‘A world which increasingly consists of destinations without journeys between them, a world which values only “getting somewhere” as fast as possible, becomes a world without substance.’ — Alan Watts.
Late afternoon in central London.
It’s overcast, cool, clear.
My intuition is rumbling.
I feel a new enthuasiasm rolling over me, and just in time.
An enthuasiasm for my pursuits; for writing, for reading, for social expression, for the growth of new skills — for life.
Last night I got stoned with Harry. We watched a film called ‘Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas’, based off the notorious and revolutionary journalist and author: Hunter S. Thompson.
Hunter was an extraordinary man. Namely, extra — ordinary. He was known to take copious amounts of drugs and ride a motorcycle with extreme lack of caution. His writing style was abstract, euphoric, free — at times nonsensical, but brilliantly so.
The man was crazy, eccentric — beyond all social constraints of what a man can and cannot be. He was truly wild.
An article I read recently by the Independent described him as ‘the epitome of the man that mothers warned their daughters about.’
He was a rebel with a contagious spirit who co-invented a new style of journalism entirely.
It was named Gonzo Journalism. It was described as ‘the unedifying concept of the reporter as a proactive part of the story with proportionate emphasis on the imaginative and comics as the real.’
The word ‘gonzo’ is derived from Italian: meaning ‘foolish’, or ‘crazy’.
It is fascinatingly counter to the modern objective style that so denotes today’s dull and rigid mainstream storytelling — that, to me, hardly deserves to be called storytelling at all.
Watching this movie, and reminding myself of these concepts, my fascination with the role of the storyteller in expressing fresh perspectives on the world and its events has been re-invigorated.
I know that my passion for this world is endless, and so are the stories that so weave meaning into and through the fabric of reality.
With my camera and pen I wish to dive into what it means to be human, what it means to be alive today, what our world is made of; not materially, but experientally.
I feel that too much emphasis is placed on the symbolic measures of our lives: on our job, our identity, our name.
I feel that the storytellers of our world are sincerely lacking inspiration, and that there is a thirst that needs to be quenched in the minds of the average citizen.
This thirst is ripe for the quenching, and it is a deep thirst. It is a thirst for passion, for spirit, for something real and moving.
Even in everyday life, we are constantly in search of something beyond our own lives to fulfill us. This is an absurd notion. For there is no fulfilment beyond our own lives, and how we choose to live them.
But the masses do not choose their own lives, they allow it to be chosen for them.
And even at the heights of societal success, in the finest tailored jackets, at the top of the game we have created and adorned and idealised, men and women seem so deeply lost, perhaps even moreso due to the deepening of their illusion of status.
I rebel, most compassionately, against the notion of attainment. What are we trying to attain?
As a nation, as a species, what are we trying achieve by this significant hurry by which we dictate our way of living?
I am not against making the most out of our short life, no — infact I am quite emphatically passionate with the idea of creating something our of our short and passing existence. I am by no means passive in my way of living.
But I simply ask, why am I doing what I am doing? What do I really want to create?
I fear that many live so immersed in trying to ‘keep up’, that they live for 60–70 years in a mad rush to be accepted and to be worthy, completely missing the point that they were worthy in the first place; that until they can really feel themselves to be quite acceptable just as they are, they will be living in constant pursuit of validation — and therefore live their whole lives in search of a part of themselves that they never really lost.
Well then, if there is nothing that we must aim for, it becomes much clearer that we are free to pursue that which we really want to pursue, even if it be quite off the track of the blind herd that runs desperately towards the gates of death — unknowingly wasting their time in some kind of sleeping discomfort, only eccentuated and made stronger by the frantic attempt to ‘solve’ a problem that was never really there in the first place.
The light darkens; and I sit in the cafe now, nearing the end of todays writings, quite immersed in the feeling of my fingers against the keyboard of my laptop, with a strange feeling within me that I am onto something.
What it is exactly I can not yet easily say, but I suppose if you are reading this still, you must on some level ‘get’ what I am talking of here — and to you, I say, it is time for us to take back our own lives, to really live for the first time.
There is a common notion in modern self-help (of which I tend to reject as unwise regurgitation of half understood nonsense), that we should ‘be ourselves’.
To that I say, yes, but we can only be ourselves if we really understand what that means. For what we are is not something easily definable, much as the world and its events cannot be properly expressed through a linear and objective style as encouraged in modern journalism. What we are is in constant evolution, it is beyond intellect, beyond words.
So, perhaps, to be ourselves, we cannot use our memories. We must use what Hunter S. Thompson so encapsulated in his ability to express what was within him without restraint, that kind of natural inspiration.
In oriental philosophy, particularly that of Chinese Taoism and Zen Buddhism, there is an emphasis on the spontaneous expression of the moment, without too much thought or premeditation. The self is not seen as a concrete object that must achieve something in order to by worthy, for whatever else is added on to the self is not really the self — be it mental or material.
As such, I appreciate the style of Hunter S. Thompson namely because he really was who he was, and because of this — he lived a life that was both mad and quite fascinating, which only really reflects in his work.
So I say, why fear our own nature, and why do anything other than what we are really inspired to by the deep canals of our being— for all else, which is really most of what we aspire to in our modern world — is quite transitory, fake.
I wish to rebel against this blind ideal of the good life, much as Hunter, in his own mad genius, questioned the American dream.
‘So we shall let the reader answer this question for himself: who is the happier man, he who has braved the storm of life and lived or he who has stayed securely on shore and merely existed?’ — Hunter S. Thompson.