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Problems Don't Equal Solutions

By Cindy of Stone Marmot

April 14, 2008

We often get critiques of our songs from professional songwriters who have had hit songs. This is one way we try to improve our craft.

We recently had a professional songwriter critique our song I Must Be The Change. One of the comments we received for this song was that the two verses say the same thing. This initially really surprised and puzzled us as the first verse is a list of problems and the second is a list of potential solutions. After a couple of days of deep thought and discussion, we realized that people like the one who did this critique were THE reason we wrote this song, as well as the song Environmental Poser.

Many people can't distinguish between a problem and a solution and think the two are the same. If they identify and state a problem, they feel they have done their part, are part of the solution, and feel justified. It never even crosses their minds that they may be part of the problem and are contributing to the problem. They feel that as long as they notice and state the problem, they have done their part and it is someone else's job to solve the problem. And, if they can blame someone else for the problem, they feel extra justified and smug.

That is why we have so many problems in this world, because many people are quick to identify problems but few are willing to make any effort to try to solve them. Everyone is waiting for someone else to solve the problems.

For example, many people have recently become rather concerned about global warming. But few of these concerned people are making much effort to reduce their own consumption of electricity or gasoline, which many claim are major contributors to this global warming. Most feel they are entitled to live their lives as they always have and it is someone else's job to figure out how to provide everything they want in a way that has less environmental impact. Even when more environmentally friendly alternatives exist to the way they are doing things, they will either ignore these alternatives or make up excuses for not adopting these alternatives.

Upon identifying a problem, a truly concerned person will first seriously and honestly examine their own lives to see if they are somehow contributing to the problem. If they find that they are somehow contributing, they will then try to minimize, if not eliminate, their own contributions to the problem. If a significant number of us did this, most of the problems we experience would simply go away.

But instead, most people's initial and often only reaction is to find someone else to blame for the problem. After all, they usually aren't really concerned about these problems, they are just being fashionable and trying to make themselves feel good and impress their friends. As long as this latter behavior continues, the problems will often remain.

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