The world of instant communication and virtual reality may look and sound amazing but it’s not as inspirational and groundbreaking as it pretends to be. Pervasive is more like it. Encroaching. Its perpetual connectivity threatens to absorb everyone inside its expanding grid, obliterating individuality. The bells of clinical and sterile society are tolling, echoing loudly inside the tall walls, signaling the advent of a ceaselessly observed world.
A generation and a half ago, things were different. There was no constant surveillance to speak of. There was less lack of privacy, more space to move around and extra leeway for a person to veer off course and find something worth getting excited about. Being unhinged was both an insult and an asset.
I look back at the great crazies of that time, like Hunter S. Thompson, and wonder whether there’s any of their insatiable drive left over for the people of our day and age to savor, before we’re forever sucked deep inside the clinic of cultural suburbia. I’m not sure what the answer is, but their insane perspective still resonates, maybe not as loudly as I’d expect, but strong enough to register. Their visions of the great wide open space of nature and mind have not yet been erased from our databases. Our memory banks are still frothing with their spirited delight at all things untethered. In the mind of the uncommitted, there’s nothing like the prospect of getting up, getting fucked up, meeting those you love and care for, those you can communicate with in ways that transcend the scripted narratives of the day, setting yourself up for something truly out of this world, something fun and extraordinary. You simply go about your business creating wonders out of thin air, without raising flags or eyebrows, save those belonging to the curious and eager to participate. You make your way through life totally enraptured but oddly functional, with no histrionics involved other than those induced by your hellraising ways.
Here’s to that initiative — to a life beyond the walls and fences, the surveillance stations and detention camps. Here’s to the hip-shooting, freewheel-burning, explosive ride down the long path to ingenuity. Ride, scream, drift, scrape, fly, glide, crash, grovel, get up and dust yourself off and scream and extend and ride again, straight into the dark tunnel, into the blinding flash of light, wherever it is you want to go. Let your eyes water with excitement and the cold air burn its way through your head, vitalizing your brain, kick starting your vision into a thousand hungry stares that raze and rend the night. Let your eyes cut through the haze, your mind content with the notion there’s a refuge to turn to, always there for you to drop by when you’ve had enough of being calibrated by the machine of society.
Such was the way of the insane greats of the previous generation-and-a-half, chock-full of chutzpah and grind. Steeped in madness, animation and reckless genius, they stormed and occupied the shell of romanticism, with which they, the world’s warrior poets, negotiated the white waters of controversy. Their advance in the name of spirit gone wild was epic and inspiring. They progressed and fell, again and again, only to rise again, anew, making stubborn headway, to each their own, each one leaving his or her mark on their surroundings. They wrestled their demons and flirted with the politics of the edge, bursting with effervescent passion, at the tail end of which lay their quiet paradise, where they sought refuge when looking to replenish their hellraising arteries.
Here’s to their spirited, intoxicating times.
From the bays of Pearl Coast,
Fish a ton of oysters, strike a shiny pearl.