  This one album alone changed people’s perceptions of life.  It made people smile, look at their streets differently – it created a high for all who indulged themselves in the art of music.  This album upped the spirits and awareness of an entire generation.  In a much earlier album, Rubber Soul, eastern sitar playing is also experimented at a very basic level, for “in ‘Norwegian Wood,’ Harrison’s sitar scans and echoes the haunting descending melodic phrase which recurs (in instrumental introduction and interludes, and song) twelve times framing a single (repeated) contrasting phrase.  There are several reasons why the sitar, played here in a rather rudimentary fashion like an exotic guitar, works so well.  First, the mixolydian mode of the song with its flatted seventh and the insistent recurrences of the melody with its component motivic bits related to sound, if not in complexity, to and Indian raga performance.  (Mixolydian relates to the basic generative scales of the south Indian melakarta)” (Reck 100)22.  It would be wrong of me to say that these mop-top rockers were the pioneers of this Indian or eastern interest of music, for “Orientalism was strongly in the ascendancy in the 1960’s.  The beats had exhibited a strong tendency toward orientalism, finding particularly in Zen Buddhism inspiration for their own alternative life-styles and world views” (Reck 91)23.  Orientalism is a word used to describe a form of music that has incorporated oriental influence or art with in it.  Many artists of the 1960’s were looking for this new form of spirituality and a new form of getting high.  The Beatles were just the best at incorporating it without leaving their pop-love, jazz, blues, and rock influences behind and their “orientalist Indian influences were to peak and to reverberate through the pop music world” (Reck 95)24.  Indian music and influences also sent a shock wave through America and England through the sixties because of bands like The Beatles and writers like Jack Keroauc and Allen Ginsberg.  The need for spirituality and the want for answers came from teens and young adults much like the Beatles, for “the youth of [68’] are really looking for some answers – for proper answers that the established church can’t give them, their parents can’t give them, material things can’t give them” (Lennon 260)25.  Lennon seemed to have a tough home life and “he went from Transcendental Meditation to heroin, he definitely had some issues.  ‘I’m not a psychologist,’ [says Mike Love] but he was abandoned by his father and hurt as a child.  Meditation obviously helped him a little bit…” (Paytress 300)26.  No one can cure the everlasting emotional damaged, but music can offer a place of solace like it did for Lennon. His path back to drugs seems to show that no one is perfect and that once on drugs, it is hard to get off.   However, Lennon’s attempt to get ‘high on life’ shows that he does know something natural is out there.  Beatle George came out strongest during their recordings of Sgt. Pepper for the search for a meaning to his spiritual life, for him, “it was a direction” and for the rest of the Beatles India and Meditation was a mere interest (McCartney 260)27.  With a little help from George the band quickly became interested in meditation and spirituality. George had matured as a person and this maturity allowed his band to mature musically and intellectually as well.  This maturation gave way to a realization that “[Drugs and traveling through India] wasn’t the answer, the question came: ‘What is it all about?’” (Harrison 263)28.  George’s travel to India along with the rest of the Beatles was about learning Transcendental Meditation from the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi.  The Beatles had become interested in a new form of intellectuality and their music began to grow along with it.  A drug addict might see Sgt Peppers as a tribute to drugs, but a well-versed musician or philosopher might find it as a way to perceive life differently.  The Beatles may have created Sgt. Peppers on LSD, but it was their inherent search for a God or something spiritual that motivated them to produce such great music.  The drugs were not as important as their maturation in musical experimentation and deepening interest in meditation.

Towards the end of the 60’s, the Indian influence in the Beatles’ last two albums seemed to fade away while their Britt-pop rock roots came back. The Beatles’ adventure with the Maharashi seemed to be an incredibly helpful retreat, well at least musically.  When the Beatles and ‘posse’ arrived there, “‘the place was idyllic,’ says wandering student and rookie photographer Paul Saltzman.  ‘It was an extremely relaxed and simple existence, which is what ashrams are supposed to be about.  Everything was focused on meditation and being at ease.  There was no hurry.  Life there was full of joy and humour’” (Paytress 299)29.  They wrote more songs in India at the Maharashi’s campsite then anywhere else. The Beatles left the Mahrashi on pretty bad terms.  They found faults in his meditation teachings, he would preach the act of being a vegetarian and sneak chicken into his room and he would hit on a few of the women who were at the camp site with the Beatles and he also tried to use the Beatles’ fame to create his own.  Quickly, the Beatles started to fade away from their initial interest in Transcendental Meditation.  John and George were the last to leave and left upset and still questioning the life around them.  The gap that Indian culture filled in their lives and in their music slowly began to disintegrate.  George had spent an exceptional amount of time learning and practicing his sitar with Indian Sitar guru, Ravi Shankar, “[He] was trying to find out from [George] what [his] roots were.  He was asking whether Liverpool was [his] roots and [George] said that [he] felt more at home in India these days.  Yet decided ‘well maybe I should get back to the guitar because I’m not getting any better at the guitar and I’m not going to be a great sitar player’” (Reck quoting Harrison 121)30.  With his sitar in one hand and his guitar in another, Geore made a conscious decision to revert back to his roots. We all search for something to fill that void we feel in life, but in the end our roots always feel the most natural to go back to for spiritual comfort.  Some go to church every Sunday and pray, others meditate and for the Beatles, George specifically, they play music.  Regardless of how many questions were unanswered with their interest with India, it is the interest in it of itself that allowed them to mature musically, emotionally and intellectually.  The end product: a regression to their roots, and the production “Abbey Road [which was] released on 26 September, 1969, “reveals, “ as Okun [1978: 84] writes, ‘a group of wildly creative musicians, tapping heretofore unknown wells of ecstasy, bitterness, aggression, and – miraculously, as if through a dark night of the soul up to the day – resolution of the tension of ‘A day in the Life’” (Reck 122)31.  Abbey Road proved to be a resolution similar to that of the song ‘A Day in the Life’ featured on Sgt. Peppers.  Abbey Road proved to show that not only Harrison’s, but also the whole band’s roots were firmly set in Liverpool, in Rock and Roll, in Jazz, in pop and in being creative.  Their influence from India became an intellectual helper.  Almost every song written in India ended up on the ‘White Album’, ‘Let it Be’ or ‘Abbey Road’.  These three albums show a variety of rock sounds, but a lack in the experimental/Indian department.  They made a hero’s quest if you will; India was a helper, a way to get them back to their roots and to re-vamp their creative psyche. 

            Through their adventure into spirituality, the Beatles not only matured their music, but also showed the world that there is an alternative to drugs.  The Beatles’ experimentation with LSD is well known, but after becoming interested with eastern philosophy, they instantly began to wean off of the peace pipe.  Meditation became the most useful vehicle for the Beatles to wean themselves off of drugs, “[it] was so simple, yet so powerful.  It seemed obvious that if everyone did it, it would be an entirely different world out there – relaxed and peaceful [said the Maharashi]” (Paytress 298)32.   Meditation is the idea of thinking of nothing.  If I were to say to not think of a pink elephant, a pink elephant is usually the first thought to mind.  Meditation is the process of clearing the inner dialog and being able to free the mind of whatever stresses are inhibiting the mind of acting freely; it “is one of the classical ways of ‘getting there without drugs.’ Like the notion of here, now it seems trivially obvious but its simplicity is deceptive.  The purposes of meditation are: (1) to produce perfect alignment of the emotions, the physical body, and the mentation process; (2) to contact a higher self or consciousness which transcends the ordinary personality of the physical organism; and (3) to bring that higher consciousness into operation in your daily life through your physical body” (Payne 55)33.  The Beatles were interested (specifically George and John) in reaching that extra part of the un-tapped mind.  They had met with the Maharashi in India a few times and his teachings had taught them the simple practice of 15 minutes of meditation in the morning and 15 at night.  The Beatles had given up on drugs before their trip to India with the Maharashi, but many were skeptical. 

“First, [David A.] Noebel [a minister who spent a majority of his life proving the Beatles to be a part of the Red Scare to hypnotize us the cold War] analyzes the Beatles’ relationship to the drug culture:

And, any record company or rock’ n’ roll group that lends respectability to such drugs is not only immoral but criminal.  And yet, the single greatest offenders (because of their cast popularity) are the Beatles!

Since the Beatles are gods to millions of teenagers today, if drugs are ‘in’ (or considered ‘in’) by the Beatles, they will be considered ‘in by the teenagers.  For like it or not, whatever the teenagers’ gods sanction – the teens have a tendency to sanction.  No wonder America is experiencing a drug epidemic! And even if the Beatles were to swear off all drugs to morrow, their drug records would still continue to circulate.  In fact, when the Beatles did say they were temporarily through with drugs, the Sgt Pepper album still continued to circulate the drug message to the youth.” (Sullivan 317 quoting Noebel 17, 21-22)34.

  George’s response to drugs was to just stop.  John later quit because he realized: “I’ve seen all that scene.  There’s no point, and [what] if it does do anything to your chemistry or brains? We don’t regret having taken LSD.  It was a stepping-stone.  But now we should be able to experience things at first hand, instead of artificially with a wrong stepping-stone like drugs” (Sheet from Lysaght’s Door)35.  Once the group found meditation, it became the correct stepping-stone, as it “was more about personal growth than cultural responsibility.  As Harrison later admitted, meditation was in many ways an extension of the band’s experiments with drugs.  ‘Up until LSD, I never realized that there was anything beyond this state of consciousness.  First time I took it, I had such an overwhelming feeling of well-being, that there was a God and I could see Him in every blade of grass’” (Paytress 298)36.  Even though Harrison had such an incredible trip on LSD, his state of consciousness was artificial, and now that he had something that was natural and consistently building to an everlasting high he realized that drugs were not necessary in happiness.  The Beatles were at one point a drug addicts and probably never weaned off full, but they at least showed that drugs were either a terrible trip in the words they chose when interviewed.  They also show through their music that no matter how many drugs they took or how much meditation they did, their ‘later years’ music ended up sounding like their Liverpool roots more than anything.  Abbey Road is a perfect album to show the bluesy, pop rock that they reverted to after they had been to India, tripped on LSD, and toured the world.  Abbey Road’s utilization by the Beatles as their last album also shows “not a trace of orientalism in the lyrics or music […], with one subtle exception.  Harrison’s ‘Here Comes the Sun” [has] […] lyrics [that] betray no obvious relationship with India’s music or thought.  […] However, there is a striking instrumental melodic/rhythmic pattern that occurs and recurs in variants throughout the song in breaks and interludes.  Harrison’s pattern is related in sound, technique and funtion to the polyrhythms of Indian classical music […] (Reck 122)37. Most opinions on music are subjective and in my opinion it is pretty clear that the Beatles hit a high point in their last two albums The White Album and Abbey Road, the Beatles were done experimenting.  Sgt. Peppers could be better than the White Album and Abbey road, but with subjective opinions aside, the White Album and Abbey road feels more natural than the experimental sitar songs that were on Sgt. Peppers.  Experimentation in science is used to understand more about a certain data being tested, and not until the experimentation is over, can the scientists understand what he or she has found out.  In the same sense, the Beatles were scientists and after they were done experimenting, they realized what they were left with: their roots.

The maturation of the Beatles’ music allows their listeners to feel an ‘out of body experience’ without getting high.  The out of body experience I speak of is one similar to the idea that it is possible for the producer and the listener to feel a similar sense of sensation.  The Beatles provided the world with a “breakthrough from the world of pop into a world that hasn’t yet been categorized [speaking specifically about the album Revolver]” (Mellers 125)38.  Even though Mellers specifically talks about Revolver in this way, I do not think it is too bold to say that Sgt Peppers, The White Album and Let it Be fit into this same ‘non - genre’ category.  Discovering music as an outlet after using the bad stepping-stone of drugs allowed the Beatles to advance as a group and their “[…]‘significance’, as a part of social history, is inseparable from the ambiguity of their function.  As pop musicians they are simultaneously magicians (dream-weavers), priests, entertainers and artists (incarnating and reflecting the feelings-rather than thoughts-and perhaps the conscience of a generation)” (Mellers 183)39.  They had come to terms with their feelings, expressed them and processed them into something creative and personal.  The Beatles became magicians, for “Magic is a representation where the emotion valued on account of its function in practical life, evoked in order that it may discharge that function, and fed by the generative or focusing magical life into the practical life that needs it.  Magical activity is a kind of dynamo supplying the mechanism of practical life with the emotional current that drives it.  Hence magic is necessity for every sort and condition of man, and is actually found in every healthy society (Mellers 183)40.   Humans are all searching for that ‘euphoric high’ or changed reality in order to experience a different reality.  Magic literally means, “the art of producing illusions by sleight of hand” (m-w.com)41.  Rather than producing illusions with drugs, the Beatles gave the world magic by sleight of their hands or their instruments.  The Beatles promoted magic with they’re incredibly creative music and art.  It was so simple, yet so complex that it seemed like they had used music as a way to create a magical trick on their listeners.  Also, just for the record, they even titled one of their albums ‘Magical Mystery Tour.’  Seeing a magician is like seeing life in a different way, at first there is a hat, and then there is a bunny in a hat, but where did the bunny come from?  Music works the same way, one guitar might play one melody and another guitar might play a second melody, but the two combine to create a larger ‘magical’ picture and feeling.  Some might disagree that a funky bass line is a good thing, for “Hermina Eisele Brown, Director of Music Therapy Dept, New Jersey State Hospital, says that primitive rhythms are rarely good as they arouse basic instinct in the emotionally insecure person.  Rock and roll has a direct bearing on delinquency since all delinquents are emotionally insecure” (Sullivan 315 quotes David A. Noebel)42.  We love to dance, to watch and hear incredible things, so why is it such a crime to dance to a sound that naturally makes us feel reality in a natural way?  If we didn’t dance to the magic music made by the Beatles or even the Rap stars of today, then we would need to look for other ways to take our mind off of the aspects of life that makes each of us emotionally insecure.  Ms. Brown is suggesting that a fun rhythm to dance to is taboo, but if we didn’t dance to a ‘taboo’ bass line then the need for drugs would become a much worse problem than it already is.  Magic is the idea of playing with one’s expectations and in the same sense drugs play with expectations as well.  We expect for a ball that we throw up to come down, the basic principle of gravity.  But what if a magician had a trick where the ball didn’t come down?  Isn’t that so incredibly appealing, to see someone throw a ball up and have it never come down?  A similar experience could happen on any drug trip. However, the Beatles replaced their drug trips with meditation and furthering the maturation of their music.  Majority of the listeners most probably took drugs while listening to the Beatles, but it was a stepping-stone, eventually the drugs don’t keep them ‘high’ and they have to take them just to feel normal or they quit drugs and realize that there is so much to get high off of through non-artificial ways.  There is a reason that the majority of teens only smoke pot while they are teenagers; they either grow out of it or smoking and shooting up looses its value.  Man can realize that he is only given one world and his “real life lies in the development of his consciousness.  He is born into the machinery of his body, and into a given culture; he can’t ignore or deny these factors, but he can extend the focus of his attention and his efforts far beyond them” (Payne 7)43.  Life is all we have. Why skew our focus away from it?  Why not be who we are, and let it grow into a harmonious being?  Life is a mixture of stepping-stones, all of which are both good and bad.  The Beatles show us that no matter how bad the stepping-stone can be; we can still get to this euphoric feeling without using drugs.

The Beatles were magicians, drug addicts, meditation addicts, Indian culture addicts, sex addicts, and created an art that in turn made everyone addicted to them.  The Beatles showed the world that everyone has addictive personalities, whether it comes to drugs or running long distances, everyone gets their high somewhere.  As drug users, they showed us that by turning to meditation, the world could be different (for the better) and that there are natural ways to get high.  As magicians The Beatles created some of the most simple, but mature music. They created their own genre of music; they’re own genre of living life and their own genre of getting high.  As humans they showed us that they couldn’t stay off of drugs forever, but that through their music it was ok to just ‘be.’  Through their escapades with India, they showed the world that there is a world outside of common Britt/American Pop Rock.  They were smart, good looking and idols to many even if they didn’t take the responsibility for it.  They were scientists.  They experimented with sounds to created an atmosphere through their songs, and in the outcome songs like the Yellow Submarine gives off the vibe that you are indeed in a submarine under the sea or in the song Blackbird, you feel as if you are outside listening to the birds.  They created not only incredibly catchy songs, but also they created atmosphere and an experience for every song.  They were beautiful and made everyone else realize that world can be perceived in so many different ways, it just depends on how you look at it and whether or not you take the wrong stepping-stones.  

© 2006 Philosophy Paradise