Nine Inch Nails and Boethius Aren’t the Actual Events

Ashley Whitaker’s essay on the new Nine Inch Nails release through the lens of the philosopher Boethius:

“One is not a seer or what he or she sees going on in the world. One is the act of seeing (relating to what one sees). Seeing is who Boethius, Reznor, and all of us truly are. We are not the actual events. We are all the metaphorical field on fire, without any choice but to burn whether we like it or not.”

The Blackwell Philosophy and Pop Culture Series

nine-inch-nails

Nine Inch Nails and Boethius Aren’t the Actual Events

By Ashley Whitaker

In The Consolation of Philosophy, Boethius laments his unjust imprisonment, but Lady Philosophy attempts to comfort him with a stern reminder that she has remained carefully beside him. No matter what else he is deprived of, Boethius cannot be stopped from philosophizing.

Like Boethius, the narrator throughout the new Nine Inch Nails EP Not the Actual Events is confused, struggling with the absurdity of his world. The narrator’s world is unrecognizable, and the uncertainty of the future forces him to decide whether to accept the solace that philosophizing can provide. In “Dear World,” the lyrics convey the disenchanted feeling of being locked within one’s thoughts, alone in the company of others who appear more asleep to their existence than awake to their reality. This point is, underlined by the passage in the song, where two separate lines…

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