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Single Serving
By psychologist, Dr. Bruce L. Thiessen, aka Dr. BLT
Song: The Logical Song
Artist: Supertramp
Songwriters: Davies/Hodgson

Phantom Tollbooth visitors: You may hear, and download for free, Dr. BLT’s cover of this classic via this link:

The Logical Song:

Supertramp’s The Logical Song, was originally released in 1979, on the album, Breakfast in America.  Since then, it has been released on various greatest hits packages, and also appears on the 1999 soundtrack to the movie, Magnolia.    In 2005 the song became released as part of a 32-song collection entitled: Retrospectacle: The Supertramp Anthology.  

On this pop rock classic, Rick Davies delivers on the vocals with passion and pristine clarity.  In addition to Davies’ singular vocal style, the song is most musically memorable for the hypnotic keyboards a captivating saxophone solo, and a sort of rising action that sneaks up on the listener.   

When I was young, it seemed that life was so wonderful,
A miracle, oh it was beautiful, magical.
And all the birds in the trees, well they’d be singing so happily,
Joyfully, playfully watching me.

The song tells a story of a boy who begins his with a sense of wonder and a playful imagination.  Then something happens.

But then they send me away to teach me how to be sensible,
Logical, responsible, practical.
And they showed me a world where I could be so dependable,
Clinical, intellectual, cynical.

Western civilization, with it’s emphasis on logic, and cognitive skills generally associated with the left hemisphere of the brain stepped in, virtually wiping out his sense of wonder and awe over the universe, and the many mysteries it contains.  In the education that this boy acquired, critical thinking, which should compliment creativity, crushed it.  

There are times when all the worlds asleep,
The questions run too deep
For such a simple man.
Wont you please, please tell me what we’ve learned
I know it sounds absurd
But please tell me who I am.

Our system of education is not the only avenue in which learning has become laden with logic.  Virtually every institution in Western civilization has been poisoned, to some degree, with what I generally refer to as the cyanide of cynicism.  All Jesus ever asked for was a faith the size of a mustard size, but in our society, the tiny mustard seeds that once moved mountains have disappeared in the winds of Western civilization.   

Now watch what you say or they’ll be calling you a radical,
Liberal, fanatical, criminal.
Wont you sign up your name, wed like to feel youre
Acceptable, respecable, presentable, a vegtable!

Fear of labels, to some extent drives our behavior.  Such labels are part and parcel of society’s obsession with categorization, and its intolerance for ambiguity.  Liberals are afraid to be branded with the dreaded “liberal” label, and conservatives are afraid to be called “conservative,” and are afraid to admit to acknowledge their core conservative values, for fear of being labeled a “bigot,”  a “hater,” a “homophobe” or worse.  

At night, when all the worlds asleep,
The questions run so deep
For such a simple man.
Wont you please, please tell me what weve learned
I know it sounds absurd
But please tell me who I am.

In the end, the boy depicted in this song, like Western civilization, is lost, without a sense of identity, without a spiritual sense of purpose and without a soul to offer personal satisfaction and to serve as a guide in life’s mysterious, often problem-plagued journey.  Logic and the cognitive skills that are generally associated with the left hemisphere, have taken us, as a society, exceedingly far in terms of technological and scientific advancement.  Myriad medical discoveries would not have been possible without vigorous scientific studies.  But if society loses its soul in logic, how far have we really advanced?  We are able to extend life considerably, but aside from keeping the body alive longer, what  have we offered the soul?  This is the question that haunts us in The Logical Song.  And for giving us this timeless classic, Supertramp should receive a medal of honor.  The song is a deftly delivered, soulful reminder to us all to keep our priorities straight and to keep things in perspective.  The song reawakens the listener’s sense of imagination and wonder.  Jesus said that we must come to him as little children.  It is not that he asks us to leave our brain, and our left brain in particular, at the door.  It’s just that when we enter into his presence, he wants us to be wholly present---mentally, physically, emotionally and spiritually.  He wants to transform our whole being in order to make us whole beings.  Without the heart to guide it, the mind is a ghastly ghost town, and the soul has been reduced to a spiritual skeleton.  


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