Bob Dylan just released a new album today and was interviewed by AARP magazine. The entire article is at their website. It is a lengthy interview. Here he was asked about happiness and being on the road more than 100 days per year, touring. He picks up with a tour in South America as he turns 74 this Spring.
It is an interesting interview, particularly since the AARP audience is interested in such things as work, retirement, state of the country, and so on. Here is an exert about work:
Q: You obviously get great joy and connection from the people who come to see you.
A:It’s not unlike a sportsman who’s on the road a lot. Roger Federer, the tennis player, I mean, you know, he’s working most of the year. Like maybe 250 days a year, every year, year in and year out. I mean, I think that’s more than B.B. King does. So it’s relative. I mean, yeah, you must go where the people are. You can’t bring them to where you are unless you have a contract to play in Vegas. But happiness — are we talking about happiness?
A: OK, a lot of people say there is no happiness in this life, and certainly there’s no permanent happiness. But self-sufficiency creates happiness. Happiness is a state of bliss. Actually, it never crosses my mind. Just because you’re satisfied one moment — saying yes, it’s a good meal, makes me happy — well, that’s not going to necessarily be true the next hour. Life has its ups and downs, and time has to be your partner, you know? Really, time is your soul mate. Children are happy. But they haven’t really experienced ups and downs yet. I’m not exactly sure what happiness even means, to tell you the truth. I don’t know if I personally could define it.
Q: Have you touched it?
A: Well, we all do.
Q: Held it?
A: We all do at certain points, but it’s like water — it slips through your hands. As long as there’s suffering, you can only be so happy. How can a person be happy if he has misfortune? Does money make a person happy? Some wealthy billionaire who can buy 30 cars and maybe buy a sports team, is that guy happy? What then would make him happier? Does it make him happy giving his money away to foreign countries? Is there more contentment in that than giving it here to the inner cities and creating jobs? Nowhere does it say that one of the government’s responsibilities is to create jobs. That is a false premise. But if you like lies, go ahead and believe it. The government’s not going to create jobs. It doesn’t have to. People have to create jobs, and these big billionaires are the ones who can do it. We don’t see that happening. We see crime and inner cities exploding, with people who have nothing to do but meander around, turning to drink and drugs, into killers and jailbirds. They could all have work created for them by all these hotshot billionaires. For sure, that would create a lot of happiness. Now, I’m not saying they have to — I’m not talking about communism — but what do they do with their money? Do they use it in virtuous ways? If you have no idea what virtue is all about, look it up in a Greek dictionary. There’s nothing namby-pamby about it.
Q: So they should be moving their focus?
A: Well, I think they should, yeah, because there are a lot of things that are wrong in America and especially in the inner cities that they could solve. Those are dangerous grounds, and they don’t have to be. There are good people there, but they’ve been oppressed by lack of work. Those people can all be working at something. These multibillionaires, and there seem to be more of them every day, can create industries right here in the inner cities of America. But no one can tell them what to do. God’s got to lead them.
Q: And productive work is a kind of salvation in your view? To feel worth and pride in what you do?