I would like to go hang out in the desert for awhile. I really took to that place when I first went out there. The desert knows about the alonity. Yes, the alonity. That’s my word. It’s being alive and living with yourself. Sometimes the alonity hurts because it’s real. It hurts, scars, and strengthens. I spend lots of time in the alonity. Most people busy themselves with meaningless rituals and assorted bullshit. They fear the alonity. I don’t. I feel at home with it. They get caught up in how they think their hair should be cut. If they could see inside themselves they would freak out. It’s a crime against time, to waste it on such bullshit. I don’t beg for understanding. I live on earth. I just wonder if I got the wrong address.
– Henry Rollins from Get in the Van
I have mixed feelings about Henry Rollins. I really like Black Flag and I love the Rollins Band album The End of Silence. I’m also enjoying reading his book. I also admire his discipline. However, he also is pretty good at putting his foot in his mouth and has said some really stupid shit over the years. I like his book because it is honest and he does have some keen insights. He also does a lot of things that can best be described as insane, and at worst be described as stupid. To his credit I will say that he does seem willing to evolve and change his opinions over time, which is a trait I respect in anyone.
The reason I picked the above quote is I do think that idea that most people busy themselves with meaningless rituals and assorted bullshit, in order to not have to face the truth of life, is true. I am guilty of it at times, everyone is, but some people more than others.
Lately my Dad and I have been talking about how to be a realistic idealist. You want to see the world be a better place, you know that from history that people are capable of changing for the better, but you also don’t shy away from the hard truths of life and what the human race is up against. I think it’s important to try to be a dreamer and a realist. Martin Luther King had a vision and a dream, but those in the Civil Rights movements had to face the harsh realities of racism to work towards that dream, and that work isn’t over yet. Before you can fix something you need to realize what the problem is. You need to realize the failings of not only yourself, but of your fellow human beings. You need high minded rhetoric and people that are willing to put their neck on the line for change. People that fought for civil rights were beaten, put in jail, murdered, and attacked by dogs. How do you look at the reality of the world and not become a cynic? How do you dream of a better world without becoming a pie in the sky utopian?
I’m talking about the Civil Rights Movement as an obvious example of where there was some real world gains, although we are a long way off from the perfect in that deal. But really, this could apply to any social movement. Lately I’ve been thinking of the climate movement. The same rules apply.
A lot of my posts lately have been talking about the meaninglessness of popular culture. There is so much in our culture that not only allows you to turn your head the other way, but actually wants you to. People spend much of their lives focusing on assorted bullshit.
Now, that being said, not all bullshit is equal, and entertainment and escapism do have their place. As a mortal being you only have so much energy. There are times when you need to turn the brain off and recharge the batteries. There are times to just enjoy something in life. People are different.
I have commented several times that I am an introvert. I can not constantly engage other people or I will burn out. There are times when I need to be alone just watching a ridiculous action movie, or what have you. Trying to find that proper balance for yourself, of how you can be most effective, is important. How does one enjoy life and also find the time to make sure that your time on this planet was not wasted on meaningless bullshit? I don’t have the answer myself, let alone for anyone else, but it is worth thinking about.