16 October 2009
In this paper I will try to analyze some of the ways in which these philosophy course topics relate to Michael Jackson’s song, titled, “Man in the Mirror.”  First, I will answer Philosophy’s First Question (“What is there?”) by analyzing the types of group of people within the lyrics of the song. Second, I will also respondse on how the lyrics relate to Philosophy’s Third Question (“What should we do about it?”). Finally, I will express some ways in which the lyrics answer Philosophy’s Fourth Question (“Why?”): Iit’s going to feel real good for oneself and others.
What is there? : People, Class, and Poverty
From my point of view, the lyricist tries to divide people into two kinds of categories. The first category could be seen from, “As I turn up the collar on my favorite winter coat” (line 4). This particular statement portrays the lyricist himself as a wealthy and fortunate individual who gets to choose his winter coat. Not many people are fortunate enough to have the luxury of choosing their favorite wardrobe. From that, we can see that the lyricist implies the existing existence of the wealthy group, to which he also considersed himself beinga part of in it. In contrast, the second group of people in the lyrics that the lyricist sees, beside himself, is the poor group. Line 6 (“I see the kids in the streets with not enough to eat”) literally says that many kids out there are suffered suffering from hungrinesshunger. This may happen because their parents have neglected them or simply just because their parents could not feed them. Not only starvation, line 24 (“That there are some with no home, not a nickel to loan”) also literally says that many people could not shelter themselves with roof, . mMoreover, do not , having have some money for their essential primary needs. Therefore, the lyrics implicitly answer Philosophy’s First Question (“What is there”) with: “There are people, and they are divided into two categoriesy: Rrich and poor.” Apparently, the lyricist lives in a same world as ours, where poverty is indeed being one of the main global issues. In addition, the lyrics that I stated above (line 6 and 24) also indirectly answer Philosophy’s Ssecond Qquestion (“How do we know?’). How do we know that poverty is all around us? Sometimes just by simply paying attention on the surroundings, where many people are starving and homeless people are freezing.
What should we do about it?
With the exiting existence of poverty issues, the song tries to change the in perspective of a wealthy man whenever he sees starving children and homeless people freezing on the streets. On Line 22-26, the lyricist realizes that he has been selfish for so long for neglecting the less fortunate people. Then, it makes him thinkAs a result, he made himself thinking:, “Could this be really me doing this? Do I have the soul to let this continue to happen?” Finally the lyricist statedstates, “I’m gonna make a change for once in my life,” where he believes a change is what we need in order to solve the problem he claimed above. The lyricist wants to make a change in the world but he realizes he has to start with himself first and do not wait for someone else to start (line 14-21). Therefore, the lyrics have implicitly answered to Philosophy’s Third Qquestion (“What should we do about it?”): We should make a change starting from ourselves in order to create a better place to live. Why?
“Why do we have to make a change?” This is probably the question we might have in our mind. Line 2 (“It’s gonna feel real good, gonna make a difference”) shows us that the lyricist believes that making a change can have several impacts. Firstly, a change does not only bring good feelings towards people who need it, but also towards people who are actually making the change. Second, a change can make a difference whether the impact is big or small. Line 3 (“Gonna make...