The existential row row row your boat

I was thinking this morning (insert <snort> here if you’d like) that the song Row Row Row Your Boat is the epitomy of existentialism.

Consider this:

Row, row, row your boat

Gently down the stream

Merrily merrily, merrily, merrily

Life is but a dream”

– Traditional Nursery Rhyme

“Row, row, row your boat” could well be encouragement for you to create yourself.  This could well be a shoutout for Authenticity.

“Gently down the stream” refers simply to living life and has little to do with water. It also acknowledges that there is nothing you can do about going “down the stream.”

“Merrily, merrily, merrily, merrily” can best be seen as sarcasm, or, at best, satire, since it seems to be at odds with the typical existential despair. You have to laugh or else you will cry.

Finally, “Life is but a dream” likely refers to the absurdity of the human condition.  It is also possible to see it as a reference to the idea posited most famously in the Matrix that we are all living in a simulation.

Don’t even get me started on 99 Bottles of Beer on the Wall

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