“How many roads must a man walk down, before you call him a man?”
That was one of Dylan’s first songs that he wrote, so technically it is ancient, but how strange that it is still one of the most profound in his catalogue. But then again, you might listen to it and see it as childish. It crafts questions, but says that if there is an answer, you have to find it in the wind.
But it endures, as a loved and celebrated song, so it must, literally, strike a chord.
I suppose that the song is really about maturity. When do you become mature? And there is no human switch for that, because it occurs when you learn to behave maturely – and that means that you now effectively belong to the ‘community’ in which you are placed.
I wonder, in the West, whether people now think it is the responsibility of those around them to change their behaviour to accommodate them, and thus enable them to become mature. We want to be individuals, but don’t realise how belonging effectively, being and giving value, is the only way to become who we are, to freedom as individuals.
It might sound tautological, but Jesus knew exactly what he meant when he taught that slavery to him bestows perfect freedom. Now there’s a single road to walk down.